Follow Up to Windmill Comment

Hey, Cisco here…

One of the beauties of a blog is the immediacy of the thing… The ability to comment on the fly, take comments from the readers on the fly, and so forth. Thankfully, Mark E. sent us the following thoughts concerning the proposed Harwich windmills… My (our) reply follows Mark’s entry…

Dear Mr. Gibson,

So from what I can gather, your position is that if the physical, emotional and financial well-being of a small number of citizens and taxpayers needs to be sacrificed in order to save everyone else a few hundred dollars apiece, then so be it. Your article does nothing but poo-poo the reported negative effects of the industrial-size turbines, and focuses entirely on the cost-savings. Why don’t you ask Mr. Merriam to share with you the letter he received from Dr. Nina Pierpont on the health effects of having such turbines with 2kms of residential homes. Or would that present too much of an inconvenience to your ignorant, self-serving position. I agree with you that energy isn’t free and that taxes will likely go up, and that’s the appropriate outcome. One community should not be expected to be so egregiously compromised to save everyone else a few bucks. I pray someone with such poor judgment and lack of concern for ALL citizens is not elected.

Bruce’s and Cisco’s response:
Hi Mark E.,

Some thoughts…

* First of all, it’s only fair that you know who’s writing what… My name is Alan Speakman, and I blog under the name “Cisco” (from the Harwich Spirits Shoppe “Two Cats Blogging” fame). I also am a syndicated writer for under the auspices of and their Kindle device. I write for Bruce William Gibson, and nothing that appears on the HSST blog is there without Bruce William Gibson’s O.K. There… Now you know me and you certainly know Bruce Gibson. Should you care to meet face to face, just call the Harwich Spirits Shoppe {(508) 430-0000} and Bruce will either be there, or he’ll make himself available to you at your time and place of convenience. Just say the word, and I’ll be there too. The rest of what follows (except where clearly noted) is from the voice of Bruce Gibson…

* Next, thank you for your blog comment and contribution to the public debate. I’m of the opinion that the only thing better than free speech is more free speech.

* While we may not agree, I truly want to hear your opinion and the reasoning behind it. If possible, I’d like to see the letter from Dr. Pierpont outlining the health effects of having such turbines within 2kms of residential homes.

* I do not consider my position ignorant. I’ve been a fan of wind power for more than two decades. I wrote earlier of concerns about problems like “neurological heath effects of wind turbines”, “Wind Turbine Syndrome”, and “wind energy noise impacts”… I am not oblivious to those concerns. However, I’ve spent a ton of time considering power generation, and I believe wind power is the most benign way we can bring “green” energy to Harwich.

* Self serving??? We live in the very heart of Kennedy Camelot. (A bastion of “No Windmills Near Cape Cod”.) Politically, I know I’m dealing with a third rail. Still… In my heart of hearts I believe wind power needs to play a critical role in Harwich’s energy future, Cape Cod’s energy future, the state’s energy future, and ultimately the country’s energy future. It’s no great secret that Europe has made wind energy a reality… Why can’t we? Why can’t we?

* Kudos to the agreement on the issue of raising taxes… I’m just scrambling to find ways to stop or reverse the seemingly inevitable… Money is just way too tight.

* “Egregiously compromised?” (NOTE: Alan talking now!) I’ll tell you about communities being “egregiously compromised!” Try living on or near Loring AFB and hearing B52s take off and land every 30 minutes 24/7/365! Try living on 25 French Ave. in Braintree MA. with the “T” Red Line rumbling at all hours and just an “underhand pitch” away from your bedroom. (Hell… For that matter, try living within half a mile of the “Braintree Transfer Station”; you’ll love the smell in August. Were there noise, health, and property values involved? You bet. But the communities of Caribou Maine and Braintree Massachusetts understood the importance of the issues at hand and made the sacrifices. And those sacrifices make two windmills look pathetic in comparison… Suppose a group builds a church in my back yard and insists on ringing their bells every day. Annoying? You bet! Suppose the community decides that we need another firehouse next door – I guess I’d better get used to the sound of sirens and heavy equipment… And so it goes… (BTW… I question the issue of property values… I’d pay to have one of those windmills in my back yard. But then again, I’m just a crazy engineer.) Also keep in mind that I was born in Hyannis in 1958, my mother was born on Bank Street in 1920, and Freeman Street was named after my great-great grandfather Gideon Freeman – I was none too happy to see Headwaters developed in the first place, but I bowed to progress. (NOTE: END of Alan talking now!)

* I don’t know about you, but for me “a few hundred dollars apiece” ain’t chump change, especially when you start adding it up on a decade by decade basis. If you disagree, please stop by the Spirits Shoppe and toss me a little chump change. (And while you’re at it, Alan could use some chump change too.)

* It is my concern for ALL citizens of this town that I’m running for the Selectman’s position again. In case you haven’t been by the store lately, I’m no “Spring Chicken”. I did not before, and do not now, consider the Selectman’s position some sort of springboard to wealth and power. Truth be told, for the most part, being a Selectman is a tough row to hoe. No matter what policies I deem best there will be people (sometimes strangers and sometimes close friends) who will question not just my judgment but my sanity as well. So be it. I’ll simply say that I’m doing my damnedest for the town and let the cards fall where they may. For me, the nature of being a Selectman is little more than answering the call for Jury Duty – you just do the right thing.

