Dazed and confused

24

“I know now why confusion in government is not only tolerated but encouraged. I have learned. A confused people can make no clear demands.”

John Steinbeck

Government not only confuses me, it also scares me. Take the state of Maine government which is raising the price of alcohol spirits (not beer or wine as far as I know) because it was stated that the sale of alcohol increased by 4 percent a year yet the amount of revenue didn’t increase. Hmm, does the state have dysfunctional cash registers or dysfunctional employees? Sorry, I can’t put it any blunter, but I have an idea the problem doesn’t lie with the sale of alcohol if you get my jest. Although not publicly stated, I have to guess that the state wants more money in the coffers even though Augusta sucked out of us something like $100 million in surplus in the state budget.

I  was trying to stay at the state level with this column, but unfortunately I listened to the Windham councilors during their meeting of 8 August. They are once again discussing starting another farmers market in Windham. I think that most of us know that a farmers market was started years ago and it failed. I would love to see such a market in Windham, but it should have nothing to do with local government and tax dollars. I believe that if farmers can create a market for their own products it is to their own benefit to create such a thing.  If something is really business savvy it’s going to take strong leadership as well as guidance to ensure that Windham has a vibrant farmers market. A new farmers market was suggested by a couple of members of the Windham Economic Development Corporation and that’s exactly where the planning and implementation should be.

Then the WEDC proposed changing one of two aquifer protection zones in North Windham. I am not going into a detailed rant about those zones but I have to ask who wouldn’t want to protect them? Windham’s Comprehensive Master Plan even stated if continued building in North Windham interfered with the ground water underneath it, further construction must stop. Does Windham have a problem where increased revenues from taxation overrides the environment? That’s the opinion I get from our local government.

Finally, I have left for last the best, or maybe worst, which happened early in the Windham council meeting of 8 August. I such conduct continues, I would hate to charge town councilors with not operating by their by-laws, which includes Robert’s Rules of Order. If something is not covered by anything else, those rules of order dictate how the Windham town councilors operate. The first thing under Unfinished Business and General Orders was to confirm an appointment made by the town manager to the position of director of code enforcement. The decision by the town manager hadn’t been made, I guess, so there was no reason to do the confirmation. Unfortunately, both the town council chairperson and vice-chairperson dropped the ball on that agenda item.

First the chairperson stated that the council would skip that agenda item for obvious reasons. Another councilor asked if that was OK. The vice-chairperson stated that they didn’t even have to read the agenda item. Oops, according to Robert’s Rules of Order there should have been a motion to postpone the agenda item to an appropriate time, the motion then seconded and then voted on by the council as a whole. I must add that the council leadership seems to skipping more of the format that they must follow and that’s truly a shame.

Maybe it will take new leadership to accomplish correcting that.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham wonders if anyone interested in establishing a farmers market in town has contacted the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets.