'The Fox' is out of the pen

By Reade Brower | Mar 21, 2014

“Humans think they are smarter than dolphins because we build cars and buildings and start wars, etc., and all dolphins do is swim in the water, eat fish, and play around. Dolphins believe they are smarter for exactly the same reasons.” — Douglas Adams, writer, dramatist, and musician (1952-2001)

Be careful what you wish for

“The Fox” is out of the pen and into the chicken coop. I was on vacation in early March so perhaps this is stale news by now as the opponents of the Fox Hill project are mobilizing for their next move. These same protestors were ecstatic when the Camden selectmen denied Camden voters the right to have a say in the matter.

So now, instead of it being in the hands of the people, the owners and investors of Fox Hill have spoken and it looks like they will have the last word. It is a poetic justice perhaps for the opposition that the issue is now swirling the toilet bowl. Although some insist it is not justice and that they will fight it, it looks and feels to me like the reality is that we will get an eight bed facility at Fox Hill instead of the 12 bed one that was originally proposed.

I believe that if this had come to vote, and been voted down, Fox Hill would have had a harder time fitting into Camden, and the opposition would have a better footing for crying foul. However, without the vote, the hospital and their investors were forced into a corner and came out with a prudent, for them, decision that was creative and unexpected. In a game of chess, the opponents react with tactical moves when pinned down. In this case, Fox Hill was cornered and their reaction unanticipated by their opponents.

Let’s hope that Fox Hill provides the economic support that is the promising piece in all this, while not interrupting the residential neighbors. As a resident in Camden, I had not made up my mind whether to vote for a zone change for Fox Hill, or not, and now will move on to other matters at hand and welcome them to Camden. I did the same for MBNA and Mr. and Mrs. Cawley when they came to town. My hope is that Fox Hill contributes to our communities the same way the Cawleys and MBNA did.

When the YMCA moved across the street from us over a decade ago we had many concerns. Our neighborhood is residential as well. Not quite as residential as Bay View Street perhaps but still, to us and our neighbors, it was the same. We feared the traffic from the YMCA would be troublesome and the headlights from cars emerging during dinner hours in the winter left us squinting at our dinner table.

We adapted. We met with the YMCA executive director and faced the fact that it was up to us to solve the problem by putting up some large trees to block the light. The YMCA folks were gracious listeners and even came to our dinner table one night to check out the non-stop headlights but, in the end, could only say “sorry, we can’t change the exit." They invited us into their home and gave us a family membership for three years while agreeing that large trees were needed unless we wanted to eat dinner at 4 p.m. or after 9 p.m. in the winter. With young boys of our own who could use the basketball courts, a mother that liked the pool and an overweight father needing a local gym, the YMCA became the friendly neighbor we hoped for and life went on. I hope Fox Hill residents can do the same.

Camden Harbour Inn – Justice served

Upon my return, I was happy to hear that the Human Rights Commission used common sense in dismissing the charges against the Camden Harbour Inn after determining that the innkeepers and their staff did everything possible to accommodate the handicapped gentleman that visited their establishment last summer. Not only was justice served, but I think the Human Rights Commission did their job, which I see as that of a watchdog, rather than going on a witch-hunt. Now, why and how this was brought to them is another story. Whoever decided to bring this to Human Rights looked at the same evidence and still made the decision to move forward by recommending it to the Commission. In the end, Camden Harbour Inn paid their attorneys a “pretty penny” to defend themselves in front of the Commission while the accuser got off without any accountability. That is the piece that defies common sense to me. What a shame that accountability can’t be at the core.

Obama haters

I had one come out to me, “off the record,” and tell me he wasn’t a hater but then he bashed the president and me without mercy. He told me that I sounded like a “progressive” and that I should move to Canada. He was 99.9 percent sure that Obama was not born in this country. He asked me “off the record” whether I thought, if proven true, Obama should be impeached. My answer is a qualified “yes." While I never thought that infidelity should have been an impeachable offense for President Clinton, this one does defy our Constitution, and if true, would warrant serious consideration by me that it is an impeachable offense. I wish my reader would go “on the record” and share his proof with me; I think we could make a million dollars from Donald Trump, if that’s still on the table. In the least, we could have a moment in the sun by breaking the biggest news story of the millennium. I’ll let you know if I get “the proof." By the way, I don’t like “off the record." We ask all letters to the editor be signed just so people become accountable for what they share. Unless there is a need for one’s identity protection, verses just an opinion that you don’t want shared, it is cowardly not to put your name behind what you think. I am not calling the “off the record” commenter a coward, rather the act of sharing an opinion without any accountability is, in my opinion, cowardly.

Further, I saw a comment online that also hit a nerve. It was about Obama and the Affordable Care Act. This commenter did sign her name and I appreciate that because we can now have a discussion about her complaint. She basically called Obama a habitual liar, citing Obamacare and the president's promise that you could keep your medical plan and doctor as her only example (I’m sure she could come up with many, many others if pressed.).

I think calling our president a liar is a bit harsh here. Has he made statements that haven’t worked out? Absolutely. However, I am of the opinion that to be a liar, it must stem from intention, not poor execution or things changing that you could not control.

In the case of Obamacare, I don’t think you get a lot of push back from the criticism leveled that its initial execution was horrible. And it is hard to deny there were unintended consequences that came out and really challenged the health care initiative’s intentions.

My common sense defense of the Affordable Care Act is simply that the old system was not working! Something needed to be done, anything that moved us was better than status quo. I believe that the continued opposition for health care reform has hurt our country and our people more than this poor execution and roll out.

Even after passing it, the opposition continues to negate it, repel it, try to repeal it, all without concern for those who may be served by it and without a constructive, “let’s make it right and better” approach. Instead, they want to kill it. They seem to have one purpose in mind; they want to use it to discredit the Democrats and the president.

There are exceptions to this; those are the people that deserve our votes going forward. Republicans, Democrats and Independents that want to move us forward should be the ones that we salute and vote for in the next election.


Turn the Page. Peace out; Reade

Reade Brower can be reached at: reade@freepressonline.com.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Karen A Grove | Mar 26, 2014 19:30

Dear Mr. Brower:  I have to assume you were unaware that a few years after the YMCA built their new facility some your neighbors became very upset about the increase in traffic on your street and encouraged the Rockport Select Board to approach the Camden Select Board in an effort to convince Camden to make changes to how traffic moves through Route One in Camden thinking it would solve what was considered overload on your street. Long story short, the requested changes didn't happen and your neighbors who wanted relief are still living with a traffic problem that will not go away.


I am in favor of caution of inviting in businesses into residential neighborhoods.  Once the deed in done there are no 'do overs' if the overlapping relationship doesn't work out as promised.

Posted by: Paul W Brown | Mar 24, 2014 18:24

Thanks Reade, for your clear thinking and good "common sense". Now there's an oxymoron -- there's far too little that's "common" about common sense these past how many years. And it's really hard to get our society to move forward when there's so little agreement about "which direction is forward anyway?". What is it that's driving in these wedges everywhere, pushing us all apart? What ever became of the overriding desire to do what's best for all, rather than just "what's best for me?"

"United we stand, divided we fall"

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