On the Right Lane: Flies in the snake oil


“God in his wisdom made the fly. And then forgot to tell us why.”
Ogden Nash, “The Fly”

It is a sad state of affairs that I have to write a column like this one. The political climate in Windham has digressed to the same point as it has in national politics as well as in Augusta. The shame here is that it doesn’t take as many disgruntled elected officials to make the whole bunch look bad, although that’s not the case. America is becoming the laughing stock of the planet and someone brought the snake oil.

Recently, one of Windham’s town councilors commented that he was like Sen. John McCain, who recently passed away. Well, I’m here to tell you that there certainly is no Sen. John McCain on the Windham Town Council or, as far as that goes, anywhere else in government. I find it extremely sad that the Town Council now has a minority of members who would rather create chaos and discontent rather than solve the many problems Windham has, and sadly, a recent fresh look at all town operations might reveal more problems. It is obvious that a previous and totally invisible study of Windham Public Works must have contained some kind of problems, but it appears that it solved nothing.

Having mentioned all of that, I wonder what kind of sanitized report will be issued once this Opus Group releases its findings, if it ever does. If there were no serious problems in Windham I would have to imagine that no study would have been needed. Sadly, and I have stated this many times, in several of my columns, I instantly knew Windham had problems when I stood up and opposed the personal property tax that Windham government attempted to implement over a decade ago. Why? The majority of phone calls I received about my position warned me that my local government would attack and bully me, which tells me that was a pattern and now I know it has lasted for years. I can only hope that this study will finally tell us what problems Windham has so that a solution can be found will eliminate them.

One of the problems with the Windham Town Council is that obviously some councilors haven’t read and/or don’t understand the Town of Windham Council Rules of Procedure. Those rules state: “When a member is about to speak, he shall address the Chairman, confine himself to the question under debate, and avoid personalities.” I guarantee that isn’t happening. There should be another paragraph in those rules that states there should be no tomfoolery, such as grandstanding. I always hope Windham councilors act with reason and civility, but I now presume at least a couple of them have equalized Windham politics with those at the national and even state level and that’s not good. Only God knows what is going on that the public can’t see. It is really and truly disgusting to see such conduct at the local level.

Rather than mention names I will just say it’s time for those Windham town councilors who are causing hate and discontent to grow up and act like adults. Windham doesn’t need child-like behavior from town councilors elected to do the town’s business. Hopefully in the future the study that was done on town government will be released, even if in a sanitized condition, so that all of the taxpayers in Windham finally realize what has been happening in their town. A lot of accusations have swarmed around the Windham town councilors, and I have a sense that this report might be part of the solution.

I suggest that the Windham Town Charter be changed to add a recall provision, along with a penalty of automatic dismissal for any town councilor who chooses not to follow town council rules and procedures. I also suggest that such changes be made as soon as possible so the situation doesn’t create enough stink to attract flies.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham wonders how far our political differences will become.