Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette
Which is it?
I read, last night, your lead editorial in the Thursday, Oct. 24 edition, entitled Do They Get It?
The editorial leads in with discussion about the sand and salt shed bond on the city ballot, electronic devices for RSU 13 school board members, and raises the question of high property taxes in Rockland. The opening sentence ends with this statement: “we are not sure they really get it.”
But here’s what I don’t get. In the sixth paragraph, added in at the tail end of a sentence urging voters to turn down the Public Works project, another topic is tossed into the mix.
The sentence reads: “Voters should turn down this project and any move to change the location of the nearly paid off city hall, which city hall officials admit to talking about, but deny actively planning.”
Hold that thought.
In an article that appeared in the online Village Soup newspaper on Oct. 20, written by Daniel Dunkle: Candidates Face Off Over Cruise Ships, Taxes, Transparency, City Councilor Larry Pritchett, currently running for reelection. During a debate on Oct. 17, held at Rockland City Hall for current city council candidates, Pritchett made this statement:
"The city hall story is an odd one because I honestly don't know where it came from," Pritchett said.
So what’s Larry talking about? At the candidate’s debate, he was asked about reports that city officials plan to move city hall to the downtown once the existing building is paid off. These reports surfaced in two recent articles in the press. The first article, called Rockland Officials Consider Moving City Hall Downtown, was published in the Bangor Daily News on Sept. 24, written by Steve Betts. The second article appeared in the VillageSoup, was called Officials Downplay Talk of Moving City Hall, and was written by Daniel Dunkle and published Sept. 25.
In the VillageSoup article referenced above, Mayor Will Clayton is quoted:
“Clayton said there has been no recent discussion at the council level about the possible move.”
However, now, in this subsequent editorial, The Courier-Gazette editorial board tells us: “city officials admit” to having had these discussions but “deny actively planning.”
I would be interested to know how your editorial board reconciled these conflicting statements made by two elected officials, one who is running for reelection. Either the discussions were held, or they were not. Which is it?
Reade Brower's column in last weeks Courier revealed his distaste for the poor's ability to afford a little satisfaction from a cigarette or a beer. His newspaper, however was sure to celebrate Wal-Mart's grand opening with a headline story and front page picture.
Mr. Brower's call for policing food assistance (EBT) will likely fall on deaf ears. And while fraud certainly exists with many government programs, food stamps or EBT are largely beneficial to low paid workers, the elderly and the unemployed.
Instead of reading a rant about the poor from a tired playbook, it would have been refreshing to read in our local paper some solid reporting on our newest mega-mart. WalMartWatch.org estimates that each Wal-Mart supercenter like the one in Thomaston, cost taxpayers $1 million in corporate welfare in the form of labor subsidies. Corporations that make billions in profits use government programs to subsidize their wages and benefits. This day in age many Fortune 500 companies refuse to pay a wage people can actually live on resulting in our tax dollars subsidizing their labor costs — ultimately padding their profits. Some of these companies have been known to have employees sign up for food stamps during the hiring process.
So to Mr. Brower's point perhaps we should start drug testing welfare recipients, say CEOs whose companies receive vast government assistance in the form of corporate welfare. I would suggest we start with CEOs from the oil and gas companies who receive nearly $40 billion off the taxpayer's nickel. Perhaps there would be an incentive to find a way pad their profits without being on the government dole.
Finally what was outrageous about the publisher's comments is how he characterizes the poor. Regarding the poor, he suggests you will find a "welfare state of mind" with no initiative to work. Apparently being poor isn't just a consequence of economic affairs but for Mr. Brower, rather it indicates a defect in character.
This conclusion could not be more inaccurate. Coming off the greatest recession since the Great Depression, and where most workers wages have stagnated for 30-plus years, blaming the poor and the underpaid for their woes is abhorrent. Furthermore, his comments are a slap in the face to some of the hardest working people in Knox County who work for some of the most successful companies in the world and in some of the toughest industries, but simply make too little to keep up with the costs of the ever-rising family budget.
