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READERS' LETTERS

Preservation Society leadership has abandoned its true mission

For the past many months, I have followed the arguments, letters and legal proceedings for and against building the proposed Breakers welcome center on the immediate grounds of the property. I now understand that the project and its ensuing demolition are close to starting. With the objectivity that distance allows, I can only conclude that by moving forward in this way, the Preservation Society of Newport County has very much strayed from its primary mission to preserve and protect this incredible property.

Dollars are incredibly important to the sustainability of any nonprofit organization. But they should never come at the expense of the organization's primary mission. In this case, isn't that to preserve and protect the integrity of The Breakers and its once-pristine grounds? To borrow a well-worn phrase, they don't make them like that anymore. In this case, literally.

The leadership of the Preservation Society is clearly more vested in defending its entrenched position and prevailing over the opinions of the Vanderbilt family, the Ochre Point neighborhood and the many friends of The Breakers, than in doing what is right for the true preservation of The Breakers.

I had hoped throughout this process that intelligent leadership that was truly respectful of its assigned mission and trusted responsibilities would prevail; that they would act in good faith to take pause, to listen closely to the voices of objection and to seek ways to collaborate on all possible options to meet the same important objectives, but by less objectionable means. Sadly, though, it's very apparent that the leadership of the Preservation Society has stubbornly lost its way. It is soon to broadcast to the world its lack of commitment to real preservation in the most permanent and horrifying manner possible.

I would call on everyone to stop financial support for such an organization.

Douglas A. Zeghibe, Boston

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