Not being a Portland resident, I have no strong opinion about an elected mayor. I do, however, think Cheryl Leeman is wrong to disparage ranked-choice voting.

It is not surprising, of course, that a well-entrenched major party politician would offer a scary “what if” scenario to impugn a system that lessens the distinct advantage the two major parties have under our current “first past the post” system.

Let’s take a more immediate example than Leeman’s theoretical 10-candidate field to consider what might happen under ranked-choice (instant runoff) voting: Maine’s gubernatorial race.

There are five candidates. Three might be considered “viable” according to the polls. Eliot Cutler and Libby Mitchell can both be considered liberal or progressive, while Paul LePage is a conservative. If the current polling numbers are correct, we may well see LePage win with less than 50 percent of the vote. Under ranked choice it is far more likely that either Mitchell or Cutler would become the next governor, better reflecting the majority opinion of the people of Maine.

Under ranked choice one can freely vote for independent, alternative candidates, for candidates who more truly embody one’s opinions, without feeling that vote is either being “thrown away” or likely to result in the candidate one least wants to see win become victorious.

The dissatisfaction voters have with “politics as usual” will not be fixed by either of the duopoly parties. We need to make it easier for alternative candidates and parties to participate effectively in elections.

Instant runoff balloting can be a powerful tool to allow the people to express themselves at the polls more accurately and fairly.

Chris White
Windham

 

Timing couldn’t be better for high school renovation

 

If you want to keep your taxes low, now is the time to finance the renewal of South Portland High School.

The Consumer Price Index, or inflation, was 1.1 percent for the 12 months ending in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The city could be adding a compounded cost of up to 12 percent for a three-year delay, which would be more than $5 million.

A “no” vote on the fully vetted plan and bond will force the city to renew the high school in the future to regain accreditation. The AAA bond rating that we currently hold will go away with a failing school system, our kids wouldn’t go to college, and home prices would drop like a stone.

Opponents question the project’s scope, but they do not dispute the need to be accredited.

As a financial professional, I urge you to vote “yes” now — taking advantage of historic low costs — because the true waste will be paying many millions more for the inevitable.

Doug Jones
South Portland

 

Forbes magazine ranking is an argument for LePage

 

More bad news for Maine at the hands of the socialist Democratic Party led by Gov. John Baldacci and Sen. Libby Mitchell, the Senate president and Democratic nominee for governor. Forbes magazine’s recent “Best States Ranking” had this to say:

“Bringing up the rear this year is Maine, which replaced No. 49 Rhode Island at the bottom of our rankings. Growth prospects in Maine have deteriorated relative to the rest of the country. Job growth is expected to increase 1.3 percent annually over the next five years — one of the worst forecasts in the country. The state has endured a rash of business closings the past three years as well.

“Mainers head to the polls next month to choose a new governor. The state’s current chief, Democrat John Baldacci, is off the hook, though; thanks to term limits, Baldacci cannot seek re-election.”

So, do you vote for Libby Mitchell with the shallow reason that she would be the first woman governor, or do you vote for Paul LePage to bring the state back from the economic doldrums the Democrats have steered us into? Libby Mitchell’s jobs promises are as hollow as the empty factories, offices and storefronts around this once-great state.

Vote for Paul LePage.

Kris Anderson
Phippsburg

 

Forbes magazine recently ranked Maine as the worst state in the United States for business and careers. The economic situation in Maine is desperate and calls for a strong solution. Paul LePage is the solution.

Libby Mitchell has been in legislative leadership for years, spearheading passage of laws that have driven Maine businesses out of the state and have shortchanged our children’s educational and career opportunities. Forbes also ranks Maine as the 48th worst state in its regulatory environment. This environment is the one Libby Mitchell and the Democrats have created for Maine.

When Paul LePage talks about his ideas for loosening this regulatory stranglehold, listen to him. He will reduce costs to businesses looking to open in Maine. He will eliminate the red tape that effectively tells businesses they are not welcome here.

LePage has offered a comprehensive plan for reforming education that includes concentrating funding on teachers, classrooms and children, not administrative overhead.

Maine’s desperate economic plight demands new ideas, bold ideas, ideas that LePage has been focusing his campaign on for months.

I urge Maine voters to vote for Paul LePage to raise Maine back up where it belongs.

Wanda LaBrecque
Palmyra

 

Major-party mudslinging clears way for independent

 

I always thought that in Maine “mud season” arrived in early spring.

But not according to the recent political advertisements that one is subjected to. Don’t you just love the mudslinging that seems to be the trademark of both the Democratic and Republican candidates this year in the race for governor?

In these muddy ads, designed to capture our votes in November, neither party ever gets its twisted facts straight. They bombard us with broken logic, loose facts and ludicrous conclusions.

Remember that road sign as you enter Maine from the south: “Maine, The Way Life Should Be.”

Time to change the wording during election season to: “Caution. Deep Mud. Keep Out.”

This year I think that I will remain independent and vote for Eliot Cutler.

John McGinnis
Windham