National park speculation

One of the pitches to try to get local people to accept the proposed national park and recreation area east of Baxter State Park is that it will not grow outside yet-to-be-established boundaries. The supporters may have these boundaries drawn on maps, but they are not currently established by law. And even if boundaries are established by law, they can be circumnavigated, as has happened with Acadia National Park’s recent acquisition of 1,441 acres on the Schoodic Peninsula.

There is strong potential a North Woods national park could extend beyond what is proposed. The Nature Conservancy and the Appalachian Mountain Club own land in the Katahdin and Moosehead Lake areas. Both these organizations are in favor of a national park. Once a national park is established on Roxanne Quimby’s land, what would prevent the Nature Conservancy and the Appalachian Mountain Club from donating part or all of their land to the National Park Service?

People will say this is just speculation. But there is a lot of speculation in regard to the national park. They say they’ve done studies on the number of jobs and number of visitors, but, in reality, all of that is also just speculation.

Billy Barker

Fort Fairfield

Support ranked-choice voting

Ranked-choice voting is a system that gives voters the option to rank candidates running for office in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority of the first choice votes, the last place candidate is eliminated and the supporters of that candidate have their support re-assigned to the remaining candidates, based on their second choice preference. This process continues until one candidate emerges with a majority of support.

First, ranked-choice voting will encourage sincere voting. This means voters can support their favorite candidates without the fear of unintended consequences, such as splitting the vote.

Second, ranked-choice voting is constitutional. As a registered parliamentarian with the National Association of Parliamentarians, my argument for constitutionality is simple. Ranked-choice voting ensures a majority vote and by definition, a majority vote is always a plurality vote. Therefore, ranked-choice voting satisfies the test in the Maine Constitution, which requires that elections are decided by at least a plurality vote.

The current winner-take-all system is not healthy for representative government. Over the last 40 years, we have seen this system elect a governor with a majority of the vote only twice. These circumstances have weakened leadership and decreased voter faith in their elected representatives.

With these points in mind, I urge BDN readers to vote for ranked-choice voting this November.

Carl Pease


Sanders will strengthen the Democratic Party

Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist, has helped the Democratic Party more than any other candidate in recent years. Regardless of who gets the nomination, the Democratic Party will forever be stronger because of his candidacy.

Why is it that Ronald Reagan would have a hard time winning the GOP nomination today? It is in part because the Democratic Party over the last few decades has been unable to coalesce and fight for a true liberal agenda; it has allowed the Republican Party to pull the center of the country to the right.

The party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy turned its back on being a party of bold sweeping ideas and became complacent and satisfied for far too long with running on preserving Social Security and keeping a Republican appointee off the U.S. Supreme Court. That is until now.

Sanders is doing what so many Democrats before him failed to do: He is dragging the Democratic Party to the left. We have already seen the fruits of his labor as Hillary Clinton has quickly dropped her status quo agenda and adopted his progressive rhetoric.

He has taught the Democratic Party to have vision, be authentic and vigorously defend that vision.

Shawna Paul