Every once in a long while, somebody speaks of real justice in the public arena. That happened yesterday at the meeting of the Mills River Town Board. Fire Chief Rick Livingston, who also serves on the town’s planning board, asked for affordable housing. He was not supplicating for tax-subsidized, plush digs. Rather, he wanted options for people who could not live in the $2 million estates the council members want to zone everybody into – or out of.

The consequences, which are always unintended by anybody who attends only to pressures in the here and now, include firefighters unable to afford to live in the town. Fourteen volunteer firefighters have quit in the last 28 months:

and the reason they all give is they can’t afford to live here. Both of my sons ironically are in this group, and I want to point out all of them have college degrees and they have good jobs. They’re not flunkies.

Livingston further explained, if firefighters continue to move out of the town, response times will go up, and insurance rates will go up for all citizens. If it gets to the point that the town has to pay firefighters, then taxes will have to go up.