Lawsuit is ‘insane’

It has come to my attention and that of most of the rest of the city that some longtime, hardworking contributing citizens of the city of Belfast are being sued for some insane, trumped-up reason they claim to know nothing about.

I know most of these folks. They know one another, but not particularly well. What I know about them as that they are real contributors to the city of Belfast. They have or do currently serve as councilors, school board members, kid’s sports coaches and volunteers in arts organizations.

I know nothing about those who are suing. I live just down the street from them and travel by their house at least once a day. I have never seen a single soul outside that house with the exception of workmen. I have never known the inhabitants to in any way be involved with the city.

As this is a “harassment suit” I researched the definition of harassment in several sources. All agree that to qualify as harassment it has to be systematic and intentional, over a period of time, a series of acts causing undue pressure.

Example: If one or more people threw eggs at your house over several days, that would be harassment and it would be illegal.

If these same people threw eggs at your house one day, that would be vandalism and be illegal.

If these people threatened to throw eggs at your house it would be annoying but not illegal.

And if one accuses these people of doing any of the above yet they know full well that such folks never threw eggs, threated to throw eggs or even had any danged eggs, that would be a LIE on the litigants part and THAT would be illegal.

I would hope, and I expect the vast majority of fair thinking people would wish that the judge throw this suit out of court, that the people financially and emotionally affected would have money restored to them from the litigants and that these good people can get back to their families, jobs, and continue to serve the town as they always have. The others will hopefully return to the oblivion from which they came.

Aynne Ames

Belfast

Kindness appreciated

This past Monday our family had a burial service for my mother, Edna Tweedie Billington. It was at the Sayward Cemetery in Thorndike.

The GPS took us on Abbott Road to get there. Halfway across, the thing announced we were there.

We were not.

Turning back to go another way, we ran into a friend of our family, Diane Field, out of the blue. She and her husband have a cottage in Brooks. She gathered us up and showed us the way.

It was so nice to see her. Her kindness to show up like that was so sweet and appreciated.

Joanne and Glenn Billington

Rockland

Supports consumer-owned utility

I strongly support a consumer-owned utility in Maine. Municipal power in many cities, and state-owned power in Nebraska, have worked well in providing cheaper electricity and better service.

When our Legislature passes the bill, LF 1708, to put this possibility before the voters, I hope we will overwhelmingly support it.

David Grinstein

Searsport

Ordinances no simple matter

It is with reverence for the process of town meeting and respect for my community that I want to explain concerns over passing Article 10 of the 2021 Montville Town Warrant regarding the “approval” of Montville’s Emergency Management Ordinance.

The proposed ordinance, which was never previously heard in public, was presented in part on pages 59 and 60 of the Town Report. An advocate for the article spoke on the floor, and said he was looking for a simple wording change — to convert the town’s existing emergency management “plan” to “ordinance” so grant money could be obtained.

When we create ordinances we typically exchange some aspect of our long-term freedom of self-governance and self-moderation. There is a process in place to ensure that the purview of the ordinance and the roles of governing authorities are clearly defined, and the costs, impacts and processes of implementation are considered and scrutinized by the community. There are often inherent provisions in the ordinance for conflict resolution should someone challenge what they believe to be unfair implementation.

It’s disturbing to me that the proposed ordinance references a “Hazard Risk and Vulnerability Assessment,” and a “Montville Emergency Operations Plan” that can be updated and maintained by the emergency management director. This is hard to accept because local ordinances typically are the document, they don’t reference documents that can be amended outside the view, oversight and review of the legislative body (the townspeople.) In the past in Montville, the implementation and revision processes for ordinances have been presented systematically through a series of public hearings that allowed for public consideration, review, amendment and, finally, approval at town meeting.

The proposed ordinance states that the emergency management director, an appointed, not elected position, will be responsible for performing disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, and “establishes the National Incident Management System as the municipal standard for incident management.”

The words “mitigation” and “incident” are very compelling to me. It would only be appropriate to define the specific extent to which an EMD may mitigate. Is their power in allocating grant or public funding and resources? What about private resources or those of individuals or families? Can they reallocate or confiscate those during a mitigation? That idea might sound ludicrous in this peaceful moment, but if it’s not clearly defined, who is to say what happens when an unfortunate event strikes?

And what defines what kind of “incident” needs managing? Could it be anything from a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion to a natural disaster due to weather? Whatever it is, it must be clearly defined by the community the ordinance is impacting.

There’s nothing wrong with having plans in place for when difficulties strike. When it comes to an ordinance, though, we are creating enforceable law. It’s only respectful (and legal) to have a proposed ordinance heard through due process which allows time, reflection and representation by and for the community.

Any ordinance should represent the concerns, values, ideals and needs of townspeople. It’s never as simple as just changing a word.

Diana George Chapin

Montville