Social and Political Commentary

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Mr. Dittmer's rebuttal to Joe's article

from Myron F. Dittmer

Written by: Myron F. Dittmer, President of the Mt. Hood Park Association, 93 Altamont Avenue, Melrose, MA 02176, Tele: (781) 665-8172

I recently read Joe Sullivan’s article entitled “Where, Please, is the Park at Mount Hood?” published in the Melrose Mirror on September 7, 2012. In his article Mr. Sullivan discusses the events leading up to a dog ban at Mount Hood at the August 13th Park Commission meeting. He indicated that all those present had their chance to speak against the dog ban and provide their reasons to allow dog access to park areas. Although the commissioners voted for the ban later in the meeting, Mr. Sullivan indicated that everyone had their chance to influence the Park Commissioners. What Sullivan did not note was that by 9:30 am the next morning, formally printed metal signs had been erected up around Mount Hood explaining about the dog ban!  It was obvious to all that these signs had to have been fabricated prior to the vote the previous evening indicating that the Park Commissioners decision to ban dogs at Mount Hood was preordained. Mr. Sullivan was aware of this but neglected to include this important point in his article.

Concerning the draft resolution outlining recommended procedures and practices to improve dog etiquette at Mount Hood and published by the Mayor’s office, on August 20th, Mr. Sullivan noted that “these were in substance, the same conditions that were in effect before the Park Commission voted for the ban.”  Because of this, he noted that this did not represent a compromise but just a request for the elimination of the ban. However, I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Sullivan since the recommendations included a commitment of additional resources and time provided by both police and the animal control officer including the complete banning of repeat offenders from the park. In addition, dogs would be restricted to certain areas within the park which will greatly minimize contact between golfers and dog walkers.

Finally, it should be noted that Mr. Sullivan is an avid golfer who frequently plays golf at Mount Hood. He has previously spoken at Park Commission meetings about his personal feelings concerning dog walkers and pedestrians at Mount Hood. He firmly believes that only golfers should be up at Mount Hood because dogs and people can be hit by golf balls and that pedestrians can potentially slow down play at certain fairways where roads intersect fairways. The 235 acres that make up Mount Hood Memorial Park and Golf Course was specifically designed as a park and golf course for all Melrosians to enjoy. Public access to this unique and remarkable “green jewel” should be allowed as long as users follow established rules of conduct. It is important to note that although golfers may pay a fee to play golf at Mount Hood; this does not give them a “right” to control the use of all land at the park.

October 5, 2012

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