Former Green Party candidate takes aim: Democrats not 'the party of diversity'


A former Green Party candidate for president took aim at both parties Tuesday, as critics denounced Howard Schultz's potential third-party presidential campaign as a spoiler for Democrats.

Former 2012 and 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, in an appearance on Fox News, said both parties are "working for corporate masters and the fossil fuel giants, and the big banks, and Wall Street, and the war machine. That is not my opinion, that Democrats are the party of diversity. Voters deserve more choices." ...

Ranked-choice voting, which Maine used for a federal election for the first time in 2018, allows voters to rank their preferred candidates. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated and voters who liked that candidate the best have their ballots instantly counted for their second choice, which ensures a voter can select a third-party candidate without fearing that candidate will take a vote away from for whichever major-party candidate aligns with that voter's views.



Scientist, not lawyer, needed at DEP

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection needs to be run by a scientist with environmental science expertise. Effective environmental protection is essential to Maine’s largest industry, tourism, as well as its natural resource-based industries of fishing, forestry and agriculture.

Maine’s Attorney General’s office has statutory authority to represent all governmental entities, including agencies, in legal matters, whether as plaintiffs or defendants. Duplication of the AG’s legal expertise is unnecessary within the DEP.


Importantly, we need to begin to restore citizens’ trust in government by data-driven decisions that honor the best nonpolitical, nonpartisan knowledge available. Also, repair of the diminished morale of the department’s able staff can be led by science-based, rather than the previous political-ideology-based, management.

Recent experience within the DEP’s rulemaking on metal mining issues shows major rule changes made without scientific justification and an embarrassing lack of understanding of the technical complexities of the issues. The legislative policy committee demonstrated its inability to access scientific expertise in its rush to enact current law that violates the laws of physics with regard to groundwater contamination. Having scientific expertise at the head of the DEP does not guarantee good policy, but continuing in the mode of scientific ignorance cannot be helpful.

Legislators on the policy committee that makes recommendations on confirmation, and state senators who will vote on such confirmation, should quickly encourage our new governor to withdraw Jerry Reid’s nomination as DEP Commissioner (without prejudice) and replace it with an expert scientist.


Ralph Chapman



Originally published as a letter to the editor:

Ralph Chapman reflects on eight years in the Maine House

by Anne Berleant

A scientist and a legislator elected to four consecutive terms in the Maine House, Brooksville resident Ralph Chapman ended his final days representing District 133—Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Sedgwick and Surry—as a member of the Green Independent Party after leaving the Democratic Party in mid-2017. ...

“I’m in a healing mode,” he added with a smile.

Basically, the legislature was “more corrupt than expected” when he first walked into the State House in Augusta. He fell out with his caucus early. “I didn’t accept loyalty as the primary mode of operation, and since I refused to be told how to vote, I was outcast. It’s a loyalty-based bullying culture, which was a disappointment and a source of frustration.” ...

One issue Chapman hoped to address was metal mining. A resident of Brooksville, home to the ongoing Superfund site at the former Callahan Mine, and a neighbor to Blue Hill, site of the former Kerramerican Mine, Chapman worked to pass legislation that would prohibit groundwater contamination from metal mining.

“The reason why I ran for office was to bring the tools of science to bear. That was a spectacular failure with regards to the metal mining issue,” he said. Both Democrats and Republicans “chose to ignore the science and pass legislation to allow permanent, unremediable groundwater contamination of toxic heavy metals and acids, thereby opening the state to the same problems it’s had with [Callahan and Kerramerican] mines.”

Over his four terms, Chapman said he witnessed civility decline in the legislature “as it has society wide,” and less bipartisan effort on one of the legislature’s biggest jobs: crafting and passing the state’s biennial budget. ...

Chapman encourages participation in state and local government in all forms, from voting to running for office.

“The leaders of our community might not necessarily be elected officials [but] are amongst us and all of them are the quiet, self-effacing behind-the-scenes, hardworking folks getting things done and inspiring others to get things done.”



How lawmakers who don’t belong to a party see their role in Maine’s new Legislature


Good morning from Augusta, where the newly seated Maine House of Representatives includes five people who don’t identify as either Democrat or Republican.

It’s the largest number of independents elected to the House in more than a century. ...

Party defections in the previous Legislature stripped the Democrats of a clear majority and gave independents and the lone Green Independent Party member more leverage with floor votes....



Portland school chief gets 3-year contract extension



PORTLAND — When the School Board hired Xavier Botana three years ago to lead the city’s schools, members said they were looking for steady leadership. ...

The board recently renewed Botana’s contract for another three years. The new contract runs through June 30, 2022, at the same annual salary of $148,000. ...

In a School Department press release, outgoing School Board Chairwoman Anna Trevorrow praised Botana for the development and implementation of the district’s new strategic plan, called the Portland Promise, and said “we look forward to continuing to work toward its goals under his leadership.”

Overall, Trevorrow said, the board has been “very pleased with the superintendent’s performance” and said the School Board spent several months evaluating the job he was doing....