Ending party control of elections

“Go Vote,” the March 4 BDN editorial urges. “There is no better way to reinvigorate the democratic spirit in you.” How so? Why should a plurality of voters in Maine and America have to register as a party member in order to vote in the primaries in first place?

Ben Franklin told Mrs. Powell and all of us down through the centuries that we have “a republic, if you can keep it.” We cannot keep our republic if we the people allow ourselves to be funneled and enchained into the party voter prison.

Americans should be able to register in primaries as a voter, period. They do in states like Washington. Why not Maine? Why is candidate choice limited to party candidates? The January Gallup poll shows that 42 percent of Americans identify as independent. Is that a factor? A significant majority of Democrats and Republicans in the Maine survey of voters wanted true open primaries, not semi-open primaries.

We the people pay for these elections. We the people should own them. We should take control over ballot access through nonpartisan elections rather than allowing private corporations to control our elections. A Harvard University Business School study claimed that party-controlled elections were part of a “political industrial complex” that does not serve the public interest.

Let’s urge the media to do more in-depth reporting on the need for true election reform, not endlessly repeat get-out-the-vote slogans. Let’s heed Ben Franklin’s call to keep our republic by ending the parties’ control over our elections systems.

Joe H. Pickering Jr.

Mainers for Open Elections


Facing the truths of the Trump administration

What happened to the administration’s promises to provide health care; to protect the provision of insurance for those with prior conditions; to continue to provide Medicare; to protect Social Security?

While the public has been occupied with impeachment and the nomination process, the administration has been busy working to alter and change Medicaid and Medicare. They have proposed changing Medicaid to block grants, thus allowing states to change how the program is delivered. This change could affect disabled children and adults, including those who are now covered, who depend on Medicaid — particularly in states that do not hold health care for all as vital to well-being.

The president, in spite of his promises and statements, has also recently proposed millions in cuts to Medicare and has proposed cuts to Social Security.

Those who depend on these services, retirees and others who need these programs, must pay attention — not to what is stated by the president, but to what is actually proposed by his administration. Unfortunately there appears to be enormous differences between this administration’s promises and the reality of its actions.

We need to contact our senators and representatives to tell them loudly and firmly that these programs are vital to the welfare of a great number of the citizens of Maine. It is far past time for people to step up and face the truths of this administration.

Remember, your vote counts.

Nancy Gilbert


A close look at fish farm proposal

The full-page ad by Nordic Aquafarms in a recent edition of the BDN was very pretty and very promising. Let’s look at it more carefully.

Now try to imagine the mature forest, wildlife habitat, and important ecosystem that will be forever destroyed. Then consider the five-plus years of noise, dust and traffic engendered by the excavation and construction required. Then learn about the amount of fresh water needed from local aquifers. Then, understand how the daily discharge of 7.7 million gallons of effluent into Belfast Bay, because of the lack of an efficient current, could form a persistent plume of 100 million gallons of warm nitrogen-rich wastewater.

This is a risk not only to the lobster fishing and other economic marine aquaculture endeavors already in the area, but also, when onshore winds prevail, to local beaches in Belfast and Northport. Then take into account the consequences of NAF’s huge energy consumption. Finally, tally the eventual very real bottom line loss to the local economy.

Actually, the picture is not so pretty and the promises are not so convincing.

Martha M. Block


Support changes to the Settlement Act

It’s time to view the controversy about the recommended changes to the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act from an elevated perspective.

Speaking to our fellow Anglo-Saxons, we ask if you remember Merlin’s advice to

the young King Arthur: Look at difficult issues from the perspective of an eagle high above.

Our ancestors have been on this continent for some 400 years. What did they

find here? Blessedly clean water, air, and unspoiled forests. Indigenous peoples maintained this beautiful state of God’s creation since time immemorial — at least 12,000 years in Maine or more.

Non-natives take many pages to explain preserving ecology. The indigenous people we know say it in three words — “all my relations” — from grandfather rocks, to animals, birds, fish, humans and rivers/veins of Mother Earth.

Of course, tribal people in Maine should have the say on their diminished territories over the land, waters, their “relations,” and render justice to all wrong-doers. Of course, the Wabanakis should have all the rights other federally recognized tribes have in the U.S. under federal Indian law.

The task force, composed of Maine legislators, lawyers and Wabanaki representatives, has worked hard in good faith to bring forth the changes necessary. We fully support L.D. 2094.

Harrison and Marilyn Roper


Fighting hunger should be a priority

As a family physician, I have cared for many children who have benefited from free school lunches. Feeding children is essential to their being able to learn to the fullest of their abilities. They are our future.

The Trump administration is, once again, attacking the most vulnerable among us. Fighting hunger and supporting our children should be one of our top priorities.

Catherine Crute