Letters, Camden Herald
Lent a time for cultural fast
We are about to enter into the season of Lent when we are called to awaken to who we are and to reprent for what we are doing that is wrong. Pope Francis, in his message about Lent, said, "Our consciences need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing." Therefore, we must speak truth and demand an end to things that are no longer in the best interests of our Mother Earth and all the life that lives upon her.
The trouble is that we continue to exploit the Earth's resources and to do violence to each other relentlessly, leading to horrible conditions for so many. All too often, this leads us to war. It is up to us to look this fact clearly in the eye and to see how what we are doing is perpetuating this reality.
Here in Maine, General Dynamics at Bath Iron Works has, for over 20 years, built the Aegis guided missile destroyer. BIW put dozens of these warships to sea fitted with Cruise missiles and the Aegis guidance system. These warships rained hundreds of missiles on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other countries in the wars in which we continue to be involved. This reality is a crime against peace because the only purpose in building these warships is to wage war.
Now at BIW, they are getting ready to "christen" on April 12, a new ship, the DDX-1000 Zumwalt destroyer at a cost of nearly $4 billion. There are two more of these "stealth" warships under construction currently at BIW. They will be a destabilizing element in a world that already is awash in too many weapons. It is time to move toward disarmament, not to set off a new arms race.
Lent is a time to fast from our culture of excess by resisting the temptation of militarism. We need to stand together to express our opposition to this ongoing crime against peace which is the building of these guided missile warships here in Maine. So starting on Ash Wednesday, March 5, we will hold a Lenten Vigil for Disarmament at Bath Iron Works from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and continue it every Saturday of Lent at the same time. We will gather across from the BIW Administration building on Washington Street in Bath, standing with signs calling for the end of the builidng of weapons of mass destruction by General Dynamics here in Maine. Please join us for an hour on these Saturdays in March and April 5 as we witness in hope for a nonviolent world through disarmament.
George and Maureen Kehoe-Ostensen
Editor's note: The following three letters were received prior to Fox Hill Real Estate's announcement of a downsized plan that does not require voter approval.
Disrespect is worrying
First I would like to compliment you on your State of the Union opinion column in the Feb. 20th Herald [authored by Publisher Reade Brower]. Your points were well said and well made, and I couldn't help comparing the gist of them to the plethora of Letters to the Editor regarding Fox Hill, our current town dispute, starting on the previous page. The outrage over the possibility that voters of the town would be allowed a public vote on giving McLean/ Fox Hill approval was palitable.
It might be time to ask those residents opposed to the McLean center what they expect will happen to the Fox Hill property if their application is denied? The property, consisting of considerable acreage, will still be up for sale. Are they expecting a single, residential buyer to purchase the property and keep it intact in its present state? More likely a developer will be the only buyer who can practically afford to buy the property as a whole, and a developer's motivation would naturally be to divide the property into house sites, either building on or selling those sites to a future home builder in order to make a profit. This new housing would most definitely lead to more traffic and congestion as well as putting stress on town utilities and public education. Of course, the other possibility would be for the land to go into Conservancy, but to my knowledge, that option hasn't even been discussed.
Throughout this whole debate over the Fox Hill sale I've sensed an undercurrent of class warfare, which is sad. I may be entirely wrong about this, but the tone of disrespect in this week's letters toward residents and voters who might have differing opinions is worrying. After living in this community for over thirty years, it is not the sort of reaction I expect to see or hear in this lovely town.
I am hoping for a far more civil and even-handed discourse in the future, and this is one more reason this issue should go to the voters of the town for their opinion.
Jo Ann Simon
Selectmen ignored hard work
Three members of the Camden Select Board voted against putting the zoning amendment that would allow McLean to operate an 8 to 12 bed residential recovery center on the Camden June ballot because they said it was just too complicated for voters to understand: 71 lines of text with four months to discuss it.
But days later, they are okay with rushing a complicated 13 page document to a town vote at a special meeting in two weeks.
When McLean wants to locate here and deliver financial benefits, figured conservatively, of 2 to 3 million dollars a year in local spending, 25 good paying four season jobs with benefits, and education and outreach education for the entire area, the opposition says that the average Camden citizen is “as ill-informed as a chunk of asphalt”.
When it comes to benefiting the everyday people in town, these three Select Board members ignore the hard work of the Planning Board, the recommendations of thoughtful editorials, and refuses to let us vote - but when it comes to something they want to get done for a few - they rush it to a town meeting for public vote. There is no excuse for this inconsistency and unfairness. There is a name for this kind of hypocrisy in elected government.
I can hope McLean will continue to move forward and work on locating here.
A recent letter to the editor stated erroneously that McLean does not provide education and outreach benefits to the communities they serve. Nothing could be further from the truth. Before I agreed to support McLean opening a residential recovery center at Fox Hill, I researched this issue extensively.
Here is a 2012-13 partial list of benefits that McLean provided in communities they serve: presenting education panels for professionals and parents on preventing teen suicide and substance abuse (one of which is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Camden Opera House at 6:30 p.m. co-sponsored by McLean, The Picker Family Resource Center of Pen Bay Healthcare and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Maine); assisting parents, teachers, and counselors in middle and high schools to evaluate students for mental health and substance abuse problems; offering physicians and health providers Grand Rounds and other public information meetings on mental health issues; countering the stigma of addiction and mental health issues through publications and local media; organizing programs that screen for depression and addiction at colleges; supporting an ongoing public education effort on Eating Disorders; facilitating a series of support programs for adolescents; presenting education on substance abuse to police departments as requested; and referring recovering individuals appropriately to community 12-Step programs.
In addition, you might like to know, that McLean treated hundreds of trauma victims after the Boston Marathon bombing for free. Clearly, they are great neighbors.
If you would like to read the entire 14 page report describing McLean’s highly rated outreach programs, you can find it at this link: http://mclean.harvard.edu/pdf/news/McLean-2012-2013-Community-Health-Needs-Assessment.pdf
Thanks to Cappy’s
Coastal Opportunities was named one of the recipients of the Community Connection Dinners held at Cappy’s this winter. Kudos to the chefs who prepared terrific meals and too the friendly wait staff who served the food efficiently. We thank Cappy’s for donating a portion of the evening’s proceeds to support our work with intellectually disabled adults in local communities.
In the midst of yet another snowy evening, many folks came to enjoy an evening out and also became better acquainted with our programs. We thank them for caring.
Joe Curll, Executive Director
Ann Bex, Board President