October 4, 2008
Cleaning Out the Inbox …
Cheers and jeers from around the news:
Cheers to the Lewiston City Council, for supporting the Friends of Merrymeeting Bay's efforts to improve the Clean Water Act classification of the Androscoggin River from Durham to Brunswick. The Friends are swimming upstream in reclassifying the river, but are gaining allies.
What's most important, though, is the river needs mouths - vocal advocates who will harmonize to force action on environmental gains. The river has come far, but still has far to go. The governments along its banks should make its improvement a priority.
Cheers to Rep. Tom Allen and Sen. Susan Collins for featuring Lewiston prominently in political advertisements. One question: Does Collins support of the Maineiacs, as detailed in her advertisement, make her a "hockey mom?"
Jeers to criticism of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, which approved a $100 payment from a House candidate, Robert Zabierek of Sherman, to his son, whose band played at a campaign event. The money came from Clean Election funds, which means it came from taxpayers.
Ethics means making judgment calls. Maine restricts family from being paid by "clean" campaigns unless the expense is legitimate, relevant to a family member's business and at market value.
What's the going rate for an unknown band to play a gig? The band played at a legitimate campaign event, in its normal capacity as a band. The issue was not clear-cut as either egregious or allowable.
Given the gray area, the commission had to make a decision. In our opinion, they made a fine one.
Cheers for the laudable environmental efforts for the endangered Atlantic wolffish. Any creature that ugly needs protection. (Just kidding, of course.)
Jeers to Lewiston for canceling in-person absentee voting on Monday before Election Day. While anticipated voter turnout is pressuring officials, there has been ample time to prepare. Instead of canceling the voting, the city should devote additional resources toward the election. This is what Auburn has done.
Lewiston should do the same.
Cheers: Gov. John Baldacci and his lawyers, for continuing to pressure Androscoggin County Commissioner Helen Poulin about her residency; to the worsening global economy, only for helping bring sky-high gasoline and heating oil prices down before winter; and the fall colors, which are emerging in brilliant fashion.
Jeers: Congress, the White House, the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve and Wall Street, for they-know-why; Canadian authorities, for making a spectacle of Maine fisherman Linda Greenlaw and her miscue; and the fall colors, not trees, rather those garish roadside political signs that sprout overnight.
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