Letters to the editor — The Camden Herald

Apr 27, 2017

Full transparency, accountability needed

Many readers probably were not surprised to learn the Snow Bowl and Ragged Mountain Recreation area have cost the town’s taxpayers nearly $750,000 more than was approved. Many had their suspicions. But only Chris Morong did something to find out the facts. On his own initiative, Morong met with town officials and shared his concerns, then had to file a Freedom of Information Act request for relevant documents, poured through them to do the analysis, and finally reported to the Select Board that the facts apparently supported his concerns. That step, in turn, led to the Select Board’s decision to commission the recent independent town audit which has just confirmed the validity of Morong’s original suspicions. The Snow Bowl has had an unapproved cost overrun of nearly $750,000.

Three lessons from this sad tale. First, we owe Chris Morong a huge thank you. Many of us merely complained about the Snow Bowl’s drain on public funds for private pleasure, but Morong acted. He spent countless hours and a lot of his own funds to get the facts, analyze them and write a report. He followed a responsible public process in doing so. Morong has set the standard for fine citizenship and public service.

Others also, deserve our thanks. Lee Schneller Sligh raised concerns three years ago about the pollution of Hosmer Pond caused by runoff from timber cutting for the Snow Bowl’s improvements. Despite denials from the town, her concerns, like Morong’s, proved to be correct. The town had to spend significant funds correcting the problem and now faces a likely fine from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. We shouldn’t have to depend on the work of private citizens like Chris Morong and Lee Schneller Sligh to get public officials to do the right thing, but thank heavens they stepped up and acted.

Second, while there’s plenty of blame to go around and it’s particularly easy to blame town employees who no longer work for the town, blame won’t fix the structural problems which caused this mess. Instead, we need procedures for responsibility and accountability so bad management doesn’t happen again. Our mismanagement of the Snow Bowl and Ragged Mountain project has cost Camden a lot of money. Our town has had other possible uses for that $750,000 which might have been more important.

Which leads to the most important and final point. This is an opportunity to debate and set the town’s priorities for public funds in the future. I personally do not believe a recreation area, wonderful as it is, should be a higher priority for limited public funds than great schools, adequate staffing and equipment for Public Safety, an overflowing library, decent roads, town services for its elderly and those in need, or an affordable tax rate and substantial reserve fund. Others may disagree. Our town processes, culminating in town meeting, should achieve the consensus necessary for a community to live together. Our town management and oversight processes should ensure town funds are spent as directed by town meeting with full transparency and accountability. That didn’t happen with the Snow Bowl project; let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Dan Cheever

Camden

Honor Dearborn

I am 93 years old and lived through the unsupported, unpopular Vietnam War with my family. My husband was an Air Force airman with 29-and-a-half years of service — four years as an enlisted man in World War II, and later as an Air Force Dental Officer. We were an Air Force family for 20 years with two children — our son was apparently the same age as Stanton Dearborn.

When any male during this time became 18, he received a very important post card from the government with HIS number on it. Wherever he was living, he HAD to report to the Draft board because there was a deep fine of $350,000. Some men went to Canada to escape the Draft, others enlisted immediately to "get it over with," still others, like our son, waited out the time and his number was never called. If the man went in immediatley he usually enlisted with a friend he went through school with, or a group of high school graduates supported each other and they enlisted together, but many, thank heavens, had the full support of their parents. Stanton had Jan, his sister, for one, and he still has JAN. Stanton was a very brave man. That war must have been terrible for these young men. He deserves his name on the wall.

I hope Stanton had a very happy childhood in Camden, Maine. The rest of his life must have been miserable.

If the town cannot see fit to help Jan Dearborn and her family to get closure with this sad, sad story, by putting his name on the wall and his grandfather's names, would they consider giving a small piece of land in the park for a small headstone? Jan could start a fund to buy the stone and engrave it. I would be the first to contribute. And I can't imagine any teenager during that age, who would not have been well aware of his grandfather's names in place of honor in the middle of the town where he was born!

Nadine Varrin

Camden

Shame on McConnell and Ryan

The gatekeepers are asleep at their posts. Ryan and McConnell, daily, allow one of the most egregiously illegal presidents to market his brand out of our White House.

There are at least two provisions of The Constitution of The United States which are intended to protect our country and its citizens from corruption on the part of someone holding high office in our government.

The first is the Logan Act, a federal law (1 Stat. 613;18 U.S.C. Sec. 953) aimed at preventing private citizens from conducting foreign affairs without the permission or involvement of the U.S. government.

The second is the Foreign Emoluments Clause: Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution: Nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, [or any state] accept any present, emolument (salary, fee, or profit from employment or office), office, or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince or foreign State.

These two Constitutional provisions are part of the very fabric of our country's existence, and are intended as bulwarks against corruption and malfeasance.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have obviously decided to ignore many troubling indications that Trump is breaking laws of our land.

History and precedence would dictate that appropriate (independent) investigations should be initiated to determine if in fact laws are being broken, but these two top Republican leaders exhibit a curious lack of interest in finding out what the truth might actually be.

They have so far chosen to allow Trump to seemingly run his businesses out of the White House because his presence allows them to work their ideological mischief pursuing legislation that advances conservative issues surreptitiously in his ugly shadow. Now we don't even know who's coming into the White House (or into Mar-a-Largo) because the visitor logs are no longer being made public in the so-called interest of National Security! Really! Do they really think we're buying that malarkey?

We need to know who Trump and his minions are meeting with; just who is he doing business with to advance his corporate brand?

