Email to the Council 3/19/2014

Off leash beach hours

Dear Councilors,

I would like to follow up on the idea that splitting up the day in the off season is fair because DOGS are being given 75% of the day and anti-dog people are being given 25% of the day, just like the vote.  That might be a fair and valid distribution of hours if you were applying this year round.  Are the DOGS getting 75% of the time 12 months of the year? No, of course not!  You are only applying it to 7 months of the year.

For 5 months of the year, the anti-dog people are getting FAR more than 25% of the available daylight hours.  In fact, depending on the activities of the birds, the anti-dog people might be getting ALL the time for 5 months of the year.  SO how is it fair that the off season is divided up 75/25 to reflect the vote?  Two words, IT ISN’T.

So please don’t accuse me of being unwilling to compromise.  There is NO compromise reflected in this plan.  You should be ensuring that because the DOGS are losing so much time that they had before in the spring and summer that there is ALWAYS a time and place on the beaches in the off season for dogs to be off leash.  I don’t mind if the anti-dog people have some time, somewhere during the off season to go…. In fact they already do!  But please don’t couch your ideas for the off season in terms of compromise or fairness because it most is certainly neither

 Catherine Rogers

Sent to:

Councilor Blaise: No response

Councilor Benedict: Response 3/19/2014

As I explained to you a week ago, come to our meeting tonite. I did explain what was going on however you choose to only pull certain info to bring up again ! Please work with us .

Jim Benedict

Councilor Caterina: Response 3/19/2014

Hi. Catherine – Please remember that we have not passed any Ordinance yet. These are all proposed rules. There will be time for input when the PROPOSED ordinance is published , probably in time for the first April council meeting. There will be two public hearings.  (Sorry to capitalize the proposed part, but folks seem to think the ordinance is done). 🙂

Thanks.

JMC

Jean-Marie Caterina

Scarborough Town Council

Councilor Donovan: No response

Councilor Holbrook: No response

Councilor St. Clair: Response 4/5/2014

Mrs Rogers

I was hoping to get some more feedback from you…winter hours…if I need to provide two hours during the day for people to walk on the beach with no dogs…anytime during the day. What do you see working?  Maybe even one hour….or do you feel strongly it’s not needed.  I appreciate the input.

Thank you.

Kate St.Clair

Town Councilor

My response 4/5/2014:

Hi Councilor St. Clair,

First, I do feel strongly that the winter hours are unfair and unnecessary in light of all the restrictions that are being considered in the Spring and Summer.

However, in the spirit of “if you don’t vote, don’t complain” I will give you some suggestions that might be acceptable to me and might be acceptable to some others (although I speak for no one but myself.)  If there must be winter hours, why does it have to be on all three beaches?  I would say 1 or at the most 2 hours a day when dogs must be leashed on one beach, or part of one beach might be something people could live with.  For instance, if you were considering Pine Point to be the ONE beach for some leashed winter hours, from Hurd park to the jetty for a couple of hours a day might be acceptable because the people who want to have their dog off leash can just go the other way.  I’m not familiar enough with the other beaches to offer suggestions on dividing those beaches up.   Choosing part of one beach, or even one whole beach to be the place where dogs must be leashed a couple of hours a day means the 27% of voters in town who think dogs should be leashed have some beach time every day – not a lot, and not everywhere, but since those voters are the minority, it is more than fair.  BUT, there will also ALWAYS be a place on the town beaches in the off season, no matter what time of day it is, that a dog can run off leash.  If there were occasions when I had to walk toward Old Orchard rather than toward the jetty I could live with that, or even if there were times when I had to go to Ferry Beach or Higgins Beach instead of Pine Point I could probably live with that too.

So in summary, I feel strongly that there shouldn’t be any off season restrictions at all.  But if there must be off season restrictions, they should be crafted in such a way that there is always a place on the beaches in town that dogs can be off leash no matter what time a day it is.  If you do that, which hours you pick won’t matter to me.  If ALL the beaches ban off leash dogs for a chunk of the day, every day in the off season, you’ll never be able to please everyone or even most people no matter which hours you choose.

Two other things, first, your email said, “if I need to provide two hours during the day for people to walk on the beach with no dogs” Did you mean no dogs at all, or dogs on a leash?  I don’t think “no dogs at all” is going to fly anywhere, especially for people with beachfront property.

