ARTA writer’s defensiveness is insulting

To the editor:

David Banks has done it again with yet another black-is-white, white-is-black piece (Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Dec. 13, 2013) concerning the trail-vs.-rail debate.

This time he darkly hints at the “menacing tone” that responses to to his op-eds have taking, repeatedly calling them “personal attacks.” He mentions two rail-friendly op-eds by date, one of which was mine, and all I can say is that readers should look at it and determine for themselves as to whether what I wrote was a “personal attack.”

Mr. Banks likes to dish out half-truths as facts but becomes defensive when confronted. That is a rebuttal, not a “personal attack.”

He also claims to have “presented evidence” to bolster his desire to kill the railroad. These are suppositions, not facts, as I and others have pointed out, yet Mr. Banks continues to blithely mouth them. When he does, I feel compelled to refute him and will continue to do so.

No, Mr. Banks has presented nothing that moves the discussion forward in a constructive manner. Meanwhile, not a peep from Mr. Banks and his Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates cohorts (other than a half-hearted comment on their Facebook page) concerning the sabotage of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad locomotive which could have resulted in a disaster, injuring or killing many people.

It’s Mr. Banks himself who inflames the situation by talking about a “menacing” tone where none exists. This is especially ironic when it’s the railroad and its supporters which have been under attack from ARTA and its supporters in the first place.

Personal attacks? I didn’t make up the comment about “blue-haired railfans” which is on the ARTA Facebook page. They wrote that themselves. Other rhetoric from ARTA and its supporters have created a supercharged atmosphere that may have inspired an unbalanced individual to sabotage the railroad’s locomotive.

How refreshing it would be to see Mr. Banks and ARTA take the high road and publicly denounce sabotage in a very forceful public statement. It would be even better if ARTA renounced its current stance and announced that it would work cooperatively with the railroad for the benefit of all.

This whole rail-vs.-trail argument is pointless anyway. Here are two groups which should be natural allies, working together for the common good, but no. ARTA continues to insist on squashing the railroad to suit its aims, even as the railroad calls for rail WITH trail.

ARTA continues to give ASR the back of its hand when a handshake would get better results. That needs to stop, and both sides need to come together and stop this petty squabble.

Bill Hutchison

Largo, Fla.