Archive for the ‘news’ category

No on Question 1: Ranked-choice voting not constitutional for all Maine elections

May 25th, 2018
George Danby | BDN
May 25, 2018 12:00 pm

Updated: May 25, 2018 2:39 pm

Do you want to reject the parts of a new law that would delay the use of ranked-choice voting in the election of candidates for any state or federal office until 2022, and then retain the method only if the constitution is amended by December 1, 2021, to allow ranked-choice voting for candidates in state elections?

Maine voters, in November 2016, approved ranked-choice voting for future elections. The new voting system allows voters to rank their choices, rather than voting for just one candidate, when there are three or more candidates in a race. Backers of ranked-choice voting say this will lead to better candidates running for office, less nasty campaigns and less grumbling after an election because the winner will have earned at least 50 percent of the vote after the rankings are tabulated.

In an era of increasing political rancor, an influx of campaign spending from shadowy groups with little accountability, ranked-choice voting offers an opportunity for voters to feel more in control of election outcomes.

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/2018/05/25/opinion/editorials/no-on-question-1-ranked-choice-voting-not-constitutional-for-all-maine-elections/

Scarborough Police Beat: May 18

May 24th, 2018
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Arrests

5/11 at 11:25 p.m. Benjamin Colomb Jr., 33, of East Waterboro, was arrested on Holmes Road by Officer Lydia Ruetty on a charge of operating under the influence.

5/12 at 3:24 a.m. Daniel Munro, 25, of Scarborough, was arrested on Route 1 by Officer Melissa Diclemente on a warrant and two counts of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs. 

5/13 at 6:41 p.m. Jake A Germano, 35, of South Portland, was arrested on Route 1 by Officer Benjamin Landry on a charge of operating a vehicle with a suspended license and violating bail conditions.

Summonses

5/7 at 2:54 p.m. Sotero P. Giftos III, 18, of Scarborough, was issued a summons on Pine Point Road by Officer Travis Hon on charges of criminal speeding and possession of marijuana by a person under age 21. 

5/7 at 2:54 p.m. Ethan P. Caporino, 19, of Scarborough, was issued a summons on Pine Point Road by Officer Travis Hon on a charge of possession of marijuana by a person under age 21. 

5/9 at 9:41 a.m. Carrie A. Henrikson, 46, of Westbrook, was issued a summons on Payne Road by Officer Donald Laflin on a charge of failing to register vehicle. 

5/9 at 9:57 a.m. John H. Gagnon, 59, of Manchester, N.H., was issued a summons on Payne Road by Officer Benjamin Landry on a charge of operating a vehicle while license suspended or revoked. 

5/9 at 10:17 a.m. Angela L. Brown, 40, of Scarbrough, was issued a summons on Route 1 by Officer Donald Laflin for failing to register vehicle. 

5/9 at 11:40 a.m. Christopher

Article source: http://www.theforecaster.net/scarborough-police-beat-may-18-2/

Watered down Maine implementation overrides veto

May 23rd, 2018

Maine state lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to override Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of LD 1719, a bill to implement the voter initiative passed in 2016.

LePage has repeatedly undermined the will of the voters through delaying tactics and vetoes. The May 2 vote may have put an end to his shenanigans for the time being.

Republican Gov. LePage seeks to undermine Maine voters.

State legislators have been no friends to the voters, either. Then new law creates a framework for the retail sale of marijuana to adult, but it also amends numerous provisions of a 2016 voter measure in a negative way — including those specific to home grow limits and taxation.

Mixed bag bill is far from what voters passed

Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, expressed mixed emotions about the law’s passage.

“On the one hand, we are grateful that regulators can now — after months of undue delay — finally begin moving forward with the process of licensing adult use marijuana sales and regulating this retail market,” noted Armentano.

 

“On the other hand, it is unfortunate that lawmakers felt it necessary to amend and repeal other important provisions of Question 1, the Marijuana Legalization Act, in what ultimately was a futile effort to curry favor with the Governor,” he said.

“At the end of the day, this measure is far from consistent with the language that the majority of voters approved at the ballot box.”

Fewer plants, no

Article source: http://theleafonline.com/c/lifestyle/2018/05/maine-overrides-veto/

Topsham voters ratify $12.2M budget, block retail pot ban

May 22nd, 2018
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TOPSHAM — Voters at Town Meeting Wednesday approved a $12.2 million municipal budget for next year, but nixed a proposed ban on retail marijuana operations.

The 2 1/2-hour gathering at Mt. Ararat High School Commons drew 107 of the town’s approximately 7,500 registered voters, or less than 2 percent.

