To The Editor:
At the joint Bar Harbor Town Council-Warrant Committee meeting on March 28, Warrant Committee member Seth Libby cited several reasons in support of the committee’s vote against the parking meter bond article on the June ballot and a related budget line item authorizing the council to spend $400,000 for the purchase of said meters.
In particular, Libby questioned whether the implementation of paid parking would actually improve parking, whether it was right to charge residents and whether adequate effort had been made solicit feedback from residents.
In response, Councilor Matt Hochman commenced what can fairly be described as a heated personal attack against Libby in particular and the committee in general. Instead of actually addressing these concerns, Hochman proceeded to lecture Libby and other committee members as to what their duties were and attempted to discredit the validity of Libby’s concerns by suggesting that he was uninformed. Notably, he faulted the committee for not expressly inviting a representative of the Parking Solutions Task Force to address them.
Perhaps if he not been so eager to attack a recommendation he disagreed with, Hochman would not have overlooked the fact that three sitting Warrant Committee members also are on the Parking Solutions Task Force. Likewise, had he bothered to inquire, he would have learned that all three members were present on the nights that the committee considered and voted on the parking meter bond article and related budget line item; that all three offered information about and responses to the concerns cited by Libby; and that the chairman of the task force attended the Warrant Committee meeting at which the issue was considered but left before the issue was taken up.
Hochman’s actions on this night represented an unfortunate low point for this budget season and flew in the face of recent efforts to promote civility at public meetings. Although Hochman eventually apologized to Libby, I believe this fell short because it did not recognize that the committee had, in fact, made a careful and informed effort to reach its recommendation on this important matter.
Warrant Committee Member