2014-08-15 / Letters

What happened to will of the people?

To the editor:

I got a chuckle out of a local newscast reporting that the South Portland City Council has, (in due regard for the citizens of this fair city,) decided to let the decision to allow recreational marijuana go to the people on the November ballot. Bravo. The Republic still functions.

But, sadly, the Republic did not function properly for the Canadian crude oil referendum that did come to a public vote. The people chose, the majority decided – the Canadian crude export met with our approval. I always thought that referendum results were as law, at least they are at the state level, but our councilpersons decided that we were too ignorant of the consequences and decided to utilize their so called sweeping powers as councilpersons to protect us from ourselves and throw the duly-elected referendum into the wastebasket. Then they lost no time setting up a moratorium to prevent the referendum from being implemented and immediately began rewriting a much longer rule (so fewer people would bother to read it). Then they planned to vote on it by themselves, only, which they did after a circus of weeping and singing at the public hearings where all bemoaned the serious hazards of oil. How convenient. I love to watch liberal thinking in action – forget facts; let’s not confuse anybody; let’s create some kind of dire consequence (exaggerated or totally imagined) like some wicked awful health hazard associated with tar sands (by the way, there’s no tar and no sand) and tell them, “We, your leaders, will keep this catastrophic disaster from ever happening. Trust us.”

It isn’t enough that the oil industry shares its lands with us as a neighborly gesture at Bug Light Park (without a hint of fumes), that they provide a multitude of good-paying jobs and that they pay enormous amounts of taxes to the city. This new ruling voted on by the council will quickly lead to no petroleum business at all on the waterfront. This ruling does not allow for any changes, including safety improvements or even repairs to machinery, so when they break down, they get shut down. But the city has planned a magnificent park in its place.

As we’re lying around in the sunshine at the park, we can wonder what ever happened to all those highly trained oil workers from UMO who couldn’t find work in Maine and had to leave the state. We can dwell on the enormous increase in gas and oil prices due to trucking all that oil and gas in from out-of-state and the humongous increase in property taxes due to the loss of one of its greatest contributors. Not to mention a new, important fuel source for all of America has been thwarted. Just consider all those extra fumes from all those extra trucks. And for all the loss, we are still exposed to petroleum vapors at gas stations, in traffic, home heating oil deliveries, gas stoves, propane, airplanes flying overhead and numerous other sources. What will the council do then –singularly decide to ban those, too?

We need to do everything possible to override these bully-pulpit shenanigans by our council. They had no right, except the right they took for themselves, to override the vote of the citizens of South Portland. A grievous error has occurred here and we should not take this power grab sitting down. If we do, we will have abdicated one of our most important rights, the rule of aw.

Sally Andrukaitis
South Portland

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