Our time-tested legal system and Judiciary are only as good as those sworn to guard over and enforce it. Right now in living American history, the two Congressional officers most responsible for guarding our Constitution, and sworn to protect it are McConnell and Ryan! Upon taking office, Congress-members-elect must swear or affirm that they will "support and defend the Constitution.” The oath is required by the Constitution; the wording is prescribed by law. To wit:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

I say SHAME on the Majority Leader of the Senate, and SHAME on The Speaker of the House of Representatives. They are both flaunting their Constitutional responsibilities of holding Trump responsible for violating his oath of office. McConnell and Ryan should be charged with perjury for violating their oaths of office in which they swore to up hold the Constitution. They are not upholding the Constitution! Instead they are allowing our “illegitimate President” [John Lewis], to run his businesses out of the offices of the Presidency. Watch for it: very soon the TRUMP Corporate Banner will be flying from a mast on the White House. SHAME on McConnell and Ryan!

J Brian Smith, PhD

Camden

Letter to next generation

Dear Grandchildren,

I am writing this letter on April 24, 2017, in hopes that you will read it when you reach maturity. I want to tell you what I am doing to make the world a safe and enjoyable place for you to live in. I guess viability is an issue as well. At any rate, I have had a career as head of a large corporation and have recently been appointed as the Secretary of State here in the United States. So, suffice it to say that I have worked hard and have been amply rewarded for my hard work. I certainly hope that you can learn from my example.

I have made most of my money from the sale of petroleum products. Most of these will be burned up by the time you are adults and their residue will be in the atmosphere creating greenhouse gas effects for you but I hope that the same scientists I have disagreed with during my career can clean up the messes I am leaving behind. I have never believed what these present day scientists have said about humans influencing climate change but I guess you will have a more clear perspective on this issue than I do from here. Maybe the scientists of your generation will be better educated and can inform you and even help you as opposed to the scientists of my day.

We are also embarking on an "America First" approach to the world. This entails keeping undesirable immigrants away from our shores and making sure that whatever money we share around the globe comes back as a good investment. No more giveaways! There seems to be a great many refugees all over the place at the present and it is too bad that they cannot manage their lives in a better fashion and/or plan for their futures better. We need to have our fair share of the world's resources (30 percent) even though we only represent 5 percent of the world's population. That makes sense, doesn't it?

So, please accept your millions of dollars in inheritance with joy and excitement and make sure to protect American interests over all other.

With love,

Your grandfather

Rex Tillerson

This letter was actually created by Rob Pfeiffer as a sample of what we all might do as an activit — write to our grandchildren about what we (the writers) are doing to make the world safer and more viable for them, the next generations.

Rob Pfeiffer

Lincolnville

Thanks for support

The Board of Directors of 63 Washington Street Home for Seniors would like to thank the community for their unending support for our annual Spaghetti Supper held on April 8. First and foremost, kudos to the cooks and all the members of the Masonic Hall for their delicious dinner and hard work, and to Rosey Gerry and friends for their entertaining country music.

Our Silent Auction was also a success and for all the auction items we would like to thank the following people and businesses for their donations: Adele Ames, Hazel Littlefield, Chris McLarty, Sharon Boody-Dean, Karen Martin, Pat Hamalainen,Teddy Wilcox, Betty Seal, Jan Kelsey, The Country Inn, The Drouthy Bear, Schooner Olad, Plants Unlimited and Archipelago. Lastly, thanks to all who came for dinner and placed bids in the Silent Auction.

Sixty Three Washington Street is a community based Home for Seniors, providing Residential care, Respite Care and now Day Programs. We greatly appreciate all the community support that we have received of late to allow for renovations, updates and start up costs for new programs.

Questions about any services should be directed to Nancy Riley, Administrator at 236-3638.

Board of Directors

Jeanne Denny

Jan Kelsey

Betty Ingraham

Teddy Wilcox

Kathleen Bacchus

Robert Oxton

Gratitude!

As we enter our 2017 season, Five Town Babe Ruth is filled with gratitude towards the Town of Rockport for making substantial improvements to the Marge Jones Babe Ruth field on Route 90. The town really stepped up to the plate last spring when field conditions and safety issues were going to end the 2016 season early. Thanks to the labors of Rockport Public Works and Sports Fields, Inc. of Rockport, the infield is now in excellent condition, and the outfield will be re-done this summer. We offer special thanks to Owen Casas, Select Board member and Suzanne Johndro, Chairperson of Rockport Recreation for their perseverance and follow-through.

As Five Town Babe Ruth moves into its 2017 season, we have also experienced phenomenal support from local businesses. Both Granite Coast Orthodontics and P.G. Willey Fuels have made team sponsorship commitments for three years. These sponsorships are allowing us to purchase desperately needed new jerseys this year, and will help us fund new equipment in the coming years. CedarWorks is sponsoring our new scoreboard, replacing the broken unit that has sadly been there for years. Our 4 by 6 foot banner sales are gaining a lot of momentum. To date we have sold seven banners, and there is room along our fence for several more. (To purchase a banner, please email fivetownbaberuth@gmail.com) We have a lot of excitement going into our season.

Five Town Babe Ruth tryouts are held this Saturday, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Marge Jones Rec Field (raindate: Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m.). Youth ages 13 to 15 from Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, Appleton and Hope are encouraged to tryout. For more info and to preregister visit http://fivetownbaberuth.website.siplay.com/

Brooke Kehoe, treasurer

Five Town Babe Ruth

Rockport

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