Looking before leaping

To the Editor:

As the lawyer who filed suit against the Town of Bar Harbor to force it to abide by the charter its council members took an oath to uphold, I must respond to a patently false claim made by Sherry Rasmussen at the open town meeting on June 2.

She falsely claimed that three Warrant Committee members had “sued the Town.” Only Sam Dunlap and I were parties to that lawsuit. The three Warrant Committee members, together with councilor Gary Friedmann and over 350 of their fellow citizens, did sign the petitions to place Articles 3 and 4 on the June 9 warrant.

The charter, the LUO and the First Amendment to our Constitution encourage citizen involvement through petitions. My ancestors helped form committees of correspondence before the Revolutionary War, and I am proud to be part of a tradition of government of the people, not government from above by the few.

That same speaker claimed that those who would sue the town had failed to be good neighbors. I was so concerned that the council was going to violate our charter at its Feb. 17 meeting to consider those warrant articles that I did the neighborly thing. I wrote councilor Friedmann the weekend before that meeting about the council’s duty and urged him to share my letter with his fellow councilors.

Like a good neighbor, I was trying to build a fence at the top of the cliff.

Instead, the council blindly followed its hired law firm, dived off the cliff and was met at the bottom of the cliff by an ambulance in the form of that same law firm only too willing to bill the town to futilely defend the bad advice it had given. So much for the notion of a law firm warranting its work.

The primary reason the council has run up almost $685,000 in legal fees in the last six years is that it is too quick to blindly spend other people’s money and too gullible when listening to its lawyers.

After the bad advice it received throughout its losses in Bracale v. Bar Harbor and Greif v. Bar Harbor, one would hope that the council had learned to look before it leaped. Judging by the way it was primed to facilitate the completely unsuccessful purge of three Warrant Committee members on June 2, it has not.

Art Greif

Bar Harbor


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