Here’s a jam-packed update from our friends at CayugaDeer.org. Read on for photos from Ithaca Festival, and ways that you can help protect the deer living in our region – including an important meeting on Monday night…
Many thanks to the committed citizens who turned out for the Ithaca Festival parade last week to join our March for Compassion! About 20 people of all ages carried signs and banners while our friend, the dancing deer, entertained the crowd with his humorous antics. Luckily, the rain held off and thousands of people showed up to watch the procession. We were thrilled to see many in the crowd cheering as we walked by, giving the thumbs up and eagerly accepting the informational pamphlets we were handing out — proof that there is plenty of support in our community for an alternative to killing deer in Cayuga Heights. Many thanks to Scott Teel (the dancing deer) for taking the initiative to make this March for Compassion happen, and for being willing to dress up in a hair suit on a hot, muggy day to help get the point across!
Where this issue now stands…
Despite the many frustrations of the past 20 months, one thing we should all take satisfaction from is that the previous mayor and two trustees — all staunch advocates of killing — chose not to run again in the Spring elections. These three individuals left office not only having failed to implement their deer killing plan, but also to even get it voted on and approved before the new trustees took office — in large part due to the persistent efforts of many people in the community who protested their violent approach to problem solving. In fact, after two years of intense focus on the deer issue to the detriment of many other matters of public concern, all they managed to accomplish was the completion of a preliminary form required by New York State for the environmental impact review process.
Just one example of an area on which their time would have been better spent was safeguarding our public water supply. During their terms of office, it was exposed in the local press that Cayuga Heights was making money by processing 3 million gallons of natural gas drilling waste water into Cayuga Lake, the source of drinking water for thousands in our region, including their own constituents in Cayuga Heights. Following this exposé, the trustees were informed that the drilling waste water was contaminated with numerous chemicals, including the known carcinogen, hexavalent chromium. Yet, concerns over deer eating tulips and shrubbery in the unfenced yards of some influential residents seemed to trump all other concerns brought to the board over the last two years — even a concern as significant as the potential contamination of our region’s drinking water.
Could there be a more blatant sign that something has gone terribly wrong in Cayuga Heights?
THE NEW TRUSTEES NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU! Next meeting this Monday night.
In the aftermath of the March elections, there seems to be a new climate at public meetings in Cayuga Heights. We are hopeful that the three new trustees are going to help turn a new page for our community and bring some much needed rationality and integrity to the decision-making process, as well as a willingness to take the concerns of the diverse members of our community more seriously. The new trustees have not yet publicly committed to the backyard deer-killing plan, but they will have to make a decision on their position soon, so it’s up to us to inform them and make our voices be heard before it is too late and the annual killing ritual begins. Remember, the new trustees have not yet heard the opposing point of view on the deer killing plan expressed at their public meetings. If we don’t share it, how will they see what we saw at the Ithaca Festival parade–that the community is solidly behind a non-violent approach to resolving deer-human conflicts?
So please join us this coming Monday to hold a sign or speak out during the privilege of the floor section of the meeting of the trustees. Even if you don’t speak, just show up and lend your moral support to those who do. The public comments will happen toward the beginning of the meeting, right after a hearing on the fencing issue, so hopefully it will take no more than an hour of your time. Will you join us? All members of the public are invited to speak, not just residents of Cayuga Heights.
Monday, June 14 at 7 PM
The Village Hall, 836 Hanshaw Rd in Ithaca (across from Community Corners, same building as Police Station)
We look forward to seeing you there!
Jenny and James, on behalf of CayugaDeer.org