Pushed too far, things can break
Dewey Beach’s conflict with Verizon over the placement of wireless communication towers in and near the town’s beach dunes came to a head around the time of the Independence Day holiday. It was more than simple coincidence, with a certain dose of poetic justice.
When the nation’s founders, on July, 4, 1776, signed, sealed and delivered their infamous declaration stating that they weren’t going to take any more, they signaled clearly they had been pushed too far. The differences had reached the breaking point. Irrevocable and irreconcilable.
That event of nearly 250 years ago may seem like an eternity in the past, but in terms of the universal timeline, it is a dot barely separated from the events leading to Verizon’s announcement that it will be removing some of the poles it placed on or near the beach and won’t be placing more new poles in that sensitive area. Based on the way momentum is flowing, it also appears likely that remaining poles placed but still in question will also be removed and relocated.
Verizon realizes now that it pushed too far, regardless of whether confusion at the local governmental level may have given company officials what they thought was a green light for placement of the poles. That green light should have raised a red flag. The company should have known that people want to protect their natural areas – especially their beaches – from blatant intrusion. Instead, the company chose to ignore what was too good to be true and charged through what appeared to be an easy opening.
Now the people, proving once again that they will resist overreach by the powerful, have pushed back. The successful, multilayered effort, not yet over, has taken loud and organized protests by individuals and groups, legislative interference, and a lawsuit to turn the tide.
Individuals and small groups organized around a righteous cause can and do make a difference.