When politicians and government officials can’t win an argument, they often change the subject. Here are two recent examples.

In this column a few weeks ago, I wrote about the concern by Grand Lake Stream guides that their clients would stop coming if wind towers were installed on Bowers Mountain 18 miles away. The focus of my article was fishing, and my contention was that anglers will go wherever big fish can be caught. I offered several examples from my own experience.

Maine’s perennial politician, Jona-than Carter, unable to counter my argument about big fish and avid anglers, chose to ignore it, insisting that my column was actually about wind power, and attacking my motives for writing the column.

This is another old political trick. If you can’t argue the merits of an issue, attack your opponent’s integrity. Carter contended that I wrote the column because First Wind, the company that has proposed to construct the wind towers on Bowers Mountain, is a sponsor of my website, www.george smithmaine.com.

He is wrong about my motive for writing the column. I was intrigued by the fishing issue and decided to offer my experience to alleviate fears that anglers would abandon the state if they saw a wind tower. I would have loved to read Carter’s response to the issue I wrote about.

Long-time readers of this column know that I have championed every alternative to our horribly expensive and destructive addiction to oil, from wind to wood pellets, solar to tidal power.

The second example involves Roxanne Quimby’s proposal to establish a national park on the 70,000 acres of land she owns between Baxter State Park and the East Branch of the Penobscot River.

While there is significant support for the idea, especially in East Millinocket and Medway, the Millinocket Town Council objects to even a study of the proposal. Rather than debate the pros and cons of a national park study, however, some council members have focused their objection on a concern for the region’s wood supply.

This ignores the fact that those in the forest industry sold Quimby her land, after heavily logging it, and she won’t have much available wood fiber on those lands for a very long time.

Former Sen. Bruce Bryant (a Rumford paper mill employee), after visiting the area, said a woodpecker would need to pack a lunch when flying across it. Quimby has no plans, or even opportunities, to harvest timber. So the issue of the wood supply, focused on her land, is well off target.

While potential new owners of the paper mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket have raised wood supply as an issue, industry leaders say their real concern is price. Plenty of wood is available, but not at the low price that the new owner wants.

Once again, my motives are under attack, this time for my support of a study of the economic potential of not only Quimby’s national park on the west side of the river, but also the river itself and the land on the east side of it. Because Quimby is also a sponsor of my website, her opponents prefer to challenge my integrity in favoring the study, instead of responding to what I actually wrote about.

At the end of every column I write for this newspaper, both the travel column that Linda and I write and this editorial page column, there is a reference to my website. Readers are always welcome to check it out, including the sponsors. The major ones are right there on the home page. I have nothing to hide.

The next time I write about birding, someone probably will say that I must have done it because Maine Audubon sponsors my outdoor news blog. Blog sponsors are listed right alongside the blog posts.

Readers of this column should be aware that the views I’ve presented here since 1989 are entirely my own. Honestly, few would want to associate with my opinions!

After so many years in the public eye, I am used to the slings and arrows. Since retiring from my high-profile job at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I thought I might be able to dodge some of those arrows, but it turns out that the power of the pen is equally offensive to some.

Mainers, however, deserve better on these significant projects. I’m doing what I can to call your attention to these important issues. You read. You decide.

George Smith is a writer and TV talk show host. He can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.

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