Kittery says no to a public hearing request to put a question that was non-binding before its residents after a citizen petition was dropped in their laps. Eliot Town Manager says no petition is needed and it will be placed on the ballot.
Such a contrast. Kittery councilors Lemont, Spiller and Thompson voted no after the Kittery Town Council was presented with 450 signatures to put a non-binding referendum before a public. Councilor Matt Brock was not present. Councilors Clark, Pelletier and Denault said yes. The vote was tied and the motion failed.
Eliot Town Manager Dana Lee no petition is necessary to see if it should go on the ballot and so it shall. 7 to nothing in favor of the public having a voice.
From the article in the well written article in the Portsmouth Herald. Town Manager Dana K. Lee suggested that the Select Board could place the referendum on the November ballot, so there would be no need for a petition. Chairman Richard Donhauser said they board would draft the question with input from Thompson and Dow.
I am dumbfounded.
Here is my article
Here is the story on Kittery. It’s short and if you need a more informative article, read my article. https://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20190709/ballot-questions-on-dog-laws-chloramines-nixed-in-kittery
A recent KITTERY CITIZENS CONCERNED ABOUT CHLORAMINES group petitioned to put a NON BINDING referendum on the Town Ballot in November failed. Let me start by thanking those who tried to accomplish this. Those who spent a tireless effort to garner signatures, educate the public and amass a following to make change to policy.
To begin with, it is my opinion that very competent people manage the Kittery Water District and I have known many of them for years. After it made the public news, people began to ask questions about the reasons for the Chloramine being added to Kittery Water.
Spirited debates and lectures and speaking events and a local Water District which is not tied to the Town, seemed to place themselves in the cross hairs of angry customers and yet met with the public, altered their course and for now, stopped the plan to introduce Chloramines to the Kittery Water.
Myself, Councilor Chuck Denault and Chairperson Judith Spiller attended the Regatta Event on Chloramines. I attended the other meetings as well with Councilor Clark and Lemont.
On Monday night, July 9th, 2019 the citizen advocacy group came forward and they were registered voters of Kittery. They had concerns and many spoke at the podium. They looked at the councilors in the eyes and asked for their help. Excused absent from the meeting was Councilor Matthew Brock.
Kittery Resident Julia O’Connell presented a petition to the Town earlier in the week which made it onto the agenda in the correct method and now was before the Council for a vote to schedule a public hearing on putting it on the ballot.
After many Kittery Citizens speaking on this issue, It was voted on……………………It lost. 3 to 3 the motion failed said Chairperson Judith Spiller. It was just to schedule a public hearing to listen to the public then decide whether to put it on the ballot or not.
NON BINDING, what does this mean? It means it is the tally of the vote with only the significant outcome being a count of who was for it and who was against it and those who chose not to vote. It serves to give guidance to a body to show what the wishes or feeling of a particular issue and it allows that body to see what the voter’s wishes are on the matter that was voted on. Yes they were shy of the 550 required signatures (30-A M.R.S.A Sec 2522 and 2528(5) to mandate the request so it was up to the council.
little cost associated with it since the ballot contains other issues to be
voted on. The computer scans the ballots anyway and just picks up the
referendum tally’s as it scan for all issues voted on the ballot. What does it
hurt you ask?
In my opinion,
it does not hurt anything and it allows the elected official to see where the
majority sits on that particular issue and make a more informed choice.
I have often
been told that I am only one of seven. This may be true but I represent about 10,000
residents and making a decision that effects many people should be done with forethought
and being cautious to make the right decision. If it does not hurt to ask the
public for guidance on a matter, then why not ask?
The reasons that were given by the Citizen Advocacy Group was that the water does affect everyone, from people on well water, and those who use bottle water and do not get their water from the Kittery Water Department. The people on well water may have kids in school, drink from water fountains at the Town Hall or eat at local restaurant’s, watering the football fields, the run off replenishes the water supplies such as back to the ground and back to the wells. Connecting the dots between not being a customer of the KWD and having connect with water from the KWD is a straight line. Being oblivious of this fact could cause a decision to be skewed.
During the meeting, a counselor suggested that people who are not on the water would skew the vote. Those who are not customers should not vote. One would have to watch the council reruns to hear these quotes verbatim and their reasoning of not supporting a public hearing.
I wonder why we did not listen to the residents on Monday night and yet we when did exactly this when we looked at the BIG Pier project, the Master Plan on Fields, The Community Center in the village, the marijuana issue and the renovation of the New Community Center. This list is endless. How many people voted for the BIG PROJECT (the piers) who never have used or stepped foot on them. How many voters use the football/ baseball/soccer/lacrosse fields and how many people use the Community Center? How many people who were not users of the sewer voted to stick the bill on the 165 residents on the west end of Kittery. How many people voted for marijuana and will never smoke it?
How about when we wanted to close schools in Kittery and educate our kids elsewhere? Did we segregate the town and say only people who have kids in schools can vote?
Yes, Councilors are elected to make decisions but when it comes to big issues or the safety of our citizens and even with things we have no control over, we, as a Council should look to our citizens for guidance. It does not have to be from just those at the podium who had the guts to look us in the eye and give us their opinion.
