Letters, Sept. 12, 2019

Sep 12, 2019

Fuller for City Council

It is with excitement that I’m announcing my candidacy for Belfast City Council from Ward 3.

I’m excited because community building is in my blood, and the City Council should be a key partner in building community, especially during these times. True community-building depends on listening to the voices, and incorporating the needs of a diverse population: from youth, seniors, and working families, to the economically advantaged and un(der)-employed.

Community-building also considers the natural resources on which we and future generations depend. Among the many issues we face, the climate crisis comes first and will require the most cohesive community response, as our goal must be transformative: energy independence by 2030.

This will require developing resiliency, including transportation, secure food systems, renewable energy, and building efficiency. Successful resiliency will extend to all edges of our community, including the most vulnerable among us.

I’m grateful for the leadership our city government has undertaken in these areas, and I look forward to furthering the effort through community involvement and new ideas, such as asking that our council consider the carbon footprint of every proposal under consideration.

We all love Belfast for its quirky vibrancy. But our charm both increases pressure for growth and presents a struggle for families who live in increasingly unaffordable homes. I believe that achieving a stable and prosperous community will require a citywide plan for local economic development based on local ownership. Other critical ingredients will include affordable housing, good jobs, cutting-edge broadband, and relentlessly advocating for quality health care for all.

This will also help to attract young families, as well as bring our grown children home. We need to come to grips with these economic challenges and work together to develop a homespun plan so that we are not at the mercy of outside developers. I suggest resurrecting the economic development committee to assist city staff.

Meeting these challenges requires deepening our democratic processes and engagement. We need to make more consistent opportunities to truly engage in discussion and planning with our city councilors. This is collaboration. This is community-building, where a variety of often-divergent ideas are welcomed and respected. As city councilor, transparency will be a key value of mine. In terms of civic engagement, I’m deeply inspired by the volunteer commitment in Belfast, yet many needs remain unmet. I believe that City Hall could be the logical hub to post opportunities, coordinate volunteers, and identify unmet needs.

My interest in community-building comes from my life-long career as a social worker — a clinician, organizer and project-administrator working in schools, homes and agencies with children, adults and families. With good reason, business backgrounds are well-represented on our council, but I believe a social worker’s perspective — grounded in human relationships and community — is just as important. That is why, with excitement, I am running for City Council.

Ridgely Fuller

Ridgely4Belfast@gmail.com

Belfast

Rube Goldberg’s presidency

When we think of elective office, we understand that the man or woman who achieves the most votes brandishes the prize. In a slight misapplication of Occam’s razor, the simplest procedure is the best procedure. My Maine town’s apparat, exclusive of appointees, gets voted into office. Similarly uncomplicated methods of selection apply to state governors and the United States Congress.

In the main we operate under what we like to call a democracy, a term based on the Greek root demos, roughly synonymous with hoi polloi, the common people, or dismissively, the mob. Governance by and for the people. At least we like to think so. Returning to my dreamland, the hoi polloi make well-informed choices, up to and including their big kahuna’s selection. The contender who achieves the most votes wins. Simple and expeditious, Occam’s razor shaving away.

Here in the realm of wakey-wakey, our Founding Fathers were demonstrably less confident in the hoi polloi’s wisdom ― their ability to make intelligent choices. We speak of white men and the presidency, which is to say, the presidency exclusively. Women need not apply, at least not yet. Actually, we speak of white men of property and means, which of course implies probity. The ignorant, intemperate (and impecunious) mob is not to be trusted with so serious a responsibility. It’s inadequately informed and given to impulse. Mind, this is an opinion piece. Nothing so stated appears in the Constitution or its amendments.

And that, as I and others like to think, is one reason for the Electoral College’s existence, at least at its inception. Another involves slavery. States with large slave populations held out for greater electoral representation than their white numbers would allow. The compromise? Slaves are two-fifths less human than whites and are to be counted as so. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck but isn’t white, it’s not quite a duck.

The topic is vast and researchable, and I can be taken to task for whatever I’ve so far said. But one aspect of the Electoral College’s recent machinations is incontrovertible: it installed two presidents, the first of whom lost the popular vote by a plump hair (Gore achieved 540,000 more votes than Bush), the other by a country mile (Clinton achieved just under three million more votes than Trump).

And now we ponder the Electoral College’s choices: George W. Bush engaged the nation in a war of aggression, the justification of which turns out to have been baloney and, in the long run, disastrous. Similarly, Donald Trump’s merry adventures have yet to play out. Ignorance and ineptitude in the stultifying embrace of a narcissistic personality disorder rarely produce desirable outcomes. But again, I’m expressing one man’s opinion.

One person, one vote ― representative democracy at its simplest and best. Largely conservative objections to the Electoral College’s dismissal center ­― again! ― on proportionality. Were it not for the Electoral College’s thumb on the scale, large population (read: Democratic) centers would receive the bulk, if not the entirety, of presidential attentions, during and after campaigns.

