On the issues: Camden Select Board Candidate Peter Lindquist

Fri, 06/04/2021 - 1:30pm

    On June 8, voters in Camden will choose two of four candidates to serve a three-year term on the Camden Select Board. Penobscot Bay Pilot has posed questions to each candidate, providing the opportunity for the public to better understand their position on issues important to the town and region. Here, Candidate Peter Lindquist discusses his position on various topics.

    Please provide a biography of yourself and explain why you decided to seek a seat on the Select Board.

    Born in Southern Maine, it took me a few decades to discover the winds and waters of the Midcoast on a boat and bicycle. I was employed in photographic sale /digital imaging businesses and as you know, most of these industries have dramatically shifted. Most recently, I transitioned into our healthcare system where I’ve met most of you in a professional manner as a phlebotomist.

    Why get involved in town governance? For the same reason my wife, Sarah and I initiated a campaign to change an ordinance back in 2009 when keeping backyard chickens were prohibited by existing rule language. We assembled clear facts, made presentations and put it to town vote. Making positive changes can improve how we live & share our town. Positive changes, like we strive for in Rotary, that’s why I’m running again.

    What are the three most pressing issues facing Camden today, and how would you like to see them resolved?

    Pressing issues are in this order:

    1. Improve meeting and committee process between town managers, departments and citizens. Town manager and Select Board need to better explain the basics of complicated items that need consideration. How about improving the town’s website?

    2. Share & publish agreed priorities between our neighboring towns — Lincolnville, Rockport, Hope, Rockland. We currently share many resources, reducing wasted efforts and saving money. We should do more. Our Fire Chief Chris Farley stated this in the May 18th Select Board meeting.
    3. Strategically partner with Knox County, so Camden benefits from the services that we’ve already paid for. Let’s teach the public what our regional government offers all of us.

    How will you protect the Camden taxpayer as you shape and govern a municipal budget, and juggle various interests that request municipal funding throughout the year?

    What does “protect the taxpayer” refer to? I served on the Budget committee and I can’t say I felt that Town Manager Audra Caler, was doing anything that we needed protection from. Possibly, during our pandemic budget 2020, confused instructions from various state and federal departments made things challenging, but in her defense, Camden did a good job handling a pandemic that was largely dismissed by various national leaders.

    Every year, voters learn that the town cannot and will not fund every great idea that is proposed. The services that a town provides are pretty basic. Let’s review: Police, Fire and EMS, roads, sidewalks, snow removal etc., and daily tasks of cleanliness that promote public health and safety. Currently, Camden is committed to a long list of important projects. These projects represent good, valuable improvements to our region. My contribution will be to listen & ask questions.

    How do you envision Camden’s harbor and downtown to evolve, economically and culturally?
    How do you see Camden positioned in the larger regional Midcoast economy?

    I will answer 4 & 5 as one, in order to shorten this “interview”: Camden will always be a destination for tourism and outdoor activities, no matter the season. The Select Board could help by articulating and supporting this more effectively.

    Camden has a lack of workforce housing, as articulated by the current Select Board. Do you agree, and if so, what would you do to help improve the housing shortage?

    Maine has some of the oldest housing stock in the nation. Maine’s population (1.3 million) has been quite flat, until recently. For decades, people moved OUT of Maine. We are starting to see people relocating here, which shines a light on what’s available to buy or rent. Our town manager, Audra, has stated a housing trust is a possible solution to this shortage. I’d be willing to assist in voter education, informing the public on how a housing trust works. The broadband effort that Matt Siegel and Debra Hall are working on is an integral part in supporting businesses, workers and home buyers. Increases in housing will be a result of business growth and economic stability.

    Municipal committee meetings have been suspended for the time being by the current Select Board. Do you agree with that directive?

    I refer you back to answer # 2 under “pressing issues”. To see my point, go watch committee meetings over the last year. We can and should do a better job at managing citizen activism.

    The Camden-Rockport Pathways Committee has proposed a long term plan for safer and healthier pedestrian and bicyclist provisions. Have you read that plan and do you support it?

    There’s one long term plan dated 2015 on Rockport’s website; Camden’s 36-page plan is dated 2007. The committee has met and produced pages of minutes and questions. I found it confusing how this disparate use of volunteer resources will assure safer walking and biking. We should work with our Knox county planning professionals to assist on this concept.

    How best should all Camden citizens access high-speed, broadband internet?

    Approve (create) the corporation (Article #6) on our Camden warrant. Yes on 6.

    Does Camden need to draft new short term rental regulations? If so, what would they be?

    As voters will see on the June 8 ballot Article #5, Camden is proposing gathering data so when people have conversations about this new way of earning money from owning property, we know what we are dealing with, in numbers, not speculation. Yes on 5.

    Does the Snow Bowl need a new lodge?

    I think you meant, “does the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area need a long term strategy” ?? The answer is yes.

    Where is my favorite place in Camden?

    Same place as everyone: French & Brawn.