In my opinion,
we as a Community support ideas from all residents. Yes, it was stated that we do
not have any control of the Water District. That is a correct statement and I
support that statement. But a non-binding referendum not only shows the Town
Councilors how the citizens feel on the matter, but it lets the Water District
know the public sentiment at the highest possible level. The Voice of the
Are all the facts in on Chloramines, I cannot answer that. As with any issues, there a professionals, professors and scientists who can argue either way for the person who is paying them? In this case, I feel the jury is still out. However, if one cannot definitively say that Chloramines are good or bad, then we as a community should make sure we do everything possible to ensure it stays in front of the public. Whatever the feeling is of the community should be displayed and we ensure those who need to know it, know it and we as a community maintain a watchful eye should it circle back.
The wisdom shown by the KWD should be applauded. Superintendent Michael Rogers made tough choices and by all accounts, he listened and heard the concerns of their customers and along with the Board of Trustees made a decision to stop.
On Monday night, I spiritedly and respectfully defended the group’s position and the voices of the almost 500 petitioners. Again it was just to schedule a public hearing.
Let me recap, I made the motion and Councilor Thomson second it for debate. (Many thanks to Councilor Thomson for at least giving me a second for discussion).
Three or four times, I reminded the Council that we work for the people and they are speaking with this petition. Their petition was a request for a non-binding referendum for something we had no control over. But do we? Do we have a public hearing and then decide to allow this non-binding referendum to go to the public for a question, A non-binding question? It does not hurt anything and would it have sent a message either way, win, lose or draw, and the public at least has a chance to do something. It may be a model for other communities to see how the people have a voice.
concerns and safety of the public deminimis to some of the councilors since it
may be skewed by voters who are not KWD customers. I wondered, does personal
feelings dictate our vote and not the will of the public? Are we listening?
My concern is when we look like ostriches and stick our head in the sand and hope it goes away we are not trying.
I’ll be criticized for trying to do what is right but that’s who I am. Almost 500 people signed the petition and that usually half of the people who show up during Town elections. Did someone tell them when they started don’t bother, I wonder what would have happened then?
I voted YES to schedule a public hearing. Councilor Jeff Pelletier and Cyrus Clark both voted YES. Councilors Judy Spiller, Ken Lemont and Jeff Thomson voted not to, (NO). Perhaps those three who voted No will pause and listen to the citizens and reflect on their positions and revisit the concerns of these voters and make a motion to reconsider their vote and bring it back up for a FULL COUNCIL VOTE (remember Councilor Brock was not present).
Here are the emails address and phone numbers for all the Councilors. Perhaps the three Councilors, who voted NO, can make a motion to reconsider their votes. Perhaps you can let us know how you feel.
Perhaps you could ask for their support and ask them to make a motion to reconsider and echo the words of Councilor Jeffery Thomson, “DO THE RIGHT THING”. Share your thoughts; after all we work for you.
After all it was a only motion to schedule a public hearing.
On the written petition of a number of voters equal to at least 10% of the number of votes cast in the town at the last gubernatorial election, but in no case less than 10, the municipal officers shall either insert a particular article in the next warrant issued or shall within 60 days call a special town meeting for its consideration.
Do you recall the 1970 Rock Song by The 5 Man Electrical Band called signs.
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?
Recently I have been listening to the concerns from citizens that I represent as they talk about how they are either for the leash law or they are not, many suggest there is too much talking about dog poop or those who say why not do something about it. They bring up issues such as the availability of parking for Kittery residents at Seapoint Beach, and much more.
Some people spoke about ambiguous signs or people not reading the signs.
I reflected on these different view points and researched several stories in the news. Let me start here. I own a Bulldog and he is walked everywhere. We pick up after him and he is always on a leash. He would like to run at large, but he is stubborn as heck and owner voice control would not work.
Let’s start with Fort Foster.
How about the LEASH LAW ordinance or Fort Foster Rules in Kittery. What do you think. Some say “If the signs are not right, we need to change them. If the signs are right, they need to be enforced.”
Neither the Fort Foster Rules, Kittery or the State of Maine has a provision that says it is not a violation if you litter as long as you come back for it. This is what they do, clean up after their dog and leave the bag. Oh, they were meaning to pick it up on the way out. Meanwhile, it’s fermenting and is litter.
Think about that for a minute. A person throws his garbage out on the side of the road but is it okay since they were planning on coming back and picking it up. LITTERING IS LITTERING.
9.Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. Owners will be asked to leave the park if their dog is not under control. (9/3/97)
I guess I need help with this one. I cannot find where it says when the park is closed it is acceptable to run your dog without a leash. Apparently is says it somewhere since it does not matter whether it is opened or closed this behavior occurs quite regularly. I’m talking about official rules, not free forum websites or interpreted postings. The official rules voted on and enacted are above.
This brings me to the signs. Perhaps the signs should be changed if it is wrong. If you find it where it is officially allowed, feel free to email me where I can find it and I will update this article. email@example.com
I would like to hear from Kittery citizens and your opinion regarding how you feel about dogs being on a leash or not. Feel free to comment, This is how we affect change.
