WHY THE PETITION?
My purpose in presenting to the Board of Selectmen of Bethel a petition to place on the Warrant of the June 12, 2013 Annual Town Meeting an Article that will rescind Article 3 of the Special Town Meeting is one of fairness and respect.
Have no doubts, the vote of Jan. 30 is legal and binding on all citizens of Bethel and we must live with that result. I do not believe that the residents of Bethel were given the opportunity to hear both sides of a very controversial issue. When it came time for the discussion on the subject only the proponents of the resolution were given the opportunity to speak. However, in attendance were individuals with opposing views, officials from the Portland Montreal Pipe Line and a representative of the Canadian Government. They were prepared to speak but were not given the chance.
It is the matter of fairness and respect that bothers me. The vote may be legal and binding but was it fair? NO! Of course it wasn’t. Shoving a single point of view regardless of what it may be down the collective throats of Bethel’s citizens isn’t fair and it tastes bad. Not allowing the opposition to have their say isn’t fair; it’s not the democratic way.
In all ways, from its eleventh-hour inclusion on the warrant to the final vote the way Article 3 was handled does not show respect for the residents of Bethel, for the officials of the Portland Montreal Pipe Line, the Canadian Government or others with opposing views. Jan. 30 was a bad day for Bethel. We are better than that.
A grave injustice occurred that evening but it can be corrected. In the petitions being circulated we the voters of Bethel are asking the Board of Selectmen to place on the warrant of the June 12, 2013 Annual Town Meeting a resolution that it will rescind Article 3 of the Jan. 30 Special Town Meeting.
When Article 3 is rescinded the underwriters and proponents of the article may wish to revisit this topic at some future time, and if so it can be discussed in a fair and equitable manner. If Article 3 of the Jan. 30 Special Town Meeting is not rescinded then it will be because of the majority of Bethel voters present at the upcoming June 12 Annual Town Meeting will have voted to keep it on the books. Either way both sides of this issue will have had the opportunity to have their say.
We are a fair and honest people and we do not force our opinions upon others. The vote of Jan. 30 was legal and binding, but it was not fair or honorable and should be rescinded and addressed in an open and equitable manner.
At this point in time I don’t know where I stand on the issue of reversing the flow of oil in the Portland Montreal Pipe Line to accommodate transporting oil from Alberta, Canada, through Bethel. Before I make up my mind I want the facts not suppositions, half-truths or distortions coming from either side.
By signing the petition to rescind Article 3 or voting at the Annual Town Meeting for the rescinding of Article 3 Bethel citizens are not taking sides on the issue. They are simply saying “Let’s be fair. Let’s be honest. Let’s let both sides present their cases so that we may make an informed intelligent decision.
Citizen of Bethel