Letters, May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018

Healthy bipartisanship

Tom Seymour’s May 17 column disparaging bipartisanship makes a number of troubling assumptions. His comparison of governing to sports is, perhaps, the most egregious.

Our elected officials take an oath to support the Constitution and serve the public, not to win one for the Gipper. To view governing solely as an arena in which there must be both winners and losers does not reflect any attempt to provide for the common public good, but only to reward winners and punish losers.

This assumption is part and parcel of his argument about party loyalty. That kind of unbending “loyalty” is not something any of us should seek or support. I want elected officials of any political party to put the nation’s best interests above such blind partisan support and I hope others do as well.

He seems to assume, as well, that there are no concerns that Republican and Democratic voters share. What best serves the public are attempts to name those commonly held concerns and work together — and, yes, employ that dreaded term “compromise” — to best address those concerns.

There are plenty of examples of bipartisan efforts that have produced very positive results but, sadly, those have been few and far between in the last decade. Heaven forbid that some Republicans and Democrats get together to forge a health program that works better for most if not all Americans and a comprehensive immigration policy that not only protects our security but is fair, just, compassionate and reflective of our history of welcoming the stranger.

Although I am a registered Democrat, I have voted for Susan Collins in the past precisely because she has, on occasion, seemed to put her constituents’ welfare above political party concerns.

Tom’s argument that a person elected representing one party can only properly serve constituents by hewing strictly to the party line ignores that fact that the elected officials’ constituents include persons from both or several parties with a variety of views and needs. Taken to extremes, his position would suggest a Republican candidate should try to help a constituent with problems — such as helping a veteran get deserved benefits — only if that constituent is a Republican.

Healthy bipartisanship does not require surrender of principles. But it does require putting the welfare of the nation ahead of purely partisan interests.

Denise Goodman

Searsport

Bridgegate?

Could the increase of Islesboro's ferry ticket prices be Gov. LePage's "Bridgegate"? Don't be too quick to scarf at such a notion. Let's not forget Chris Christie and LePage are cut from the same cloth.

Remember how Islesboro was so influential in the fight to preserve its neighboring Sears Island, putting the kibosh to the governor's plan for big development in the Penobscot Bay? When the projected budget shortfall for the ferry service landed on the DOT's desk, I can just imagine him saying, "Let's put it to those rich/smug islanders." Too petty for this governor? I think not.

A few facts: This ticket proposal was never mentioned in any of the DOT's public hearings. What was mentioned was the fact that the increase would be implemented in March. Instead it was thrust upon us inconveniently on the last day of the legislative session in late April. Perhaps so that we wouldn't have a voice in Augusta?

Just the other day, after tough talk from our attorneys about the DOT's improper rule- making procedures, Jim Billing, counsel for DOT, called North Haven to tell them there would be a delay in the fare increase. It got posted on their website and this island was ecstatic over this development.

But, wait, a new letter was sent by Mr. Billings to us whining islanders that the fare increase would take place on schedule.

All very shady to me. I smell fish! How about a loud S.O.S. to Attorney General Janet Mills?

William Boardman

Islesboro

Contractual deficiencies

Many of us who have attended the various Nordic Aquafarms Inc. informational sessions and City Council meetings in Belfast have come to the realization that despite public requests for a slower and more considered process for evaluation and approval of this project, it is likely, unless a major deficiency is identified during the various town, state and federal regulatory reviews, that for better (we hope) or worse (our councilors — and thereby, our own — buyer's remorse), the fish farm is likely to be built.

Having no expertise in any aspect of land-based aquaculture, I have decided to continue to listen to others more knowledgeable before coming to any opinion about the merits of the Nordic Aquaculture project.

What is clear to me, however, from my reading of the contract between the city of Belfast, the Belfast Water District and Nordic Aquafarms is that, in the rush to sign the contract prior to any public review and input, there was insufficient consideration of important public interests. There are at least three shortsighted omissions:

First, there is nothing in the contract that even mentions, much less guarantees, a public right of way from U.S. Route 1 to the nature trail along the northern shore of the Little River and its lower reservoirs.