But really, don’t sparsely populated states already exert untoward influence on national affairs by way of two senators? California gets two, North Dakota, the same. I bet there are counties in California with populations greater than that of North Dakota. The Upper House anomaly will persist in perpetuity. But need we retain so absurd a blunder as our clearly dangerous Electoral College?

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) had this to say about his place in the Pantheon: “The younger generation know my name in a vague way and connect it with grotesque inventions, but don’t believe that I existed as a person.” The bizarrely convoluted contraptions old Rube imagined are all in good fun. The Electoral College in its likely permanence is a grim reminder of the arteriosclerosis afflicting Washington.

Mike Silverton

Belfast

A new home

The Belfast Senior Center, a popular meeting place for area senior citizens, is excited to announce it has moved to a new location at the Belfast Boathouse on Commercial Street. The Boathouse has a welcoming design flow that meets the needs of the center and is located in Steamboat Landing Park, which provides outdoor waterfront seating areas and walkways.

The Belfast Senior Organization is grateful to the city for use of this wonderful  facility.

The Belfast Senior Center is a one-day-a-week pop-in center opened on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come when you can and leave when you wish. Admission is free and complimentary coffee, tea and light snacks are available. Bring a bag lunch and enjoy eating and conversing with others.

All we really need is you if you are a mature senior age 60-plus! Not a senior but know of a family member, neighbor or friend that is, please let them know about the center. No reservations are necessary.

Conversation, bridge, cribbage, Rummikub, and additional games and puzzles dominate the activities, along with occasional speakers, movies and outings. Attendees have volunteered for community events, including responses to Santa letters, wreath-decorating, city activities and upcoming BikeMaine. The Senior Center’s goal is to provide a vibrant hub for seniors to gather. We offer activities that are healthy, exciting and social. Come and share your ideas.

During this time of change, we would like to reach out to the community seeking individuals willing to share their talents, skills and interests that would enhance the center’s programs.

Some things we have done and are doing: We have learned or attempted line dancing; we’ve taken trips, including tours of the Front Street Shipyard, the American Cruise Line’s Independence, Conway House in Camden, an archaeological dig in Rockport; produce from the Reentry Farm is made available in season; and Terri Fuller CPCN, RN, provides her Heavenly Feet Company services at the center one day a month, by appointment, and seniors pay her directly for her service.

The Belfast Senior Organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

If you would like to be included on our email list, please email your name, phone number and email address to BelfastSenior@gmail.com.

Gloria Guyette

Belfast Senior Center

Thanks for the memories

Dear friends and theater lovers,

It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement as artistic director for Cold Comfort Theater (and several other companies along the way) after 50 years. Yes, that's 50! Mixed only because although it is time, I also wish I had the energy and longevity to do another 50.

Starting in Castine as a community theater, Cold Comfort quickly evolved into a summer stock company, bringing in young, trained pre-professionals and professionals who were thrilled to have an internship experience playing major roles on the Maine Coast in July. We lived at Maine Maritime Academy and performed five productions per summer as well as having a two-week live-in camp for youngsters. Along with bringing in interns, we had many local actors who performed in one or more productions.

After 20 years, when I left the area and taught theater in several states and countries, I came back to this area and accepted a position as artistic director with the original Belfast Maskers. With Lilias and David Outerbridge and Jerry and Gail Savitz overseeing the company, it was a wonderful experience that lasted for nearly 12 years. They were a supportive, active, committed board and it was a delight to work for and with them.

When they stepped away, I started up Cold Comfort again and have been very pleased with the people we have brought into the company, which heightened the quality of our productions recognized with several Best of the Best awards.

I will continue to do theater from time to time and am always available to serve Cold Comfort when and how I can, but this old gal has had it with running the day-to-day life of a theater company.

Maggie Goscinski is now president of the company board and you can reach her via the same email as always. Please check out coldcomfortheater.com to see what will be coming up for the remainder of this year and next season, as well. I know Maggie welcomes your input and support.

Also coming soon will be a website submission called "Where are they now?" You will be surprised and delighted to see what well-known professional actors, artists and technicians have come through this little company.

I say "I" many times here and it is true that it takes a catalyst and a high-energy personality and drive to start things, but those one or two people can't make it work. It is the whole, the team, the personalities, that are the spine of any company.

Many, many thanks to the wide array of folks who have performed in our productions, directed, choreographed, vocally directed, accompanied, built sets, hung banners, painted, done graphics, taken photographs, designed costumes and makeup, hauled and fetched over these 50 years.

And of course, we send great thanks to those who have supported us financially all these many years.

The white bench and I say "thanks for the memories."

