Protest vote

Searsport held its annual town meeting March 5. I would like to clarify the so-called controversy at the meeting concerning Article 19. The article asked the voters to change the terminology in the Planning Board Ordinance from “Board of Selectmen” to “Select Board.” This change was mandated by the state of Maine. The term “selectman” has been in use in New England for over 300 years and in Searsport since 1845.

I have lived in Searsport for many years and we have had female selectmen, a woman town manager and mostly women town clerks. The vote for me was a matter of tradition and home rule. Some towns, such as Stockton Springs voted to change the title to selectperson several years ago. The decision should be left to the voters of each town and not dictated by the state.

I am very proud to be an elected selectman and to serve the citizens of Searsport, as have many men and women before me for the last 177 years. Our Select Board works together like an extended family. The motion passed on the floor on a split vote and my vote was a protest vote against the state for removing our home rule.

Mark Bradstreet

Searsport

Can’t afford to lose farms to PFAS contamination

I live in Waldo County, whose proud agricultural heritage has seen a resurgence of diversified farms over the last 20 years that has significantly contributed to the local economy with producers, distributors and value-added products. Since the beginning of this year, Waldo County has also seen the growing list of farms impacted by PFAS contamination, a legacy of state-approved sludge spreading in the ’80s and ’90s. The Legislature is considering several bills to address this tidal wave of immediate and long-term impacts to our farms, agricultural economy and confidence in building a healthy and sustainable food system for all.

LD 2013 will establish a fund to address PFAS contamination. Many are familiar with the heart-wrenching stories of farmers whose lands are impacted by PFAS contamination through no fault of their own. The contamination has forced these farms to cease production and sale of their products. At a time of year that is usually filled with possibility, affected farmers are now facing the terror of losing not only their livelihoods, but their health.

We are at the tip of the iceberg in fully comprehending the economic, social and health impacts of this crisis.  LD2013 is an absolutely critical first step to address the immediate financial impacts of this crisis for affected farms, families and communities. Please contact the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee and your legislators to voice your support for LD 2013 and related PFAS bills.

Lissa Widoff

Freedom

Maine needs publicly owned power

As an electricity ratepayer, and a home and business owner, I strongly oppose the utility-appeasing and limp provisions in Maine Senate bill, LD 1959.  LD 1959 harms Mainers, the captive customers of Central Maine Power and Versant Power.

LD 1959 fails to hold these foreign-owned energy utilities accountable and does nothing to ensure affordable rates and clean energy for Maine. CMP is an embarrassment and hurts Mainers with high, ever-escalating costs and the lowest customer satisfaction of any U.S. utility (annual J.D. Powers Survey) for four straight years. Maine ranks 50th out of the 50 states and D.C., virtually the lowest, in utility performance and reliability, according to the national analysis by the Wisconsin Citizen Utility Board.

LD 1959 is an inadequate, weak and deeply flawed bill. Instead, Gov. Mills and the Legislature should expeditiously transform CMP and Versant into a public power entity, controlled by a popularly elected board of directors.

Having spent my entire career (50-plus years) in the energy policy sector at the national, state and local levels, I believe the only way to truly alter the dismal trajectory of Maine’s utilities’ poor performance, reliability and environmental and climate record is to buy out CMP and Versant and create a customer-owned power system that serves the people, businesses and environment of our great state.  Our state motto, “dirigo,” means “I lead.”  The Maine Legislature and Gov. Mills must lead us in the right direction by dismissing LD 1959 and making “people power” the law of the land.

Scott Denman

Belmont