Regarding Gov. LePage’s recent letter to the president about Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, let me see if I have this straight:
• Roxanne Quimby purchased large tracts of undeveloped land near Baxter State Park. Private property ownership has been a fundamental, individual right in the U.S. since the beginning and is surely something the governor, as a free-market and individual-rights advocate, would normally be expected to endorse.
• Quimby and her family decided that their land should remain in its natural state. This seems like a normal prerogative of property ownership as well. To that end, Quimby transferred it to the federal government, which agreed to the preservation and public-access conditions. In addition, a reported $40 million of Quimby money was committed to a trust established for the care, upkeep and management of the monument.
• Gov. LePage’s letter urged the president to undo the federal government’s designation of this property as a national monument. LePage argues that such action is needed because the establishment of the monument represents a grave injustice to the people of Maine, is harmful to the area’s economy and is harmful to local recreational activities.
The governor offers no facts to support these claims. The letter also calls for return of the land within the monument to private ownership. Could he mean returning it to its most recent owner, Quimby?
The governor’s letter presents a patently socialist position whereby the purported collective interests of “the people” trump the rights of a private property owner. I raise this because the governor has often labeled those who disagree with his views as “socialists.”
Is Gov. LePage OK with taking a socialist position with respect to a property owner’s actions when that position aligns with the particular outcome he wants?
Falmouth and Island Falls