Tuesday, December 10, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
A woman carries a sign depicting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during an event Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial to mark the 1963 March on Washington. Citing King’s “I have a dream” speech, a reader says his own image of a better America includes a criminal justice system that is focused on restoration.
2013 File Photo/The Associated Press
Of course, the council will tell you that a casino is only allowed if the voters say "OK" to casino gambling in a new referendum. After all, we've already voted five times against it. Who knows -- we may vote for it someday. For now, that fact may be true. But it sure does put the cart before the horse, don't you think?
What the council didn't say -- and in fairness, maybe doesn't know -- is that Scarborough Downs and its gambling interests initiated legislation at the state level through different legislators (not ours).
One of the proposed laws bypasses a local referendum. The state legislation didn't get voted on this session, but it could go through next session.
If the state Legislature votes to eliminate the requirement for a town to approve the casino, it will be the state voters, not the taxpayers of Scarborough, who will determine whether the Downs can put a casino on its property. Think it can't happen? The governor sets the standards for behavior. Think again.
These types of votes always happen in the middle of the night, or in the middle of August. Neither the Planning Board nor the Long Range Planning Committee had any input into the zoning amendment. For more information, contact the No Again group on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The council can reconsider its amendment at its next meeting, but that's our last shot before it could become a state issue. That's the game that casino operators and the Downs have set up. You ready to play?
Suzanne A. Foley-Ferguson
former town councilor
Decaying roads, bridges cost Maine motorists a lot
We all know that our transportation system is vital to our economy in several ways: one, transporting our goods, traveling to work and school; second, providing jobs to maintain the system.
But we are facing a dilemma. Our transportation infrastructure is decrepit.
Here are the statistics: nationally, total bridges: 604,995. Total deficient: 66,405, or 11 percent as of 2011. In Maine, we have approximately 2,400 bridges; of those, 356, or 14 percent, are classified as deficient.
The nearly 38 percent of Maine roads that are in need of repair right now cost Maine motorists $246 million a year in extra car repairs and operating expenses. That pares down to $245 per motorist. And there are thousands of miles of roads across the country that are in disrepair.
We must do more to increase funding for bridge and road repairs. In turn, it would increase job growth and strengthen our economy.