The wrong words

By AL DIAMON  |  November 9, 2011

It's true that Portland once tried to ban chain restaurants and stores, an effort hampered by its questionable legality and even more questionable sanity. Numerous towns have had to contend with local opposition to big-box stores, but those that succeeded in keeping them out usually did so by employing either state statutes or by refusing to change their zoning.

Even if municipalities were routinely engaging in obstructionist behavior, so what? The project one town finds unacceptable will almost certainly be welcomed in another burg. That's the whole basis of local control. Lewiston isn't at all like Lubec. South Portland is different from South Paris. Ocean Park isn't Old Orchard Beach.

Oh, wait, yes it is. It's the part where they can't sell alcohol.

Anyway, what LePage needs to get cities and towns to be as open as possible to new enterprises, no matter how unlikely ("We print brochures for Putting Maine To Work, but during non-election years, we host sex parties at the old Sanford K of C hall") is to couch his concerns in phrases that elicit positive responses. Among the possibilities:

I'm cutting your revenue sharing, but here's some bath salts, instead.

Having this company in town will be like living in an Adam Sandler movie — only funny.

Kiss my butt.

Oops, the governor has already tried that last one, with limited success.

No matter which catchphrase LePage chooses to disguise what he wants to do, the important thing is that he put it in a brochure and send me a ton of copies.

Because it's going to be cold in January. And I don't want to have to get a job at the new Carrabassett Valley Walmart.

You can email me at,but that isn't going to help with my heating bill.

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