July 5, 2013

Letters to the editor: Old Orchard recall a democratic success

The recent political drama generated by the Recall 4 effort succeeded in making headlines in media statewide. But the real significance of our victory has been overlooked. After all, recalls are rarely successful; how did we do it?

click image to enlarge

Vehicles pass political signs put up by candidates for office in the June 11 Old Orchard Beach recall election. The success of the Recall 4 effort proves that voters will respond when the issues are explained to them, an Old Orchard Beach resident says.

2013 File Photo/Shawn Patrick Ouellette

It's no secret that the average citizen perceives politics as an insider's game -- too corrupt and/or ineffectual to warrant their participation. But our campaign proved that by talking to voters face-to face and explaining the issues, they will respond!

One of our talking points was explaining that in a democratic society, recalls provide a remedy to redress grievances, especially against officials whom they see as acting against the public interest.

Coincidentally, our Independence Day celebrates the rising up of our forebears in 1776 to oppose the high-handed rule of England's George III. Today, we can express our discontents through less violent means -- like recalls and referendums.

During the campaign, a common concern was that the recall might cause outsiders to view our town as a "laughingstock," which might hurt our tourist economy. These concerns turned out to be unfounded -- as evidenced by the overflow crowd of well-wishers in the Town Hall chamber who had come to witness the orderly transfer of power.

So, to my fellow citizens, I say, be proud of your achievement: Not only did we show that our town was not a laughingstock, but quite the opposite! We are trend-setters! Because we showed that when citizens are united by commonly felt injustices, we can empower ourselves to fight "City Hall" ... and win!

Congratulations, Old Orchard Beach. You kept alive our legacy of independence handed down to us by our founders in 1776 -- a legacy too valuable not to pass on to future generations.

Thank you for your support.

Fred Dolgon

Old Orchard Beach

Bikers' four-lane maneuver critical to avoiding injury

In response to recent letters regarding the relationship between commuting bikes and cars, I will clarify why bikers do what they do in one particular situation.

Turning left at a four-lane intersection on a bicycle is an often-misunderstood maneuver.

Getting into the left lane means crossing the right lane, where cars are intent on going straight or right. This can be a dangerous move on a bicycle. It is downright suicidal when the light has turned green and everybody is moving.

The safest choice for the bike is to stay in the right lane until the light is red, then ride between the lanes to the front of the line before the light changes.

The idea is that everybody sees that the biker is there. (This move can be disconcerting for cars surprised to see a bike zooming between the lanes, and it also seems impolite for the biker to cut to the front of the line.)

When the light turns green, the bike proceeds through the intersection to the right of left-turning cars and ends up in the right lane, safe and sound.

Sudden changes, mistakes or road rage can lead to dire consequences for the biker. Please use caution at intersections.

Chris Beaven

Portland

DEP chief Aho promotes reasoned stance on issues

I read with dismay your recent "investigative" report on Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Pattie Aho ("The Lobbyist in the Henhouse," June 16-18).

Shame on you for printing such a one-sided, offensive piece, designed strictly to appease the very left side of your readership and to undercut the current administration. This form of character assassination is what is wrong with our political discourse these days.

I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Commissioner Aho on a variety of subjects relating to the concerns of the constituents my organization represents.

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