Second, ignoring the fact that no business lasts forever, there is nothing in the contract that restricts the property from someday being sold to another private entity that might turn out to be much less accommodating to the public than Nordic Aquafarms purports to be.

Third, as there appears to be no reasonable alternative use for the planned buildings other than that of a fish farm, there is no provision in the contract to try to avoid problems like those experienced with the closure of the former downtown poultry plants (especially since there is no assurance of another MBNA-like rescue).

That being the case, we must implore the City Council address these contractual deficiencies, and sooner rather than later:

First, a permanent public right of way should be memorialized in a signed legal document.

Second, the city should obtain a right of first refusal and/or requirement for approval for any future sale or use of the property.

Third, the city should require Nordic Aquafarms to establish a fund for the eventual removal of any no longer useful buildings as well as restoration of the land back to a green space or otherwise suitable use.

If the aquafarm project is successful and lasts the 30 years predicted by its proponents, many of us will not be the beneficiaries of some so far delayed foresight and action, but our children and grandchildren will be. It is the least we can do.

Sid Block

Northport

Tireless advocacy in Augusta

I was so pleased to see Jan Dodge is running for the Legislature in Belfast/Northport/Waldo. Jan is the perfect person to represent Belfast/Northport/Waldo in Augusta.

She grew up in Belfast and completed a successful career of educational leadership in Down East Maine. Jan knows firsthand the problems confronting Maine citizens in jobs, health care, education and taxes. She not only talks the talk but she has truly walked the walk throughout her career.

Jan has amazing energy and commitment. She has been active in providing leadership to the community and tireless advocacy in Augusta for improved jobs, health care and lower taxes.

Electing Jan Dodge in the June primary will be a positive step forward for Belfast/Northport/Waldo and Maine.

Michael Towey

Belfast City Councilor (former)

Belfast

Works with others

I am writing to support Caitlin Hills as my new house representative for District 97.

I have seen Caitlin listen to a wide variety of viewpoints and move groups toward action, most notably on the school board. She is professional, smart, and competent.

Caitlin works with others to get things done. Ultimately, this is what we need in Augusta — people who can consolidate viewpoints and rally others to find the best path forward.

I hope my community will vote for Caitlin Hills in the June 12 primary and then vote again to help her win in November.

Chris Bitely

Belfast

No Hills for House

We use the word “temperament” a lot these days in our political discourse. I feel the temperament of a leader is just as important as their drive, ambition and positions on issues.

With that in mind, I would like to share a personal experience that I had with Caitlin Hills in her capacity as a Regional School Unit 71 board member. (By the way, I heartily endorsed her for that position.) The encounter happened in a group message on social media, and was witnessed by two other board members and my husband.

My son has a peanut allergy. Ingestion of peanuts or peanut oil could kill him. On an eighth-grade school trip, the entire class was fed peanut butter and crackers and then put together on the school bus to return to school. This was a dangerous situation for my son.

When I found out, I reported this incident to three board members, understanding that mistakes happen. I reported the incident respectfully, and let them know my son was OK.

I was shocked when Caitlin asked me why I felt my son deserved special treatment. She asked if the school should make special arrangements for her son, who is a vegetarian. And she said, "you know, your son needs to learn how to live in the real world and protect himself.”

My son would never choose to sit or ride a bus with 85 peanut-eating kids. He was not in a position to make that choice for himself. The conversation only got worse from there.

The other two board members handled my concerns respectfully and offered to take appropriate measures. One other member had a son on the trip who realized the danger and acted to protect my son.

Caitlin, however, offered no apologies or solutions. In fact, I felt as if she was trying to bully me into believing the problem was somehow my or my son’s fault. That day, I realized that Caitlin does not represent every child. She did not represent mine.

Temperament matters. I believe this incident was more than a lapse in judgment; it was intimidating and antagonistic behavior. Caitlin dismissed the needs of a child — my child. Nothing is more important to me than my children.

