To the editor: What’s happened to Londonderry?

I have owned a home in Londonderry since 2002, and have lived here full time since 2008. I met my husband here in 1998 — our first date was at The Mill Tavern — and we always knew this would be our forever home.

Back then there were locals, second homeowners and new faces to the community every ski season as workers and ski bums alike. We all lived in the mountain communities, it didn’t seem contentious or “us vs. them” – it worked. The community needed the second homeowners to thrive especially to carry us through the shoulder seasons.

I have seen our community get “fired up” and organized in the past over certain causes: school budgets failing because of elimination of staff and services, speeding, crime and drugs, roads not being maintained properly, The Williams Dam Report, the Troll on Winhall Hollow …  just to name a few. NEVER in my 22 years living in Londonderry have I ever seen or heard some of the terrible, personal, attacking rhetoric that is in our community today. This raises the question, what has changed?

Is it the town’s Facebook forum where anyone can say anything at anytime without fact-checking and without consequences for spreading falsities and promoting bad behavior?

How have we gotten to this point? Why is there mistrust of our town’s elected and appointed officials? Are the active voters the ones spewing the negative rhetoric or is it a handful of disgruntled residents that are the most vocal, canceling out the voices of those who trust in the process by remaining informed and involved?

The real question is “Why is it acceptable to treat our neighbor’s this way?” The Select Board’s silence — Chairman Tom Cavanagh’s silence — gives permission to those voices to continue this hateful and aggressive behavior. The Select Board must make a statement condemning this behavior and deeming it unacceptable in every way; orderly meetings, modeling behavior, and communicating factual information would go a long way.

I have seen first-hand our diverse community come together during the floods and other difficult times – neighbors helping neighbors – strengthening the trust and fabric that hold this community together. Folks who have lived here their entire lives, shoulder to shoulder with new and part-time residents all in the good faith of the town they love.

I have then seen our community celebrate those successes with a mountain town fundraiser at Pingree Park spreading more good faith and trust by raising money in thanks to our first responders in The Mountain Towns.
Let us not forget that Community Spirit that is the Londonderry we know and love.

Let us all aspire to Do Better. Behavior that targets other community members for attacks should not be accepted, ever.

Melissa Brown

Editor’s note: Melissa Brown is a former member of the Londonderry Select Board. She resigned following the May 13 board meeting.

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  1. Mark Valentine says:

    The current chair of the Londonderry Sboard has a long history of saying very little, if anything, but loves stirring the pot under the guise of “listening to the community.” When was the last time he stuck his neck out for anything? Such a disappointment that the board allowed this to happen without consequence.

  2. Mike Smith says:

    You are a wonderful person, and have contributed so much to Londonderry. That said, you’re on the wrong side of this issue. While it certainly does not excuse the behavior of some towards you (and others) you seem to have been in lock step with Martha attempting to jam these new planning regulations down the throats of Londonderry residents.