ROCKLAND — Three candidates, Benjamin Dorr, Harold Dale Hayward, Jr., and Brandy Perkins, are competing for one seat on the Rockland City Council. In an effort to better understand their goals and philosophies, Penobscot Bay Pilot sent them all a list of the same questions via email. What follows are their individual responses, as they have returned them.
I am 38 years old. I live in Rockland in a house I purchased in the South End. I was born at the old Camden hospital and have lived in Rockland for nearly my whole life. The exception is five years when I attended Husson College to achieve my bachelor’ degree; a few years when I was young in Arizona; and three years when I lived in Connecticut. I have worked in the Hospitality Industry along with banking and finance. Customer service is my focus on any of the positions I've held. I am currently a retail wireless consultant at U.S. Cellular in Rockland.
What are Rockland's greatest strengths, and how do you hope to maintain them?
Rockland has a vibrant downtown, community involvement and many year-round businesses that employ residents of our region.
I have worked as a volunteer for many events and groups, served on committees and boards over the years and have a great relationship with Rockland Main Street, Penobscot Bay Chamber of Commerce, Maine Lobster Festival and Coast Guard City Committee. I am also a very active participant when I can for local events and fundraisers. I would work to foster these relationships along with new ones to keep Rockland at the forefront of good news and to keep our look and feel as inviting.
What are Rockland's greatest problems to address?
Unity. There is no perfect world, but I'd like to gather some folks together and get down to it and agree on something. Even if it is ONE thing, we can focus on it and address it together. There is a lot of mentality of what's in it for me, or I don't care someone else will fix it, and finally my vote doesn't matter. There are approximately 7,200 year round residents and about 5,000 who are registered voters in Rockland. Where are you? Show up! Vote! Don't complain when there is an easy solution!
How would you like to see Camden Street (by Home Depot) develop, or redevelop? Four years ago, there was much conversation, and plans, to address that stretch. Have you looked at the plans?
I have not seen or heard of those plans. I believe there are too many businesses there to further develop any residential properties. Zoning is tricky there with the variety of businesses and residences along with complexes for both business and apartments whether for profit or not. I do know that it is a hard spot at night especially in the winter for lighting, walkways and crosswalks for pedestrians. I'd entertain most business proposals there and see if they were a good fit. I would also entertain a residential college in town as one of my opponents mentioned.
What is your vision for Rockland Harbor and where do cruise ships fit into that vision?
My vision for the harbor is to continue to become a part of the bigger picture, the future Rockland has worked for, deserves and has a place for our wonderful history and maritime heritage. Working waterfronts are a big thing. I addressed cruise ships in our City Council Forum the other night. Don't say no! Work together for the right fit and don't close the door thus letting in privatized docking where the city receives no benefits and has no say.
What is your position on recreational and medical marijuana sales, shops and social clubs in Rockland, and how do you want to see it all regulated?
Again I spoke on this issue during the City Council Forum. Don't close the door. This is a revenue stream Rockland can use welcome with grace, without degradation or discrimination. These businesses want to be taken seriously and are working to make the stigma about this industry fall away. Most are trying to help those that rely on the various medication needs of marijuana. It really helps!
Does Rockland need to adjust zoning to accommodate business growth, housing construction and industry expansion?
As a whole, no. Rezoning shouldn't be blanketed, but we have so many different types of zones that it is nearly impossible to rezone individually. Projects should be addressed at proposal time or before changing anything, try to work within areas that are properly zoned to make way for the new businesses or other proposals.
What is the importance of local government, and how do you see yourself, as a city councilor, in it?
Local governments are important because many people don't have a voice. I see myself as the voice for 1/5 of the 7,200 citizens of Rockland. I would fight for the city's rightful place in the Midcoast and Maine in general.
How do you see Rockland fitting into the greater regional economy and culture, and how would you like develop that?
As a current and very active board member of the Maine Lobster Festival I see the large scale tourism and reach we can attain first-hand. Rockland is a city amongst many smaller towns. We have a working waterfront, wonderful history and attractions year round that many in our community work tirelessly to achieve. I would continue to foster this mentality and volunteerism as we can only thrive if we work together.
How do you see short term housing rentals governed in the city?
I believe if you are boarding that it is separate from your property being rented year-round non-owner occupied. There is definitely a housing shortage in Rockland and a seasonal lodging shortage in the Midcoast. I would like to see us develop the housing in a way that addresses this. We have many year-round workers coming in from out of town due to this and have restaurants and shops shorthanded and employees working tirelessly in the busy season due to people not willing to travel.
How do you envision Rockland to be 10 years from now?
I envision a thriving city with a progressive outlook towards business and development.
Free space! Anything else you'd like to say to the voters that we haven’t considered?
Get registered, come vote, talk to and with your representatives! We can all thrive together!