To The Daily Sun,
After reading Gilmanton selectman Marshal Bishop’s filed complaint to the Belknap Superior Court in the matter of his dispute with the town’s Planning Board, I felt compelled to make the following points:
Selectman Bishop contends that actions taken against him by the nine members of the Planning Board have no grounds, and that they are driven purely by malice and fueled by revenge. I wonder, is Mr. Bishop’s lawyer that confident, that he believes he could actually establish a link strong enough to tie all nine members of the board to some sort of conspiracy? I don’t believe he could. It’s a ridiculous notion that makes Mr. Bishop’s contention totally unsupportable and baseless, and which I believe is designed solely to turn public opinion against the board. The truth is: I believe that the nine members simply want to avoid the gross impropriety of showing Selectman Bishop favoritism in the form of what was demonstrated by the Gilmanton ZBA. That was a travesty!
Selectman Bishop also persists in pointing an accusatory finger at former Selectman Brett Currier, stating that Mr. Currier’s efforts to bring the winery’s restaurant into compliance is also a grudging act of revenge. Is everything an act of revenge with this guy? Cannot a former selectman, with a history of deep and beneficial civic involvement, question an impropriety if he believes he sees one?
Under the circumstances, it is not unreasonable for the Planning Board to ask Mr. Bishop to start the process over, given that the original, conditional approval (PB Case 0911) begins with, “approval to operate a winery and function hall to facilitate social events.” There is simply no mention of a restaurant. None at all. Additionally, Mr. Bishop’s insistence that the Planning Board “knew all along what I was doing and allowed me to do it ... so I should be left alone,” ignores the fact that a Planning Board is an ever-changing body of part-time volunteers who dedicate their limited time to issues that are brought before them. They are not constructed to police an action, or sleuth about, investigating whether someone is compliant or not. Only when someone raises an issue, as in this case, do they generally intervene. If anyone, on a conditional approval, then, does not return before the board, after so many days, that conditional approval is essentially dead. Which makes Mr. Bishop’s continually leaning on his 2011 conditional approval somewhat meaningless. In my opinion, it is simply no longer valid.
That aside, Selectman Bishop’s insinuations do raise an interesting question: Why would anyone want to take revenge on him? Is he suggesting that someone may have somehow suffered as a result of something he did? That’s usually why people take revenge, isn’t it? Could it be that Mr. Bishop, who played a pivotal role as selectman in the current administration’s opponent-cleansing “clean-slate initiative,” which resulted in the destruction of livelihoods and damaged reputations, along with countless other unpleasantries, be thinking that someone may not exactly be feeling sympathetic toward him? And could it also be possible that Selectman Bishop believes, when non-public minutes were accidentally released in May which revealed a disturbing side of himself, as well as the other selectmen and town administrator, that possibly he didn’t exactly win over any hearts and minds? I wonder then, is this what they mean when they say “You reap what you sow?”
By taking this legal action against the nine members of Gilmanton’s Planning Board, Selectman Bishop is, in a sense, attacking their character, honesty and integrity as he attempts to elevate himself in the eyes of his otherwise blind supporters to the position of victim, and in some ways, a warrior against injustice. He is neither. He is simply a man who made a mistake and wants it corrected on his own terms – and his terms alone.