Bigger is better

By AL DIAMON  |  May 20, 2009

Finally, there's this little difficulty: A smaller Legislature would exacerbate the gradual shift in power that's been going on for the last few decades from less-populated areas to more urban ones and from northern Maine to southern sections of the state.

In a 131-member House, the city of Portland would likely have more legislators than 11 entire counties. The combined delegations from just four counties — Cumberland, York, Androscoggin, and Kennebec — would hold a clear majority of the seats. Add in Penobscot County's votes, and this bloc would control two-thirds of the House, a margin sufficient to pass budgets, raise taxes, override vetoes, approve constitutional amendments, and order adult-oriented materials online.

No wonder House Minority Leader Joshua Tardy of Newport calls reducing the size of the House "an on-going attack on rural Maine."

If you don't live in a sizable city or suburb, you're likely to start feeling "inadequate." Politically speaking, of course.

Inadequate? That reminds me. It's time for the Legis-Limp celebrity endorsement of a smaller Maine House.

"The fact of the matter is that 151 members in the House is too many in the House. It is not the Senate that is inefficient. It is not the Senate that lacks direction. It is not the Senate that is the problem."

That's a 1993 quote from a Bangor Daily News interview with John Baldacci — then a state senator, now the governor. I dredged it up because, on issues such as this, Baldacci can have quite an influence.

If he's for something, voters are against it.

Maybe his image needs some of that enhancement stuff.

Write me about any "little thing" by e-mailing aldiamon@hersniahill.net.

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