Don’t complain about transplants

I will begin by identifying myself as a proud taxpaying, property-owning citizen of the village of Saranac Lake since September of 1988. I am one of fairly strong opinions, as are we all, and as citizens of these United States, we are guaranteed the right to express our opinions freely.

I applaud Mr. Jon Bombard for exercising his right, in his letter to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise of Sept. 26. There were concerns expressed by Mr. Bombard that have potential impact on all residents of the village. In identifying the inappropriate use of parking areas designated for those with handicapping conditions by those without a valid permit to do so is to identify behavior that is illegal, disrespectful and downright selfish. The change that occurred, designating specific parking spaces to accommodate those with physical challenges and limitations, was hard-fought and a long time in coming. We here in the village continue to struggle in bringing all public spaces to accessibility, and the awareness of this issue has been demonstrated by village officials and covered by the ADE.

Mr. Bombard speaks of the often-overfull bottle drops in the area. While they can be unsightly, I think we can all appreciate that most are used for fundraising purposes by several area groups and organizations, which, like most who are raising funds, have been hit by the changes implemented over the course of years, decreasing funding to various community organizations. Most of these groups rely on volunteers to assist in the collection of these bottles and cans. In a busy world, every one of us has much to fill our days.

Mr. Bombard also expresses concerns about those who chose to park in designated “no parking” zones. While I believe we can all agree this behavior is illegal, I would also respectfully suggest that our village police force seems to be busy addressing more pressing illegalities, and as a taxpayer, I must say I, for one, am grateful for their efforts toward such.

All of us seem to have a nostalgia for times gone by, a fond remembrance for times that seem, in our recollections, simpler or perhaps better. Upon reflection, I believe that while all of us have fond memories of the days gone by, few of us would really wish to return to the days when life was lived without electricity, running water, public sewer systems, major medical advances that make personkind healthier and more well, or many of the other examples of changes that have happened over the course of history. Change is hard for everyone, and for some of us much more so than others. It has been so since the beginning of history and will continue, I am guessing, for time indeterminant. While I, for one, do not always love change, I recognize that sometimes it is necessary and can make things better in the long run.

Which brings me to an issue I must take exception to, Mr. Bombard. To my knowledge, you and I have never met, yet we both live in this village and pay taxes. I am taken aback that you should choose to disparage myself and every other person who has chosen to move to this village, become citizens, taxpayers and property owners with such a dismissive and exclusive tone without knowing us as people. I could have easily chosen to dismiss such as the vacuous ramblings of a townie who had never been much beyond the immediate area — which would be presumptive, since I do not know you, and downright rude. I may not have been raised in Saranac Lake, but in my hometown of Colonie, I was taught that everyone is deserving of respect.

This area has seen population decrease, school attendance decrease and college enrollments decrease in my years as a citizen, all of which have been well documented in the pages of the ADE. If more “transplants,” people who were not lucky enough to be born here, do not make the choice to move to this lovely village, it will eventually cease to exist. And that, I feel, would be a tragedy. I have no doubt you love this village, Mr. Bombard. Please do not assume that those of us who have chosen to live here do not love it as well.

Although we may see things differently, as those with differing viewpoints and background experiences will, that does not mean we cannot work together to ensure this village continues to be a wonderful place for everyone to live and be welcomed in. The Founding Fathers used an idea that has informed this nation since its inception, “E pluribus unum,” which translates to, “From many, one.” I feel this is what should bring us together, not divide us. Each of us needs to work toward making our village a place all of us wish to live in — and that others will choose to come to live in, or else risk the consequence of not doing so. And that would be a truly sad change.

Suzanne M. Miller lives in Saranac Lake.