NEWS from March 2014
Previous month's news
Our April meeting is Tuesday, the 8th
at Stella Maris House in Rockland. Potluck at 6:00 p.m.; business meeting at 7:00. Among other topics will be discussion of the new Maine Democratic Party Platform (see below). The complete agenda is here.
Meet Shenna Bellows, April 6th, Thomaston.
Peter Jenks * Diana Beach * Diane Smith
for a visit with
Candidate for United States Senate
Sunday, April 6th, 2014
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
At the home of Peter Jenks
105 Main Street, Thomaston
Everyone is welcome to come and meet Shenna. Please bring your questions.
RSVP is required: contact Debbie at 207-504-1918 or email@example.com
No contribution is required, but if you would like to donate, please click here (and thank you!):
2014 MDP Platform draft is now available (242K pdf). The Platform Committee released it on March 25th. The Knox County Committee will review it at our April 8th meeting and consider amendments that members propose at our May meeting. Amendments from the counties must be submitted to the MDP Platform Committee before May 16th. The Platform Committee will meet on May 25th to consider all submitted amendments and recommend their inclusion or not. The platform and its proposed amendments will be taken up at the party convention May 30/31.
"Toxic Hot Seat" Sunday, March 30, 2:00 p.m. at the Strand.
Maine's leadership phasing out unnecessary uses of toxic flame retardant chemicals features prominently in a new HBO documentary film, Toxic Hot Seat. The film will receive its first two public screenings in Maine...(more at PenBay Pilot)
FEMA meeting in Rockland postponed.
The new scoop on the flood plain mapping meeting:
Knox County – April 8
Rockland City Hall
270 Pleasant Street, Rockland – 1:00-3:00 pm, 6:00-8:00 pm
State House Candidates
All our candidates need help getting qualifying $5.00 contributions for Maine Clean Elections funding by April 20th. Go here to contribute online. (This is so easy! No checks and no manual verification by the town registrar). You must be registered to vote in the candidate's district (see below). To contribute with a personal check or to circulate a contribution form, call the candidate directly.
Here is the Secretary of State's complete list of primary candidates as of the 03/17/2014 filing deadline for party candidates. Party primary elections are 10 June. Unenrolled candidates have until 2 June 2014 to file.
- Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson seeks a second term representing Rockland and all of Owls Head (HR 93). She is opposed by Republican James Kalloch.
- Sen. Chris Johnson will run for re-election in Senate District 13 to represent Kennebec and Lincoln counties, plus Washington in Knox County. He is opposed by Republican Les Fossel, Alna.
- Rep. Chuck Kruger will seek another term in the Maine House to represent Cushing, Matinicus, St George, South Thomaston and Thomaston (HR 92). Chuck is opposed by Republican Sonja Sleeper.
- Rep. Walter Kumiega seeks again to represent Isle au Haut, North Haven, Vinalhaven in Knox County together with towns in Hancock county (HR 134). He is opposed by Republican Frank Stanley.
- Dave Miramant will run for the Knox County Senate seat (Senate District 12; all of Knox Co, except Washington) currently held by retiring Ed Mazurek. He is opposed by Republican Paula Sutton, Warren.
- Rep. Joan Welsh will run for re-election to the HD 94 house seat to represent Camden, Rockport and Islesboro. She is opposed by Republican Carole Gartley, Rockport.
- We have no Democratic candidates in House Districts 91 (Friendship, Union (part), Washington, Waldoboro) or 95 (Appleton, Hope, Warren and part of Union).
Our March meeting was Tuesday, the 11th . The agenda is here. Highlights:
- Beedy Parker spoke on the efforts of We The People Maine.org to reverse the effects of the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in 'Citizens United'.
- Caucus results: We had good turnout for a mid-term election year, with about 150 participants county-wide. Friendship led the pack with 24 (see below). The Cushing committee has started a Facebook page; the Hope committee will hold monthly meetings at the Hatchet Mtn Publick House.
- CLYNK results are down from the same period last year. The good news is that we have additional bag distributors (Camden and S. Thomaston), and that we attracted more interest at Caucuses.
- Candidate search: We have no Democratic candidate in Districts 91 or 95. Unenrolled Jeff Evangelos is running against the Republican in HR91; unenrolled Gary Sukeforth is considering running against Republican Wes Richardson in HR95. Both Evangelos and Sukeforth would caucus with Democrats if elected.
- HQ search: Hoping to find a place for our election season KCDC headquarters, beginning June 1st, the executive committee has made several inquiries, largely in the Park Street area in Rockland. Folks knowing of a likely 6-month rental, please call someone on the executive committee.
