Letter to the editor: Eschew good-old-boy ways in Camden

Posted:  Friday, February 17, 2017 - 8:30am

I do appreciate the service of the Camden Select Board to our community.

However, as a businessperson and Camden resident, I feel compelled to share with that community my very deep concern about actions by the board that harm our prospects for growth, inhibit business, stifle innovation, and encumber entrepreneurial ingenuity.

Specifically, a pattern of picking business winners and losers by the board, led by Chairman John French, reeks of favoritism, continues to dim our economic prospects, and further solidifies our negative reputation as a town that sees business as a zero sum game rigged to benefit whoever has been around the longest.

The most recent debacle — though certainly not the first — involves Sidecountry Sports and Cold Toes Tacos. In this case the select board adopted the role of arbitrary enforcer of town rules at the Snow Bowl. This action directly favored some businesses to the detriment of others and is emblematic of this serious problem.

Camden doesn’t have any trouble employing bureaucracy to stop growth. Instead we must be creative and industrious in spurring growth forward. We will either attract youth and investment, or we will shrivel in a rising tide of negative economic and demographic trends facing our great state. 

I encourage every member of the board to eschew the good-old-boy way of doing business, and embrace fairness, transparency, and productivity. In the future, I will strongly support the campaigns of select board candidates who do, and I will work to defeat those who don’t.

Mark Benjamin lives in Camden