Letters to the Editor, Dec. 29
Rockland needs a town meeting
Winter in Maine brings town meetings, the once-dominant form of local government that distinguished New England from the rest of the nation. When I moved from Chesapeake Bay to Penobscot Bay on Christmas eve 1980, it was a gift to myself. A friend who moved with me and I relished the prospect of our first town meeting after renting a house on the river in St. George.
We sat on hard chars in a steamy, crowded Town Hall that March for long hours, galvanized by the spectacle of direct partipcatory government of, by, and for the people, for we'd come from D.C. and a state capitol and both had worked as researchers in government, politics, journalism and Fortune 500 companies -- all of them run from the top down, by and for elites. We were tired of that charade.
It was thrilling to hear ordinary folks in worn flannel shirts and muddy boots speak clearly and forcefully about every kind of issue from swearing in public to the sale of Dragon Cement to the Martin-Marietta Corp.,which intended to burn toxic waste in the kiln, polluting good, clean Maine air and god knows what else.
The greenhorn city girls from away instantly got involved in a fierce effort to ward off Martin-Marietta's evil scheme. A few months later, activists that included a majority of St. George peninsula residents won that fight. Martin-Marietta, denied an EPA permit, gave up and sold the cement plant to The Penobscot Tribe. You know the rest.
This wonderful chapter from my now 36 years of calling Maine home keeps impelling me to suggest, ask for and now shout that Rockland Needs a Town Meeting! Not as a governing instrument, but as a meeting of citizens to talk about anything and everything under the sun that's happened and can or might happen here to make their lives better or worse in both the short and long term.
My Big Shining Wish for Rockland in 2017 is a Town Meeting, with all invited, at the Rec Center in the auditorium where we, after all, come together to vote for or against our elected officials.
Are you paying attention, Rockland city councilors?
Morality in Maine
“If you are a C.E.O., why not pretend you agree, if you can make some money? It’s not moral, but we don’t live in a world of morality.” (Nikolai Kovarsky, St. Petersburg, Russia, NYTimes, 12/21/16).
I was unaware that we don’t live in a world of morality. I thought that we cared about our neighbors, our friends, and even the guy-who-needs-help-but-we-don’t-know-him-or-his-family. Money is not as important as honesty, where I live.
I’m talking about St. George, Maine, where guys still leave their trucks running while they run into the store to get some coffee; where if someone needs money people bake pot-luck dinners and give away stuff to auction so they can help provide for his family; where dogs and kids always get special attention and love whether they slobber, cry, or #@&% their pants (I have a Newfie, so I know about the slobber).
But I understand what Kovarsky means, when I listen to the national news. The Donald has set an unhealthy precedent for lying, exaggerating, and bullying to get money and power, and people see that it works and give it a try.
Don’t change, St. George! Don’t change, Maine! Let’s keep Maine “The Way Life Should Be.”
Kathleen A. Fox