Aug. 20 Letters to the Editor

Posted Aug. 19, 2010, at 7:55 p.m.

Keep clean elections

The BDN’s Aug. 14-15 editorial “Rethink Clean Elections” seems to be straining at gnats and swallowing camels. It rightly points out the value of the clean elections law in making our legislature more accessible to women and those without lots of money. But you think things are different in the governor’s race.

It’s interesting to note that two of the best and most experienced legislators who were candidates for governor, Libby Mitchell and Peter Mills, chose the clean-elections route.

You seem to have swallowed the warped logic of the Maine Heritage Policy Center and Indiana attorney James Bopp who argue that candidates with lots of money have a constitutional right to outspend publicly funded candidates. This is the same James Bopp who argued unsuccessfully against Maine’s then-new Clean Elections Law in 1996 and who supported the effort in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United case that allows corporate money to flood federal elections.

We need less corporate money in elections, not more. We need the transparency that disclosure laws provide. We need contribution limits so that no one can wield undue influence.

We need the clean election system to provide matching funds to keep a level playing field for candidates for the state’s highest office.

Edward F. Snyder

Bar Harbor

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Kah-expletive

Is there an obscenity ordinance in Bangor? If not, there should be.

Sitting in my office in Brewer on Friday afternoon, the music was loud from KahBang, and that didn’t bother me. What did offend me were the lyrics echoing across the river.

No one should have to hear that stuff without their consent. Lots of families with children were within the listening area. Can’t it be cleaned up like the waterfront itself? I really like the concert-on-the-riverfront concept, just a cleaner version.

Christine Halsted

Hampden

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Creationism counter

Robert Rosati’s letter to the editor, “Case for creationism” from Aug. 14 is instead a good case for why creationism should not be taught, as science, in public schools. Science it’s not.

The alleged “preloaded assumptions” of science are far from that. The term should instead be applied to many or most of the assertions of creationism. Science does indeed use first principles and observation of historical patterns. Creationism does not.

Every design does not necessarily have a designer nor does complexity in itself. The starting materials for DNA are sugars, phosphates and nucleotides, not proteins. The details of origins are still incomplete but not essential to evolution, which is what happens to life once it’s there. For more details, see “Evolution vs. Creationism” by Eugenie C. Scott.

Creationism is not necessary to accomplish the good faith practices espoused in the third paragraph. Those excellent facets of faith are what Christians should learn from Genesis, not the literalism.

Lastly, teaching creationism — as science — is illegal. The Dover decision has not been challenged, so teaching of intelligent design is also illegal. All of us should be vigilant to prevent such well-meaning but fallacious views from prevailing in our school districts.

Bob Buntrock

Orono

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Keep Maine clean

The state of democracy in Maine is under attack. Out-of-state moneyed interests have ponied up and are riding a red herring to attack Maine’s Clean Elections. Why? Because they want unlimited ads and don’t want to compete on a level playing field.

Eighty percent of Maine’s legislators, from both major parties, run “clean.” It means our elected officials are less open to corruption. It’s a good system, and it has worked for 10 years.

With clean elections, voters hear from all sides, not just from those with money to spend. With clean elections voters know who is behind the ads.

Clean elections means that citizens come first, and that our government is not for sale.

Keeping Maine clean is not just about litter. Let the out-of-state interests peddle their speech limits elsewhere.

Phil Bailey

Hancock

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Separate church, state

In the weekend edition of the BDN (Aug. 14-15), the letters to the editor section includes one from Robert Rosati that advocates teaching creationism in our schools.

We enjoy freedom of religion in the U.S., but Rosati obviously has no regard for that part of the Constitution, which states that there will be a separation of church and state.

John Langerak

Chester

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Keep it clean

In its Aug. 13 editorial, “Rethink Clean Elections,” the BDN suggests that Mainers are rethinking the clean elections law. Which Mainers are you talking about? Not me. Lots of people like me think we need clean elections now more than ever.

And not just in legislative races. We need it in the governor’s race, too. Maine has only one elected statewide office in state government. The governor is Maine’s chief executive and has more power than any other elected official.

I want government to serve the interest of regular Maine people, not just rich people and corporations. Keeping special interest money out of gubernatorial campaigns can only help.

It’s true that PACs spend money in campaigns for governor. That’s true for the legislative races, too. Where don’t PACs play a role in politics anymore? The answer is not to eliminate clean elections, but to push forward with PAC reforms.

Throwing out clean elections is like throwing out the baby with the bath water. And what does public funding for governor cost, anyway? Around $1.50 per year per Maine voter and worth every dime.

The Maine Clean Election Act has had a small minority of diehard opponents from the beginning — they started working to overturn it the minute Maine voters passed it. These anti-reform forces have never rested. They’ve been busy in other states, and now they’ve come back to Maine to try again. Just because they filed a lawsuit doesn’t mean that anything’s new.

Maine people like me are still proud of our clean elections law.

Alan Vlach

Trenton

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