And so I am endorsing Jan Dodge for House District 97. I believe she has the right temperament for the job. As well, I like what she stands for. She devotes time and energy to Maine AllCare, a cause I wholeheartedly support. She is a former teacher who cares deeply about education and the environment. Moreover, she always treats people with kindness and respect.

Courtney Sanders

Belfast

An example of community service

I enthusiastically support Jan Dodge as a worthy candidate for the House District 97 seat in the Maine Legislature. She is a bright, energetic and capable leader who will effectively represent her constituents while lending her considerable experience and wisdom to the role.

I served alongside Jan for five years while I was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Belfast. She was an active and contributing member and leader in the congregation. Her leadership was in worship music, financial management, and volunteer leadership recruitment.

Jan was also a voice and an example of community service and leadership in her volunteer work with Maine Education Association, both locally and on the state level, as well as an advocate for senior safety with the Waldo County TRIAD board.

The Rev. Alan L. Shumway

Canadensis, Pa.

An unshakeable Democrat

Caitlin Hills is running to serve District 97, which has been ably held by Belfast’s own Erin Herbig. This is a primary race and Caitlin must win it on June 12. I am supporting Caitlin in this race and I hope you will join me.

Here’s why I am a supporter. She has been a lifelong and unshakeable Democrat who has worked hard for years to deserve this nomination.

Caitlin has been active as a school board member and now chairs the Regional School Unit 71 board. Her leadership has resulted in expanded services and facilities while keeping a tight budget. Her major concerns are school funding and revenue sharing for towns: Both of these have been deeply cut over the years and need to be restored.

Affordable housing and health care will be a priority. Above all, Caitlin knows the community: Belfast, Northport and Waldo. We need a fighter to replace Erin Herbig. This coming year will define Maine for many years to come.

We need a thoughtful and knowledgeable committed Democrat representative who knows the issues and is ready to go to work. That woman is Caitlin Hills. Please join me in voting for Catlin Hills for the House.

Mike Hurley

Belfast

A servant leader's heart

It is with great pleasure that I endorse Jayne Giles for the Maine Senate.

I was honored to work for Jayne for seven years, and I witnessed many times over during those years when she was our MaineStream Finance CEO that she has a servant leader's heart, and that she leads by example.

She has helped many Maine small businesses get their start, grow, and employ countless individuals. She cares deeply about people, and as a senator she will make decisions based on compassion, fact, and common sense.

Having served two terms in the House, she worked hard to bring legislators together to get important things done, which is not only possible, but she proved it time and again!

I nominated her for the U.S. Small Business Administration Financial Services Champion for Maine and New England. They are very well deserved awards, that I can still see her humbly accepting at the SBA awards ceremony.

For my friends and family in Waldo County, if you have not had the pleasure of meeting Jayne in person, I would be happy to make that introduction.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Dana Ward

Hometown: Belfast

Current residency: Biddeford

A hard worker

Erin Herbig is exactly the kind of person that we should have representing us in the crazy realm of politics. She has proven to be such a hard worker and to keep the needs of her constituents front and center.

I love that she actually grew up in Belfast and after going away to college chose to return here. She wants to make that an easier reality for those who follow her by creating a stronger economy and new job growth as well as better training for the young people who wish to stay or come to Waldo County.

Erin puts a great deal of effort into talking to the folks she represents. She does not have a personal agenda and certainly hasn't exhibited any desires to make money or a big name for herself in her style of representation ... a very refreshing thought in the political world we find ourselves in currently.

She doesn’t get involved in the infighting of the political extremes, but rather seeks to collaborate and work toward equity for all. She has proven that she will stand up for people who are struggling to make it.

I know Erin will always listen to the people who elected her and try her best to keep their interests first and foremost in the workings of the government of Maine. Her experience and time in the House make her the best candidate to represent Waldo County in the Maine Senate.

