Democracy



To the Editor:

I am not what you would call a rabble rouser. I have strong opinions, but I often keep them to myself, preferring to listen before “duking it out.” It’s a trait about myself I both enjoy and get frustrated with. I enjoy it because I believe it allows me to judge ideas fairly, and it frustrates me because I often feel timid in the face of opposition, real or imagined.

This is why it was a difficult decision for me to agree to circulate a petition a week and a half ago. This petition is for a proposed change in the land use ordinance that will give Bar Harbor voters control of the daily passenger cap and size of cruise ships allowed to dock in Bar Harbor.

I agreed to circulate this petition not because it was the easiest thing for me to do; I circulated it because I believe strongly in democracy.

The amount of tourists that visit our town is a point of conversation with everyone who lives here. Too many or too few?

What I like about this petition is that it is not aligning to a particular side, it is merely stating that this question should be answered by the voters of Bar Harbor instead of a majority vote (four people) of the Town Council. Citizens should have the ability to make an informed decision on whether the daily cruise ship passenger cap and size of the cruise ship docking in Bar Harbor should increase or not.

You will hear from many more than me about this petition and its cause. What I desire here is not to convince people one way or another, but to thank all who participated: from those who drafted the petition, to those who circulated it, to those who signed it and to those who ultimately go to vote in June.

When I started collecting signatures, I felt exceedingly nervous. However, this anxiety was unfounded. Most everyone I met was generous with their time. To those who were patient with me as I approached, stumbling while I tried to find the right words, your patience, eagerness and support gave me much more than a signature. It gave me courage to continue on.

And continue on we did. By the end of 10 days, four of which were snowstorms, we had collected almost 400 signatures, enough to put this proposed change on the June ballot. This is a remarkable feat; however, we couldn’t have done it without those who gave up a few minutes of their day to sign our petition.

From all of us, I thank you deeply and sincerely.

Zabet NeuCollins

Bar Harbor

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