A Kittery Citizen said to me “give me one good reason why the dog should not be leash and I’ll give you 10 good reasons why it should be on a leash and another said, they can’t chase a ball on a leash.
Here are the signs at Fort Foster.
Here are pictures of the signs posted in Eliot Maine.
It can happen and it may be your family member or your dog that is attacked by another dog. It does happen but it is not all dogs and a large percentage are perfectly behaved and are the perfect pet. Even a small dog can bite and cause injury.
NOTE: This little girl is from the news on the web and was attacked by another dog. It was not local.
Many say the best thing to do is keep them leashed and others believe free reign under the control of the dogs owner is acceptable. It is a tough call. Ultimately it should rely on common sense, the dogs owner and consideration of others. The dog on the leash may fear the approaching dog or feel it needs to protect its owner and once their engaged, its hard for any one to call it off.
However, tragically these situations occur close to home. Recently a Kittery Resident’s dog was shot dead in RYE N.H. when it allegedly went after and attacked a Pomeranian allegedly after after the Pomeranian bit the bigger dog. I am sure there are different sides to this particular story but it happens to good people and good dogs all over. Some people may over react and defend their dogs to the extreme.
It only takes a split second for a dog demeanor to change, defend itself or its owner, based on fear or domination, thinking it’s about to be attacked and or become aggressive for multiple reasons. I heard people say their dog is friendly, then they followed up and say, “he has never done that before.”
Yet, we can go years without an incident and dogs love just being around other dogs and the feeling of being unleashed, chasing a ball and saying hello to another dog is a great feeling for both the owner and the dog.
Moving onto DOG POOP BAGS which is LITTER!
Perhaps we have become immune to signs.
The people who left these POOP BAGS have.
Pictures taken at Fort Foster during park hours on May 19th and 20th.
Now onto Seapoint Beach.
Let’s look at the top of this sign posted at SEAPOINT BEACH. What does it say?
KITTERY RESIDENT PARKING ONLY KITTERY DUMP STICKER MUST BE AFFIXED TO VEHICLE MAY 15 to SEPT 30 AREA CLOSED FROM 11PM to 3AM
How do you interpret it. It can be read many different ways. How about this…
KITTERY DUMP STICKER MUST BE AFFIXED TO THE VEHICLE between MAY 15TH TO SEPT 30TH.
or can it be that between
MAY 15TH TO SEPT 30TH the AREA is CLOSED FROM 11PM TO 3 AM
or perhaps it is just
AREA CLOSED FROM 11PM to 3 AM
How do we explain what the dump sticker means regarding parking.?
PERHAPS ADDING A FEW PERIODS or DROPPING a FEW WORDS WOULD CLEAN THIS UP AND MAKE IT LESS CONFUSING. Perhaps Parking for Kittery Residents only. Kittery Dump stickers shall be affixed to your vehicles windshield.
Anything we could do might help end some of the confusion for all the out of State vehicle operators who continually park in the designated areas for KITTERY RESIDENTS.
Maybe let’s simplify the sign “KITTERY RESIDENT PARKING ONLY.”
It’s a pretty good indicator that if the vehicle has out of States plates affixed to it, it’s not a Kittery Resident. We all know that is a violation of Maine Law that if you live in Kittery for more then 30 days and you don’t register your vehicle in Maine. I’ll save this fiasco for another day.
Surely if it’s parked in the KITTERY RESIDENT PARKING spot, it’s a violation of the parking ordinance.
Here are some more of my favorite signs at Fort Foster.
“That will stop the trespassers.”
Credit to the Town Manager Amaral and Highway and who fixed this last week.
Feel free to leave a comment, I can go either way, but what ever happens, it needs to be spelled out, clear and understood and if needed, properly enforced.
Another victory for the land owners. Important Supreme Court decision favors Riparian landowners!
Perhaps our legislators should pay attention to these decisions. Rykerson (LD723), Blume (LD1285) and Meyers (LD723) keep pushing bills to take these rights away.
What Fountain? It was once Located at the corner of Rogers Rd, Love lane and Whipple road was a park. It has long since vanished Someone has a story to tell. Do you know what happened? Reach out and tell us and I will continue with this story.
Well it recently restarted after Local Resident Donald Hands and Councilor Ken Lemont brought this up in a recent coffee conversation. It was a fountain that was located int he Rogers Rd park next to the Getty Station and it was placed there in 1913. Don sent me some photocopied copies, so I took it a bit further. (as usual).
After getting the original and colorizing it, I took pictures of the area and although the house lines up, I think it was either moved or they reconfigured the park. What do you think.
As you can see in the pictures, the angle of the curb differs. Perhaps our Senior Residents can chime in. I would like this story to keep going and I will do a followup.
CHARLES R. HANSCOM donated this Bronze Fountain in 1913. (See the attached aArticle, although it is tough to read)
This is my guess
MAYBE THE TOWN SHOULD RESTORE THIS PARK. YOUR THOUGHTS!
To read the articles publish in 1913, click here below.