WHAT'S WITH THOSE REFERENDA, ANYWAY?
YES ON QUESTION 1
We've written a lot about why same-sex marriage is the right thing to do, and how it protects equality, fairness, individual liberty, religious liberty, and families. Marriage equality is a basic human right. It is a societal recognition of the power of love. Maine should embrace it.
YES ON QUESTION 2
Spending $11.3 million to improve Maine's institutions of higher education, including supporting biotechnology and precision manufacturing efforts, is a prudent investment in our future, at record-low interest rates that make borrowing extremely cheap.
YES ON QUESTION 3
The latest installment of the Land for Maine's Future bond program will continue to protect Maine's quality of place and natural environment, again at startlingly low borrowing costs for the $5 million — to be matched by an equal amount in other funds, both public and private.
YES ON 4
We've all heard for years that Maine — and the country as a whole — needs to invest in rebuilding and expanding its transportation infrastructure. Aging highways and bridges take their toll on vehicles, and out-of-date rail technology and few buses make mass transit less viable than it needs to be. Mainers should approve a bond of $51.5 million to make all this better — not just because of the low interest rate, but also because it will make the state eligible for $105.6 million in federal and other funds, bringing in more than two outside dollars for every one we borrow.
YES ON 5
Improving the quality of our drinking water, and reducing the release of untreated wastewater into the environment, are two ways Mainers can capitalize on our existing high-quality water supply. Borrowing $7.9 million — especially when that money will be used for revolving loans (and therefore will pay for themselves) — is a good idea. It gets better with low interest rates and the opportunity to bring in five outside dollars for every one we borrow, in eligibility for $39.6 million in federal grants.
YES ON PORTLAND CHARTER AMENDMENT
An unintended consequence left over from Portland's choice to elect a mayor has meant that, if nothing changes, in a three-year cycle, one year will see two at-large council seats up for election, one year will see one at-large seat open, and the third year will have no citywide seats available. This one-time change to the city charter will provide that in 2013, when two at-large seats will be available, one of them will be designated as a special four-year seat, to expire in 2017 instead of 2016 as would normally happen. This will ensure that each year will see a single at-large council seat filled by election. It's a small technical solution to a small technical problem.