A strange thing happened on the way to the Maine GOP coliseum one recent weekend. On a cold and soggy Saturday morning, while we stood in line to enter the convention, the elderly couple in front of us turned out to be Democrats.

These two septuagenarian Democrats were not there to sabotage the convention by voting fraudulently in a Republican gathering. No, they were there as nonvoting guests. They were compelled to show their support for presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Apparently, these nonvoting Democrats were joined by a couple thousand Republican delegates who did vote for Ron Paul. As a result, they elected Brent Tweed as the convention chairperson and then elected the full slate of Ron Paul national delegates. This is democracy in action. We vote, they count the vote, the chips fall where they may.

Contrary to comments published by this paper, there was nothing underhanded about the GOP convention. Yes, someone issued a slate of national delegates that looked very similar to the ballot issued by the Ron Paul camp. I call that “creative gamesmanship.”

Charlie Webster extended the Saturday schedule by several hours as he allowed recount after recount of the votes for secretary and chairman. Credit him with making sure all the votes got counted this time around.

Bottom line, Charlie Webster and Brent Tweed both did an admirable job of shepherding the GOP convention. At the end of the day, the Ron Paul camp won. This story has been repeated in states like Nevada, Iowa, Louisiana and even Mitt’s backyard, Massachusetts. Ron Paul must be saying, “Can you hear me now?”

David Sawicki


Though not surprised, I am, however, disappointed in the media consistently providing one-sided, negative accounts and false information regarding Maine’s recent GOP convention.

Due to lack of credible research regarding the GOP process, the media consensus seems to be: Rules were broken, the party was divided and an unruly mob took over the convention.

The truth is there were no violations of party rules or parliamentary procedures. In fact, one of the parliamentarians who oversaw the convention, Thomas Balch, co-authored Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. For those of you who do not know, this is basically the rulebook for the convention.

In regard to the party as a whole, all participants at the convention were elected to be delegates: Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich supporters alike. Judging by the many votes that occurred throughout the proceedings, the voice of the majority of the republic was heard loud and clear.

Although Charles Cragin believes he was “supposed” to have been appointed chair of the convention, rules state that the chair must be elected by convention members at large, which is what occurred.

Cragin also claims that Paul supporters have “so phenomenally screwed this up,” professing that “when you have no rules, you have anarchy.”

I suggest that Cragin read the rules himself. Having read and studied the bylaws of the Maine GOP and Robert’s Rules of Order, I have no doubt that Brent Tweed and his parliamentarian constituents followed every rule, going as far as helping Romney supporters make their motions appropriately.

The weekend was a perfect example of a group of motivated, organized and educated people bringing new life and transparency back into a system that sorely needs it.

I can only ask that the media change their standards for “reliable sources” before they write a story.

Lindsey Atkinson


Rescuers urged to bolster oversight of dog adoptions

I have been taking in rescue dogs for the past four years. Most of the dogs I fostered have moved on to their permanent homes, though I’ve adopted a few I couldn’t part with.

I have worked with various rescue groups, some from Maine and some from out of state. I prefer to freelance so I can pick the dog based on the photo and description. Recently, I learned those descriptions are not always accurate.

In the past year, I have received two dogs from out of state with serious bite histories that I was not informed of.

The first time, I learned of the dog’s history on the day she arrived, when I was told that she was sent to Maine because there are fewer people here.

The second dog bit me and another individual seriously enough that I lost weeks of work and will be paying medical expenses for a long time. The dog wasn’t up to date on his rabies vaccine, though I’d been assured he was.

Like so many endeavors that start with the best of intentions, dog rescue may be out of control. Truckloads of dogs arrive in pet store parking lots in Maine and New Hampshire every weekend. Does anyone know how many? Is anyone checking anything at this end?

If there is no regulation, then there is no recourse for bad behavior. Bad behavior from one group makes all the groups look bad and costs them potential adopters.

The dog that bit me is back on the website where I first saw him, listed as available to adopt or foster. With so little oversight of this activity, he may be back in Maine again soon.

Mary Callahan


Drivers trashing roadsides all over our state and region

What happened to “Keep America Beautiful”? I grew up with this slogan posted all over the United States; people used to honor it.

As I am walking and driving around Maine and New England, I am appalled at the trash on the side of the road. What do people think is going to happen to their “stuff” as they toss it from their cars?

We live in the best country in the world, and we should all help keep this country beautiful and clean, at least while we are driving!

Christine Turner


Highland residents owed response on wind project

In May 2011, a press conference was held to announce that a majority of Highland Plantation’s residents signed a petition opposing the grid-scale wind turbine project proposed by Highland Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Independence Wind; a Brunswick company owned by Rob Gardiner and — until March 18, 2012 — U.S. Senate candidate and former Maine Gov. Angus King.

Scant days prior to the press conference, the developers withdrew their second application for the project after the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife submitted a review stating that “the project in Highland Plantation is not an appropriate site for this development and consequently poses a significant adverse impact for wildlife resources.”

With the Highland mountains as a backdrop, citizens requested that Gardiner and King abandon their plans to build an industrial wind complex in Highland, the gateway to the Bigelow Preserve and the Appalachian Trail.

The wind developers never granted Highland residents the courtesy of a response.

In February 2012, Highland representatives sent letters to the developer. Again, we cited our majority vote, stating our resolve that Gardiner and King respect the will of the people and abandon plans for the wind facility.

Again, the developers showed their contempt for Maine citizens by not responding.

When speaking of the Highland project in an April 2012 interview in Mainebiz, Gardiner stated, “We decided it was time to give it a rest.” We’d like to know if the developer intends to discard plans to build the Highland wind project, or if his words are a red herring.

We made our first request one year ago. Every time Gardiner or King wanted something from Highland Plantation’s residents, we granted them an audience and responded.

We deserve the same respect. We’d like the wind developer to assure us that all plans to construct a wind energy facility in Highland have been permanently abandoned.

Rose Staton

Jay Staton