An open letter to the Neighbors for Clean Air

I am sending to you the amount of money I calculate I would have spent at the fair this year, plus a few dollars for good measure.   Please sign me up for two memberships and two tee shirts (1 double extra large and 1 small), ASAP.  While I have always agreed with your obvious goal of striving for cleaner air, I am not much of a joiner and was procrastinating until more information was issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the US EPA concerning Eramet's emissions. It is now obvious that Eramet must have something very big to hide or they would have ignored a few people wearing tee shirts.   Even more obvious to me is where the Fair Board puts its priorities.  I am not a native to this area, but I have enjoyed attending the fair every year since I moved here seven years ago.  For all that time I presumed it was truly a COUNTY Fair, supported and operated by and for the citizens of Washington County.  Now that I know differently, I cannot, with any conscience, continue my support for any event held on Fair grounds, until the Fair Board and especially Mr. Tornes issue a public apology for their actions and insults (pornography, indeed!).  

I have also found the Fair Book online and will now be looking closely at the other sponsors. The final straw was the outrageous statement made by Mr. Tornes that the Board has a long-standing policy of not allowing political or controversial messages at the fair or parade.   Apparently the phrase "that differs from their own opinion" is missing from Mr. Tornes statement.  Mr. Tornes even admitted that he did not know what the tee shirts said, so I can only presume he is against the very idea of clean air.   And does he really think that asking Eramet to help clean up their emissions is more controversial than the issue of abortion?  To say that the issue of abortion is not controversial is ludicrous, yet I'm sure I saw a vehicle slathered with right to life slogans driving right down the street in the middle of a parade where controversial messages are not allowed (or, as more recent articles report, forms of protest).  

I do not believe that requiring registration fees in the future will solve this problem.  Only a clear and publicly announced policy fairly delineating parade and Fair entries and NOT held subject to sponsors whims will be acceptable.   Could not anyone currently purchase a full-page ad in the Fair Book and dictate policy to the Board?  Maybe that's what Neighbors for Clean Air should do.

The Fair Board has decided they could not replace the financial support that Eramet gives them and will now have to continue without the support of prospective attendees who happen to care about the health and quality of life of their friends, family and neighbors. Not to mention fairness, integrity and respect.   If I am nearly alone in feeling this way, God help us all.  Since, according to valid sources, over 35,000 people have written letters to Eramet asking them to work toward cutting their emissions, I suspect I am not.

Mike Bailey