To the Editor:
Most property owners in Bar Harbor received their property tax bills recently. This tax was approved by fewer than 100 voters at the town meeting last June. It includes new funding approved by over 100 voters during the town meeting at the behest of special interests. Much of this special funding will not be expended, but is being collected. Most of the people demanding the additional funds left the town meeting before the final vote on the budget.
I stayed at the meeting until adjournment very late in the evening. As I was leaving, another person said to me, “Isn’t democracy wonderful!” Indeed! However, we were not engaged in a democratic process. Government in Bar Harbor has degenerated into an oligarchy. A few people determine what government provides and attempt to dictate what others should believe. Technically, the United States is a republic where experts decide the details of governance with the oversight of elected representatives.
I’ve attended every Bar Harbor annual town meeting for well over twenty years. During this time, the same people raise their tired concerns and wear the patience of voters at the town meeting who are too few to resist the irrational blather ensuring an oligarchical government. Republican and democratic principles are sacrificed on the altars of irrational argument and special interests.
Governance in Bar Harbor reflects governance at higher levels. We are being taxed heavily for programs that do not work and to be told how we must live by a few privileged people. If you wish to determine the individual most responsible for this situation, look in a mirror. When the vast majority of eligible voters will not attend the annual town meeting and will not vote in a general election, we do not live in a democracy or even a republic. We live in an oligarchy. Only you can abolish this oligarchy by becoming familiar with issues, examining candidate positions and casting your votes.
David W. Lind