11/25/1999 - Forecaster Letter to Editors

State intervention in ferry feud long overdue:

To the editor:

I would like to express my disappointment and umbrage with your reporter's absurd declarations in your Nov. 11 edition of The Forecaster. Rather than good reporting, this article appears to be a paper written for an assignment in Propaganda 101.

When such statements as "Cumberland plotted state seizure" are made and then to back those allegations with terminology such as memorandums "suggest" or memorandums "indicate" tells me that there is bias and a desire to disrupt a process that has taken years to reach a possible conclusion.

I represented Chebeague Island on the Cumberland Town Council for the first seven years after the council form of government was adopted. During that time Cumberland was forced to ask the state legislature for help (a transit district seemed the best option at that time) after Yarmouth tried to close down Bob Blanchard's parking lot.

Mr. Blanchard did not back down nor did he oppose the transit district idea, as best as I can recollect. If there =ever was "plotting," one has to go back more than the four years referred to in the article to know about the animosity that was beginning to show itself on both sides.

The legislature decided the towns should work the problem out and was given a year to do so. We met on a regular basis all that winter and the representatives of the two councils arrived at an amiable compromise.

The two councils met at the town office in Cumberland to take care of details, only to hear that the Yarmouth planning board had turned down all the work and - I like to think good will - that was generated during the winter.

Of course there were more expensive studies in the '80s and '90s which have been written about until I am sure your readers are tired of it all.

It has been apparent to me for over 25 years that the only solution would be state intervention. Finally it looks like that may come about. Although it cannot be a popular decision for everyone, the MDOT commissioner is making the right one.

When study after study has shown that there was no alternative to the Blanchard lot, then lets get on with it and let the Chebeague Island families who depend on the transportation link to the mainland for their livelihood live in peace, realizing all the while that the lawyers are having a ball.

Kenneth Hamilton
Chebeague Island, Cumberland