There's a better way to ask this
For a second time in recent history, attorney Joe Steinberger has berated the City Council members concerning his desire to investigate the MacDougal School as a potential replacement for the Lincoln Street Center.
At the last City Council meeting, Steinberger called council members incompetent "amateur bureaucrats" and said the public should vote them all out of office.
This strikes us as merely abusive ad hominem, rather than reasoned argument. Instead of attacking the council verbally, why not politely make your case?
Not surprisingly the council voted down the order that would have authorized an engineering assessment of the MacDougal School and accompanying land as a potential site for The Old School.
The Lincoln Street Center was closed because the old school building it occupies now costs more to repair, heat and maintain than it's worth. As Councilor Eric Hebert stated, problems with the Lincoln Street Center were the result of someone "kicking the can of maintenance down the road," and probably doing so for far too long.
Some would argue moving to the decrepit MacDougal School would merely be trading one problematic building for another.
Aside from that, The Old School came late to the party, after plans for the MacDougal School had already been made.
While there is certainly room for Steinberger to argue these points, he doesn't need to do so with hostility and venom. There's a better way to do this, and whether or not you agree with your city leaders, they deserve to be treated with respect.
If you look at taxes, however...
Those looking to complain about city government should look no further than this year's 3.3 percent increase in property taxes.
City Assessor Dennis Reed set the tax rate Aug. 10 for fiscal year 2013 at $19.42 per $1,000 of assessed property. The new bills are scheduled to be mailed Aug. 17.
Thus, the taxes on a home assessed at $170,000 will increase by $108 from $3,193 to $3,301.
To see these kinds of increases year after year simply is not sustainable, especially in an economic climate such as we have been seeing. More and more working class and middle class families are going to flee the county seat for the surrounding smaller towns in coming years, which ultimately is not good for Rockland.
Perhaps it would make sense to make sure the MacDougal School property generates property tax revenue in the near future by turning it into residential property.
In addition, we now have two candidates running for City Council. This is the time to ask them about their ideas on providing services and keeping taxes in check.
Wake up call from Canada
We received our wake up call long-distance from Canada recently where protests caused Maine lobster to be turned away from processing plants above the border.
Canadian fishermen, concerned about keeping their harvest profitable, held protests that actually prevented Maine's lobster hauling trucks from reaching the processing plants.
Until Maine has more processing plants of its own to compete with these from-away businesses, we will live with the uncertainty of this problem repeating itself. This area's most important industry should not be held hostage by events out of our control across the border.
Driving off into the sunset
We wish Charles Chiarchiaro good luck on his next adventure as he retires and leaves the Owls Head Transportation Museum.
Starting as the museum's first employee in 1976, he has been its only executive director. Under his leadership for all of these years, we have seen the museum grow into an important part of the community. Each year its air shows and events draw visitors to the area, encouraging the local tourism economy.
Perhaps more importantly, the museum has provided education for countless locals and visitors, many of them youngsters gazing with wonder at the many antique cars and planes. The museum has opened up for them a sense of history and opportunity.
It's hard to imagine the museum without Charles, but change is the only constant in life.
He plans to retire by the end of this year, and will continue to work as a consultant for nonprofits, a business concept he told the paper he firmly believes in. He wants to spend more time with his wife, Ann, a retired teacher, his daughter, Elaina, who lives in New Gloucester, and his grandson, Sullivan.
We wish him the best and look forward to meeting future directors that will build on the work he started.