On the Right Lane: Sprinkle love, not mandates


“If the government mandates anything with a price tag on it, then it ought to fund the project.”
Jesse Ventura, retired professional wrestler, former governor of Minnesota

I am going to try and sprinkle a little love, but it won’t be about another government mandate where the costs come out of our wallets. This time it’s about installing sprinkler systems in our homes, businesses and only God knows where else the government would love them – I suspect outhouses might be on that list. Yes, I understand why they are being pushed upon us, but I firmly believe in individual rights and not someone with a government badge telling us what we have to do. Quite frankly, if government wants to mandate something, government should pay for it with money that it robbed from Steve to pay to Paul.

Windham town councilors during a recent workshop met with some members of the Windham Fire Department and the State of Maine Fire Marshal’s Office. Of course, councilors might have been influenced by safety personnel already, because outside of Town Hall was a trailer that is used to demonstrate the effectiveness of a fire sprinkler system, which is fine and dandy if such systems are voluntary. That’s all well and good, but once again I stress how I feel about individual rights versus government mandates. The Gorham Town Council town recently approved a residential sprinkler ordinance for their town. Their ordinance that came close to also requiring a lockbox containing the keys to the house but in the end didn’t. To me such a lockbox containing keys to my home would have been a violation of the Constitution of the United States, but sadly I can bet nowadays many people have absolutely no clue what that the Constitution was all about.

Ready for the scary part? I have to wonder why there appears to have been some mysterious changes to the fire codes from what was publicly discussed and approved. In Windham, this is nothing new, just another reason the recent organizational study that was done on Windham didn’t contain information it could have, but that’s another column. So back to the fire codes of Windham and the requirement or not for residential sprinkler systems. The Windham Fire Department has what are called dry fire hydrants around our town. They are simply areas that have brooks, streams or a pool of water from which to pump water in order to fight a fire. The problem there falls upon the town itself for not maintaining them properly and so some of those dry hydrants have become useless. I hope no one told the homeowners’ insurance companies.

And if the town is set on safety, why do roadsides, except where homeowners mow them, contain weeds, bushes and even young trees that in many areas have become safety hazards? Take for instance the end of Nash Road, which runs from Route 302 and ends on Windham Center Road. Been there lately? When stopped at the end of Nash Road, branches and weeks block your view of any vehicles approaching. Good luck in not getting T-boned. It’s a definite safety hazard that should have been eliminated years ago. Where oh where do our Windham tax dollars go?

What scares me more than anything is that our government will never stop when it comes to the rules and regulations it wants to place upon us, even if we don’t ask for them. I would rather see government employees recommend rather than seek mandates. Our local municipal employees do a good job at what they are supposed to do. Let’s hope we keep it that way. I would like to see anything the government mandates that costs us money automatically become a tax rebate no matter how we file our tax returns.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham knows that Windham will now undergo a significant change. Hope it’s a good one.