Reader reactions to the Portland Phoenix endorsements

Letters to the Portland Editor, October 29, 2010
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 27, 2010


I don't mind you endorsing the Oxford casino but I would have expected a more informed decision.

The idea that this thing will "attract even more people from out-of-state to come to Maine and leave some of their wealth behind" is a complete fallacy. By the proponent's own estimates (which are always inflated), only 30 percent of the patrons at this casino will come from out of state. That means, again according to their own figures, that $90 million a year will be spent at this casino from Maine residents, people within just a few miles of the facility. That means about $250,000 a day will be removed from Maine's economy (and the sales tax and revenues that that spending would have generated) and handed over to this casino, which will be operated (contrary to what they are suggesting) by a big, out-of-state, Las Vegas casino company. Their own economist Todd Gabe says explicitly that the money "generated" by this casino might not be "new" money to Maine's economy, but just money extracted from other businesses and jobs. In which case, there will be very few, if any, new net jobs and net revenue. Gabe did a similar study for Hollywood Slots prior to its passage and his revenue projects, it turned out, were off by a factor of two. Good thing he doesn't work for NASA; we would have never made it to the moon.

Dennis Bailey
Executive Director, Casinos No


I was disappointed to read your misleading and misinformed non-endorsement of the elected mayor proposal on Portland's ballot.

You naively wrote the city councilors should simply reallocate power rather than go with the Charter Commission's recommendation. As well-meaning as that statement is, councilors cannot change our system without a Charter Commission. That's why the 12-member commission was elected and took public comment on the mayor issue over the past year.

The truth is the Charter Commission's recommendation will make for a better Portland. It's astounding that the largest city in Maine doesn't have an elected mayor. Question 1 on the yellow local ballot will allow voters to choose their mayor, rather than having one picked for them behind closed doors. Question 1 provides for accountability, transparency, and fairness. The new mayor will have to be elected by a majority of voters, will serve for a four-year term, and have real authority over the city's budget and overseeing city staff. Most importantly, because it's a full-time position, the mayor will be able to be at City Hall during working hours and respond to residents' concerns.

Those who oppose an elected mayor say we can't afford it. Having a full-time mayor is an investment that will pay us back many times over. For an up-front cost of 0.03 percent of our current budget, we'll have someone in City Hall responsive to voters, watching over our taxes, and working to bring good jobs into the city. If the new mayor brings in one good development, or just one good-sized state or federal grant, s/he would pay for mayor's salary several times over.

The "just say no" cronies want the current closed-door system that already exists because they benefit from having no one in charge at City Hall.

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