December 10, 2018
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Saturday, April 21, 2018: Ranked-choice voting regrets, supporting Maine’s workforce, gun control needed

Ranked-choice voting regrets

I’ve helped count and tally ballots in Bucksport many times. This system, which all towns use, is excellent. It’s set up in a way that makes any attempts at fraud impossible to pull off.

I voted for ranked-choice voting, stupidly, because I didn’t know these ballots are to be counted in Augusta. I hereby rescind my vote. Ballots should be counted locally, especially in this poisoned political climate that we endure today.

David Betts
Bucksport

Supporting Maine’s workforce

Maine has a real problem with workforce development, and the reason why will surprise you. Over the past few decades, Maine’s workforce has struggled to adapt to the changing shift in workforce demands, and the decline of the pulp and paper industry. Jobs lost through layoffs or closures have been all too common over the past few decades. Every time a mill slows or shuts down, dozens or hundreds of people lose their livelihood, and are left looking for work in a new workforce climate. This has driven more individuals to look for highly skilled positions or enter into one of Maine’s college systems.

The issue of developing a strong, highly skilled workforce in Maine has been slowly improving in recent years given the support from legislatures to fund programs that focus on supporting a sustainable, highly skilled workforce. These efforts have been seen through policies such as LD 215, which expanded the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates programs across Maine to focus on student retention in college.

These policies pushed by Mainers and supported by legislators to strengthen workforce development by establishing policies that provide supports for lower-socioeconomic Mainers has not gone unnoticed.

Tobby Bragdon
Veazie

YouTube shooting

Nasim Najafi Aghdam, who opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters in California on April 3, was a passionate animal rights supporter who believed she was being discriminated against by YouTube because she was vegan and promoted animal welfare in her quirky, interesting videos, which she claimed were being filtered.

But why would YouTube filter a vegan channel just when veganism (a 3 percent increase in plant-based proteins creates a 10 percent decreased risk of death) was becoming the fastest growing lifestyle movement in history?

Her videos saw a drastic decrease in views after YouTube changed its monetization policies due to the advertiser boycott known as the Adpocalypse in April 2017, which spurned videos even slightly out of the white bread mainstream.

She had a cush job with her father’s electrical contracting company to pay for her artistically designed costumes and video gear.

So why would an ethical vegan in this age of mass shootings give up her life for $55 to $884 per month Social Blade estimated she had been making, just to wound three people at lunchtime?

Idausa.org says that while only 4 percent of the U.S. population hunts, they kill more than 200 million animals per year, while 3.4 million shot and wounded ducks and geese in the U.S. and Canada go unretrieved each year.

Keith Taft
Van Buren

Passing the torch

It’s very clear that the torch has passed to a new generation on our City Council. I am encouraged by that. The traditions of the past are unequal to the present situations. Bangor will emerge a stronger and better city for that.

Hal Wheeler
Bangor

Gun control needed

In the 1930s, millions of Americans were in economic distress and there was talk of the need to move the country toward some form of socialism. The New Deal reforms undertaken to help the poor, the unemployed, farmers and workers were decried as an attack on business and capitalism. But the reforms are best seen not as an attack on the country’s economic system but as a strategy for saving it, for addressing the country’s problems in a moderate way and forestalling likely calls for radical reform if nothing were done.

Do we not face a similar situation today when it comes to gun law? Those opposed to stronger gun regulation warn that steps to limit access to guns put us on a slippery slope toward elimination of all protections for gun owners. They point to the recent call by retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens for repeal of the Second Amendment. But such calls only arise because the gun lobby so predictably resists even modest steps toward change, making it appear to some that repeal of the Second Amendment is the only way.

Talk of repealing the Second Amendment indeed seems unrealistic, and repeal is perhaps not desirable even from the perspective of gun control advocates. But the very thought of it wouldn’t occur to those advocates if the gun lobby would only back off a bit and accept such measures as universal background checks, raising the eligible age for gun purchases, or restricting the sale of large ammunition magazines.

Thomas Eichler
Wiscasset

Ranked-choice voting not a mess

Michael Cianchette’s recent BDN column, “Let’s clean up ranked-choice voting mess before election,” is another attempt to muddy the waters regarding ranked-choice voting. The mess he alludes to was created by the Maine Senate, not by ranked-choice proponents. The proponents made it clear in their educational campaign how ranked-choice voting would be implemented. Cianchette seemingly doesn’t understand the limitations agreed to by proponents.

The mess, as Cianchette calls it, was created by the Maine Legislature when it tried to thwart the will of the people by delaying and repealing the voter-approved law, claiming ranked-choice voting is unconstitutional. In fact, it is unconstitutional only in some elections. This attempt to confuse the readers seems a deliberate misrepresentation of the law that applies only to general state elections, not primaries. And federal courts have ruled that ranked-choice voting meets all U.S. constitutional tests.

This misrepresentation was addressed by Superior Court Justice Murphy who ordered the Maine secretary of state to move forward with the implementation of ranked-choice voting for the June primaries. But the Senate challenged this ruling and continues to make a mess of this issue by appealing to Maine’s supreme court.

This rejection of Maine voters’ wishes has got to stop and those elected officials who think they know better than the voters need to be voted out. What arrogance. That’s the mess that needs to be cleaned up, not ranked-choice voting.

Bob Croce
Dedham

 


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