Friday, March 15, 2013: Keeping things clean, open and equal

Posted March 14, 2013, at 5:54 p.m.

Clean elections

I disagree with one of the points made in the BDN’s March 6 editorial, “ Budget is no place to make election policy.” It would be a big mistake to discontinue the Clean Election Act in elections for governor in order to preserve it in legislative races.

Maine has just one statewide office and that is the office of governor. It is the most powerful elected office in the state, and it is the single most important race to target when it comes to reducing the influence of special interest money.

The Legislature should not only keep this system intact, it should make it better by replacing

the matching funds system that was struck down by the courts.

I think Maine will benefit greatly when we finally do elect a governor using clean elections. But to allow for that possibility, we must have a viable program that works.

I urge every legislator to push for a strong clean election system for legislative and gubernatorial candidates alike.

Gary Friedmann

Bar Harbor

Money and elections

Gov. Paul LePage is trying once again to undermine the Clean Election Act, as stated in the March 6 BDN editorial. The Legislature ought to heed the will of the people and fight back against this attempt.

In addition, lawmakers should not just insist on clean elections in their own races but for all state races, just as voters who endorsed clean elections at the polls in 1996 intended.

Since LePage took office, he has made several unsuccessful attempts to get rid of gubernatorial clean elections. He did manage to double the amount of money that privately funded candidates, like himself, can raise from wealthy people and moneyed interests.

Readers should know that the contribution limit for these candidates was set at $500 in the 1996 citizen initiative. Today it is $1,500 – triple what voters endorsed. That is per election, primary and general, so donors may give $3,000 and couples, $6,000.

The Clean Elections Act is one of the most successful and valuable programs that we have, and there are people all over the country who wish their state had it.

Its reliance on many tiny contributions from regular voters as opposed to four-digit donations from a tiny elite is one of its biggest strengths.

Bruce King

Bath

Constant battle

Today I completed something of a work of art that has been in the making for nearly five months. Everyone has their opinion on the subject of firearms as a whole, but today I took a step toward unifying people to a common goal: veteran suicide prevention and awareness.

A company was offering a very limited run of AR-15 lower receiver parts to benefit the Gallant Few’s Descendants of Sparta charity. They raised more than $5,000 to help promote suicide prevention and awareness of veteran mental health issues.

This is a very personal issue to me, as I have lost more friends from the mental wounds sustained in battle than the physical ones.

Through much effort in sourcing the appropriate parts, I built a tribute rifle as legally close to the one I carried for 15 months during “the surge” in Iraq. I am very proud and have deemed it worthy of honoring those lost.

I would just like to ask people to remember that when young men are sent to fight in battle, for some it will never end.

Support your charities, local or otherwise, for any cause. I just happen to support one near and dear to my own experiences.

Daniel Lemik

Milo

Surprisingly public data

Today’s mail included a solicitation from a local dealership to buy my amazingly valuable 10-year old car. A real estate agent advised me that it is time to capture the “seller’s market,” and various banks offered me fabulous credit terms.

I hesitate to reveal that I have even received a congratulatory letter from AARP in celebration of an upcoming milestone.

All of these are unsolicited offers based on data mined from my personal information that is surprisingly public.

As I reflect on whether our Maine concealed carry permit data should be protected from public access, it occurs to me that this measure would not be consistent with the “open for business” stance of the current administration. In fact, it is truly anti-business.

The list of permit holders is a treasure trove of valuable marketing information that could help scores of Maine small businesses. From handgun suppliers that will help you upgrade your underpowered piece to locksmiths who will further enhance your security, Maine businesses have a lot to offer.

The concealed carry permit list will help connect potential buyers with Maine small businesses that can cater to their every need.

All of us undoubtedly want to foster Maine businesses and help stimulate the flagging Maine economy.

How then could we, in good conscience, deprive Maine businesses of the valuable data that our concealed carry permit list has to offer?

Ann Thayer

Yarmouth

Testing rights and wrongs

American military personnel are subject to random substance abuse testing. Welfare recipients need to be held to the same standard.

Employees of most freight companies and corporations throughout the United States are subject to random drug testing as a condition of employment. It is an issue of public safety and liability.

It is not a crime to truly need public assistance. But it is an outrage to demand other peoples’ money while believing there should be no conditions.

For far too long, assistance meant for the welfare of children and adults for basic needs has supported drug habits. That is a cold hard fact.

Another fact: Drug testing as a condition of employment is not unconstitutional, so why should it be for welfare recipients?

Those living off the backs of others need to appreciate their sacrifice and submit to the same rules as those who provide for them.

Linda Baniszeski

Meddybemps

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