Centrist party needed
All the recent news about bankers’ salaries and Chamber of Commerce machinations makes me want to revise my own pithy descriptions of political players. I’ll still keep my paraphrased description that goes, “The business of America is business, and the business of business is greed.” But, I used to describe the two main political parties in this way: “Republicans — the party of big business and small minds”; “Democrats — the party of entitlements for everyone (except, maybe, white males.” The Democrats’ description remains but the Republicans are now “the party of big business, small minds, and entitlements (but only for big business and banks.)”
So what do we do, vote for an independent party? The problem here is that some independents are to the right of Attila the Hun and others think liberals are too conservative. What we really need is a centrist party that would encompass the majority of Americans. We also need to rid ourselves of professional politicians by hav-ing term limits and voting against any incumbents. You can stay within your party but just vote against the current office holder.
My preferred solution, however, is to resurrect a party that I would call Neo-Jacobins — you may remember those guillotine guys from the French Revolution. We won’t chop their heads off, but we have to deal more harshly with the Bernie Madoffs, Ken Lays, (and most of Wall Street) or they’ll continue to abuse us.
Help Green Independent
Mainers have a chance to vote for actual change in state politics. Lynne Williams is running as a Green Independent for governor.
Who is Lynne Williams? She is a Hancock County lawyer specializing in civil rights, environmental protection and defending common people against abuses of influence and political power. Lynne cherishes our constitutional rights and has defended people in Maine who have exercised those rights even under difficult circumstances. If you are excited about Lynne Williams’ candidacy and want to get involved please call: in Brewer, 907-2345; in the town of Waldo, 338-4920; and in Belfast 338-3854. Lynne’s Web site is www.lynnwilliams2010.org.
Thank you, Bangor Daily News, for publishing the amazing travels of Levi Bridges of Sedgwick and Ellery Althaus of Truro, Mass. It was a wonderful story about their bicycle trip through Europe and Asia. Each week, I looked for the new installment about their travels. The new young writers for the paper are super.
No Wiscasset bypass
The people of Maine can’t afford a Route 1 bypass around Wiscasset, the natural environment will suffer from it and we don’t actually need it in the first place. Yet our Department of Transportation stolidly pushes on with this boondoggle of a project when there are better alternatives. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now taking comments on various bypass proposals; the only acceptable one should be the “no build” option.
For openers, Wiscasset is only a serious traffic jam for a few weeks, or weekends in the summertime. So we’re not talking about a year-round problem. Traffic management, including telling motorists about alternate routes, can help. So could a pedestrian walkway across Route 1, either overhead or underground. This would be costly, but a tiny fraction of the cost of multimillion-dollar bypass.
One thing that would reduce traffic that doesn’t cost anything, but would instead save money: carpooling.
We don’t need to encourage more people to commute and travel Route 1 by car, typically one person per vehicle. Any plans for a highway bypass in Wiscasset should, pardon the pun, be derailed.
Better wardens cabin
I was interested to learn of the brewing controversy over the accruing costs associated with the new wardens cabin currently under construction at Baker Lake. I am even more curious as to whether this random design and cost control approach is likely to become a model for the warden service in the future as it plots its course for the improvement or replacement of the existing inventory.
In my view, that would be shortsighted from both the design and budget perspective and a clear affront to the traditional culture and heritage of the North Maine Woods. It would be too bad to see more of these awkward structures scattered around on the historical warden cabin sites.
On the budget side, I wonder if more effective cost control could not be achieved by looking at another model that would suit both purposes. We have many productive and independent businesses around the state that manufacture log cabins in a variety of sizes and designs and for a pre-determined budget. While there is no question that this would be a more appropriate vernacular for this use, it would have the added benefit of cost containment while supporting the local economy.
Kudos to WCCC
Kudos to the Maine Community College System in naming Joyce Hedlund as Washington County Community College’s new president. WCCC has been blessed with tremendous leadership under Peter Pierce, Ron Renaud, Bill Flahive and Bill Cassidy. Their commitment to the region has been unyielding. Joyce joins a noble cadre of individuals. Over the last 40 years these men have built a school that has offered opportunity, built new lives and made whole again some that were broken.
During my tenure as press secretary to the governor and as director of public affairs at the college under Presidents Flahive, Renaud and Cassidy, I had the opportunity to work with Joyce on several occasions. She has always been a true human asset for the Community College System.
Joyce Hedlund’s leadership at EMCC has turned that campus into a dynamic education community and economic resource that provides an educated work force for the entire state. She can identify the quality skill-sets and outcomes for every student there. Her contributions have enriched thousands of Maine lives and in the pro-cess given a hand up and made each graduate a solid asset to their individual families and communities.
Joyce Hedlund will certainly raise the bar for postsecondary education and other adult training opportunities here in Washington County. Her appointment is great news. The Maine Community College System continues to offer the best education at the very best price per credit hour for everyone here in the Pine Tree State.