- MDP Platform committee continues its work, but a draft document is not yet available. More at our April meeting.
- Flood Maps: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is revising its projections for storm flooding in near-shore areas, and making local presentations (see below)
- Non-partisan issues: Several folks remarked on the importance of recognizing issues which 'cross the aisle', like Election Day Registration and Money in Politics. We can enjoy our common purpose and avoid being unnecessarily contentious.
Town Caucuses were Sunday, 2 March 2014. Close to 150 Knox County Dems attended to lay the groundwork for a busy election season. Totals by town:
- Rockland: 12
- Rockport: 15
- St. George: 6
- South Thomaston: 10
- Thomaston: 5
- Union: 7
- Vinalhaven: 7
- Warren: 4
- Washington: 18
- Appleton: 1
- Camden: 19
- Cushing: 10
- Friendship: 24
- Hope: 4
- Isle au Haut: 1
- Matinicus: 0
- North Haven: 14
- Owl's Head: 7
The Maine Democratic Party state convention is 30 - 31 May 2014 (Fri - Sat). Here is the complete caucus-to-election timeline.
Reversing Citizens United: Getting the big money out
"Citizens United" refers to the 2010 U. S. Supreme Court decision that the government may not ban independent political spending by corporations, associations or labor unions in candidate elections. The result of the Citizens United decision has been a flood of campaign financing from big donors through independent (i.e., not directly associated with any candidate) political action committees (PACs) and corporations, and the concomitant ownership of elected officials by those donors.
See Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit (NYTimes 01/24/2010) and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (Wikipedia).
Several non-partisan groups have taken action to reduce the role of money in politics.
- The Move To Amend group is a grass-roots effort to force Congress to act. They petition local and state governments to pass resolutions asking Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would allow government to regulate election spending (essentially reversing the Citizen United decision). The Maine Legislature passed such a resolution in 2013.
To pass an amendment this way would require a 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress and ratification by 3/4 of the states.
More at MoveToAmend.org...
- We the People Maine kicks the pressure on Congress up a notch. They ask the Maine Legislature to call on Congress to call a Constitutional Convention in accordance with Article V of the U. S. Constitution, to wit: "The Congress...on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention..." Amendments coming out of such a convention would also require subsequent ratification by 3/4 of the states.
The purpose of the Constitutional Convention would be to add an amendment allowing government to regulate election spending (like the Move To Amend).
More at WeThePeopleMaine.org...
- Maine Citizens for Clean Elections (MCCE) argues that Maine has a good system for public financing of elections, but it needs re-working after having had a core feature, matching funds, invalidated by the U. S. Supreme court in its 2011 decision in "McComish v. Bennett" (Wikipedia).
MCCE will begin circulating petitions this spring for a citizen-initiated ballot referendum to seek changes in three areas of our clean elections system:
- Public financing
- Increased disclosure
- PAC reform
More at MCCE...
Lawrence Lessig argues for Maine to be the model for a federal Clean Elections program in this engaging video: player.vimeo.com/video/88884879
FEMA public meetings: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will hold several public meetings to discuss its flood map revisions. The presentations will be similar in each county; attend any one with a convenient date and time.
Waldo County - March 26 (snow date April 7)
Waldo County Emergency Management Agency
2 Public Safety Way, Belfast – 1:00-3:00 pm
Waldo County Regional Communication Center
4 Public Safety Way, Belfast – 6:00-8:00 pm
(GPS directions use 111 Miller Street)
Knox County – March 27 (snow date April 8)
Rockland City Hall
270 Pleasant Street, Rockland – 1:00-3:00 pm, 6:00-8:00 pm
Lincoln County – April 1 (snow date April 9)
Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency
34 Bath Road, Wiscasset – 1:00-3:00 pm, 6:00-8:00 pm
Sagadahoc County – April 2 (snow date April 10)
Bath City Hall Auditorium
55 Front Street, Bath – 1:00-3:00 pm, 6:00-8:00 pm
CLYNK program update.CLYNK is the easiest way to handle returnable containers and support KCDC at the same time. Just pick up our specially labeled green bags and drop them off at a Hannaford food store in Camden, Belfast, or Rockland (more details).
We are still looking for someone to take over administration of our program from Carolyn.
New local green bag stockers:
- Camden: Barbara Melchiskey 236-9665, Will deliver! (Camden local)
- South Thomaston: Sally Merchant 594-7459