We Mix It Up At Times

Enfield Councilperson Robert Lynch, Privilege of the Floor comment, near the start of our Town Board’s September 14th Regular Monthly Meeting, our first meeting held in-person since September 2021:

Good Evening, Board.  Glad we’re back together again. I have a couple things to talk about tonight.  Pardon my formality.  But I want to make sure I get the words just right.

One is something good: about us.  The other—if I’m given the time to talk about it—troubles me.

First, the positive:  We’re a thinking Board.  We’re a caring Board.  And yes, we’re an opinionated Board.  That’s good for us, and for our community.  We’re not five people who just helicopter into this room or to our laptops once a month to cast votes autogenetically.  We ponder.  We mix it up at times.  That’s us.  Maybe, too, that’s also Enfield.

The two most frequent things Town residents tell me as a Board member is: #1) Don’t fight; and #2) Get back to meeting in the same room.  We’ve met that second goal tonight.  And as for Number One; while we’re not perfect, we are getting better.

Board collegiality has hoed a rough row these past three years the Supervisor and I have sat on this Board.  Yes, we’re this young Board’s senior members.  Nonetheless, as I look back, the tone and tenor of debate has improved over time. 

We’ve had a topic to tackle this past summer that could have become toxic.  It divides some of us.  But wisely, we’ve handed it off to another set of leaders, those on our Enfield Planning Board.  Last week, I watched them work, and I listened.  And I’d say, based on their relaxed, inquisitive approach, our Planning Board will handle this assigned task quite well.  They’ll do a heck of a good job.  Let’s leave them alone for a while.  And I look forward to seeing their work product once they’re done.


Now to what’s not so good.  To the north of us, there’s a Nation, the Cayuga Nation.  And since our last meeting, there’s been more trouble’s there.  From the reports I’ve read, as many as 50 private police and security officers, mercenaries, descended on a farmhouse one weekend morning, all for an “asbestos inspection.”  We’re told one man was placed in a chokehold.  Later at the tribal courthouse, someone was tased, cuffed and dragged across a parking lot.

The Cayuga Nation’s Private Army of Sorts (courtesy Jimmy Jordan / The Ithaca Voice)

People tell me, Bob, that’s none of Enfield’s business.  Stay out of it.  Well, I’m not asking this Board to take any action tonight.  But I always thought we all lived under democracy’s rules.  One man does not get to rule as a king.  If tribal lands remain off limits to New York State criminal law, then the tribes had better write their own rules that grant democracy proper respect, and then enforce those rules through due process.

If the Cayuga Nation cannot do that… and if the Bureau of Indian Affairs prefers to turn a blind eye, well, then maybe it’s time for Congress to step in and fix the problem.

That’s all.  Thank you.


Note: During the September 14 meeting, Councilperson James Ricks also addressed the Cayuga Nation matter, voicing similar sentiments, as did a private citizen in floor comments at the meeting’s end.