Being a lifelong resident of Millinocket and caring about friends and family here has placed me in an awkward position.
Normally, when you lose your main source of income and discover that the entire business community has united to give you the "heave-ho," the best thing to do is leave for greener pastures. I will admit that it has crossed my mind. My kids are now in Arizona, Lisbon, Westbrook, and Brewer, and because my construction business is extremely portable, I can make a good living virtually anywhere.
But there is something about being driven out that brings out the stubborn French in me. The main reason for my staying put is that I discovered why my kids and your kids had to move away, which is: The Northern Forest Alliance.
It has been said that I have directed attacks towards certain groups that are here to help. The "attacks," as they are called, are truly an attempt to educate you. Their "help," as it is called, is in need of closer examination. Have they really helped at all?
The "help" that arrived here in the form of The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy have a past. To ignore that past is unwise. When time and energy is being used to steer you away from their past, alarms should be going off, but forgetting about it is what they want you to do.
The Wilderness Society was incorporated in 1935. For seventy years, they have worked to make more wilderness "untrammeled by man." The New England director of The Wilderness Society, Michael Kellet, and LURC commissioner, Jym St. Pierre, joined forces in 2000 to form a radical group called "RESTORE." With their stated intention, to restore the North Woods back to their pre-European settlement condition, there is very little left to the imagination here. Their mission statement virtually reads: "The people and the industry gotta go."
The Nature Conservancy was incorporated in 1953. They incorporated their fourth chapter here in Maine, back in 1956. They now have 80 chapters, one in every state and one in thirty foreign countries. They also hold a seat in the United Nations and have 3.2 billion dollars in assets. Among those assets are 281 square miles along the St. John River following our border with Canada.
If you still believe in the "tooth fairy," then you can also believe that their involvement in the "Northern Forest Project" was indeed a gesture of help to provide needed cash for a near bankrupt company. If in fact you are still able to open at least one eye, a moderately intelligent person will realize that there is something very rotten here.
My eyes were opened forcefully when I realized I had spent a fortune to develop a mountain that they never intended to sell to me. When I first learned this, it was the presence of Woodlands personnel at the RESTORE meeting in Greenville that opened my eyes. My first reaction was embarrassment; I had spent a complete retirement and five years of my life on a con. I had always considered myself to be at least moderately intelligent, so how could this have happened?
During the ride home from Greenville, I was half-sick with the reality of losing all that money. I returned home almost in a panic. I needed to find paperwork that would connect me to the land that I had invested a fortune in. I found six letters I had sent to GNP and then realized that they had never responded to me in writing. I was always asked to come in and discuss matters in person.
At the time, I had felt flattered to be given the personal attention. I never realized that they were just eliminating any possible paper trail to me.
I did find the single solitary letter on company letterhead that acknowledges my existence on their land. It was a letter of intent, containing 33 words, recognizing the company's intent to lease the land to me. Upon further investigation, I found several other letters of intent to other potential lessees. All of them were very different; they contained hundreds of words and many praises for hope and encouragement for their prospective businesses.
From that day forward, I knew that all was not as it seems. I had invested several hundred thousand dollars on land that they never intended to sell to me, and I had been conned for four years, believing they were indeed trying to help me obtain my land from the company. I was fooled.
At first, I got mad. Then I believed I should get even, but when the anger wore off, I decided to get educated instead. I had made mistakes dealing with people who claimed to be working for the company. Almost immediately, I discovered ties to The Nature Conservancy.
When Bowater appointed a new president in 1995, he would later be named as a trustee of The Nature Conservancy. He is also the president of MAGIC today. The appointment of Marcia McKeague as the president of Katahdin Timberlands, LLC seemed harmless enough, until I discovered that she was a board member of the "Land for Maine's Future" board, a board that was constructed by The Nature Conservancy back in 1987 to protect the land. It is my opinion that all the land in this area has been effectively controlled by TNC since the arrival of the new president of Bowater in 1995.
While local groups are pushing a phony "let's bring business to Millinocket" agenda," I have been trying to educate the public by asking them to look around.
Do you see any new business creation? We recently had a big disagreement in the town council over the need for annexation. The MAGIC side spoke in tandem with the land manager and lied about the interest of anybody coming to see them with an interest in securing land for business development.
We have personal knowledge of at least 12 individuals who have tried and failed to obtain land through MAGIC and the land manager. These individuals still have no interest in calling them liars because of the positions they hold. Several councilors spoke at length against annexation due to the increased taxes that would be levied against subsidiaries of the Brascan Corp.
The facts do not lie. All corporations paying more than 50% of their taxes to a municipality receive every penny back in the form of a tax refund. In fact, Brascan currently pays 59% and would receive an additional $1,100 beyond that. When the TIF agreement expires, Brascan will receive $68,500.0 beyond that again.
The lie about the land, combined with the lie about the taxes, resulted in the denial of the rights of the citizens to vote on annexation. Both lies obtain the desired result of the Green Bloc transitioning Millinocket into a "gateway community."