The town’s fiscal year 2019 spending plan is up 3.27 percent. Taking into account assessments from School Administrative District 75 ($10.3 million, up 5.8 percent) and Sagadahoc County ($1.7 million, up 0.8 percent), Topsham’s total appropriation adds up to $24.1 million. Subtracting $4.7 million in municipal revenues, the town’s tax levy could be $19.4 million, a 6.4 percent increase over FY 2018.

That figure, divided by the town’s $1 billion total land value, produces a tax rate of $19.16 per $1,000 of property valuation – an hike of $1.04, or 5.77 percent. The owner of a home valued at $200,000 would see a $208 tax increase.

All budget line items passed as jointly recommended by the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee. Resident Nancy Randolph proposed adding $200,000 to the Public Works Department’s $500,000 road construction item, in order to address more roads in need of work. That amendment failed in a show-of-hands vote, and the original motion carried.

Residents also voted against a ban on retail marijuana establishments throughout Topsham. Towns are allowed by state law to prohibit retail establishments, but not medical marijuana dispensaries.

The prohibition would have had no impact on High Brow, a retail operation

Article source: http://www.theforecaster.net/topsham-voters-ratify-12-2m-budget-block-retail-pot-ban/

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Maine – sort of. Now the state has to write the rules.

May 22nd, 2018

AUGUSTA — The Legislature on Wednesday overturned a veto by Gov. Paul LePage that would have again stalled the legal sale of recreational marijuana, moving Maine a major step closer to launching a legal retail market for the drug.

The House voted 109-39 and the Senate 28-6 to override LePage’s veto of cannabis legalization legislation, setting the state on a path to the legal sale and production of recreational marijuana some 18 months after voters approved legalization at the ballot box in November 2016. However, it will likely be the spring of 2019 before the first retail shops can open for business.

Now that the bill has passed, the state Department of Administrative and Financial Services must hire a consultant to help the state write more regulatory rules, including inspection and licensing of wholesale commercial growing facilities, licensing of retail sellers and collection of sales taxes. The rules will have to be approved by the next Legislature, which convenes in January.

The Republican governor, a steadfast opponent of legalization, had vetoed the Legislature’s first attempt at drafting a law to launch the retail market for cannabis in November. It’s not clear how quickly the state will move to hire workers to administer and enforce the new law, and seek bids to design a seed-to-sale tracking system that will be used to regulate the marijuana market.

Wednesday’s vote provoked mixed reactions, even among those who campaigned successfully to gather voter signatures and get the legalization question on the 2016 ballot.

David Boyer,

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/05/02/house-overturns-lepage-veto-on-recreational-marijuana-bill/

Medical pot shops in central Maine raising questions regarding local regulations

May 22nd, 2018

AUGUSTA — As medical marijuana retail shops open in communities across central Maine, city councilors in the state’s capital city have banned all such establishments temporarily.

In an emergency measure last week, Augusta city councilors imposed a moratorium on medical marijuana storefront operations because they say, they could set up shop in the city with little or no regulation.

Jarrod Desjardins

City Attorney Stephen Langsdorf said he’s surprised one or more such businesses haven’t opened in Augusta already, noting some have opened in Manchester, Hallowell and Gardiner.

“The storefronts, those could happen at any time, while you’re still in the process of sorting things out,” Langsdorf told city councilors before their series of votes on marijuana-related proposals Thursday. “It has been surprising you haven’t had any. They’re all over the place.”

The 180-day moratorium bans any medical marijuana caregiver storefronts anywhere inside city limits. Councilors expressed fear that retail caregiver shops could open in Augusta while the city has no regulations in place to control where, when, or how they operate. They said a moratorium would give a committee working on the issue time to propose regulations.

“We just want some control,” said Ward 3 Councilor Harold Elliott, a member of the committee working on recommendations for local rules to regulate marijuana-related businesses. “We don’t want a store popping up on every corner, in every neighborhood. Eventually, if we don’t do anything, we could have storefronts all over Augusta and not be able to do anything

Article source: https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/05/20/medical-pot-shops-in-central-maine-raising-questions-local-regulations/

In need of rural voters, Maine Democrats leave gun ban out of party platform

May 21st, 2018

Good morning from Augusta. The Maine Democratic Party’s state convention over the weekend in Lewiston was highlighted by speeches from six of their seven gubernatorial hopefuls and the three candidates running in a June 12 primary in the 2nd Congressional District.

There was also interesting and overlooked debate around the party’s platform, with a more moderate and older-skewing crowd of party delegates rejecting certain items that progressives wanted to add to the state party’s statement of values.

Certain rural Democrats won a fight to reject support for an assault-weapons ban. The crowd of delegates voted down support for a ban on “military-style assault weapons” after speeches from delegates including former state Sen. John Patrick of Rumford, who was unseated by Republican Lisa Keim in a rural district that took a hard right turn in 2016.

