Sunday, December 8, 2013
The manorial lords of Cape Elizabeth, the Spragues, have done it again: They've gotten the better of our state government and, in so doing, us.
The impasse in lease negotiations between the state and the company that owns part of Crescent Beach State Park could result in the company’s being allowed to run Crescent Beach for the state as a private park.
2012 File Photo/Shawn Patrick Ouellette
Under their heraldic name, the Black Point Corp., one of Maine's fiefs, Crescent Beach, happens to be partly owned by them, including the present entrance, parking lot, bath house and concession stand.
They have come to an impasse with the Bureau of Parks and Lands over a new lease agreement, and they may force the state to do their bidding at Crescent Beach and allow their barony to run it as a private park, as they do at Scarborough Beach.
It was but 13 years ago that the Sprague family sold Scarborough Beach to the state, which purchased the land through financing made available by the Land for Maine's Future program. It was acclaimed by Gov. King as a great addition to Maine's system of parks.
And yet, the state parks season pass would not admit you to Scarborough Beach. You still had to pay a private fee to the park managers, Black Point, if you wanted entry.
In a brilliant stroke of business acumen, the Sprague family cannily sold some of their valuable coastal tracts of land or leased them to the state as parkland.
As a result, they don't owe any taxes on several thousand acres of prime Cape Elizabeth real estate, but they still collect income from the land at Crescent and Scarborough beaches, as both owners and tenants. Any feudal duke or baron would be happy with such an arrangement.
The Sprague family, as the lords of Cape Elizabeth, is less a benefactor to its loyal tenants and crofters and more protector of its own venal family interests -- to the disadvantage of the community.
After shooting, NRA rushes to solicit gun rights support
At 10:27 a.m. Friday, the National Rifle Association telephoned me, soliciting protection of gun rights in the light of the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo., earlier that morning.
Less than 12 hours after the gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater, the NRA is out there to tell me the only right to protect is guns.
Many of those who received these macabre phone calls must be appalled. I certainly am.
The Rev. Dr. James M. Young
retired United Methodist pastor
No reason for legal voters to criticize ID requirement
I cannot understand why anyone would be against voter identification laws. But I have noticed that it's only Democrats who are voicing opposition to this.
Why is that? Maybe they don't care if illegals or dead people are voting or how many times someone votes. It seems legal voting will only hurt the Democrats.
Anyone who collects food stamps is able to get a photo ID. They do have to apply at a local Department of Health and Human Services office. That seems to be their rallying cry: "Poor people will be disenfranchised." Not true!
I, for one, would like to be assured that my vote counts and that it is not erased by the vote of an illegal, a dead person or somebody's dog!
Mary Jane Newell
Amend Constitution to limit clout of campaign donors
It's difficult to imagine a Supreme Court opinion more perilous to democracy than the Citizens United case in which Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that unlimited campaign contributions "do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."
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