Exactly one half of our town council has favored the introduction of The Wilderness Society into our small community. That half of the council has chosen to remain totally apathetic to the fact that The Wilderness Society used the spotted owl campaign to remove 87% of the logging and paper industry on the west coast. This is not a fabrication. This information is readily available on the internet.
The Green Bloc has not figured out that confidential business ideas will never be shared with any affiliation of The Wilderness Society, as it would certainly lead to the end of that business creation.
In effect, members of the Green Bloc have consciously become the tools needed to transition Millinocket into a gateway community by The Wilderness Society.
Efforts to destroy the town manager's right to keep a perspective business creator's requested confidence are, in actuality, the Green Bloc's elimination of any hope of business creation in Millinocket. Again, it is part of the concerted effort to transition Millinocket into a gateway community.
Efforts to keep RESTORE from creating a national park in our area came to a head in the fall of 2000. Millinocket and several other communities joined with the Counties and passed a resolve calling for united resistance against the formation of a national park in this area. Our town manager led the media assault against RESTORE with the production of bumper stickers and posters depicting the need for RESTORE to return to Boston and leave our Maine way of life alone.
The New England director of The Wilderness Society, Michael Kellet, and LURC commissioner Jym St. Pierre joined forces to create RESTORE, effectively making The Wilderness Society the parent company of RESTORE.
After signing the resolve put forth by the town council against RESTORE and the formation of a national park in September of 2000, Matt Polstein signed a grant application requesting $75,000.00 from the Regional Economic Development Assistance Fund. The application was dated December 21, 2000.
As it is stated on the application, the express use of those funds is "to develop a comprehensive plan for the region's transition to a gateway community to the Northern Maine Forest.
As it was later learned from the minutes of a MAGIC board of directors' meeting, dated 6-19-2002, using The Wilderness Society was set as a priority project for transitioning the area into a gateway community.
What has been virtually forgotten, and what transpired in between those dates was the beginning of the verbal assault against our town manager from town councilor Matthew Polstein.
The need to remove the anti-Wilderness Society, anti-RESTORE, pro-growth, pro-jobs, town manager Gene Conlogue began int he spring of 2001. The verbal assault became so intense in a budget meeting that former councilor Donald McLaughlin came nose-to-nose with Councilor Polstein following a very coarse and defaming comment comparing the town manager with a former town manager who had been sent to jail.
At the next council meeting, on April 12, 2001, the Millinocket Town Council enacted a "Resolution of Council Censure" which reads:
Be it made known that it is with great regret and sadness that the Council herein assembled makes this Resolve and
Be It Further Made Known that the Council herein assembled finds the actions of fellow Councilman Matthew Polstein at the April 2, 2001 Budget Session to be offensive, deplorable, and unprofessional and that it does hereby beg, pray, and implore Councilman Polstein and any other Councilor present to conduct himself/herself in keeping with the high standards of deportment and discipline that is required of said office;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that should Councilman Matthew Polstein continue his deplorable conduct, be it in deportment, speech, innuendo, posture, tonality, or aggressive behavior, the Council shall, with certain regr3et, be forced to explore other remedies than this Censure.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council herein assembled prays that Councilor Polstein, and all Councilors hereafter, conduct himself in a manner consistent with the high ethical standards of his office. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council will no longer tolerate the repeated and continuing unfounded public accusation of malfeasance toward the Town Manager as were spoken at the Budget Session of April 2, 2001 and that the Council prays that Councilor Polstein refrain from this ongoing practice and conduct himself in a manner consistent with his office.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Council finds the actions of Councilor Polstein to be, by the weight of the facts presented above, unprofessional and deplorable and that he is hereby Censured on this Twelfth day of April, 2001.
As the continuing tirade of Councilor Polstein unfolds on KAT-TV, the public is now painfully aware of what Matt Polstein wants. He wants to remove the anti-Wilderness Society, anti-RESTORE, pro-growth, pro-jobs, town manager and install a "greenie" in his place.
Since the discovery of his signature on the grant application dated 12-21-2000, requesting monies for the express purpose of transitioning the area into a gateway community, the reasons for his attacks on the town manager have been abundantly clear: Gene Conlogue is in his way.
But the majority of the town's population is also in his way.
The November election dramatically displayed Millinocket's dislike and distrust for The Wilderness Society and the Greens. The overwhelming support to remove MAGIC's funding as a result of their acceptance of grant money from The Wilderness Society, combined with the huge support for a council candidate who spoke loudly against the entire Northern Forest Alliance for several years -- namely me -- leaves no question about where this town's loyalties lie.
The constant friction that has been maintained by Councilor Polstein is directly responsible for the bad press generated around the world. But the positive press machine that has become their most often used tool continually reverses the blame to me and my attempts to educate the public.
Thank God for KAT-TV. Now area viewers can see with their own eyes where the snow job is coming from.
Please review this information, attend council meetings, or follow them on KAT-TV (Channel 13), and write letters to the editor.
Any input would be greatly appreciated. Please help us save our town manager from the unified attack of three councilors, and in turn, you will be helping to save our town from becoming a gateway community trinket trap.