I and thousands of other voter residents are still trying to figure out what is sadder – what South Portland has done, or how they did it?

“How” wins. The total lack of due process, fair, deliberative debate and collaborative decision-making on oil sands is numbing.

Where was the fact-finding, where was the inclusiveness of shared research, mediation, strategic vision planning and standard operating procedure, within or outside the comprehensive plan?

Heck, have a moratorium for a decade to figure it out, but do so together, as one city, with greater likelihood of still shaking hands at the end. That is what we had always done to this point, as well as what we all had already learned in kindergarten. As my friend Kathy said, “You missed a key step here, and it was a doozie.”

The only thing close to community participation was a citywide vote that we won, but voting does not count in the new SoPo, where mulligans are only a wobbly or irrational councilor away.

Ask Jeff Edelstein if he has ever in his career chaired such a preordained, narrowly directed ordinance edict. Answer: Never. Please ask any city staffer what they think of this travesty and force an answer.

Dislike oil sands all you wish, South Portland, but dislike lack of process and a few hundred rabid rulers even more.

History will show this was ultimately not about oil sands (it is not mentioned in the new ordinance), terminal manifest destiny, Portland-Montreal Pipe Line or big oil. It was about yelling the loudest and scaring the most.

It was textbook 101 on how to disregard a public vote, circumvent basic ethics, Charlie McCarthy a council and Marcel Marceau a city manager, all into submission.

Was it all right and fair? Nope. Was it all legal? To be determined.

Don Russell

South Portland

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