LETTERS

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014: Clean elections, Burger King, speed limits

Posted Sept. 03, 2014, at 11:08 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 03, 2014, at 3 p.m.

Clean up elections

Jack and Jill should be able to run for state office in Maine if qualified and motivated. They should not need to be wealthy. This is why we need a restored and fully funded Clean Election Act. This first-in-the-nation law is the most successful state program of public financing of candidates for public office. It is vitally important that we protect and secure this program.

In July 2013, Maine Citizens for Clean Election (MCCE) began a new citizen-driven initiative to strengthen the Clean Elections Act. This will entail gathering 70,000 plus valid signatures from Maine voters who want to reduce the role of big money in elections.

The next step will be to introduce a bill into the state Legislature that would set maximum amounts of money that publicly financed candidates for governor, Senate and House could receive: $2 million for governor, $60,000 for Senate, and $16,500 for House. It would also require outside groups that spend money on political ads to include their names and the names of top donors in the ads.

If the Legislature does not enact this or a similar bill it will be sent to the Maine voters in 2015. Citizens will have an opportunity to strengthen campaign finance laws before the 2016 elections. Winning in Maine will inspire and motivate reform efforts in other states that seek to allow Jack and Jill to run for office. We need to fight back against the growing role of money in our political system. For more information visit www.mainecleanelections.org

Shirley “Lee” Davis

Orono

Supporting Democrats

I have been a Democrat for 54 years because of our patriotic, democratic values of fairness, equality of opportunity, progress for all, pride in our workers, protecting the environment, improving public education and infrastructure, fair trade, supporting healthy families and our veterans. I am supporting three proven leaders.

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First, Mike Michaud for governor because of his strong record of governing across party lines in the Maine Legislature and Congress. His work for veterans is unsurpassed — the new facilities and services as well as the expansion of help for PTSD, traumatic brain injury and Agent Orange victims. He has worked to increase the minimum wage and transportation funding. “Veto” will not be his response to unanimous bipartisan legislative votes.

Second, Shenna Bellows for the U.S. Senate, who ably co-led the restoration of same-day voting rights as well as the marriage equality referendums in Maine. She has a deep understanding that meeting the needs of citizens — such as raising the minimum wage and securing the future for Social Security and Medicare — will bring economic benefits to all of Maine’s businesses, small and large, as the raised incomes will give people more money to spend.

Third, Emily Cain for the U.S. House District 2 seat. She has a strong record of leadership in Augusta working on bipartisan efforts to pass budgets in tough times. She understands that meeting the needs of the majority of citizens will bring the best economic results for the state and nation.

Pam Person

Orland

Tax whopper

It looks like I’ve eaten my last Whopper or anything else at Burger King. The company’s recently announced merger with Tim Horton’s and the its plan to locate business in Canada, thus avoiding U.S. taxation, will result in my decision to take my business elsewhere. I felt the same when Walgreen’s planned to move their headquarters to an overseas location.

No American business seeking to avoid its fair share of taxes by setting up a “shelter” headquarters in another country will be patronized by me. This constitutes corporate welfare” in its lowest form.

Pat Carrick

Belfast

Speed kills

During the 1970s, federal and state transportation authorities promoted a saying, “Fifty-five Saves Lives.” Speed limits were arbitrarily lowered due to shortages of fossil fuels resulting from embargoes imposed by offshore suppliers. Subsequent statistical analyses appeared to indicate that there were fewer crashes occurring on our roadways and, when crashes did occur, there was a higher probability of survival.

Vehicles we operate today are arguably better designed, engineered, and more technologically sophisticated than those we had 40 and more years ago. Many primary roadways have been improved by being widened, straightened, and somewhat comparatively leveled. And so, we raise limits to where they were nearly 50 years ago, basing our logic on the 85 percent standard. We overlook the probability that these roadways are much more heavily used.

As for safer driving habits being included in the calculus, I travel, many weeks, about 1,000 miles on Maine roads. Perhaps we achieve the 85 percent standard there, perhaps we don’t, depending upon environment, roadways, and time of day. Either way, it takes only one driver, one time, to make a mistake that results in loss of health or loss of life. At high speeds, the saying might be, “parts of seconds saves lives.” Crash tests indicate that many vehicles fare better, but do the humans inside those vehicles?

There’s another saying based on a kind of logic, one shared with me by grandparents and parents. “Simply because the majority of people you know are doing a thing, doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do.” I’m thinking about that.

Gary Roberts

Belmont

Person for the people

Jonathan Fulford offers a unique opportunity to set straight policy shifts promoted by Paul LePage and his Tea Party pal in the Senate, Mike Thibodeau. Jonathan Fulford supports the citizens of Waldo County over the interests of large corporations and understands that reducing taxes for the wealthiest results in rising overall taxes for the majority of us.

Sen. Thibodeau runs a political action committee called “Paving the Way for a Prosperous Maine,” which receives contributions from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a proxy for the Koch brothers and affiliated entities like Pharma, Spectra Energy, and the American Chemistry Council.

Thibodeau is also a member of the ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force. ALEC invites ideologues like Thibodeau to legislative retreats where they push their corporate agenda and urge attendees to pass legislation written by corporate lobbyists. These bills pursue an increasingly extreme agenda and lead to partisan gamesmanship so familiar to us with LePage and Thibodeau in office.

These corporations do not have the interests of Mainers in mind, and neither do the elected officials who follow their directives like sheep. It’s time for real representation for Waldo County. I will vote for Jonathan Fulford for state Senate because he has a vision for the future of Maine, a future that does not include selling our state to the highest corporate bidder.

John Krueger

Northport

 

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