Lean in and listen

To the Editor:

Last week, at the March 20 Bar Harbor Town Council meeting, I did something I’d never done before. As a private citizen, acting on my own, I submitted a proposal for a ferry terminal development process task force. My intentions are this: At the end of the day, when the ferry terminal is what it is, I want to drive by knowing two things: that I understand how the decisions were made and that my opinion and values were included as part of the process. I’m writing this letter to invite everyone to work towards these goals with me.

Before the next meeting on Tuesday, April 3, residents can reach out to councilors and tell them that they support the task force and that the council should too. They should reach out by letter, email, phone or in person. Information is at the town office or website. We should tell the council that we support the task force because it holds us all accountable to a transparent process for how we make decisions for the ferry terminal from here on out.

Concerned residents can participate by helping to think of who might be best to serve on the task force and encouraging them to nominate themselves. The timeline is fast, but with the right people, we can do it. Residents can come to meetings or watch online, and stay informed. Information about the task force is included in the last council packet online. We should refrain from snarky or misleading comments on Facebook, lean in and listen hard. We should examine our values about how we should make complicated decisions as a town, attend community input and feedback meetings, answer questions on Polco. These are busy times. But, we need to participate and hold ourselves accountable to civil discourse and democracy.

Each of us should ask ourselves, am I part of the solution or part of the problem? I’m glad to talk more with anyone about the design and purpose of the task force. I know lots of folks who care but are choosing to stay on the sidelines of the public messiness of the past year or more. I get it. But my hope is that this task force is a way to hold us all accountable to process. We need everyone.

Val Peacock

Bar Harbor

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