HIGBIE: Johnny-Come-Latelies Are Here to Stay

Letter to the editor from Carl Higbie

Now that the board of Education has voted 6 to 1 in favor of turf you would think this debate would be over. Not quite. In what appears to be a tantrum / effort to stay relevant, the opposition has become unhinged, as evidenced from their recent letter to the editor. Where in
the absence of victory, they are now claiming “it wasn’t fair” and “we are offended”.

“We have never made this debate personal, have never intimidated anyone and a have maintained a level of respect for the democratic process. This cannot be said for the proponents of artificial turf who attended the meeting last night and made this debate very personal and very combative.”

First, let’s revisit the use of “combative.” As a veteran who saw combat, I find that laughable. This is democracy in action, where both sides adhered to the democratic process. Anti-turf’ers were just shocked they got called out for the first time. My side came armed with facts and questions that the opposition avoided, or answered in unverified, vague generalities. This same crowd has been fighting against turf for years by unilaterally declaring their argument to be the moral high ground. Anyone who opposed them was to be ridiculed as an immoral reprobate, who doesn’t care about kids. But when a bunch of residents finally stood up and called them out, they responded:

“This feeble attempt to intimidate and discredit us, failed spectacularly on all counts.”

Failed? Now, I know I’m just a common folk who dropped out of college to go to war after 9/11, but if my math is correct, 6 votes for turf is, in fact, greater than the 1 vote they got against it. Correct? Our efforts were not aimed at opponents of the measure, but rather exposing their motives to the Board. Which was done, “spectacularly,” judging by the outcome. Because if they had, in fact, given ANY credible evidence to their argument, even I might have sided with them seeing how my children will attend Central in the not so distant future.

If these people really cared about the kids don’t you think they, especially a doctor, would oppose ALL turf in town. Because after all, they’re fighting for the children, right? Unsurprisingly, there are no records of them fighting against turf at the High School, the Boys and Girls Club, Brunswick, or even Country Day, down the street. Just that one field in their own back yard. Weird. Dr. Yee owns another house within similar distance to the Cos Cob Park
as well, but logged NO complaints when turf was put in…could it be because it’s a rental property and doesn’t affect him?

My favorite excerpt from the piece:

“We can only suppose that when the evidence is irrefutable, the only alternative is to discredit the messenger.”

Still waiting on that irrefutable evidence… Folks, let’s get real here, our kids are currently bussed to turf fields to play their sports and activities anyway. If this group was as morally motivated as they claim to be, why have they not attempted to educate GYFL families of the dangers of turf that the kids play on every weekend at GHS or any other schools? Do you really believe that in a litigious society, in a town like Greenwich, with all the wealth and access to
“experts” that if there were indeed any negative effects from turf, we would have seen a lawsuit already? Someone? Somewhere? To date; Jude Braunstein, Susan Rudolph, Warren Silver, Liane Tel, Arthur Yee (the MD as he constantly reminds us of) who just signed the recent
letter, have not been able to provide ONE SINGLE case won on the merits of the “facts” they claim. Not one! Instead pointing to vague studies, some based on chemicals that where outlawed years ago. Yet they accuse us of lies… what are those lies specifically? $10 bucks says
they can’t name one.

Welcome to the new rules, where my side will not be intimidated by your aggressive moral crusade and ad hominem attacks against anyone who disagrees with you. You lost, we won. Now, kids will have a safe place to play. As to “These Johnny-come-latelies to the debate” (as you described people like myself) who work long hours to support our families and don’t have time to attend and protest at every meeting; we are not going away! You talk about being offended. I’m a Greenwich native, and know thousands of our residents personally. We are offended that you snuck around for the last couple years and paid for a biased study to present to the BOE and RTM that said turf was dangerous. We are offended that during that time you sat on the “findings” and never made an effort to educated parents of children that used the turf regularly. I’m offended that you have 2,500 signatures, (collected over 3 years), but only 5 people will put their names to it publicly. Oh, and also that all 5 people happen to live across the street from Central.

Hop on down from your high horse, grab a football and enjoy the turf in your back yard.