Montgomery Dam issue needs a more open process

Like many others in Camden, I have been reading letters in this paper and hearing the discussions elsewhere about a proposal to remove the Montgomery Dam that produces the falls of the Megunticook River into Camden Harbor. Several aspects of this proposal caught my attention. As a homeowner on one of the several lagoons formed by the dams on the Megunticook, I am well aware of the potential for serious damage to property values along the river if careless removal of these dams were carried out. As a devoted fisherman, I was very interested in the related proposal of the creation of fish ladders to introduce such sea run fish as alewives into the Megunticook watershed.

However, upon deeper inquiry and study, I’ve become concerned by the apparent lack of clarity and openness on the part of the supporters of the dam removal, especially those entrusted with Camden’s governance, and their intentions regarding the dams and their obligations to present such major projects to the taxpayers and voters, especially those with businesses and homes that would be affected by such major alterations. Also concerning were public statements of some supporters of the dam’s destruction which made little sense to me. For example, one of them has claimed that the dam’s existence threatens Camden’s downtown with serious flooding. This is a puzzling assertion when even someone without an engineering degree, like me, can see that it’s only the upriver dams — especially the two maintaining the present shoreline of Lake Megunticook and the Seabright Dam, which creates the long lagoon stretching all the way up to Molyneaux Road — whose fall could produce such a calamitous result.

Without better and clearer public input from the Select Board and the supporters of removing the Montgomery Dam, it’s understandable why so many citizens of Camden are worried that a decision may have already been made about the dam and that some undemocratic moves and disingenuous statements are being made to circumvent the legitimate concerns of many interested parties. Perhaps, if an independent and open-minded committee were convened to study openly the interests of all parties with opinions on the dam’s future and make a recommendation for a referendum vote on the matter, it would greatly overcome these suspicions.
Charlie Graham
Camden

Response to Critical Race Theory letter (Camden Herald, July 29)

Last week’s LTE criticizing Critical Race Theory (CRT) was lacking an essential ingredient: facts. The writer, amazingly a former school superintendent, claimed racism no longer exits and urges parents to call schools and tell them not to teach about it.

Critical race theorists believe that racism is an everyday experience for most people of color and that institutions have perpetuated racisms with unequal practices. Think about ongoing hiring issues, lack of advancement opportunities, redlining banking practices and more.

An example? I have been calling leasing agencies on behalf of a friend who works nights and has limited time during the day, so I agreed to call and set up some viewing appointments. I am white, and yes, I sound white, and my friend is black. The inquiry conversations are fine until, in about half of them, I give my friend’s name, for this letter I’ll use Latoya, and the tone changes. In about half of those calls I’m informed the place is no longer available. In some cases, I have called back a few hours later, used a neutral name and told it was available.

CRT acknowledges that we live in a society that still has systemic racism and we all have a part in finally moving beyond it. We can learn from history, or we can keep repeating it. Acknowledging instinctual bias is strength not weakness and students need to know the whole truth and not a whitewashed version.
Phil Bailey
Camden

Rep. Bill Plücker’s message on MaineHousing Emergency Rental Assistance

Dear friends,
The nationwide eviction moratorium ended July 31 and the United States Congress was unsuccessful in extending it further. If you are a renter trying to get by in Maine, there is help available for covering rent & utilities.

MaineHousing has announced expanded eligibility for Emergency Rental Assistance, increasing the number of Maine people who can receive help paying their rent and utilities, and the number of months they are eligible from 15 months to 18 months. Mainers who need help can apply at mainehousing.org/programs-services/rental/rentaldetail/covid-19-rental-relief-program. Anyone who experienced financial hardship since March 2020 can apply. This includes people whose income didn’t change but had trouble paying rent.

Mainers can also access Pine Tree Legal Assistance and Legal Services for the Elderly for legal representation. Please click on the link below to find their contact information and other valuable information on their websites at
ptla.org/contact-us and mainelse.org/.

Please contact me if I can be of assistance by email at William.Pluecker@legislature.maine.gov. You may also call my office at the State House at 207-287-1315.

Bill Pluecker
State Representative