So Mark, I hope you stop by and we get a chance to talk. I’ve never professed to being the sharpest knife in the drawer, and if you’ve got a compelling argument, I certainly want to hear it. (There’s only so much we can do with blogs and blog comments – there’s nothing like the old face to face and press the flesh.)

The very best to you and yours, and I look forward to meeting you…

Bruce William Gibson

Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


3 Responses to Follow Up to Windmill Comment

  1. Mark E. says:

    First, let me say to Mr. Gibson that I have dropped plenty of “chump change” in the Harwich Spirits Shoppe, because although I don’t appreciate your willingness to sacrifice my health and property value, I do appreciate your wine selection. Plus, I’m sure once you extend the bike path right into your front door, you’ll have lots more chump change.

    Second, let me say that the “few hundred dollars” I mentioned WAS over the course of decades. The wind project is currently estimated to save the town of Harwich roughly $280K per year. That amounts to less than $20 per year for each median-priced Harwich home (according to a similarly-themed article I just read in the CC Times). So for the cost of 8 cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee per year, you think it’s OK to burden me and my neighbors with all the risk of these turbines. And if you were at the turbine meeting on Saturday at the Community Center, you’d know that even the “expert witnesses” brought in for the meeting admitted that there was substantial “grey area” with respect to the health effects. You seem very willing to latch onto the positive and toss aside the negative — once again, at the potential expense of me and my neighbors. I thank you, though, for showing interest in Dr. Pierpont’s letter. I can e-mail it to you in a pdf file.

    Third, let me say that my neighbors are some of the most environmentally-friendly people I know. But “going green” shouldn’t mean that some of us have to “turn green” or “lose green”. I’m not sure you’re really grasping the issue here. It is not “wind” vs. “no wind”. It is “how close is too close” and a growing number of medical experts worldwide are beginning to support the idea that 1 to 1.5 miles is the safe setback. My home is roughly 1500′ from one of the turbines — less than ONE-THIRD of the minimum distance recommended by many experts. Can you SERIOUSLY not understand my concern?

    Fourth, regarding property values, just in case you’re reading some of the research cited by the town and dubbing yourself “well-read”, the report claiming that similar windmills had no measurable impact on neighboring home values was looking at homes as far as 10 miles away. Only 1-2% of the homes in the study were 3000′ feet or closer. (This information was also revealed at Saturday’s meeting.) Let me repeat — my home is 1500′ from one of the turbines.

    I have been in the high-tech industry my whole life and I understand the excitement that comes along with adopting new (and especially “green”) technologies, and the temptation to engage them quickly. But town officials have the burden of considering what is reasonable risk to assume on behalf of the people they represent. With the amount of controversial data and findings related to this subject, I will be very angry if they choose their 8 cups of coffee over the physical, emotional and financial well-being of myself and 400+ other households.

    Thank you for this forum to voice my opinions.

  2. Alan Speakman says:

    Hi Mark,

    Alan here…

    Thanks again for your comment…


    * There is a ton of discrepancy concerning the profitability of these windmills. I assume that will be worked out. If these things don’t pay for themselves (and then some), I’d say scrap the idea. I just know that the Europeans have been using them successfully for decades. (Then again, if the windmill projects in Europe were/are being subsidized by the government as was the Concorde, then maybe we need to think of other options. The last thing we need is a Harwich version of the Amtrak.) Still… The folks in Texas seem to make wind power work.

    * As for distance from a residence. That’s a huge deal. Unless you’ve seen one of these things up close and personal, it’s hard to imagine the size of them. They are not big… They are huge. (I drove through one of the early California wind farms, and even back then those were formidable.) Make no mistake, these are large machines, and machines can break. Here’s a link to a video of one of these beasts pinwheeling: … Scary stuff. Still I know of no deaths due to windmills. Too bad coal can’t make the same claim.

    * But here’s the first of my two main concerns: Financially, America is in ruins. No matter what the talking heads say on TV, we don’t owe $12 trillion. Our country is in hock to the tune of $60 – $100 trillion. The politicians (both left and right) have found a cute way to cooks the books – they don’t factor into account Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and government pensions. (They keep those numbers on a second set of accounting ledgers.) Our fiscal situation is so bad that Comptroller General David Walker (America’s top bookkeeper) quit. (If you want to read about this, go to my blog – Grand Rants ( and do a search on “David Walker”.) Given our ghastly debt and the pending disaster in the Middle East (Iran with a nuke), Cape Codders (and Harwich in particular) may well rue the time when we turned away from alternative energy.

    * The second of my concerns has a more personal nature. I’ve been screaming about the need for wind power for almost 40 years. And as wind power grew with the technology, I just assumed people would flock to it. Why not? Cheap energy. And indeed, some did flock to it. Go to the “Mother Earth News” Web site and search on “wind power”. The results may surprise you. But Mark… Here’s what surprised me… Over the decades, when I talked with people around town and around Cape Cod, I heard the same exact line, “I love the idea of wind power, but not in my back yard.” Seriously, if I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard it ten times… If you have legit issues about finances or engineering, I’m right there with you… But if this all boils down to “not in my back yard…” Sorry, but I think you need re-think the future. If we keep turning our backs on alternative energy sources like wind, solar, and nuclear, this country’s future may be ugly indeed. Be careful what you wish for… You might just get it.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and concerns, and keep them coming!


  3. […] been thinking… One of the nicest compliments Bruce has ever received was on April 19th, when “Mark E.” (a very strong anti-wind turbine person) left a comment that lit into […]

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