“SRO” Crowd Concerned About “Truncated” Secession Process Approved by State Legislature at Peaks Alliance Meeting Today; Called “Underhanded and Sneaky” Process


Russ Edwards of the Island Independent Committee: It's The Same Bill That Was Submitted Previously

Maureen Thompson wants bill withdrawn from Legislature

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.

2 thoughts on ““SRO” Crowd Concerned About “Truncated” Secession Process Approved by State Legislature at Peaks Alliance Meeting Today; Called “Underhanded and Sneaky” Process

  1. This talk about the submission of the bill being “sneaky” and “underhanded” makes for great political rhetoric, but flies in the face of certain realities.

    The people who complain loudly about never having seen the bill haven’t looked very far. The bill, as submitted, is the same as that which was submitted to the legislature the last time. Surely somebody in the anti-independence group has access to a copy. I have access to it. I’d be glad to give them a copy. All they have to do is ask.

    In fact, I offered multiple times to one individual to get him a personal copy. I asked for his contact information. He said he’d get back to me.

    I’m still waiting to hear from him. The island isn’t that big, so I’m not sure what the problem is. The offer stands, all one has to do is ask.

    As it turns out, the bill HAS to be the bill that was submitted, otherwise the AG wouldn’t have needed to make a determination that yes, this bill can go forward without jumping through the same hoops through which we have already jumped.

    It’s in the revisor’s office because certain details, such as the date of elections, have changed due to the nature of the calendar, i.e., the first Tuesday in November in 2007 isn’t the same date in 2011.

    Characterizing this as some kind of chicanery merely obscures the fact that a small group of vocal neighbors seeks to prevent island voters from having the chance to vote on this important issue. They prevented it before, and they seek to delay it again.

    All we ask for is the chance to move on to the next step of the process. Let us vote, then we can put the issue to rest.

  2. Hi Obie, the tone of this post was merely the impression of the writer of the blog. The tone of the Peaks Alliance meeting, which I attended, was actually very civilized and constructive. Among the audience are many former secessionists who are also very disturbed by how THIS secession bill was introduced, and the way valid information continues to be lacking. Your assertion that you have provided the OLD secession bill does not begin to address the question at hand, which is HOW exactly is the new bill different?
    From the undated draft made public by the IIC the following day in the face of public outcry, there are several significant differences: the boundaries have been expanded to include House Island (at their request), the timeline is new and compressed, and the negotiating team is narrowed down to just members of the Island Independence Committee–and no one else. That bit is likely to get stripped out in the Revisors office, but it speaks to the IIC’s intention to exclude others from participating in the process (this happened in the last secession effort, when the Solutions team requested a seat at the table for discussions with the City, and Mike Richards wrote a letter to try to block their participation)
    As for your suggestion that the 160 or so attendees at that meeting represent a “small group” trying to obstruct your vote, you must be projecting. Don’t kid yourself. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We now have an enormous email list of supporters and it continues to grow. The Alliance is not an “interest group,” as is the IIC. We are the people of Peaks Island, all of us. And we object to having a small group of individuals secretly submit a bill that threatens the way of life we enjoy on Peaks Island.

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