James A. York
Shop Steward Teamster Local 340
Honest, knowledgeable, hardworking
I will be voting to re-elect Larry Pritchett to City Council. I have know Larry for several years and find him to be honest, knowledgeable, and hardworking. He has dedicated himself and much of his time to helping manage the growth of our city and listens to the concerns of it's residents.
Join me to support Pritchett
I first met Larry Pritchett a few years ago after I called him to ask if he'd consider joining Rockland's newly forming Energy Committee. I'm glad he said yes. Larry is the hardest working committee chairman I've had the pleasure to work with. As the City becomes aware of where they can save energy, they will also be saving money for taxpayers.
In his first term on council I have been impressed by how often I see Larry in the community. If I have a question or concern I can just ask him face to face. I don't have to write or email or make a phone call.
He always listens and is respectful, thoughtful and responsive. These reasons alone are enough for him to earn my vote for a second term on council. I hope my friends and neighbors will join me in supporting Larry on Nov. 5
We are supporting Larry Pritchett for reelection to the Rockland City Council. Larry has displayed in his last three years as a council member a thoughtful and deliberate manner for researching and analyzing the issues that come before the council. He has one agenda and that is doing what is best for the citizens of Rockland.
We hope you will join us in voting for Larry Pritchett on Nov. 5.
I am very happy to endorse Larry Pritchett for reelection to the Rockland City Council.
My husband and I moved to Rockland in March, after two decades of only having short but very sweet vacation getaways to the area.
Larry was one of the first residents we met at a community function, and he instantly impressed us with his friendliness, enthusiasm, and passion for our new community. Subsequently, whenever we saw Larry in town, he would inquire about our adjustment, our interests in community involvement, and eventually, lent his regular support as we launched a new business on Main Street. Larry frequently stopped in to see how PicassoWhat, our art gallery in downtown Rockland, was faring and we often spoke at length about relevant issues. I learned a great deal rather quickly with Larry's assistance, and continue to turn to him for information and advice as a city resident and business owner. Larry's commitment to Rockland is a bottomless well, and clearly beneficial to us all. His diverse expertise and deep familiarity with our region and the political process are all enormous assets.
I look forward to his reelection.
Cares about Rockland
Hello, I am Hal Perry candidate for Rockland City Council. I have lived and work here for 13 years. I have been involved in numerous organizations.
From these groups I learned skills in the following areas collaboration, policy development being a good listener, and I learned different approach to problem solving. I will stand up to my convictions on the City Council and for the concerns of the citizens of Rockland.
So why am I running for Rockland City Council when I could be kicking back with my feet on the coffee table?
Because I care about Rockland and you, the citizen of Rockland. I want to be part of the solution to the problems facing our city.
I am running on a platform of fiscal responsibility, preservation conservation and integrity.
I want our tax dollars to be used carefully and wisely.
I want our development, redevelopment and revitalization challenges to be carefully and compatible with sustainable building practices and the wish of the community.
There are many critical challenges that obviously have not been resolved as:
A balance budget the council must balance our budget with out service cuts or accounting gimmicks.
Having a well-maintained infrastructure trimming trees fixing potholes repairing sidewalks and paving some of are roads.
As I previously mentioned Rockland is growing and we need to carefully and smartly manage that growth to keep or city affordable and livable. We must keep Rockland the Emerald jewel of the Inland Empire that we all love.
We can also utilize local talent through our commissions with volunteers who have the expertise to help the city through providing another voice.
I also want to encourage and support small and local business and make sure that they are put on a level playing field with large businesses. I think this will help us become a stronger and more vibrant community.
Most of all I want Rockland to keeps its unique qualities and its sense of community.
It takes someone with the vision to lead Rockland to sound management and prosperity. I can fulfill those needs.
I will listen to your concerns and the concerns of the community through town hall meetings neighborhood meetings whatever it takes. You will be heard.
I am Hal Perry. I ask for your vote on Nov 5, 2013.