Johanna Strassberg

Northport

Early education a priority

As an early childhood educator and mother of a 3-year-old child, it is important to me that we have a powerful advocate for accessible education for our youngest residents and to support our young and working families. I believe that Jayne Crosby Giles is that person for Waldo County.

Options for quality care and schooling for children under 3 are extremely limited in Waldo County — at our school, we get inquiries from new families daily — and making early education available to children in our community is a high priority for Jayne.

As the CEO of MaineStream Finance, she and her team offered business education and support to individuals looking to start home-based preschool programs in rural communities throughout the state where such programming was limited. Jayne currently works with Broadreach Family & Community Services, assisting them with finding resources to support their education and early intervention programs.

Jayne will be a strong voice in the Maine Senate for families and will find solutions that will allow working families the access to quality early childhood education in this county without adding to the already heavy burden on the taxpayers of Maine.

As a parent and educator, I urge you to join me in supporting Jayne Crosby Giles to be our next state senator.

Mallory Banks Harnden

Belfast

Knows Waldo County needs

“I’m with Jayne” Crosby Giles for Maine House of Representatives. Jayne comes from a family that gives back to the community. She served us well as a representative from 2006 to 2010, using her vast knowledge of how government works, how business works, and with an attitude of enriching the lives of all Waldo County people.

Her life experience as a banker serving low-income families has given her a perspective of the needs of Waldo citizens that will enable her to bring a working knowledge of those needs to the table when laws are being made in Augusta.

For the several years I have known Jayne, she has proven to be a loyal, trustworthy and hard-working person who listens and pays attention to detail — all attributes that help a legislator be effective.

Jayne will do us proud as our representative. Please do vote for her!

You can learn more at jayneformaine.com.

JoAn Petersen

Swanville

Connects with diverse groups

I am supporting Erin Herbig for state senator. In a time of polarized politics, Erin stands for bipartisanship, understands the economic needs of our community, and is an intelligent, effective legislator.

I have been particularly impressed with her ability to connect with diverse groups of constituents in my community. Erin is a trailblazing working mom who understands what women like myself face, working and raising kids, sometimes on a single income. She also easily connects with my college-age sons who are concerned about expanding the economic opportunities in Maine.

I have spent my working life as a teacher, and I want to see a thriving community with students who have health care, fair educational funding, a clean environment, enough to eat, and parents with jobs. Erin Herbig's vision and proven capabilities are what we need in Maine's Senate.

Martha Conway-Cole

Belfast

Important for environment

One of the most important qualities for me in a candidate for public office is their belief in the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.

Lucas St. Clair not only believes in this importance, but he has worked tirelessly to have the federal government accept the thousands of acres his family donated to establish the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Although he was met with doubts and hostilities from residents and others, he persevered.

Because of the Trump administration's rolling back the status of many monuments, opening them up to fossil fuel and other destructive industries for development, the KW&WNM could still be at risk.

So far, many residents and small businesses in the area are experiencing some economic benefits from the monument. Thousands of visitors are rating their experiences exploring the monument as exceptional.

We need people like Lucas St. Clair as our representative in the House of Representatives because he is a leader who truly cares about the environment. He will work to bring politicians together for this cause.

We need his expertise and understanding of the issues because the Trump administration and people like Scott Pruitt, director of the Environmental Protection Agency, have caused great harm and will continue to cause great harm to the health of our environment and the health of all species on this planet.

If the environment is important to you, as it is to me, vote for Lucas St. Clair as your first choice in the primary on June 12.

Phyllis Coelho

Belfast

Olson for Congress

I am writing in support of Craig Olson's candidacy for representative of Maine's 2nd Congressional District.

Craig's grassroots experience of what makes good government effective, his understanding of the needs and concerns of his constituents, his thoughtfulness, his willingness to listen, and his practical approach to getting things done will make him a great representative for Maine.

He is the kind of person we need to see more of in government.

