Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Dismayed and embarrassed

I am dismayed, embarrassed and very concerned of the recent vote by the Jay Town Selectmen concerning the C.M.P. proposed NECEC corridor through Maine. Presented with a town “certified” petition to allow the townspeople to have a say, by vote, in the town response to this proposal they denied the request with a tie vote of the board. My concern today has nothing to do with C.M.P. but with what has happened with our rights as citizens to petition our elected officials to allow our voice be heard and they deny that? What right or authority have they obtained from being elected to deny my rights as a United States citizen to peacefully petition our government?

Tom White

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17 Responses »

  1. Thank you Tom, I am 100% agreement with you. What happened in Jay Monday night goes far beyond anybody's opinion on the CMP corridor. What happened at the select board meeting was a disturbing over-reach of elected town officials to deny the voice of the people. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank all the concerned Jay residents who came out Monday hoping be heard but were instead silenced, mocked and diminished. I want to thank select persons Terry Bergeron and Gary McGrane who acted as true town leaders, putting aside their personal opinions, hearing our voices and acted in accordance with the will of the people.

  2. To be dismayed and embarrassed because other people in your town are in favor of the powerline shows that you know very little about public opinion surrounding this issue, just how many power lines already criss cross our state, just how much impact this one will have overall and what benefits the state will get from the power line.

    Believe it or not other people have looked into this project are in favor of it! I am dismayed and embarrassed that you do not realize that.

  3. Yes it's crap what they did.
    It was sufficiently covered in the article already which is drawing many comments.
    Now Tom has to generate "another" article about the same event.
    Which one to respond to.
    This would have been better left to ferment on its own Tom...
    It's not about any individual,,,,
    It's not about who can write the most articles,,,
    It's about voting those 2 clowns out asap.
    In the meantime,, go to the notary and keep the ball rolling.
    Thank you all for your with efforts in the face of this bullying
    Shame on Gov Mills.(1 term wonder).

  4. Tom did an amazing job at keeping things professional and courteous. It was truly embarrassing to watch the select board being just the opposite

  5. I wondered the same! When did it become ok for selectpersons to ignore a legal petition on the basis of their personal bias? I’m guessing never. Jay voters have every right now to ignore their board of selectman and force a vote of the people!

  6. l can honestly say that l’ve never experienced anything like what transpired at that meeting the other night in any other town to date. A legal petition was summited and it was denied for no good reason.
    I too have to agree that what happened at that meeting goes deeper than the NECEC situation. It was a travesty perpetrated by a few SelectBoard members whom thought it within their rights to deny the citizens of Jay a vote.

    Warning: that kind of vigilante mentality does not belong on a town board. If they’ve denied the citizens petition in this matter with no just cause, and there is no ramifications, they’ll do it again.

    I don’t envy you folks. No, not at all.

  7. Richy,

    The embarrassment had nothing to do with power lines crisscrossing our state and everything to do with watching elected officials undermining a legal and legitimate process. It’s called democracy.

  8. Richy - well, for once I can say that apparently you pay little attention to letters or comments. If you read most of the comments and Tom White's letter: "my concern has nothing to do with C.M.P. . . . " So, perhaps you need to keep your opinions focused on the discussion rather than your rant about for or against the corridor. This has NOTHING to with that, it has to do with statutory law and constitutional rights.

  9. Tom White, This gives them the right,

    In order for residents to get issues before the municipal officers, the initiators of the petition must collect a number of signatures equal to 10% of the voters in that municipality participating in the last gubernatorial election. Once all signatures have been verified, the municipal officers have the option of placing the issue on the next municipal warrant, which in some cases could be the following year, or are authorized, but not compelled, to hold a special town meeting.

    Petition for an enactment that would be illegal (ultra vires, meaning outside the scope of the municipality’s or petitioners’ authority) or that is preempted by state or federal law. In these instances, the municipal officers are justified in refusing to place the petitioned article on the warrant. In other words, the petition should be rejected, not for technicalities or philosophical differences, but because it attempts to do something that is illegal.

    If a notary public schedules the special town meeting there is question as to whether the decision of the residents is binding on the municipal officers. Basically, the issue is whether or not the municipal officers’ refusal to call a special town meeting was unreasonable – an issue which may have to be resolved by the courts.

    Which in this particular case, the town is under no obligation to put the "people's" wishes on the warrant, or call a special town meeting to call for a vote on the NECEC because it doesn't involve town business, ie the citizenry is petitioning the wrong government, and should try to petition the government who actually holds a vote on the NECEC, the MDEP, the LURC for example would be a good start. The town of Jay can't do anything in regards to the NECEC and doesn't have to hear any arguments about it one way or the other.

  10. Richy - I think you need to review Tom White's letter again. This is not about CMP, it's about statutory issues that were denied.

  11. @Richy. The neat thing is that you are entitled to your opinion!
    Even fools have that right! I encourage you to look into the legal aspect of the petition and how the selectmen failed to uphold their oath.

  12. Hrtlss, thanks for the detailed response. Good work on that front, did that take some research or is that your area of expertise? Either way, it's good to have the cold facts. While this issue is painful and seems to be unfair, one of the key points that irk me is the related activity by the Town of Jay. First, there is the video of Judy Diaz who supports the corridor, but who was supposed to be speaking as an individual - that is the story, yet she introduces herself right at the outset as a Select Person from Jay. Clearly this directly links the Town of Jay to supporting the Corridor. Secondly, a recent freedom of information search has turned up e-mails between a cmp consulting firm and the Jay town manager and is coaching her about how to respond to people with questions and how to essentially promote the corridor. You have to admit that this borders on unethical practices. I find it revolting. So, combining what Tom states in his letter with what I described does not give me confidence in eitherJay or cmp. (or the consulting company).

  13. Hrtlss,

    The NECEC doesn’t involve town business? Tell that to CMP and the town officials of Jay.

  14. Ozerki, You're welcome. I have had several dealings with municipalities over the years, and while far from an expert, I do know how the processes work.

    Judy Diaz, while she is a supporter of the NECEC, she did the proper thing and recused herself from the discussion and subsequent selectboard vote.

    The town manager's "coaching" by CMP may have the outward appearance of a conflict of interest, it would be normal for CMP to give the manager answers to questions that may arise which are directed to the town about CMP's involvement with town affairs in regards to the NECEC.

  15. Verso isn't the only thing that stinks in Jay!

  16. Hrtlss,

    Ms. Diaz did not recluse herself from the discussion. She said what she wanted until it was time to vote on the issue. As for recusing herself, she did so because it was requested of her by a citizen of the town.

  17. Yes Judy Diaz only recused herself because she had to..
    But she did so KNOWING full well that the Fix was in..Tom Goding and Tim DeMillo completed the dirty deed.

    How are you guys going to like it when the opposition prevails and stops this corrupt scam yjat is behind rammed down our throats BY THE LIKES OF YOU THREE...

    What's that smell??