Keep Pritchett working for Rockland
I am writing to urge my fellow Rockland residents to vote for Larry Pritchett for City Council Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Over the past few years I had many opportunities to interact with Larry on a variety of community projects and to watch him in action on the council, in committee, and over coffee with Rocklanders all over the city. I have always found him to be scrupulously fair, incredibly hard working, and a good listener. Regardless of the issue, Larry is a councilor who always strives for evidence-based policy rather than conjuring up the often more politically expedient and deliciously dramatic policy-based evidence.
Most importantly, Larry's chief virtue is respect. Respect for his fellow councilors. Respect for the often belittled city government staff. Respect for the process of small town democracy and the procedures that underpin it, developed by wiser folk than us. Respect for all voters and residents of both Rockland and the Midcoast, whether they voted for him or not. Respect for the prospects of our young people. Respect for the economic and cultural engines that make this such a wonderful place to call home. Respect for the burden borne by taxpayers. Larry displays respect for the trust placed in him as a public servant and the solemn duty to execute his duties on behalf of you with dignity, thoughtfulness, and sustained hard work.
With that in mind I ask you to reelect Larry Pritchett and keep him working for Rockland.
Vote for Louise, Hal
Since serving on the Rockland City Council from 2004-2007, I have tried to follow the City Council and have on occasion spoken at the public comment sessions. The upcoming election Tuesday, Nov. 5, is of vital importance. The voters of Rockland have an opportunity to bring openness and controlled, sensible spending practices to the council chambers. There are two open seats on the council. The first candidate to step forward was Louise MacLellan-Ruf. Louise is not only bright and articulate, but also is demonstrating her concern for limited spending by showing how you can run a successful campaign with little or no money. She has a team of citizens who have made the yellow signs throughout the city with recycled wood. Any time Louise speaks she has done research and has facts to support what she says. We need a fresh voice on the council. Louise has my vote. There will be two people elected. The other person I am voting for is Harold “Hal” Perry. Hal was elected and joined the council the second year I served. He is correct in saying he went through the budget line by line, as he worked with me on that. He is also accurate in saying that when he was mayor, which was after I stepped down, he allowed the public to speak openly and say whatever they wanted. He even held weekly sessions to meet with the public on any city topic. I believe Louise and Hal Perry will make sure your voice is given utmost consideration as well as an answer, when you come to speak at city meetings. They will not allow business to happen in executive session that the public has a right to know.
Adele Grossman Faber
Voice of moderation
I am voting for Larry Pritchett and am writing to urge other Rockland residents to join me in reelecting Larry Pritchett to City Council. During his first term on the council, Larry has been a voice of moderation and reason I support Larry's pro-conservation efforts, which have already led to improvements in the city’s energy efficiency. I also know Larry has worked to support and strengthen a diverse local economy and is committed to keep our property taxes from spiraling out of control. Let’s keep Larry working for all of us.
Support this proposal
The Waldoboro Select board has called a third referendum style special town meeting for Tuesday, Nov. 5 to hopefully finalize the FY14 Waldoboro municipal budget. The meeting seeks voter approval for the Finance and Customer Service and Police Department budgets as well as to make other budget adjustments to accommodate a projected $106,000 loss in state revenue sharing.
All of the articles included in the budget adjustment proposal have the unanimous support of the select board and the near unanimous support of the budget committee. I, as town manager, also support this proposal and am hopeful the voters of Waldoboro will demonstrate their support as well at the polls.
Article 2 seeks approval for the Finance and Customer Service Department budget in the amount of $176,576. This is a reduction of $2,710 from the amount presented at the June 11 referendum style town meeting. It also no longer includes the $69,874 associated with the Office of the Town Clerk, as that was passed as a separate budget article at the Sept. 10 town meeting.
Article 3 seeks approval for the Police Department budget in the amount of $586,884. This is a reduction of $54,701 from the amount presented at the June 11 town meeting. This reduction results in the elimination of the detective position, but should allow the department to continue to provide 24/7 coverage.
Article 4 seeks voter approval to reduce the Public Works Department budget by $9,159 from the amount that was approved on June 11. This amount will be taken from the overtime budget, which is traditionally a volatile amount as it is nearly completely dependent on the severity of the winter weather.
