Remember Jay Walking?

Posted:  Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 8:45am
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In response to the Camden Herald’s Feb 13th editorial piece, “An anti-climactic end?” I'd suggest that what the Herald’s editorial board authors fail to understand or be willing to convey is that the democratic process WAS being upheld, since the five members of the Select Board had already been voted into their positions.
 
The Selectmen did us a favor voting so that the average person on the street wouldn’t have to mire themselves under tomes of existing zoning and comprehensive plan verbiage. Indeed, Planning Board member Lowrie Sargent had punted the issue to the Select Board after suggesting that the issue was too complex for the voters to fully understand. Since the comprehensive plan had also been approved by the voters, where, exactly, was this disconnect in the democratic process supposedly taking place?
 
It wasn't. In fact, the only thing missing here was a convenient way for investors to do an end-run around the voter-approved boards, plans, and laws in order to breath some life into an investment project strapped by a slow real estate market. This is the real issue that the voters need to focus on. 
 
The notion given by the Fox Hill people that the average person on the street is sufficiently versed in the technical merits of this argument would be like Jay Leno running out of comedy material during his infamous “Jay Walking” episodes when he would stop people on the street to ask them about their knowledge of everyday events and politics. Jay wound up with years worth of comedy material from people's ignorance over simple current events. How are people expected to sufficiently familiarize themselves with complex zoning laws before the onslaught of Fox Hill canvassers show up at their door this Spring to sway their vote? 
 
What I heard at the Select Board meeting was a commanding voice from those in attendance who patiently waited to inform the Board and their fellow citizens that putting this issue to the voters, as well as the entire Fox Hill plan, was not wanted. It wasn’t even close; it was a landslide. And yet, the forces behind this effort are now poised to send this issue to the voters by suggesting to them that they are somehow being robbed of their voice in democracy. 
 
Frank Long
Camden, ME