By Carol McCracken (Post # 720)
Bypassing the public process, frustration at not being permitted to see the proposed bill before its arrival in Augusta and the future of education were but three of the many issues that concerned the energized 100 or so people who attended the first meeting of the Peaks Alliance early this afternoon. Ed Daranyi moderated the meeting that ran from 2 to 3:30 pm at the public library on the Island. The meeting was well run and civility reigned. There were no verbal clashes, despite the significance of the event.
Speaker after speaker decried the public process saying that it did not follow the steps as laid out by State of Maine Code – calling it underhanded and sneaky. No public notification and discussion of the contents of the bill took place. Daranyi said he’d asked the IIC several times to see the bill and he was turned down. In other words, the as yet unseen bill was “crammed down our throats in a sneaky and underhanded way,” said one of the non-sessionists. Russ Edwards, a member of the Secessionist Group, who attended the meeting said that the current bill is the same one that was submitted to Augusta in 2007. However, the population has changed significantly since then so not everyone has seen it. Lisa Penalver is a case in point. Having recently moved to Peaks from Alaska, she has been denied an opportunity to see the bill or learn of its contents which angers her.
At the outset of the meeting, Maureen Thompson suggested that Rep. Windol Weaver (R), York County, who sponors the bill, be asked by the Peaks Island Council to withdraw the bill. “If that isn’t possible, Weaver should be asked to speak against the bill when it comes up.” Matt Barnes, who designed the new web site (PeaksAlliance.org) said: “This lack of due process begs the question of how equitable would a future Peaks’ government be?” Laurence Mott, recently moved from a small, independent Vermont town, spoke of the “high burnout rate of people asked to do all the voluntary and non-paid work. And you must meet the demands of the summer people as well if you want to keep them,” he said.
“This is like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire,” said one participant who refused to be identified. Daranyi, the moderator said: “There is a lot of frustration around the process. I moved here because I wanted to be part of Portland. I like Portland. I like being able to tap into its resources and be a part of Portland. There are no guarantees.”
Peaks Alliance plans to stay in communication through technology such as emails and its web site, PeaksAlliance.org. Information and updates will be posted thereon. Election of officers is to come later.
For more background information on the secession movement, please visit herein Post # 719, dated 2/18; Post # 711, dated 2/12 and Post # 706, dated 2/8.