Web Skipper's Comments
This page is intended to provide me (Burr Taylor) with an opportunity to
highlight new additions and changes to the website as well as a place for
me to express some of my ideas. Your comments are welcome. As always
please, send them to
post them on the new comments page.
Other Pages in the section
Response to Selectman Weil
I haven't seen the entire Selectmen's meeting, yet, but
Kristi, in the Administrator's report, referred to a letter from the town
lawyer about using mooring fees for the General Fund.
You can read it here.
ConocoPhilips has applied for a permit for an offshore
facility in Mobile, Alabama.
al.com News; Reasons for an offshore facility include safety and
I was straightened out about the number of signatures the
revote people need. The town requires 277 (of the vote in the last
gubernatorial election) to meet the requirements for a petition that would
force the town to put it on the warrant. Even so, the Selectmen do not
have to put in on the ballot because the court ruled they do not
need if the same vote just happened. I am told that Fairwinds requires
2000 signatures if they are going to return to town and pay for the next
I have not seen any revote petitions for two days-since
The Selectmen's Meeting 4/2/04
Next week's meeting will be on Tuesday because Gordon will
be at a hockey game
They discussed the fee schedule (the Budget Advisory
Committee had mad recommendations) I was surprised that the BAC had
recommended an increase in mooring fees from $8.00 to $20.00, ($100 for
non-residents) then $25.00 next year. I wonder what they plan to do with
the money. Gordon was far more interested in raising the fees at the
recycling center. Jim was mostly concerned about raising the prices of
copies made at the town office even though Kristi say the current $.25 is
Kay Ogrodnik said she had expected a list of
guidelines governing the behavior to be on the agenda by that meeting. She
explained that in fact her request was a petition and should be honored
just like other petitions. (She said it much better than I.)
Kristi tried to respond to my query about what is the
appropriate venue to express concern about the behavior. She said during
public comment at a selectmen's meeting, in a letter to the editor, or at
the ballot box. Unfortunately, none of these choices provides an
opportunity/requirement for the selectmen to respond. I am still looking
for a better way.
Both supporters and opponents of a revote have been
reported on 123 and on 24 collecting signatures. Opponents of the recall
can sign a petition on line at Fishing Families for Harpswell
Or at the Grange on Sunday, April 4, from 9am - 5pm.
I have not been told where the pro-revote petition can be signed.
The Selectman's meeting
Public comment was moved to the end to help prevent people
from continuing to wallow in the mess.
In response to Mr. Merryman's saying that he had received a
telephone threat, Mr. Weil spoke out strongly against threats and violence
by anyone and any side in Harpswell. Amy Haible complimented him on the
statement. I agree it was a welcome statement.
Only one petition had been presented to the Selectmen,.
There was no petition yet on a revote. Mr. Weil made a detailed statement
about the kinds of petitions and how the Selectmen were required to
response. They are aware that they do not have to approve a re-vote.
Selectman's Meeting of 3/18: Two citizens used the
public comment section to express very articulately about some of their
concerns about the behavior of the Selectmen in recent meetings,
particularly Mar 4
John Loyd, Spoke for the value of an economic
Allison Hawkes: Mr. Knight's use of word disgust,
belittling citizens, selectmen turned venomously on people who disagreed,
did not allow them to respond. an abuse of power, a power trip, most of
the hard feeling stem from the lack of unbiased leadership by the
selectmen. The selectmen should should have used the opportunity to lead
by example, instead they used it to further their own interests
Kay Ogrodnik: Called for policy to be followed by
both Selectmen and speakers. (1. no gossip, make defamatory comments or
use abusive or vulgar language; 2. refrain from arguing; 3. Right to good
will, right to be heard, right to be responded to with courtesy, right to
have one's own view, right to clear and informative answers, right to be
spoken to with respect, right to be free from verbal or physical threats,
right to be free from angry outbursts and rage, no loud voices, personal
attacks and intimidation are prohibited, no campaigning in town buildings.
She referred to the following behaviors by the Selectmen: personal attacks
by selectmen, us, use of personal emails without permission referring to
Yellow wood report in disgusting and vulgar terms. Factual responses
are OK. While her husband was having a discussion with a selectman,
another selectmen became so angry that he he threw two heavy books within
inches of her husband and her, as well as shouting profanities. She said
it was wrong to electioneer from the Selectmen's meeting.
BJ Wallace, Congratulated Gordon, and said it was OK
for some to announce candidacy from podium, and selection should speak up
and set record straight.
Weil, Said no one should make personal
attacks, or treat people rudely. Although he did not acknowledge doing
that, he did say he would try not to do that. Thinks role of Selectmen in
bringing about reconciliation is limited, it is up to all the people in
the town. He thinks that means leaving things in the past in the past, and
dealing with the future. He agrees with need for rules, wants to go back
to the days when there was limited public comments about complaints,
questions or compliments, all pretty small. This is not a town meeting a
not a public forum, selectmen do have the right to limit who speaks at a
selectmen's meeting, and when and on what. Electioneering is OK.
