Hello, Fellow Islanders -

I'm still unable to say "Good morning" because it isn't. A glance out your
window says it all.

It's time to pass the baton on local-issues leadership to ???

Unfortunately this question will remain unanswered. No committed Chebeaguer
stepped forward to volunteer to carry the baton and lead Save Our Island
efforts on the local front as a community-wide organization.

What does this mean? Two things -

First, it means Save Our Island efforts will continue as a community-wide
organization and as these pertain to existing and new statewide and
state-level initiatives that work towards achieving our mission as defined
nearly a year ago. This includes continued maintenance of existing websites
and broadcast emails as appropriate for state-level efforts. This may
include, but is not limited to, the following:
1) action to enact the Maine Land Bank or similar broad assessment-based
bill that promotes community stability and preservation
2) action to allow Chebeague to secede from Cumberland should broad-based
local support be evident
3) action to enact legislation that improves the property valuation
process, tightens controls and standards, and results in more equitable
4) action to enact legislation to replace ad velorum/market-driven property
assessments with an ability to pay system, user fee system, or combination
5) action to enact legislation to allow working waterfronts to be assessed
at current use and similar to farmland and tree growth
6) action to co-ordinate informational meetings and organizational
structure for state-wide purposes

Second, it means Save Our Island efforts are discontinued effective today as
a community-wide organization and as these pertain to existing and new
community and local-level initiatives that work towards achieving our
mission. This includes deactivating the Chebeague Community page on the
website and discontinuing broadcast emails regarding local-level efforts and
budget issues. This also includes, but is not limited to, the following:
1) further action to have the 2002 revaluation reversed
2) further action to assist in assessment abatements and appeals
3) further action to put municipal and SAD budgets on the mid-year ballot
as a local referendum to enhance and broaden voter participation
4) further action to elicit local support to secede from Cumberland
5) further action to co-ordinate informational meetings and organizational
structure for issues of local importance

The legislature and Governor must be pressed at every opportunity to do what
is conscionable, right, and doable. The town and school officials must be
pressed at every opportunity to do the same. It's blatantly obvious neither
group will do this of their own accord. They need to be educated and shown
what is required and expected. In doing so, citizens must be active, hold
their officials' feet to the fire, offer alternatives, and pursue every
viable avenue if we want and expect to accomplish our mission in any
meaningful way. Apathy and lack of action simply allow officials to maintain
the status quo or do worse by us. Let us not be our own worst enemies.

Going forward at the state level, it appears Save Our Island volunteers will
necessarily be participating on panels, presenting to large organizations,
soliciting support from other communities, and doing considerable research -
all requiring much travel and time. We may initiate a petition to gain the
signatures necessary to allow the Maine Land Bank legislative bills to
appear on the ballot as citizen initiated referendums and exactly as we have
written them, without the compromises and resulting ineffectiveness that may
be required for legislative support and undermine citizen support. This all
takes money and soliciting for contributions. The referendum route takes
hundreds of volunteers to gather signatures at the polling booths and
requires organization and more. And it all takes time.

Spreading our few directly involved volunteers more thinly will not yield
beneficial results on anything. Thus the need to spin-off responsibilities
pertaining to local level issues.

I am hopeful volunteers and contributions from Chebeague and around the
state will be forthcoming when it is needed for state-level initiatives and
solicitations occur. And I am hopeful you will send us your ideas about
other legislation and state-wide action that are needed. We don't corner the
market for ideas!

I am equally hopeful a good communicator having an all-encompassing
perspective and commitment to this community will step forward sometime in
the near future to pick up the baton on the local front. A great deal is
needed and much needs to be developed here.

Best to each of you,
Boopie Tellinghuisen
Save Our Island - Statewide Initiatives Coalition

PS FYI - Here's a link to a recent article on the Cape Elizabeth
revaluation. Keeping in mind recent interior and shorefront sales prices on
Chebeague, this can happen here in Cumberland on the same scale -

PPS Here's a link so you can participate in an opinion survey on Gov.
Baldacci's tax reform and relief proposal. While the question is poorly
worded, we strongly recommend a vote for "No, it doesn't help homeowners
being taxed out of their homes."