Question 1 supports Maine game developers
We the undersigned members of the Maine Video Game Developers Meetup are writing to endorse Question 1, the $15 million bond that will match $30 million in federal and private funds to invest in high-speed internet infrastructure. Founded in April of last year, Maine Video Game Developers is committed to making game development accessible to Mainers regardless of geography. While we are a generally apolitical organization, the importance of rural broadband to our mission cannot be overstated.
Modern game development is intensely difficult without broadband. The latest version of one industry-standard tool, Unreal Engine 4, is 11 gigabytes. At a download rate of 2 Mbps, which is common in underserved areas of Maine, it takes 13 hours to download this tool. On an internet connection with a 25 Mbps download rate, which meets the FCC definition of served, it takes one hour to download UE4. Whether downloading software or uploading textures and sound files, slow internet puts rural Mainers at a severe competitive disadvantage in the games industry.
The educational side of this issue is important as well. Game development can catch the interest of high school students in a way that other STEM subjects don’t, and many prominent names in our industry — John and Brenda Romero, Tim Sweeney — first learned game development in high school. If the next Tim Sweeney has to spend hours in a library parking lot in Phillips or Greenville just to download a tool for artistic expression, the entire state is worse off for it.
Maine Video Game Developers
Vote for Davis
I write to encourage your readers to support Paul Davis in the July 14 primary to be the Republican candidate for the Maine Senate for Piscataquis County. When you think about qualities we want in our elected leaders — integrity, experience, prudence, maturity and pragmatism — there is no other candidate in this race who can bring those to Augusta on our behalf. Davis’ knowledge of the state’s operations and governance have served us well in his daily work on behalf of his constituents, our neighbors.
I have worked with Sen. Davis throughout his 20-year career in the State House. I’ve come to know him as a strong advocate for his constituents, helping them to navigate the complexity of state government to resolve problems they are having with access to services and benefits or regulatory barriers to business and progress.
When my local hospital, Mayo, recognized the need to join a regional health system to continue to remain a strong force for health in the Maine Highlands for generations to come, Davis listened to our concerns, understood the drivers of that need, helped to explore other possible alternatives, then helped shepherd the legislation that enabled this transition through the legislature to allow us to complete the merger.
Vote early if you can by mail. Wear a mask to the polls, maintain safe distances from others when there. However you complete your ballot, vote for Paul Davis to be the Republican candidate for Senate District 4.
Waste disposal issue calls for leadership
A June 15 Bangor Daily News update on the Hampden waste plant closure points out that, under state law, landfilling is considered the worst possible way to dispose of waste.
Yet the public continues to tolerate the Municipal Review Committee, representing some 115 cities and towns, hiding behind the screen that “legal obligations under the current contract” prevent them from negotiating with PERC for a logical and common-sense resolution of their dilemma.
Since the Maine Department of Environmental Protection appears unable to enforce state policy, it’s not time for concerned citizens to speak up, demanding action from their municipal leaderships.
The way life should be
Once again, why are Maine governing bodies supporting the interests of Hydro-Quebec (Canadian) and Iberdrola (Spanish)? If the Public Utilities Commission, Department of Environmental Protection and other administrative agencies were acting on the behalf of Maine citizens, they would have supported an energy plan that directly benefited the U.S. economy.
Instead, millions are being spent on misleading advertising for a project that primarily benefits another country, another state, and investors. The smell of money doesn’t reach the ratepayers, despite the fact they bear the results of a poorly planned project. Vermont approved the same if it would be constructed underground (to spare the scenery). New Hampshire rejected it. The beneficiary, Massachusetts, chose the CMP corridor in part because it was cheaper.
Maine scenery is not cheap. It is a mainstay of our economy. People from away pay to see it. The distinct possibility of a disastrous fire from a faulty above-ground utility line like the Camp Fire in California, which burned the town of Paradise to the ground and cost more than 80 lives, cannot be ignored. I doubt if CMP wants to go bankrupt like Pacific Gas & Electric did for its mistakes.
The New England Clean Energy Connect project does not pass the smell test for people in Lake Parlin, The Forks, Caratunk, Solon or any other community who enjoy the way life should be.
Make Washington work for Mainers
The United States Constitution divides the federal government into three branches to make sure no individual or group will have too much power. I am appalled that the U.S. Senate has abdicated its role as part of the legislative branch. Sen. Susan Collins and her collaborators in the senate majority seem to have given away their long-standing moral and political principles, including the concept of counterbalancing the branches of government with oversight checks and balances. Instead, the checks and balances that seem to matter to them are those in their campaign bank accounts.
Sara Gideon has worked to strengthen Maine’s election process to expand the voices of all the voters. I support her goals as a senator, and trust she will fulfill her duties in congress to make Washington work for Mainers.