Second, I’m attaching a picture that has been making the rounds and was taken on Higgins beach this week.  Did you know the state has posted, (to quote the photographer) “A new sign on Higgins Beach. Goes all the way to the Spurwink River and back into the dunes to the small cove. Looks like this is for every one…not just dogs” ? It says no trespassing and was posted by the Maine Fish and Wildlife folks.  No dogs OR people…  I know a lot of people don’t take the DOGS group seriously when they say, “first dogs then people” but perhaps this new sign should get the council thinking about the slippery slope this whole thing is.

Thanks for your email and for all your hard work.

Catherine

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Councilor St. Clair: Response 4/5/2014

Thank you Catherine.  I very much appreciate your feedback.  Give me a few days and I will get back to you.  As I have said to a few people today…thank you for your willingness to continue working thru this even though it hasn’t always been easy. I really do love this town and I’m going to do everything I can to make this better.

Kate St.Clair

Town Councilor

Councilor Sullivan: Response 4/3/2014

Catherine

Please excerpt my apologies on two issues.

First for not returning emails to you and second for interrupting you at the podium. I missed the line where it referred to the Tags Program.

I was defiantly a no vote for the Ad Hoc Committees recommendations, Councilor Holbrook, St Clair and my vote were not enough to stop the Ad Hoc Committees recommendations from passing. Katy Foley and I sat down to come to a compromise proposal that most could live with. After last night it looks like we’re not there yet but maybe close. The comments last night were not take lightly. Jessica, Kate and I will try to work with our fellow Councilors to change the Winter hours and the language concerning the wondering Plover chicks. This should guarantee year round off leash time.

Thank you for taking the time to address the Council the numerous times you have.

Richard

Sincerely

Richard J Sullivan Jr

Scarborough Town Council

My response 4/5/2014:

Hi Richard,

Thank you for your email and thank you for trying to work out a better solution for a compromise proposal.  Kate St. Clair emailed me today for input about winter hours and I just sent her my ideas.  I thought perhaps you’d like to see what I wrote to her as well so I’m copying it below.  In the email below also I refer to a picture of a sign that has recently gone up on Higgins beach.  I’m happy to send you a copy of that picture also if you would like it.  Please let me know.

Thanks,

Catherine

Hi Councilor St. Clair,

First, I do feel strongly that the winter hours are unfair and unnecessary in light of all the restrictions that are being considered in the Spring and Summer.

However, in the spirit of “if you don’t vote, don’t complain” I will give you some suggestions that might be acceptable to me and might be acceptable to some others (although I speak for no one but myself.)  If there must be winter hours, why does it have to be on all three beaches?  I would say 1 or at the most 2 hours a day when dogs must be leashed on one beach, or part of one beach might be something people could live with.  For instance, if you were considering Pine Point to be the ONE beach for some leashed winter hours, from Hurd park to the jetty for a couple of hours a day might be acceptable because the people who want to have their dog off leash can just go the other way.  I’m not familiar enough with the other beaches to offer suggestions on dividing those beaches up.   Choosing part of one beach, or even one whole beach to be the place where dogs must be leashed a couple of hours a day means the 27% of voters in town who think dogs should be leashed have some beach time every day – not a lot, and not everywhere, but since those voters are the minority, it is more than fair.  BUT, there will also ALWAYS be a place on the town beaches in the off season, no matter what time of day it is, that a dog can run off leash.  If there were occasions when I had to walk toward Old Orchard rather than toward the jetty I could live with that, or even if there were times when I had to go to Ferry Beach or Higgins Beach instead of Pine Point I could probably live with that too.

So in summary, I feel strongly that there shouldn’t be any off season restrictions at all.  But if there must be off season restrictions, they should be crafted in such a way that there is always a place on the beaches in town that dogs can be off leash no matter what time a day it is.  If you do that, which hours you pick won’t matter to me.  If ALL the beaches ban off leash dogs for a chunk of the day, every day in the off season, you’ll never be able to please everyone or even most people no matter which hours you choose.

Two other things, first, your email said, “if I need to provide two hours during the day for people to walk on the beach with no dogs” Did you mean no dogs at all, or dogs on a leash?  I don’t think “no dogs at all” is going to fly anywhere, especially for people with beachfront property.

Second, I’m attaching a picture that has been making the rounds and was taken on Higgins beach this week.  Did you know the state has posted, (to quote the photographer) “A new sign on Higgins Beach. Goes all the way to the Spurwink River and back into the dunes to the small cove. Looks like this is for every one…not just dogs” ? It says no trespassing and was posted by the Maine Fish and Wildlife folks.  No dogs OR people…  I know a lot of people don’t take the DOGS group seriously when they say, “first dogs then people” but perhaps this new sign should get the council thinking about the slippery slope this whole thing is.

Thanks for your email and for all your hard work.

Catherine

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