Columnists

  • State of Maine: The citizen legislature

    Five months beyond the April 18 statutory adjournment date, the 128th Legislature finally called it quits, but they could not avoid letting the door hit them on the way out. Governor Paul LePage accused departing legislators of everything from “shifty financing” to “insouciant oversight.” He reserved special ire for Senate President Mike Thibodeau, whose efforts

  • Capitol Commentary

    A midterm State of the Union assessment By Fred Benson Forty-six days from now, voters will go to the polls to set the nation’s political azimuth for the next two years. Most midterm elections are unconvincingly described as being far more important than others, but this time it’s real. It is widely acknowledged that the

  • State of Maine: The incredible shrinking cabinet

    Governor Paul LePage pulled the plug on 18 nominees to state boards and commissions last week. His spokesperson, Michael Beardsley, said it was in response to “petty partisan politics” in Augusta, an apparent reference to the failure of two other gubernatorial nominees to be approved by the legislature’s Transportation Committee the previous day. Beardsley made

  • State of Maine: A true gentleman

    You have in your hands the last edition of the Mount Desert Islander to be published under the ownership of Alan Baker. He has been owner and publisher of the Ellsworth American since 1991, and founded the Islander in 2001. His retirement is the end of a distinguished career in service to community newspapers and

  • State of Maine: Question 1 debate begins

    The sleeping giant that is Augusta emitted some rumbles in the past week. Bolstered by the court decision that said the Ethics Committee could proceed with releasing Clean Elections funds to qualified candidates despite the governor’s refusal to issue executive orders to that effect, the Ethics Committee also agreed to issue another funding round held

  • Economic development starts in schools

    With Maine’s oceanfront and lakeshores filled to bursting with tourists, one might think our state looks pretty prosperous. There is no doubt that tourism plays a major role in our economy, including providing jobs galore. But seasonal jobs, welcome though they may be, are not the key to Maine’s future. Many, if not most, of

  • State of Maine: Lobstermen caught in crossfire

    Sued by a customer burned by hot coffee, a well-known food chain started putting a warning on its cups. “Caution: Contents are hot.” Other vendors followed suit. Hmm. When one orders coffee, one expects it to be hot. In fact, that is the program, right? “A black coffee, please.” Does anyone ask how hot you

  • State of Maine: Candidate’s arrest did not impress

    Last week an editorial under the heading “Strong Turnout” celebrated voting numbers from the towns on and around Mount Desert Island. Yes, we can and should be proud that citizens took an interest in the primary election. Regionally (MDI, Trenton, Swans, Frenchboro and the Cranberries) turnout was 34 percent. The lowest was 23 percent, the