During every election cycle, the angry cry of “spoiler” arises from the two major political parties. Maine can solve this problem through a referendum-initiated change called ranked choice voting. Here’s how it works.
In a hypothetical three-way race, voters would rank the candidates in numerical order of their preference. Ballot counters first would tally up all voters’ No. 1 choice. If no candidate has a majority — 50 percent plus 1 — after this round, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated. Ballots for this candidate then are reassigned to the other candidates whom they ranked their No. 2 choice. It continues until one candidate emerges with a majority.
For example, in the 2010 gubernatorial race, candidate Shawn Moody received 5 percent of the vote, Kevin Scott 1 percent, Libby Mitchell 19 percent, Eliot Cutler 36.7 percent and Paul LePage 38.1 percent. The No. 2 choice of all Scott voters would have been distributed to the other 4 candidates — not enough for a majority. The No. 2 choice for Moody then would have been distributed to the other three candidates — again, not a majority.
Mitchell being the remaining noncompetitive candidate, the No. 2 choice of all Mitchell voters would have been distributed to the two remaining candidates, with one emerging with a majority. In this way, the outcome might well have been the same or might have favored Cutler. Either way, the majority of the voters would have spoken.
Vote “No” budget
I’m a senior citizen on a fixed income, and I have to scrimp while the school department is on a spending spree. There are a lot of people living in Bangor, scrimping like me.
I love our kids and they deserve the best education, but they are not getting it when only 15 percent of the budget goes to the education of the students. The rest goes to payroll, perks, stipends and benefits for teachers, administrators and superintendents. This is totally unacceptable.
The average teacher compensation, which includes salary and benefits, in Bangor is $83,000 per year — 20 percent above the state average. This compensation is for 180 days of student instruction. I object to this bloated school budget, and there has been no attempts in the past 20 years to reduce it.
In 2004, 3,880 students were enrolled in Bangor schools. The budget for fiscal year 2005-2006 was $28 million. In 2014, student enrollment fell to 3,784. The proposed budget for FY 2015-2016 is $43 million.
Join me in rejecting this bloated school budget on Tuesday, June 9.
Clean water protections
After more than a year of consultation with stakeholders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a final rule last week clarifying which bodies of water are protected under the Clean Water Act. The new rule will restore protections to 1,200 miles of streams and thousands of acres of wetlands in Maine.
As Maine sportsmen and women, the Maine Council of Trout Unlimited applauds the administration for its leadership and efforts to keep these vital waterways healthy for fish and waterfowl and safe for Maine residents to drink. Healthy wetlands and headwater streams also are critical for Maine’s outdoor recreation industry, which contributes $1.4 billion to our state each year.
The just-released clean water rule resolves nearly 15 years of confusion that has put our waters, wildlife and economy at risk. But in the 11th hour, some members of Congress are leading a last-ditch effort to block the protections and are trying to restart the multiyear rulemaking process.
As the Senate prepares to consider this unnecessary delay, Maine’s senators have a critical role to play. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have opposed clean water protections in the past. The Maine Council of Trout Unlimited, with our 1,840 members statewide, urge them to protect Maine’s clean water we all care about and depend on. Please urge them to oppose efforts to block the new clean water rule.
Don Abbott, Chairman
Maine Council of Trout Unlimited
Liberty recall vote
Voters in Liberty have an important reason to vote June 9. First is the school budget, which is so important to our students. Everyone has received a comprehensive budget in the mail to review.
Second is an option to recall me from the Select Board. The reason given for this year’s vote simply is one of no confidence. I believe there should be evidence of wrongdoing in order to remove a selectman before the term is up. It is very difficult to recruit someone to do the job, and being able to remove them with no evidence of a vote the community has questioned will make it more difficult to find folks who want to serve.
I will be resigning later this month to fulfill retirement plans and live closer to grandchildren. This will allow the person who fills the vacancy on the board to participate in hiring a town administrator, work on the next tax commitment and attend assessing school the first week of August.
I want to thank the residents of Liberty who have supported me while I was on the board this past year. Encourage the Select Board to post an agenda before meetings and to keep good records to allow resident of Liberty to more fully participate in their town government. Please vote no on the recall and seek to recruit a new member of the Select Board.
Many Republicans, including presidential wannabes, such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal, recently have affirmed or equivocated on whether they agree George W. Bush did the right thing in going to war with Iraq.
This was in spite of the fact that our invasion of Iraq was a classic war of aggression: We sent our forces halfway around the planet to attack a regime that, although loathsome, had not attacked nor imminently threatened to attack either us or any of our allies and in fact had not killed a single American.
Yet in spite of the disaster in Iraq, Republican war hawks champ at the bit for an excuse to attack Iran. The lessons of history go unheeded.