Last May, Portland voters chose whether to continue to hold annual elections to validate the school budget. By a narrow margin, the question was answered in the affirmative. As a result, this year’s school budget validation election will be held on May 10.

Tremendous effort goes into preparations for every election, including scheduling and training election officials, proofing and printing ballots, setting up the polling places, extra time for staff in the City Clerk’s office and for facilities staff at each venue.

Associated with that effort is expense, which city voters authorized in last year’s referendum on the issue. It would be a shame to see all that effort undervalued by a small turnout.

Whether you have a child in Portland schools or not, this is your issue; become an informed voter and show up.

As an election official at the polls from early morning until the last ballot is accounted for, I have seen interest in these one-issue elections continuously dwindle. Last year in my district on Munjoy Hill, fewer than 140 voters made their choice in the 13 hours the polls were open.

Mark your calendars for May 10. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. I hope to see you there.

Denise Shames


Republicans, please do not ever vote for Donald Trump

This is an open letter to my fellow Republicans. We have to admit that we blew it in the last presidential election. John McCain is an honorable man with a remarkable past, but he was not the best we could offer up and the results were predictable.

Now we are faced with wall-to-wall Donald Trump, with some polls showing him the leading Republican candidate. In what world does anyone believe Trump is qualified or deserves to be president?

Let’s be clear: Donald Trump will not run for president. He is a modern-day P.T. Barnum who thrives on publicity, even if he has to manufacture it. The left-leaning media is having a field day providing Trump with plenty of face time so he can continue to make a mockery of the presidential process and embarrass our party.

The presidential primaries and caucuses are a year away. Let’s hope Donald Trump is a distant memory by then so we can take the process seriously and choose a qualified and electable candidate.

Steve Edmondson


Driving on legal drugs could soon be itself illegal

On Thursday at 1 p.m., the Legislature will hold a public hearing on L.D. 1491, “An Act to Strengthen the Laws against Driving under the Influence of Drugs.”

Any strengthening would come at the expense of ordinary citizens engaged in the benign daily activity of driving after taking their prescription medication.

The bill would subject those over age 21 to a license suspension of the same duration as an OUI suspension on an administrative finding that, more likely than not, they drove a motor vehicle with any detectable drugs in their blood or urine.

Absence of impairment is no defense, and in the motor vehicle code the term “drugs” is defined to include all prescription drugs. Drivers under age 21 would have an affirmative duty to submit to a drug test on probable cause to believe they have any drugs in their system.

If a urine sample discloses the presence of their prescription Ritalin or anti-depressant, they will be suspended for one year. If they refuse to provide a urine or blood sample upon demand, the suspension will be for 18 months.

So, an officer stops your daughter and asks if she’s been drinking. She honestly answers “no.” Does she take prescription meds? She honestly answers “yes.”

Goodbye license; now will that be for a year or 18 months? If the thought spikes your blood pressure, look out because driving after you take blood pressure medication calls for a suspension just like that for an OUI conviction.

If the OUI-drugs law is weak, the answer is not to sweep in for punishment those who aren’t impaired when they drive. Get the word out and kill this bill, or you could always just hope selective enforcement lets you off the hook — right up until it doesn’t.

Edmund Folsom, Esq.


Planned Parenthood doesn’t need any public funds at all

The commentary on April 18 regarding the Pence Amendment that would cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood is an emotional treatise that misses the entire point (Maine Voices, “Cutting federal funds for Planned Parenthood a call to arms for all women”).

The authors ask, “Does women’s health count?” The answer, of course, is “yes.” But it’s the wrong question in this context.

The question should be, “If the Pence amendment is a ‘direct attack upon human rights,’ what is the killing of an innocent unborn child?”

The authors try to minimize the impact of Planned Parenthood’s activities by stating that only 3 percent of its appointments are for abortion procedures. A former Planned Parenthood official has said this isn’t factual, but assuming it is, PP still manages to account for more abortions in this country than any other entity — and the taking of even one innocent human life is wrong.

The claim that federal funding does not support funding for abortions is clearly false. Assume the tax dollars pay for the secretary’s salary, the organization then spends the private dollars it would have paid that person on supporting abortions.

Finally, they use the term “anti-choice” several times. We are not anti-choice, we’re pro-life — our “choice” is for life.

David T. Melley


Bottle deposit law fine, shouldn’t be tinkered with

There are some laws that should not be tinkered with simply because adhering to them makes the people feel good. The beverage container recycling law, better known as the “bottle bill,” is a good example.

This law makes us feel good because our streets look better, our landfills don’t get used up so fast, it provides jobs, it helps people out when they are down on their luck, it teaches our children that if they are willing to do a little extra work they can enhance their allowance, and it’s a dandy way to get a little cash when our pockets turn up empty.

Most of all, we like it because it gives us pride in ourselves for doing something good to help our community be a good place in which to live.

I’m glad our Legislature has so far voted to leave our bottle law alone!

Martha L. Shepard


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