Patrick told the crowd that as he went door-to-door in his district, the question that he got most was where he stood on the 2nd Amendment. He said Democrats need to win the Blaine House and legislative majorities to make gun law changes and “if you want to un-elect Democrats” in rural areas, “pass this legislation, because that’s what you’re going to get.”

This vote was overwhelming, even as gubernatorial candidates called for gun control in their speeches on Saturday after the platform debate. Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling tweeted that the vote was “so disappointing.” It’s an example of an urban-rural divide in the state and party.

Other results were mixed for different

Article source: http://stateandcapitol.bangordailynews.com/2018/05/21/in-need-of-rural-voters-maine-democrats-leave-gun-ban-out-of-party-platform/

The Maine Millennial: As Sen. McCain’s presence intersects with my life, I see our similarities

May 21st, 2018

When I was 7, my father took me to a John McCain presidential campaign rally. I don’t have any memories of this – I found out about it recently from an old home video.

The quality of the videotape has deteriorated over time (it spent 10 years in a barn, after all), but some parts of the audio are clear. McCain saying, at one point, that “there are a lot of crazy people in Maine – but they’re usually gone by Labor Day!” And you can very clearly hear 7-year-old Victoria shout: “This is boring! With a capital B!”

The camera pans down to my face. I am pouting, in a very dramatic way. (I was a dramatic kid.) And of course, I am right. What sort of crazy person brings a 7-year-old to a campaign rally being held in an airplane hangar? There weren’t even fireworks!

My dad, of course, was that type of crazy person – and he didn’t leave after Labor Day. He believed it was very important for his children to have Experiences that would Build Character. (We also got taken to a lot of museums and war memorials.)

In the past year, the presence of John McCain has intersected with my life on several occasions, although I have never met the senator. On the night he revealed his glioblastoma diagnosis, I saw the breaking news alert flash across the television screen in a waiting room at Maine Medical Center while my father underwent an MRI to see if his

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/05/19/the-maine-millennial-presence-of-john-mccain-has-intersected-with-my-life/

Maine businesses have financial ties to alleged marijuana trafficker

May 21st, 2018

Last summer, Kevin Dean was riding in style.

The serial entrepreneur of Auburn and his wife had purchased a burly 825-horsepower Ford Mustang from the North Carolina garage of NASCAR star Richard Petty. Dean would return for a truck to match, he said.

He had sold off old investments to line up promising new bets on medical and retail marijuana in Maine and Oregon. But one thing was different from past ventures: his partner.

As the Deans rolled back toward Maine, Kevin Dean’s business life was unwinding. His longtime partner Emile Clavet wanted a “business divorce.” In July, Clavet hired consultants to help split up a business empire of more than 15 companies that had touched at least a quarter of Maine households.

The duo is known for co-founding and, in 2016, selling the power supplier Electricity Maine, which entered the market promising lower electricity prices but charged its residential customers in Maine $58 million more than the going rate from 2012 to 2016. As of January, Dean and Clavet owned businesses in mental health counseling, real estate and urine testing for opioid treatment programs.

In November 2017, Clavet sued Dean, alleging he was “cheated” out of a $7.9 million real estate deal. Dean has countersued.

The battle reveals more than a messy business breakup.

Court and property records show Dean and companies he’s managed with Clavet

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/2018/05/21/mainefocus/maine-businesses-have-financial-ties-to-alleged-marijuana-trafficker/

Medical pot shops in central Maine raising questions local regulations

May 20th, 2018

AUGUSTA — As medical marijuana retail shops open in communities across central Maine, city councilors in the state’s capital city have banned all such establishments temporarily.

In an emergency measure last week, Augusta city councilors imposed a moratorium on medical marijuana storefront operations because, they say, they could set up shop in the city with little or no regulation.

Jarrod Desjardins


photo-store

City Attorney Stephen Langsdorf said he’s surprised one or more such businesses haven’t opened in Augusta already, noting some have opened in Manchester, Hallowell and Gardiner.

“The storefronts, those could happen at any time, while you’re still in the process of sorting things out,” Langsdorf told city councilors before their series of votes on marijuana-related proposals Thursday. “It has been surprising you haven’t had any. They’re all over the place.”

The 180-day moratorium bans any medical marijuana caregiver storefronts anywhere inside city limits. Councilors expressed fear that retail caregiver shops could open in Augusta while the city has no regulations in place to control where, when, or how they operate. They said a moratorium would give a committee working on the issue time to propose regulations.

“We just want some control,” said Ward 3 Councilor Harold Elliott, a member of the committee working on recommendations for local rules to regulate marijuana-related businesses. “We don’t want a store popping up on every corner, in every neighborhood. Eventually, if we don’t do anything, we could have storefronts all over Augusta and not be

Article source: https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/05/20/medical-pot-shops-in-central-maine-raising-questions-local-regulations/