Carlisle Knowlton Rex-Waller

Islesboro

Smart, serious and dedicated

Craig Olson should be elected to serve as representative for Maine’s 2nd District. He has served as a selectman, run a small business, and raised a fine family. He is smart, serious, and dedicated to public service. He deserves support.

Lawrence Hobart

Islesboro

Effective in finding solutions

This letter is in support of Craig Olson and his candidacy for representative of Maine's 2nd District. Craig is the strongest candidate running in the Democratic primary on June 12 with the best chance of defeating the Republican incumbent in the November election.

Craig’s story is becoming familiar to Maine 2nd District voters — he grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin and is no stranger to hard physical labor. After college he worked in the public and private sectors.

Craig and his wife Melissa chose Islesboro, Maine, as the place to start a business and raise a family — 17 years ago. On Islesboro, Craig has served in many capacities in the community, including chairman of Islesboro’s Board of Selectmen. I’m proud to say that Craig has won the deep respect of our island community.

There is a great deal at stake. The governance of our country is in great turmoil. Our major political parties are at each other’s throats and very little gets done. Many voters have turned away from the electoral process and simply do not vote.

But the truth is that our only hope for change is for citizens to engage with the electoral process and vote for candidates who will work honestly on behalf of all citizens to help govern our country.

Craig Olson is the most qualified candidate for Maine’s 2nd District, with our best hope of bringing civility and progress to government.

One of Craig’s central issues is health care.  He has a deep personal understanding of the inadequacy of America’s health care system and will work toward a way to provide affordable and accessible health care for all Americans.

I’ve known Craig Olson for many years and have watched him and his family grow and contribute to life on Islesboro. He is well-educated, very bright, and highly motivated to work in the public interest. He is most effective when working with others to find practical solutions to problems, and if given the chance, Craig will serve Maine’s 2nd District with great distinction.

Ken Senior

Islesboro

Common sense plus humility

Craig Olson of Islesboro is running for Congress in Maine’s District 2. Perhaps you have seen his yard signs that say “Craig Olson for Me2.” Well, Craig is for me, too, and here is why.

Craig is one of the most decent people I have ever known: a straight-shooting, rational, clear-thinking, good human being. It would be refreshing to have in Washington someone who is more interested in other people’s needs than in his own ego, who wants to bring to the fore issues, not causes, and solutions, not panderings. I saw this in action here when we served together on the island’s Board of Selectmen.

Since he, his wife Melissa and three daughters moved to our community, it has been my joy to know them and watch how they live their lives, because I don’t always believe what people say, but I do believe what people do, and in Craig those are the same thing.

Anyone in our community who can run a rare book business and work full-time at the transfer station is exactly the kind of plain-spoken, practical-living person we find all over Maine and who would reliably represent us in Washington with common sense and a dose of humility.

And Craig, like most of us, is someone unlike the incumbent, with no claim to great wealth. Financially similar most of us, he transparent in fundraising for this campaign.

Just one example of Craig’s thinking: He believes that anyone in Congress ought to be obliged to acquire the health insurance plan available in their own home territories instead of the gold-plated plan now available to elected officials. What a revealing experience it would be, were those who make laws about these things have to live with the consequences of those laws.

It is time for Mr. Poliquin to retire. Please join me in voting for Craig Olson.

Sandy Oliver

Selectman

Islesboro

Considers all points of view

Gubernatorial candidate Garrett Mason is a Mainer who will do other Mainers proud. In his private and public statements, it is obvious he loves being from rural Maine. He wants to keep it a place of "honor boxes" and "a place where you can leave your house door unlocked and expect all your stuff to be there when you come back."

He gets it; I know many of us around Waldo County know exactly what he is talking about and love living in a place where that is proudly our lifestyle.

Besides this essential outlook, he is a master of legislative procedure and policy, and makes it a point to consider points of view from all political persuasions — a vital trait for a chief executive.

If you are a registered Republican, please join me on June 12 in voting for him as the Republican Party's candidate for governor.

Tyler Hadyniak

Freedom

 

 

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