Issue 6: Vision for Rockland

The abrupt and mysterious resignation of a member of the Rockland City Council less than three months after his re-election last November has created an opportunity for new candidates, and for new visions for the future of our city. Two candidates have qualified to be on the ballot for a special election June 13 to fill out the remaining two and a half years of the term.

Amelia Magjik, 39, grew up in the village of Fairport just outside of Rochester, New York. She has earned a BFA at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and an MA in Psychology from Loyola Marymount. “I’ve done everything from making donuts to valet parking cars to decorating film sets to running a private psychotherapy practice to managing hardware freight…. Currently I’m in the sandwich business,” she says, referring to her job at the Close to Home sandwich shop in the Rankin building, just a stone’s throw from the WRFR studios.

She moved to Rockland last Summer from Washington State, coming back east to be closer to her family, and choosing Rockland “because of its hardworking history, natural beauty, and friendly community.”

Steve Carroll, 66, was born at the old Knox Hospital in Rockland. He went to Rockland public schools and in high school worked part-time for local radio WRKD. He went to Graham Junior college in Boston where he received an Associate’s degree in business administration. After college he worked for a Belfast radio station, for Don Kelsey’s radio and TV store on Main Street in Rockland, and then for an Augusta radio station. In 1990 he started Carroll’s Appliances in Rockland, selling and repairing appliances, a business which he continues today. Steve lives with his wife Leling in his ancestral home on Old County Road.

“People are moving here from bigger cities because of the low real estate prices, because it is quaint, trendy, beautiful restaurants and shops, distinctive, unbelievable harbor, undiscovered, being discovered getaway from the craziness of the big city.” This is a good thing, he thinks.

Steve believes the Council should avoid diversions and spend its time on “working those deals,” referring to the development of the former Redlons property and the old McLain School. He want’s to work on promoting the creation of affordable (but not subsidized) housing, i.e. “$600 a month instead of $1200.” Welcoming young working people, not just affluent older people, is an aspect of the diversity we want, he says. Steve is also an advocate of local neighborhood schools, and thinks that we should revisit the question of our membership in RSU13.

Steve’s appreciation of diversity and focus on education are shared by Amelia Magjik. She is passionate about “connecting people with resources to live a healthy, productive life,” and believes in “the industrious goodness of the people of Rockland and our ability to foster a safe and thriving, sustainable, involved, healthy waterfront community.” She appreciates the educational opportunities she has had and believes that education should be a right, not a privilege. Regarding affordable housing, she says “High rents means low workforce, how are we inviting industry to Rockland?”

Amelia, in her short time here, has become extremely involved in Rockland civic life. “The joke is” she says, “I came here to relax and I’ve never been so busy in my life.”

A cheering aspect of this election campaign is the friendliness and mutual respect with which the candidates interact. “Amelia is the kind of person we want to attract to Rockland,” Steve says, and Amelia responds that Steve is “a good example of Rockland’s welcoming spirit.” Both, says The Buzz, are a credit to our city.

On this Wednesday’s Rockland Metro show, live on WRFR at 5 PM, our two candidates will join a conversation on Visions for Rockland. The conversation will continue at a round-table supper after the show. To reserve a place at the table, email sugarhollowglass@earthlink.net