Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Watch out, or I'll sue your ass!

Change is hard to accept, particularly when those changes represent the loss of local culture and is driven by those from “outside.”

To anyone, but the most obtuse among us, much of Maine, from the southern border, throughout York and Cumberland Counties and down the Midcoast, is experiencing profound change, beyond mere growth and development.

Fellow Maine blogger and friend, Wisdom Weasel, recently recounted an editorial, appearing in his local newspaper, from a lobsterman, lamenting being forced to move his fishing gear from his property, as a result of a lawsuit. It almost is beyond belief, for those of us who grew up in these parts and remember the days when a local’s storage of his tools of his trade would never result in a lawsuit. Heck, people never considered hiring a lawyer to solve their spats, or for anything at all. Then again, being a lawyer back then wasn't necessarily an easy path to a McMansion, foriegn sports car and a fancy office suite. So much for the “good ole’ days.”

Apparently, there is a bit more to the story than what the lobsterman, Jed Miller, chose to reveal in his letter to the editor, at least that’s what I gathered in reading a comment made to WW’s post. According to “Mike,” who posted a comment in relation to Miller’s claim, Miller purchased his property as part of a subdivision and should have been aware of these covenants. Since these covenants were in place at the time of purchase, Mr. Miller is just SOL (my paraphrase).The commenter, “Mike” is probably from “away,” if I had to make an educated guess. He just sees this as part of the process of buying property in today’s world of subdivisions and sprawl. He is certainly entitled to his opinion. In fact, his opinion is now the majority opinion, at least along the Midcoast, as those from away now outnumber the natives. So life goes in the Pine Tree State.

While I’ve been accused of hearkening back to some nostalgic bygone time that never existed here in my beloved state of birth, I’m not so sure that accusation flies here. I’m not looking back to some “golden” age, but just one less litigious and not assured that legalese can solve every argument and encroachment. Of course that’s probably wishful thinking, as capitalism, in its most amped up form seems to lend itself to greed, avarice and trying to pull a fast one on your neighbor, whether it’s the gilded environs of Spruce Head, or the mean streets of downtown Lewiston.

BTW, if you aren’t making Weasel’s blog a regular stop, then you are missing out on an entertaining and often, educational read, not to mention a primer on all things British.


weasel said...

Thanks man for the plug!

Mike is indeed from away- the frozen north, to be exact, but he's lived here for eons and works for the GSOM up in 'Gusta. Rick is a Mainer, born in Scarborough. Bona fides established...

I think a lot of this sort of thing has been thrown into sharp relief by the development pressure on the coast and the banner headlines about loss of working waterfront (although inland and north they have Plum Creek to contend with so now it is spreading statewide). This conflict has certainly always been there- look at the physical altercations between Scots-Irish squatters and the agents of absentee Massachusetts landowners after the Revolutionary War that ultimately lead to Maine's succession from the Bay State; or Joseph Pulitzer trying to sue the Coastguard to silence the Bar Harbor fog horn when he was in residence at his summer mansion....

Jim said...

Can we secede from the Massholes, or those from "away" that seek to condescendingly dictate to us, like we're children?

I appreciate your perspective on "all things Maine;" you help to bring some objectivity to these types of issues, like in your essay on the Wyeth's for the anthology that got back-burnered last year.