Wednesday, June 8, 2011: LURC, politics and TV stations

Posted June 07, 2011, at 4:40 p.m.

Save LURC

I’ve been following the misguided effort to abolish the Land Use Regulation Commission. It occurs to me that the people pushing a commission designed to abolish LURC are basing their beliefs on inaccurate, anecdotal information.

I’ve applied three times for a LURC permit. In 1987, I got permission to build my house

in Argyle in less than a month. Five years ago, I applied to do landscaping at Ragged

Lake. The LURC agent made a site visit and advised me to alter my landscape plans a bit, and I did not need to reapply.

Last month I applied to build a garage, and delivered the permit application to LURC’s

Bangor field office. The agent there was very helpful, even though I didn’t have an appointment and she’d only seen four of the newly updated application forms. I had my permit in hand in less than seven days. That won’t happen if the counties take over doing what LURC has done so well for 40 years.

The counties don’t have the resources or expertise that LURC agents have. Turn-around times will slow to a crawl, hindering development in the Unorganized Territory. The ensuing political furor will put the counties under political and financial pressure to speed up permit decisions. To alleviate a problem that should have been easily foreseen, permits will be rubber-stamped to speed up development of poorly planned trailer parks, badly engineered roads and strip malls.

LD 1534 is terrible legislation. I’m counting on legislators to make that law disappear.

Thomas Varney

Argyle Township

•••

A step backward

When I came to the University of Maine to work in the political science department, I was privileged to teach students about the great legacies of Maine politics.

Maine, widely known as a highly participatory state with a strong civil culture of mutual respect and strong levels of citizen involvement, achieved that in part with voting rules enabling citizens to register to vote on Election Day.

More broadly, as I told my students, the link between same-day voter registration and high voter turnout is among the very clearest findings in political science. In talking to scholars and reporters around the nation and world about Maine politics, I often mentioned same-day voter registration as a defining component of the state’s political life.

Now the Maine House, my own representative among them, has voted to end this practice. Should this nearly four-decade practice be changed, instead of identifying Maine’s voting laws as a fundamental element of a highly engaged political culture, I can discuss it in the context of other cases when states limited voting rights. These include the adoption of laws in the South to take away Reconstruction-era rights granted former slaves and other African-Americans as well as the laws of the early 20th century meant to limit the power of urban political parties and immigrants.

While most people tend to think of the American story as one of ever-expanding rights, there are times when these are reduced after having been expanded. At this time, it is unclear which tradition Maine exemplifies.

Amy Fried

Bangor

•••

Vote for Shelby Wright

On Tuesday, June 14 we have the opportunity to cast our vote for a new Hampden town councilor to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Matthew Arnett, who resigned in March. I urge you to cast your vote for Shelby Wright.

As a lifelong resident of Hampden and a small business owner, I am committed to our community and its future success. Hampden needs a leader who can restore balance and reason to our local government, one who is committed to the residents and businesses of Hampden and not their own personal agenda.

Shelby Wright is that leader.

I have come to know Shelby personally over the years as a dedicated and hardworking member of our community and consider her a person you can trust. She is full of energy and optimism and has never shied away from a challenge, always managing to find the positive in any situation.

On June 14, cast your vote to move Hampden forward. Please vote for Shelby Wright for town council.

Buzz Frost

Hampden

•••

I want my sports TV

Television programming is market-based. I have enjoyed watching the Boston Bruins’ first two hockey games against Vancouver for the Stanley Cup, the French Open tennis finals and other recent sporting events picked up from their affiliate cable companies and broadcast by our local TV stations.

If you are on a fixed income, don’t have cable TV in your community and can’t afford a satellite hookup, please call and let our local TV stations know how much you appreciate their picking up sporting events from cable networks such as ESPN and Versus. If our local TV stations know the viewer market is out there, those of us without cable or satellite TV might once again enjoy watching those sporting events we had available in the past.

Bob Croce

Dedham

•••

Repeal LD 1333

I am an independent. This is not a politically directed letter. However, when I learned that health care bill LD 1333 was being lobbied so heavily by insurance companies, I knew the bill was not going to be in the public’s best interest. In short, we’re headed for a hosing.

An insurance company’s first and foremost interest is to line its pockets, not look out for you or me. According to the Sun Journal, insurance companies hired nine lobbyists to persuade lawmakers. No wonder, when there is a tax of up to $4 per person per month levied on rate payers, paid to the insurance companies. This bill went from public hearing to law in just 20 days. Very few people I’ve spoken with even have a clue what the bill contains.

This bill essentially allows the insurance companies to vary rates on a sliding scale by as much as five to one, depending on where you live, work, family make-up and even your age. With Maine having the oldest demographics in the nation, whom do you think this will benefit?

We all agree that health care reform is needed, but we don’t need an insurance company-driven bill like this one shoved through by the Republicans.

Don’t forget that this law is brought to you by the same political party that was recently on national TV defending tax cuts for the oil companies.

Bring on the People’s Veto!

Greg True

Norridgewock

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