Great Diamond Island residents are considering secession – seriously?

I am a homeowner-slash-taxpayer of long standing at Diamond Cove, which is on the north side of Great Diamond Island here in Casco Bay.

Granted, there are long-overdue, valid issues that should be addressed with the city of Portland and resolved, ASAP, no question. The major matter is that we are a high revenue provider but we are low on the list of priorities for services rendered by the city.

Of great concern is that the 75 registered voters on the island do not represent a consensus of the homeowners on Great Diamond Island regarding separation from Portland.

A lot of folks do not have the opportunity or privilege of living full time or voting on the island (there are about 65 year-round residents and around 300 seasonal residents), but they do pay real estate taxes (which are right up there). Those of us here at Diamond Cove also pay a healthy – or rather, should I say, hefty – monthly homeowners association fee, yet if we’re not registered voters, we apparently have little to no say regarding secession.

If I am wrong to state that only the registered voters will have a voice translated into a vote, please correct me. This would most surely be both an unfair and inequitable consensus.

As it is at Diamond Cove, we have a hard enough time getting folks to volunteer to run for the homeowners association board. And once they do volunteer, it’s then hard for them to get off unless some other homeowner offers them a lifeline by stepping up to the plate. This is a chronic condition of all condo associations, wherever they might be – folks just don’t want to get involved. They much prefer to come and enjoy or live and let live and not get down and dirty and into the minutia of managing.

We even have a hard time trying to manage and enforce our dog and golf cart policies, let alone cohesively bring the two different communities on the island together! In years past we were infamous for our intra-island golf cart wars, but hopefully, we’ve become more enlightened as time has passed (or rather, thankfully, the unenlightened folks have “moved on” – and off island).

I could go on and on. But the gist of the matter is that we, the island as a whole, do not need a divorce from the city! We need “marriage counseling,” and/or city officials need to get more in touch with their sensitive side.

We have way too many issues of our own at Diamond Cove to be able to take on those of the other, south side, aka “the city side” of the island.

We’ve read that Chebeague is experiencing “growing pains,” as one resident there put it. If Great Diamond seceded, we would be having both acute and chronic pain – but no growth spurts!

Oh, and a labor force … hasn’t anyone noticed that we are hard pressed to get folks to do anything, even if they’re paid? It’s not just a matter of folks not wanting to bother. It’s also a math issue, as there simply are not enough folks to do what needs to be done as is, let alone pile on more tasks involved with secession.

Who, pray tell, is going to stand at the head of the line, and who among us is going to queue up to do all that would be required to be done each and every day and night, 24-7? And speaking of “a head of the line”: The last thing we need is a self-appointed mayor, a leader of the pack or the like thereof, to dictate policies to the rest of us. Please deliver us from that scenario.

No! We are better and stronger united than we are separated!

John Donne had it right when he said, “No man is an island unto himself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Let’s come to a meeting of the minds regarding our issues, versus physically cutting off our blood supply.

I say we stay tethered to the mainland!


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