Knight, Sometimes people come forward with
some real good ideas, should bring issues to Town Administrator. He has
considered changes to public but his idea is for everyone to speak
whatever is on their mind. Need to move on and focus on the issues. Job
takes a lot of time. The concerns a matter of the selectman just trying to
Burr's thoughts: I feel Ms. Hawkes and Ms. Ogrodnik raised
some extremely serious concerns in a matter that showed appropriate
respect. For all practical purposes the Selectmen choose to ignore them.
The Selectmen said to keep the past in the past, but that was what was
said after the fight between Selectmen Knight and Swallow. I think these
issues need to be faced by the Selectmen. They are not related directly to
LNG and that debate. They are related to how the Selectmen carry
themselves in office and how they deal people who disagree. It is a very
current issue. The Selectmen still only complain about people who are
critical of their behavior. I strongly disagree with Selectmen Weil that
the Selectmen have a minimal role to play in bringing about reconciliation
in Harpswell. For reconciliation to be success, I believe we need some
assurances that the behavior of the selectmen will change, and that the
people of Harpswell do not need to fear speaking up.
I think my wife hit it right on the head: When we had finished hearing the
Selectmen's comments, she said "They are certainly fat and happy."
The Selectmen said that the meeting was not the right place to speak up.
Therefore I sent the following mesage to the Selectmen today.
At the last Selectmen meeting (3/18) two Harpswell citizens
expressed serious concerns about the behavior of the some of the
Selectmen. In no uncertain terms they were told that they were using an
Could you tell me what is the correct venue for citizens to
express concern about the behavior of the Selectmen?
This is not a rhetorical question. I look forward to an
Also, at this meeting Selectmen Weil spoke in favor of
smaller committees, citizens can only be on one committee at a time, and a
greater variety of people should be on a committee. The example he used
was that there should be non-clammers on the Marine Resources Committee.
While I am strong in favor of diversity, I oppose his suggestions. Having
a person on only one committee would inhibit other committees from know
what is going on. with other committees. Traditionally the Land Use
Committee was made up of members of several other committees and were
expected to share information about what was happing. In general, the
proposal seems too much like another effort to keep information, ideas and
power as close to the Selectmen as possible.
Apparently a petition is being circulated promoting a
revote on Fairwinds because of the bomb scare. I have heard this has
been verified through the town office.
As always I appreciate your comments.
As you can see I am trying to remodel this website to cover
a broader area of interest and concerns. Right now I am not sure there
will be enough interest to make it worthwhile, but I will try it for a
The Fairwinds vote has passed and we have had one
Selectman's meeting and one town meeting. There is talk of reconciliation
now. That is good. I need some reconciliation. I looked it up in the
dictionary: "n 1: the reestablishing of cordial relations" Does
anyone have any ideas of how I can achieve reconciliation with the
Mr. Weil in his letter to the editor of the Times Record
Harpswell people now expect that the town's sense of
community should be restored, and they look to the selectmen to bring that
about. Certainly, town government should treat all townspeople fairly and
provide service to them without taking into account their positions or
conduct in the LNG campaign. The processes of government must be open to
But the major responsibility falls to the people
themselves. Each side showed a good deal of mistrust of the other, so
community can only be restored if each of us begins to treat others with
trust and respect. The time to begin is now.
I agree that we cannot expect the Selectmen to bring about
a renewed sense of community on their own, but I believe the people of
this town can expect the Selectmen to provide leadership in that
direction. Note that Mr. Weil says the town should provide service to all
regardless of their position. That is a minimal offer. I interpret that as
meaning the town will take my taxes, but don't expect anyone to say hello
or smile. I think that sets a bad example.
Mr. Weil acknowledges that both sides showed evidence of
mistrust. However, he does not acknowledge the major role the Selectmen in
general, and Mr. Weil in particular , had in creating and perpetuating
There was no reconciliation at the Selectman's meeting on
3/11. It was much closer to a pre-election (3/13) rally for Mr. Weil and
Mrs. Knight and a mutual admiration session. It is interesting that they
did not give equal time to the other candidates in this very popular show.
It is also interesting that they have plenty of time for mutual
admiration, electioneering, but not dissenting opinions.
Mr. Knight's demand for an apology from Amy Haible at the
end of the meeting struck me as more political grandstanding by Mr.
Knight. It may have also been an indication about how Amy Haible would be
treated if she won. Mr. Knight justified his comments by saying something
like, "I have to say this." Mr. Weil used the same justification for his
so very divisive rant a few weeks ago. Maybe they would let me speak, if I
just said, "I have to say this."
Mr. Gelwick's motion to reduce monies for Harpswell TV was,
in my opinion, totally inappropriate, provocative attempt to achieve what
may be a worthwhile goal. It led to an impossible, inappropriate and
inevitable debate on the floor of the meeting. I was appalled, and I was
even more appalled that the Selectmen did not say anything, which could
have included better ways to achieve Mr. Gelwick's goal.
So my response to Mr. Weil's letter is that right now the
behavior of the Selectmen is making it very difficult to bring about
reconciliation. The town needs your help, not your barbs, attacks and