Fighting through social media
The MDOT issue we face as a town is an issue that must be looked at not only strategically in regards to the long-term viability of the town economically but also with a more inclusive and respectful approach. There is currently a small interest group dictating and demanding a course of action that not only continues to put us as a town at odds with our surrounding communities, but also in a contemptuous light with the state of Maine as a whole. With the use of social media, the faction who is urging the town continue to fight in court — with municipal dollars, mind you — against the MDOT’s plan for the downtown area has engaged with what has become an all too common approach to swaying public opinion in its favor. It broadcasts and amplifies false and misleading information and refuses to acknowledge or engage contrary opinions, essentially shouting it down. In fact, it silences dissent within its own public social media forum by barring and excluding genuine and legitimate concerns posted. The administrators also cast aspersions as to the validity of the same.
In trying to engage with the “Let's Defend Wiscasset” Facebook page and expressing concern with the use of municipal funds to benefit a few individuals, I was barred. Imagine that, a 20-year retired veteran of the nation's Army having his voice shut down. Additionally, none of the administrators would identify themselves, a lack of transparency that speaks to the speciousness of their position. Incurring tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to fight something the majority of the town had already voted on and approved is reprehensible and dangerously selfish. The taxes levied against the property from which the downtown businesses run their operation(s) remain the same, regardless of revenue generated by each business owner. Spending municipal dollars for a seemingly personal vendetta and campaign against the state and against change is unethical and not very smart. Offensive and misleading signage aside, it’s also not very neighborly.