Aynne Ames

Belfast

Recycling event

Please join the Belfast Rotary Club on Saturday, Sept. 28, for a recycling event. Take advantage of this free service to dispose of documents that identity thieves regularly use to commit fraud, including old bills, receipts, junk mail, account statements, and unused pre-approved offers of credit. As many as 9 million Americans have their identity stolen every year and shredding documents helps prevent thieves from accessing personal information.

In addition, we will be collecting unwanted electronic waste (e-waste) items. Most all electronics accepted. Please view our website for details. Obsolete TVs and computer components are the most common items to be recycled.

The Waldo County Sheriff’s Office will also be onsite collecting all unwanted medications.

The Rotary Club recycling event is being held to benefit one or more of our charitable programs. Donations will be requested.

Please bring your outdated documents, e-waste and unwanted medications to the Belfast Public Work’s Department parking lot (115 Congress St.). This drop-off location will have a shred truck onsite to securely shred all of your documents while you watch. After being shredded, all paper materials will be 100% recycled.

This event is open to the public. Shredding services will be provided by Records Management Center of Bangor. E-waste collection will be provided by Electronics End LLC of Brewer.

Please Note: All residents and local business are welcome. Large loads (10-plus boxes of paper or 10-plus e-waste components) require prior approval of the Belfast Rotary Club. No need to remove staples, paperclips or binder clips.

For more information, please call Doug Smith at 338-3704 or view our website at belfastrotary.org. The event will start at 9 a.m. and conclude at 1 p.m.

Doug Smith

Belfast

 

Comments (3)
Posted by: Kevin Riley | Sep 12, 2019 08:22

Well Eric, you do know that there are organizations pushing for an Article 5 constitutional convention only need 6 more states. You do know how those organizations are, right?

The constitution can also be amended by the 2/3rds legislative/37 state process which is also in Article 5.

The former is dangerous as you have pointed out and the latter being far more deliberative.



Posted by: Eric Schrader | Sep 12, 2019 04:48

Well Ridgely, you state that " Among the many issues we face, the climate crisis comes first and will require the most cohesive community response, as our goal must be transformative: energy independence by 2030".

Our Country is now a net exporter of energy thanks to the incredible technology in the oil and gas industry, which includes fracking. Fracking produces incredible amounts of clean burning natural gas that significantly reduces emissions and provide clean energy to fuel our economy. Your statement sounds suspiciously like "The Green New Deal". In the overall scheme of things for the City of Belfast, the climate "crisis" is way down the list of things that the City needs to focus on. We have a "chicken and the egg" situation. What comes first? Affordable rental and for sale housing, expanded shopping options, better schools to attractive outside businesses to consider locating or relocated existing businesses to Belfast OR new business come here first and hope the other things mentioned above follow. The 2nd scenario isn't going to happen.

You state that "We need to come to grips with these economic challenges and work together to develop a homespun plan so that we are not at the mercy of outside developers". What wrong with "outside developers"? And we are at the mercy of them? What does that mean? The so-called outside developer, say Tractor Supply, bring capital into the community in the form of a brand new store with local employment opportunities and expanded choice of products at competitive prices. I don't see what is wrong with that. If you are referring to Nordic AquaFarms as an "outside developer", look no further than what happened to Ellie Daniels, Joanne Mosswhilde and Jim Merkel when they campaigned against NAF in 2018. They were all defeated. You will be asked about your position on NAF because the Ward 3 member will most likely have a final vote. Your position on NAF will most likely determine your fate.



Posted by: Eric Schrader | Sep 12, 2019 04:22

Well Mike, you make several cogent arguments about the Electoral College, but our Founding Fathers were pretty smart people and they recognized that the hoi polloi or proletariat tend to congregate and in our case now, the east and west coasts. The Electoral College has worked well for over 200 years until Hillary got creamed with the The Donald getting 306 electoral votes. It would take a Constitutional Convention to change the method of selecting the President, but be careful what you wish for. Once a Convention is convened, then everything is on the table including term limits. It's too bad that the 22nd Amendment didn't increase the House members term to 4 years but limit their terms to three (12 years total) and two-6 year terms for Senators, then the career politicians would eventually have to find a real career, unlike Joe Biden, who never held a job outside of government. Never signed a paycheck. Never worried about whether his family had insurance coverage and never had to pay for necessities that most families struggle with each month. Heck, he even tried getting hair plugs years ago and I'm sure the Congressional health insurance picked that up. Let's say for arguments sake, Hillary was elected President. We would never know how corrupt the Obama administration was regarding their counterintelligence efforts to discredit Trump during his campaign. Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Clapper, Brennan, Rice, Powers and the rest of the clown show would have skated. But don't forget Hillary herself and the DNC paying for fabricated opposition research to fraudulently present to the FISA court to secure illegal warrants. Boy, that was a real close call and thank goodness for the Electoral College.



If you wish to comment, please login.