This is a serialization of the new book written by Carl Flowers, owner of Silveus Plantation, the subject of "Groton's Anonymous Mistress." This 300-year-old house is accessed by Kemp Street near the boundary of Groton and Dunstable.
By Carl Flowers
One last incident having nothing to do with the ongoing beatings at the hands of the town illustrates how a dysfunctional government operates. In April of 2010, I was contacted two or three times by two different individuals interested in building solar panels on approximately 20 acres of the Mistress' domain. At the same time, construction of the solar panels was being proposed, a study was being conducted at the University of Massachusetts involving solar panels that could be built 10-12 feet above the ground. These two unique events could provide the opportunity to produce a crop under the solar panels and receive free electricity to heat and light several green houses 12 months a year.
Nothing could be more affordable and sustainable to both the grower and consumer. Unfortunately, the energy produced from the solar panels would have to be fed into a transmission line running through Groton belonging to National Grid. This wouldn't be allowable because Groton had its own electric company.
What is so contradictable about this is the fact that the Mistress is in Groton, but isn't allowed to get electricity from Groton Electric Light Company. Instead, the Mistress gets her electricity from National Grid. According to the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, "each distribution company shall have the exclusive obligation to provide distribution service to all customers within its service territory." If the Mistress has to get its electricity from National Grid, why can't the solar panels on the Mistress' domain feed into National Grid's transmission lines? National Grid's transmission lines pass over the Mistress' domain. According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93 says, "the purpose of the chapter is to encourage free and open competition in the interest of the general welfare and economy by prohibiting unreasonable restraints of trade and monopolistic practices." A bit further in Chapter 93 we find there are exemptions by stating, "No provision of this act shall apply to any activities which are subject to regulation or supervision under federal, state or local law." In other words, monopolies are allowed to exist if they are regulated.
Chapter 11: What's next?
Experiencing the wrath of certain departments in town hall has brought about significant changes in my opinions about government and farming. Every town board, committee and commission can be a threat to the existence of farming by individuals and families. Education and expertise don't often determine appointments to any town board, committee or commission. All one needs is an interest.
Members of the various boards, committees and commissions meet and confer at their appointed time and make decisions without examining in detail any of the information presented to them by administrative personnel. They do this because they don't care or they are not capable of doing any research on their own. A farm is nothing more than prey to the predatory behavior of government on both the state and local levels.
The predatory snare used against the farmer by government is the farmer's constant need for money. Repair of buildings, need for updated equipment and soil improvement are just a few of the luring forces. The average small farmer's income doesn't keep these needs in optimal condition. Acceptance of money that doesn't need to be repaid is the actual snare. In exchange for the free money, a farmer must agree to a permanent restriction on his land preventing all future development. Restrictions which are not in perpetuity can last for as few as five years to maybe 20 years, depending on the amount of money involved. The result is similar to being shackled with a heavy ball and chain in a river at low tide.
Money a farmer receives from various government programs not needing to be repaid is still subject to state and federal taxes. A quarter to a third of the granted money is skimmed straight off the top.