Lead petitioner for daily cruise ship cap crowdfunds to help Bar Harbor fight lawsuit

“Protect Acadia From Cruise Ships” Fundraiser Begins

BAR HARBOR—This weekend, Charles Sidman created a GoFundMe site that aims to raise $50,000 to help the Town of Bar Harbor to fight a lawsuit brought on by several local businesses and a new nonprofit group, APPLL.

Sidman is a Bar Harbor resident and was the lead petitioner for the recent Citizens’ Initiative which was voted in this past November by town residents. The initiative caps daily disembarkations to 1,000 people.  GoFundMe is a crowdfunding site that helps people raise funds for various needs or goals. According to the site, “The core principle behind the crowdfunding definition is that you can help a friend or help an entire community.”

In a Sunday morning email, Sidman wrote, “We are now raising funds for legal defense and public relations against the rapacious cruise ship industry and their supporters who feel that they own and can exploit our priceless Bar Harbor and Acadia for their own primary benefits.”

He also asked that people disseminate the information about the GoFundMe as well as lend financial support if they are able.

“We are fighting back locally but are being noticed globally. Thank you in advance for your help and support,” he wrote.

The GoFundMe narrative reads,

“This GoFundMe campaign was instituted to raise funds for legal defense against this lawsuit, and for a vigorous public relations campaign against the industry that, like tobacco, fossil fuels and opioids, pursues its own financial gain in spite of the accompanying human, social, economic and environmental damage to others and our shared commons. Please contribute whatever you can financially, spread the word about this campaign directly and via social media, and be supportive individually by visiting responsibly and declining to patronize the cruise ships, hotel firms and other businesses who operate globally as if their own profit is more important than their negative impacts on others.”

The rest of the GoFundMe reads as follows:

“The Acadia region of Maine is a global jewel of natural beauty, to be shared and enjoyed by all, but is unfortunately being impacted, exploited and degraded by the cruise ship industry and its associates for their private profit and benefit.

“While visitation to Acadia has reached levels requiring Acadia National Park to ration access, cruise ships continue to pour floods of people into the small coastal town of Bar Harbor, on some days more than the town’s year-round population. The overwhelming and concentrated nature of these crowds has a more negative impact on residents, other visitors and businesses than the regular flow of land-based visitors which by its nature is less concentrated in time and space, stays longer and creates more economic value and personal satisfaction for the town and region. What began as a curiosity with a few ships in the 1990’s has blossomed to almost 200 in recent years, with up to three behemoths on some days each carrying thousands of passengers and crew. The industry and its acolytes have infiltrated and influenced town governance to the point where the exploiters think they do, and are entitled to, own the town. If past ownership and profits were allowed to trump all other considerations, the world would not have moved beyond former eras of feudalism, colonialism and slavery.

“In response to this years-developing situation, in 2019 the Town of Bar Harbor denied the proposed development of a giant berthing pier for cruise ships. The other three towns on Mount Desert Island banned cruise ship traffic in their ports. Finally this past November (2022), Bar Harbor definitively voted in favor of a citizen-proposed initiative regulating and significantly limiting the number of persons allowed to disembark each day from (even anchored) cruise ships. Regretfully, this citizen initiative is not being upheld and enforced by town officials sympathetic and answering to the cruise industry and its benefited supporters, who have now sued in US Federal Court to overturn the Initiative and regain access and control where they are manifestly not wanted. Their goal is to supplant the clearly and democratically expressed will of the people through official inaction, specious legal argumentation and the brute force of money. The citizens of Bar Harbor feel entitled to control and govern their own town independently and with a healthy and welcome tourist industry, rather than being relegated to powerless service employees in a destructive and privately held commercial money machine.”

According to a late December press release, “The Association to Protect and Preserve Local Livelihoods (APPLL) organized and filed articles of incorporation as a non-profit association earlier this month, and is made up of Bar Harbor business owners in Bar Harbor.” Its board consists of Kristi Bond, Eben Salvatore, Shawn Porter, Heather Davis, and Tom Testa.

As detailed in the U.S. District Court filing, the group as well as several separate business entities that work with cruise ships believes that “the initiative could eliminate cruise ships from visiting Bar Harbor permanently.  This will result in the loss of many jobs and permanently harm many small business owners, their employees, and families.”    

“The recent passage of the citizens’ petition will eliminate cruise ships that have been coming safely to Bar Harbor for decades and will cause great economic losses for all of us,” said Kristi Bond, president of APPLL, and a small business owner in Bar Harbor. “We are unified as a board to defend our right, and our employees’ rights, to earn a living and provide for our families. We have spent our entire lives building our businesses with our own blood, sweat, and tears. It is a fact that the economic impact that Cruise ships have on Bar Harbor is $20,000,000 – $30,000,000 dollars each year.  The Citizens petition wipes all of that away.” 

The group’s complaint, which also includes the Golden Anchor L.C. (Harborside) and Bar Harbor Pierce, LLC, BH Piers/Harbor Place, BHWW (Bar Harbor Whale Watch),  495, 493,  and 492 (ferry/cruise ship tenders) as plaintiffs, alleges that the cap on disembarkations is not constitutional. It also asks for an injunction to stop the town from making the changes until the suit is settled.

Editor’s Note: Reader Patrick Kilbride has alerted us that APPLL also has a crowdfunding site via Donorbox. The link to that is below as well. That site says, “Help us protect the foundation of Bar Harbor.”


LINKS TO LEARN MORE

You can see the filing to U.S. District Court here,  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ajLq2XsSGMq11d2PIgx5x5amUOwfYJLn/view

For more information you can visit the APPLL website at www.appllbh.org

For our earlier story on the lawsuit, click here.

To check out the “Protect Acadia From Cruise Ships” fundraiser on GoFundMe, click here.  

To check out APPLL’s crowdfunding site, go here.


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