Article 5 seeks voter approval to reduce the Planning and Code Enforcement Department budget by $8,830 from the amount approved on June 11. This savings results from having a vacancy in the planning position for approximately two months
Article 6 addresses the fact that due to state budget reductions, Waldoboro is anticipated to receive $106,000 less in revenue sharing than was originally budgeted. This article adjusts the amount of revenue sharing in the town budget to reflect reductions included in the recently approve state budget.
Article 7 seeks voter approval to increase revenue under Other Financing Sources with an inter fund transfer of $5,600. It is a transfer from the Transfer Station account and reimburses the wages paid to Public Works employees who have been working on construction of “bulky waste day pads” at the town’s solid waste facility.
Article 8 seeks voter approval to appropriate $25,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance. This is the same amount of Undesignated Fund Balance that was budgeted last year, but was not in the end needed. Use of this amount does not cause a deviation from the plan to rebuild the Town’s fund balance to pre-2008 levels.
A numeric summary of the proposed adjustments designed to accommodate the $106,000 reduction in state revenue sharing is as follows:
Expenditure Reductions: Finance and Customer Support Department, $2,710; Police Department, $54,701; Public Works Department, $9,159; Planning Department, $ 8,830; Sub Total, $75,400.
Revenue Increases: Other Financing Sources, $5,600; Undesignated Fund Balance $25,000; Sub Total, $30,600; Total $106,000.
Article 9 seeks voter approval to extend the due date for the first installment payment for 2014 taxes from Nov. 15 to Dec. 3. This is proposed as it is unlikely that tax bills will be issued much before their Nov. 15 due date, given that the budget adjustments won’t be considered by the voters until Nov. 5.
In addition to eight articles or questions on the municipal ballot there will also be a state ballot with questions seeking voter approval for five State bonds.
Again, the referendum will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Waldoboro Municipal Building, 1600 Atlantic Highway.
I hope you find this information helpful and urge you to vote on Nov. 5.
Waldoboro Town Manager
Open a window, catch a breeze
Louise MacLellan gets my vote because she is a very honest person and she intends, if elected, to reconnect the people to the city government. How Rockland's lively relationship between citizens, volunteer committees, and its elected officials ever became such a dusty thing of the past is beyond me, but I miss the days when people were able to talk to their councilors and serve on committees and get good results from the democratic exchange. Lets open a window and catch a breeze. Vote Louise.
Vote for Louise
I am a 90-year-old resident of the South End of Rockland across from Sandy Beach Park. Blessed as I am with the ever-changing beauty of my ocean side paradise, it is made much more delightful because of Louise MacLellan-Ruf. The frailties of old age rest lightly on my shoulders and many others in our neighborhood because Louise is ever ready to give us a hand. Did the person who was engaged to cut the yard while you were away fail to show up, do not fear, Louise steps right in to fill the gap. Do you need a special gift for your great-grandson's birthday? Never fear Louise and her husband, Nik, will compose and record one for him. Are your pets (dogs or cats) puny or a problem or hungry, Louise is the source that never runs out of advice or food.
Did your doctor tell you to walk for health? Louise sees that our marvelous walkway is ready for you. She heads the committee.
The list could go on with many other kindnesses that she does for all of us in the South End and all of Rockland, but the important thing is to VOTE for Louise for the sake of us all. Solutions to problems and imaginative plans to make our ideal Rockland even better are in our future if you do.
Betty W. Hardy
Demonstrated track record
Louise deserves all our votes for city councilor because she's got a demonstrated track record of service in the neighborhoods and on council-appointed committees. She is also honest, hardworking and knows her own mind. That she is willing to be a councilor is very lucky for us. To find a person who values citizen input beyond giving polite lip service is hard to find. This city's charter government calls for a democratic process. That for of government is time consuming, sometimes emotional and occasionally messy. But an expensive, faulty and secretive bureaucracy wrangled by an ambiguous city manager is no solution and it is against the charger. Vote Louise
Leigh Ann Fuller