Friday, June 17, 2011

Save Goose Rocks Beach!

There is a Kennebunkport Town Meeting tomorrow and you kids better remember to set your alarms cause it's gonna be a biggin.

In case you are from out of town, or in case you live in town... but under a rock, last year a group of waterfront homeowners at Kennebunkport's Goose Rocks Beach brought a lawsuit against the town seeking to privatize the beach. If the suit wins, the homeowners (who claim their land ownership extends to the water line) would prevent public access to all but 6% of the 3 mile strand.

That means that my parents, who own a home at Goose Rocks, but not on the water, could not go sit on the beach. That means that little ol' me, who pays my taxes and lives a mere three miles from shore, could not go sit on the beach. That means that all those residents who live off renting their houses out for the summer would have to add a caveat to their real estate ads letting visitors know that the beach across the street can be looked at... but never touched.

Crazy, right?

I might feel differently about the situation if Goose Rocks was a constant party. But the beach is so tame that we boycotted it as teenagers. After all, when you're sixteen years old, tame means lame, and guess what, you have a license and can go to the beach five miles away where the cute local surfer boys hang.

With the beach's current level of activity and already limited access (i.e. parking), I maintain that the suit is crazy.

By now you may have noticed the signs all over Kennebunkport asking you to help Save Goose Rocks. If you saw one in front of a barn, well hello! You now know where I live.

The signs are out to advertise tomorrow's Town Meeting where we will vote to approve additional tax dollars to be spent fighting this suit. Because the craziest part of all is that these stubborn waterfront homeowners seem to have endless funds.

If you think you can afford an extra... fourteen? I think? Dollars per $100,000 of your property value per year to help save this beach, please come to the meeting. Better yet, if you rent, come use your resident vote at no cost to yourself! Golden.

But if you do come, come informed. Here are some resources for you to check out.
(If you find a resource from the other side, I'd love to see it!)

A grassroots group called Save Our Beaches emerged after the initial suit.

The town itself has also started a website called Preserve Goose Rocks Beach.

Official notice of this year's Town Meeting can be viewed here.

Last year over 600 people attended the Town Meeting concerning the Goose Rocks issue, with cars parked a good quarter mile in each direction. If you're like me, you know there is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of knowing your vote counted. And the great thing about a Town Meeting is that, unlike with an anonymous ballot, you can literally see your vote get counted.

So like I said, set your alarms.

The meeting starts at 9 at Consolidated and you're gonna want a good seat.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh, those small communities...

I love living in a small town. I love that every trip to the grocery store is a social neighborhood gathering. I love that people know who I'm dating before I do. I even love that half the town not only notices, but feels the need to remind me each time I am behind in mowing my lawn.

But most of all I love our small town politics.

Which is why I've decided to rededicate a good portion of this blog space to the political going ons of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, and Arundel.

While this decision was partially driven by my constant desire to nerd-out to community television broadcasts of planning board meetings, it was also largely decided by two recent, embarrassing, political faux-pas.

The first happened during this past year's Maine gubernatorial election. For weeks I kept reminding myself to read up on the candidates. And for weeks... I did not. Then, Election Day arrived, I didn't know anything, and rather than abstaining from the vote, I essentially tossed a coin between the Democrat and the Independent, a decision that still gives me a stomach ache.

More recently, I stopped by the North Street Fire station on the way home from work to give my approval for the new school budget. It wasn't until I was there, however, that I remembered the day's vote also included the district's recently proposed new cost sharing strategy. The cost sharing strategy I had covered extensively for the Kennebunk Post before securing my new (non-journalism related) job.

Guess who hadn't read up on the proposed final strategy?

I figured that making no decision at all was slightly less offensive than making an uninformed one. And so I left that particular vote blank. (And likely turned a deep shade of red as I slid the obviously incomplete ballot into the return machine).

The especially embarrassing part of each faux-pas is that in my previous life, I was extremely politically motivated. I worked for a campaign! I marched on Washington! I met Cindy Sheehan and Howard Zinn! I even went into debt to produce a politically-motivated compilation CD!

But now... I can't read up on who is running for governor? Pathetic.

I plan to use this space to keep me involved, and hopefully get you all involved. It's easy at my age to dismiss certain votes, and I know that my friends do the same. After all, why should we care what the cost sharing strategy is, anyway? We don't have kids in the district!

But the fact is... we will someday. And the advantage of following politics in such a small town is not limited to the inherent entertainment value. There's also the fact that you can truly feel like your vote counted.

While I'm still a liberal girl at heart, I do want to assure you that me writing about politics will not be left-wing ranting and propaganda. If you makes you feel any better, I was recently confused for a Republican at the bar due to my position on unemployment.

I just laughed. While the nineteen year old girl inside of me cried.

I really just want to make what happens in our town more accessible to my friends.

And maybe, some of you?

Check back soon. There's a Town Meeting this Saturday and you all need to be there.

Thursday, June 9, 2011