Breakfast with Another View

By Rachel Leonard | Dec 16, 2017

“Who are these guys?”

I’m asked this question by at least one person every time I run an Another View commentary on the Coastal Journal's opinion page.

Another View is a group of four men who take turns writing about state and national issues from a conservative point of view, submitting them for possible inclusion in opinion sections of newspapers around the state.

I intend to answer that question more completely, but first I need to make a couple of things clear.

The Coastal Journal is a community newspaper. The news and information we cover is diverse and yet inclusive, representing the general interests, concerns and events of the Southern Midcoast region.

Gone are the days when 14 newspapers circulated in Bath alone, published by everyone from union leaders to businessmen to like-minded special interest groups, all promoting their own agendas.

Maybe it’s the ghost of that time that causes such mistrust of the media today, but I assure you, the Coastal Journal’s only agenda is to pay the printer, so to speak, and keep delivering relevant, reliable, objective news and information to its readers while providing local businesses and organizations with a venue to let you know about their sales and services.

I don’t have to agree with you to publish your letters and commentary. As long as opinion pieces are not obscene, libelous, or a jumbled mess of incomprehensible characters, I will consider them for publication. Space is much more of an issue. Sometimes I just don’t have room to get everything in.

And every time I publish an Another View commentary, I get lots of thoughtful letters and commentary in response. That’s what an opinion section is supposed to be, after all. A free exchange of ideas.

The Another View crew started writing their columns because they felt the politically, socially and culturally conservative point of view was underrepresented, if it was represented at all, in local newspapers. They reached out to a former editor of the Coastal Journal to ask if he would include their pieces in the opinion section. He agreed.

I continue to run Another View occasionally, as -- you guessed it -- space allows.

Jan Dolcater, one of the writers, invited to me to join the group for breakfast at Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro last Friday. They were celebrating their 200th column.

I also don’t have to agree with someone to accept invitations for breakfast, especially when I’m looking for answers to questions readers put to me. As long as I’m treated respectfully, I’m down for a breakfast sandwich most anytime.

So “who are these guys?”

The writers are Jan Dolcater, former chair of Knox County Republicans, and a retired national sales manager for a manufacturer in Alabama, whose territory once included the “lower 48.” He moved to Maine in 1994, and lives in Rockport.

Dale Landrith Sr., came to Maine from Michigan (with a few other states in between) in 1982 to manage Manset Marine Supply in Southwest Harbor, which he eventually came to own. He lives in Camden.

Ken Fredric is secretary of the Lincoln County Republican Committee. He spent 13 years in the National Security Agency before becoming a consultant for the Department of Defense. He was born and raised in Ellsworth, but spent many years out of state before returning in 2012. He lives in Bristol.

Paul Ackerman is an at-large member of Knox County Republicans. He described himself as a “reformed Democrat,” who grew up in Washington, D.C. Al Gore, he said, was a classmate. He moved to Maine in 1971, and now manages construction projects and does restoration metal work. He lives in Tenants Harbor.

Two others joined us: Fred Bucklin, also an at-large member of Knox County Republicans, is a former real estate appraiser, and his wife, Victoria Bucklin, is a former school teacher. The couple moved to Maine from Massachusetts in 2011, but Fred has lifelong ties to the state, and Victoria grew up in Camden, where they now reside.

The conservative opinions of the Another View crew are wide-ranging, as many of you might surmise from their commentaries.

For Ken, his concerns center on “an overly intrusive government at the state and national level.”

Paul said, “The national level is an umbrella that colors a lot of what we write about.” But in terms of Maine, his concerns are focused on the quality of education. “Education is the key to whether your population stays around or goes away,” he said.

Jan feels strongly about the Supreme Court. “We need to keep the Constitutional approach instead of it being a ‘living document’ like liberals want.”

For Dale, he worries about what he regards as an attack on the Bill of Rights, mainly the First and Second Amendments. “Diversity,” he said, “excludes Christianity.”

The group gets together every week to talk about these issues and others. I was happy to join them for breakfast and listen to their ideas and beliefs. It’s always good to put a name to a face, and interact in person.

I was reassured that each and every one of them expressed a desire for Another View to avoid any sort of finger-pointing and name-calling, and to instead be “issues focused.”

“It’s amazing, when you get down to the issues,” Ken said, “there is disagreement, mainly over the solution or the cause, but people can agree that something needs to be done.”

He followed up after our meeting with an email that furthered his sentiment, “I can’t overstate my conviction that Maine people are far, far less ‘divided’ than we are told we are. The shame of it is that we no longer attend community events where we are aware we’re talking to people we will see again and again and whom we value as either friends or at least colleagues over being ‘right’ or ‘winning’.”

I like to think the opinion section of the Coastal Journal provides that community space for people to discuss their ideas and beliefs.

You don’t have to agree or disagree. But if a letter makes you think about something you might not have considered before, or even better, inspires you to elucidate those thoughts in your own writing, we get a little bit closer to bridging what keeps us apart in this highly charged, deeply emotional moment of America’s evolution.

Rachel Leonard is editor of the Coastal Journal.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Dec 23, 2017 14:19

“Isn’t there something creepy about corporations giving cash bonuses to employees explicitly because of the passage of certain legislation or because of specific regulatory actions? Doesn’t it have something of a Road to Corporatist Serfdom feel to it?”

Bill KristolVerified account @BillKristol

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Dec 23, 2017 10:38

Believe that we truly have more in common than most realize. Conservation on both sides needs to be rational and given the opportunity to have a chance to be discussed .Iniatile posts should avoid anger or responses may be tart.

Jan Dolcater, Rockport

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 23, 2017 09:40

Overly intrusive government until it comes to a woman's rights or the use of marijuana or LBGTQ rights then you want to be intrusive. Then you mentioned not calling names until saying "like liberals want'. Can't have it both ways, yet that seems to be the idea of our governing leadership these days. Don't get me wrong, the division started way before Trump came into office so we can't blame it all on him. We all have a part and can choose to be part of the solution or part of the problem.

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Dec 23, 2017 08:48

Good Morning, Mr. Florance,

I hope you are feeling better after you unloaded on us. It is obvious that you do not understand,we are providing diversity to this area which has longed been presented with only left wing or far left drivel .

The response to the tax bill by numerous major corporations to provide substantial bonuses to their employees is only the beginning of a spread of a significant upswing away from the 8 anemic years of 1.6 GDP provided by your community organizer who had zero business acumen. .In the coming year we should GDP in the 4% or more range which will increase both small and large American businesses. More jobs will be needed and wages of the work force will increase and overall take home pay across the country will be higher. Most people prefer to be able to spend more of their money than have the government ito do it for them.

I assume you would prefer higher taxes and more big inefficient government. I am curious, when were you a Republican back in the era of Wendell Wilkie ?

I hope your seizure is better now.  Merry Christmas

Jan Dolcater, Rockport


Posted by: Patrick Michael Florance | Dec 21, 2017 08:28

Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse these individuals seem hellbent on destroying what little democracy that we have left in this country . What they subscribe too brings us creatures like trump and his cabinet who are determined to destroy every element of sanity that still exists in this country. The recent so-called tax bill produced by the republican senate and congress is a classic example of the destructive power of one party rule.  It is class warfare in its most vile form.  I was a republican for many years but decided that I could no longer tolerate being a member of the party of "Greed Over  People".  We are not a democracy but a Corpocracy.  One hopes that America will survive this onslaught !  Both parties need to wake up before the burning books begins!

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