The Wilmington indecency ordinance was upheld in public referendum. We lost by just 4 swing votes with a vote count of 289 favoring the ordinance and 282 to repeal. The ordinance is effective immediately. Understand that the ordinance, which can bring summons and a $50-$500 fine also includes a "No Trespass" order that prohibits use of any US Gen Lands (including Somerset reservoir and the shores of the Deerfield River.) No one wants to get caught up in that situation.
What can you do to help now?
In short, continue to use the Ledges exactly as we have in the past, in a law abiding manner, which now means wearing a ummm, a , (can I type it???) bathing suit or clothing. We will be having a pot luck group picnic on Sunday and I hope that all will attend. If we are to gain Freedom, Unity is required. I foresee a temporary situation. (My own bathing suit will be baggy and comfortable tan shorts that match my flesh-tone). We expect that we will be joined at various times over the weekend by some strong local supporters as well as some highly prestigious media types who do not wish to see our bare butts. Please extend every courtesy to these people who are working to help reverse the situation.
The war is not over by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, several options still exist to protect the freedom of the Ledges. Outlines of a few effective strategies exist, and we are very much in need of user support to best carry these out. It is unfortunate that because some of these involve legal action, it is best to not discuss details in a public forum. We have full support from The Naturist Society, Naturist Action Committee, American Association for Nude Recreation, and more. Please learn about , join and donate to these organizations who are providing us with financial and advisory support.
Some may say that we lost too many votes. The fact is that 282 people of Wilmington came to vote in our support, or 3 times the number who usually come to a Town meeting vote on other issues. Much credit for this goes to our strong local supporters who have worked hard in our support. Many more of these people had been positively influenced by getting to know who the Ledges users really were and this was well reflected in comments at last evenings meeting. The FOTL shirts did have a powerful effect and filled in the gap of the unknown that many mistrusted the ugly words of the crusaders and the Selectboard.
Our position so far has been to maintain "the high road" by providing factual information and to remove the many misperceptions about the Ledges by letting the people know who the users really are. We have attempted to avoid the type of ugliness used by our opponents (including selectboard members and the Town manager). Today the kid gloves will come off where appropriate. We have no animosity toward the Voters of Wilmington, who were lied to, confused by a well-funded campaign, and generally misinformed. If we continue with our highly positive activities we are in a much better position to gain needed support from the people. If we force a solution we want to be on the best side of those people. FOTL will continue to seek rational win-win solutions that are in the best interest of the community as well as for the Freedom of the Ledges.
We want to use and protect the Ledges. Experience at other lost beaches indicates that in absence of responsible users, the places go to hell in a handbasket and it is not long before vandalism and lewd behavior prevail. We can't allow this to happen to our paradise, and we can not afford to allow any reality to the ugly myths that have been used in our disfavor. Behavior and harmony at the Ledgers has never been better than during this season and we needn't lose ground.
If our strategies should ever include civil disobedience, these acts should be orchestrated by our highly experienced experts from The Naturist Action Comittee. Such action is most likely not needed, at least for now because we have more effective strategies to follow. Civil disobedience can easily backfire.
Any type of "in-your-face" activity only lends support to the unfair allegations of our opponents and erodes needed local support.
We should all be wearing FOTL shirts and spending time in Wilmington. Those who have done this know the powerful positive effect that the shirts can have. Of course to be most effective one should turn up the charm a bit and try to be in a position to rub elbows with the people. Joanne and I can relate many stories of Friends and supporters that were made by wearing these shirts. If the people had any clue as to who Ledges users really are they would not have been as vulnerable to the myths and lies. Had we made just 4 more friends we would be homefree today. Our loss is every bit our own fault for allowing the "gap" as to who the Ledges users really are.
As angry as we are, it is still in our best interest to treat the neighbors to the Ledges with full respect as well. Those who would like to annoy Mrs. Frost should realize that she is rarely at the lake and that we hold no animosity to her children and neighbors.
Please visit the Friends Of the Ledges website ledges.dimentech.com for resource information. Related links include:
Shirts can be purchased through the on line store (under skinny wear) at http://www.naturistsociety.com and we suggest membership to the same.
Please feel free to correspond to FriendsOfLedges@hotmail.com