At first glance, I saw another ho-hum ballot, presenting the voter not so much with issues to vote for, but rather ones to vote against.

But a second look reveals that the casino issue has, once again, raised its ugly head.

As I consider my options, trying to stay on point with the choices that are important to me, I am bombarded with phone calls telling me to vote “no” or “yes” on a particular referendum without even informing me of what such a vote represents or might lead to.

Meals, naps, etc. have been rudely interrupted; like telemarketers, instead of earning my favor, the political calls leave a sour taste in my mouth.

If I were so blatantly rude as to call day or night, I would say, concerning the casino issue, “You can pay me now, or you will pay me later!”

Meaning: You can vote for the casinos and everything they represent, thereby temporarily stimulating the economy by creating jobs that are themselves dependent on the economy of the future. Such jobs will merely add to the unemployment lines 1) when the construction is complete or 2) at the next economic downturn.

Or, you can vote against the casino issue and wait a few months or a year for the economy to pull itself out of this cyclic funk — a cycle that has been causing ebb and flow in the economy for as long as I can recall.

I know it’s a difficult choice when trying to put food on the table. The outcome will show whether or not we are ready to roll the dice regarding Maine’s long-term future.

Kevin Douglas

Fryeburg

Let’s pretend the year is 2025, years after many towns in Maine answered the siren call of easy money and launched citizen initiatives to build casinos. Most passed, and many casinos were built.

They also were built in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, both of which had statewide plans which limited casinos to strategic locations.

In New Hampshire, a casino is very convenient to I-95 and a discount liquor store so as to encourage gamblers to go no farther north.

Here in Maine, we learned that a proliferation of casinos is neither economic development nor a very sustainable concept, as most have long been shuttered, the sites abandoned and the temporary jobs lost.

So back to the present. On Nov. 8, Questions 2 and 3 ask whether you want to allow slot machine facilities in Biddeford and Washington County and a casino in Lewiston.

While gambling is likely to expand in Maine, approving these initiatives right now may be questionable. Why not follow Massachusetts and analyze where gambling establishments are best located so that they do not negate each other?

As an example, give the Oxford casino, a facility we approved, a chance before building another facility in its shadow?

Why not also determine how Maine can profit the most from gambling casinos?

Massachusetts intends to ask operators to bid on licenses. If developers and operators are so eager to establish these facilities, let’s ask them to pay for the privilege

Based on the experience of other states, Maine’s return could be well beyond the $225,000 licensing fee paid by Black Bear Entertainment.

For these reasons, I will vote “no” on Questions 2 and 3 and hope that you will too.

James K. Elkins

Scarborough

Newspaper could do better in covering Falmouth plans

As a town councilor in Falmouth, I appreciate the Press Herald’s interest in our planning efforts for Route 1, with a news story and an editorial in two back-to-back issues recently.

Unfortunately, the two pieces contain inaccurate information. They say: “The Town Hall and police and fire departments are clustered on Falmouth Road.”

Actually no civic buildings are clustered there in Falmouth.

Our town is spread out. The police department stands by itself on Woods Road. The main fire station stands alone on Bucknam Road. Town Hall sits by itself on Falmouth Road.

It is true that councilors have been trying to change zoning policy for more than six years to create a village center along the commercial strip on Route 1.

We strive to increase the town’s commercial tax base while creating a walkable downtown at the least cost and inconvenience to businesses and property owners. It’s been done in other communities nationwide, why not Falmouth?

The council approved a zoning plan in January and now town staff is working on ordinance language. A separate study is about to begin on technical infrastructure issues, such as underground power lines, traffic and sidewalks.

For the record, here are other corrections: There are two separate village center districts in the proposed zoning changes. The northern part would be denser, with taller buildings and usable second stories encouraged (not mandatory, as the paper said).

Current car dealerships would be unaffected by the changes because dealerships would still be allowed in the southern village district (not prohibited). New drive-through restaurants would be allowed in the southern district as well (not prohibited).

Please talk to our staff about details; they’re a great resource.

Bonny Rodden

town councilor

Falmouth

Jamieson gets backing of former congressman

I am delighted that Neil Jamieson is running for Cumberland County commissioner and I urge the voters in his district to support his candidacy.

I have known Neil and his wife, Heather, for about 20 years and cannot imagine a better candidate for this position. As a member of the Cumberland County Charter Commission, Neil helped write the new charter and he understands the challenges that all levels of government confront today.

I have always been impressed by his judgment, intelligence and energy. Neil cares about people.

He has been a soccer and lacrosse coach and a past president of the Kids’ First Center. Neil is a respected small businessman and lawyer who will serve the people of this county well because of his work ethic, common sense and ability to listen to others.

During my service on the Portland City Council and in the U.S. Congress, I worked with thousands of people in Maine. I believe I can recognize quality candidates for office. Neil Jamieson is one of the best.

Tom Allen

Portland