This opinion piece from Maine’s Seacoast Online suggests Nestle/Poland Spring’s well-oiled PR machine may have worked against the company, with voters becoming increasingly disenchanted with what appeared to be a heavy-handed campaign:
While many of us were holding onto our spare change and waiting for signs of economic recovery, Poland Spring launched an all-out, full-color, full-volume attack on the small community of Wells and the surrounding towns. From the ads to the mailers to the calls placed by telemarketers, there was little respite even for those who tend to ignore local issues.
So, on Tuesday, the voters rose and carried themselves to the Wells High School, and there they delivered what many hope will be a crushing blow to the hopes of multinational giant Nestlé.
Those of us steeped in the tradition of newsroom skepticism aren’t so sure Nestlé or Poland Spring will be deterred so easily, which is why we just last week argued in favor of the Wells water extraction ordinance — it seems to us that even basic protections are better than none.
But whatever comes next, maybe Poland Spring will learn a few lessons, as Bloomberg has, about the danger of voter fatigue and the power of grass-roots organizing.
While the Nestlé folks were rolling out their glossy campaign, local organizers from across the region spent countless hours wearing through shoe leather, knocking on doors and reaching out to voters.
It worked, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the effort will pay off in the long run.
Nestle desperately didn’t want this vote to go against them, and their big-dollar efforts reflected that desire. Still, in the face of strong grassroots organizing – the kind they faced in McCloud and Mecosta County – their glossy campaigns simply weren’t enough.
In response to Nestle/Poland Spring’s interest in water extraction projects in Wells, Maine, a new advocacy group has formed (which won’t make Nestle/Poland Spring very happy).
We wish the members of Protect Wells Water good luck in their fight – which currently involves a fight over a relatively Nestle-friendly water extraction ordinance.
The battle for Wells’ water has been a contentious one, and right now, this group is fighting a battle against the significant resources of Nestle. Nestle’s willingness to spend and mislead voters resulted in the voting down of a rights-based ordinance, and now PWW is fighting an extraction ordinance whose significant shortcomings are detailed here.
I registered for their email list; anyone with a few spare minutes might want to read about their plight on their Web site.
Invest 341 seconds of your day and watch the hard-hitting trailer for Tapped – a bottled water documentary. Note especially the references to Fryeburg and Nestle-branded bottled water (Poland Spring, Arrowhead, etc).
The money quote? Jim Wilfong of Maine lays it on the line:
“We are the children of revolutionary war solidiers, and we are not going to give this up without a fight”
When you’re done, make sure to forward this trailer to others.