Stop the E/W Corridor hosts public rally and soapbox before Vigue presentation at Foxcroft Academy
by Chris Buchanan | June 3, 2012
We’ve waited to see how the mainstream media would cover the May 31 event at Foxcroft Academy, where the Dover Foxcroft board of selectmen and town manager hosted Peter Vigue for a public presentation on the E/W Corridor project from 6-9pm. Beforehand, the newly formed statewide coalition, Stop the East-West Corridor, hosted a public rally and soap box for citizens to have a voice and share information with each other. Members of the grassroots coalition include Friends of the Piscataquis Valley, the East-West Corridor work group, the East Sangerville Grange, local Tea Party members, and many unaffilitated members of the public.
The rally and soap box was well attended by almost all local people, at least two hundred estimated came through before the presentation in the Foxcroft Academy gym, where about 1000 people attended. Stop the East West Corridor had advertised the events encouraging members of the opposition to wear blaze orange. Looking around the gym during the proponent’s presentation, it appeared that about half of the participants wore orange.
Unfortunately, the media coverage by the statewide newspapers was largely inaccurate. Of note, both the Associated Press and the Bangor Daily News called the opposition “hostile.” There was never a moment that the opposition was “hostile.” Folks were frustrated, however, that the format of the public presentation was changed last minute to not take any public questions at microphones. Left without any other option to voicing concerns, members of the public occasionally spoke up during Vigue’s speech.
According to one Dover Foxcroft selectperson, twenty minutes prior to the presentation, Peter Vigue told the selectboard that he would not answer direct questions from the public, and would cancel the presentation if he was to follow the format which had been discussed well in advance with the moderator, selectboard, and several members of the public. In addition, concerned public were not allowed to bring in 8.5 x 11″ signs stating, “Tell the Truth,” and “Answer the Question.” The public was bullied by Vigue, and unfortunately, the selectboard rolled over instead of cancelling the event altogether.
In fact, at the end of the evening, the Chief of Police, Foxcroft Academy Headmaster Arnold Shorey, and the moderator Dick Brown all thanked me personally for how respectful the event was.
Another misrepresentation by Peter Vigue and most media outlets is Vigue’s message, “if you have a better idea, I’m glad to hear it.” But if your idea is not his idea, he will not listen.
I respectfully approached Peter Vigue at the Women in Transportation Seminar at the end of his presentation and in front of many members of Cianbro and the WTS to share our alternative ideas. Also, I told Vigue that many members of the public had concerns, and asked multiple times to meet with him. Our ideas will support Maine’s economy in a way that does not require such a huge environmental footprint, and will not bleed local jobs and even more money away from Mainers. Peter Vigue refused to meet.
Peter Vigue has also refused to speak publically or privately with the opposition in general. Multiple examples include the Mid-Maine Community Forum in Pittsfield, the Dexter Dover Area Transition Towns forum and recently the WERU radio Special. The first two would have been a panel discussion in front of the public. At the Foxcroft Academy event it happened again, where Vigue refused to hear directly from the people at public microphones.
The following are multiple links to the press coverage from May 31. Thanks to OccupyME TV, and No East West News for full coverage. Thanks also to the TV crews and journalists for covering the event. In the future, we respectfully request that information be more accurately represented. For unedited coverage of the event, please visit:
Finally, thanks to all the local folks who are pouring their blood sweat and tears into this campaign. In goodness, Chris
Here are the links:
WABI TV 5, East West Highway Rally
WCSH 6, WLBZ 2, Proposed East West Highway draws tension at public meeting
Portland Press Herald, Collision on East-West highway plan