Archive for July, 2011

Governor Paul LePage “Takes Media To The Woodshed”

Posted on July 29, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |


This week it was announced that Peter Rogers had been named LePage’s communications director.
He is everything that Paul LePage needs so that the work the governor is doing is not constantly overshadowed by the ridiculous responses he makes to the press.

Rogers has his work cut out for him, but one hopes his experience with the Gulf War, the War on Terror and raising five daughters has provided him with some of what he’ll need to survive the public persona that is LePage.

Renee Ordway, Bangor Daily News, July 12: “New LePage spokesman has work cut out for him”

Let’s see how he handles the fall-out of the governor’s latest interaction with Maine media, whom he promptly marched out to the newly installed “Statehouse Woodshed” yesterday, prior to his meeting with Portland Mayor Nick Mavodones.

Watch for yourself.

Oh, that all went well now, didn’t it? Let’s see how the print media, now properly scolded by “Pere LePage”, reacted today:

Bangor Daily News: LePage meets with Portland mayor, blasts media in wake of alleged comments

Kennebec Journal has no online version and the paper chose to bury Rebekah Metzler’s story on page B-3. Here is the Morning Sentinel’s version: LePage meets with Portland mayor.

(One wonders what is going on with the KJ; were they told to tone it down or lose all Statehouse access??) Considering that in the WMTM-8 video clip Rebekah is indeed the woman that LePage was yelling at, that question begs to be asked.

And here we have the Portland Press Herald’s version: LePage assures mayor he’ll support Portland, slams ‘dishonest’ press.

Lewiston Sun Journal, who initially reported the “woodshed” comments, seems to have taken the governor’s scolding yesterday to heart- as they failed to mention LePage’s apoplectic fit altogether: Fish on agenda as LePage meets Portand mayor.

Wow. At least one of Maine’s media listens when a GOP leader snaps: “Get your ass in line!”

So far, there has not yet been any official statement released from the Governor’s office to yesterday’s outburst by LePage. When/if there is, rest assured it will be shared here.

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Repost- “MPVC Alert: Attack on Seniors” (A Tribute to John Carr)

Posted on July 26, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

It was with great sadness that we learned today of the passing of John Carr. In tribute, we are updating a previous post from April 2 of this year and adding his 2 part address  delivered during the first meeting of Maine People’s Veto Alliance held Saturday, February 12, at The Old Goat Pub in Richmond ME. ~ed.

Part 1:

 

Part 2:

 

Latest email blast from Maine People’s Voting Coalition:

 


SENIORS NEED OUR HELP
There are so many pieces of “trash can legislation” in this session of the Maine Legislature that it is hard to keep track of them.

The material below was prepared by John Carr. John is President of Maine Council of Senior Citizens – an organization that has fought for Maine seniors for more than 20 years. The organization is the first “organization member” of the MPVC and John is the first member of the MPVC Steering Committee.

This legislation, while it directly impacts seniors, is also of concern to the children of seniors and other senior family members and it is of general importance to all Maine people who are concerned about the ongoing Maine and national Republican/Tea Party attempt to lower taxes for the rich and for corporations and destroy the social safety net at both the federal and state levels.

We urge everyone who shares this viewpoint to share this material with others and to send e-mails or make telephone calls to legislators to oppose this Attack on Seniors.

MAINE SENIORS UNDER ATTACK

Maine seniors and people with incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty level are being attacked by Governor LePage’s budget proposal and legislative proposals yet to be heard.

The Governor’s budget proposal includes:

·       $14.8 Million from the Fund for a Health Maine-Low-Cost Drugs for the Elderly program

·       $1Million from Low-Cost Drugs for the Elderly program to pay Medicare Part B premiums for dual eligible (low income eligible for both Medicare and MaineCare)

·       Elimination of the Maine Rx Plus Program. Estimated savings $212K. This program provides discounted prescription drugs to 42,000 Maine people and has been in effect since 2004 after a lengthy legal challenge including the US Supreme Court.

·       Elimination of the Prescription Drug Academic Detailing Program: proposed savings of $194K funded through recoveries of drug fraud cases. Provides objective information on drug therapy option, including clinical data and alternative treatments including generics.

LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS

Legislative proposals that have been heard and/or waiting to be heard by the Health and Human Services committee (HHS) are;

·      LD 346 has been tabled by Senator Craven for lack of information. The new Affordable Care Act provides for a “pharmacy dispensing” fee to be based on the average manufacturer price (AMP) plus 175%. The AMP is a per pill price that would be unknown due in part because of:

·       LD 719 “An Act to make certain prescription drug disclosure laws consistent with Federal Law”. Repeals Maine’s gift and advertising & marketing reporting law. Repeals disclosure of the base price for drugs. Deletes funding for academic detailing program, this program improves quality and reduces costs. Repeals the requirement that data on clinical trial results be posted publicly and deletes the funding mechanism

·       LD 572 “An Act to amend the Laws Governing the Maine Health Data Organization

·       LD 612  “An Act to provide Reimbursement for Medication Therapy Management

·       LD 116 a bill to repeal the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency law enacted in 2003. Bars conflict of interest, kickback and self dealing by drug industry middlemen and require the value of rebates to be passed through to ultimately benefit consumers.

Most of all, if not all, of this legislation is being promoted by the pharmaceutical industry.

Please contact your State Representative and State Senator as soon as possible to demand keeping the present laws concerning prescription drugs without change

John Carr, President                              Maine Council of Senior Citizens

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Maine Refounders Post “Man of the YEAR 2011”: Norway Shooter Anders Behring Breivik

Posted on July 25, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

12 pm UPDATE: The Refounders have now taken down the page w/o explanation.

Wow. Pete Harring may have some SERIOUS explaining to do.

Wonder who the Refounder’s site ISP is and whether or not this violates their TOS?

As well as what other local media outlets will cover this…

As news comes from Norway regarding Breivik’s hearing, first hand accounts from survivors are being released:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

“I think I’m alive because I pretended to be dead; I had a woman lying over my body and I (hid) under her until the police came to the main building and (got) us to the hospital.”

Ingvild Stensrud, 16

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LiveTweets from Governor’s Piscataquis County “Capitol For A Day” Town Hall

Posted on July 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

8pm: Town Hall has concluded. And SURPRISE! Not a single question allowed about Norman Olsen and his allegations, let alone anything from the past 48 hours’ news cycles.Following Dirigo Blue (Oldest tweet at top; newest at bottom): @DirigoBlue and that of and the 61%ers, Maine’s Majority: @MainesMajority. Enjoy!

For more information:

Portland Phoenix: “The LePage files: confidential administration dossiers show governor is skilled at copying corporate and lobbyist wish lists”

Kennebec Journal: “Olsen releases statement on resignation”

Maine’s Majority RSVP page

Related:
* Former Marine Resources Head Olsen’s Statement Slams LePage, Reveals Closed Door Meetings

* UPDATED: Marine Resources Commissioner Norm Olsen Resigns; Maine Dems Respond

* ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER RELEASES STATEMENT ON OLSON RESIGNATION

* Portland Mayor Nick Mavodones Responds to Olsen Allegations; Requests Meeting With Gov LePage

 

 

A few snips; the full “cut/paste” grabs are below the fold.

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage that higher MPG means less revenue from fuel tax Bonds are option I’m not sure why increasing tax rate isn’t Town Hall #mepoliticsDirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage says Maine ranked #50 worst state for doing biz Forbes :: I debunked that study here bit.ly/r75vR4 Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
No questions about Norm Olsen yet Beginning to think they are screened out #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage repeats bogus claim that Mainers spend 42% more for energy than national avg Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage Keep wealthy retirees in Maine so they can mentor young people in poverty Town Hall #mepolitics #pipedream

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Not one question on Norm Olsen SURPRISE #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
#LePage : “We have become a state of entitlement.” Way to support the hard working people of Maine. #megov #mepoliticsMainesMajority Maine’s Majority
Amazing tension here between hatred of the fed govt and the realization that many Piscataquis County rely on fed entitlements. #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
@dirigoblue What does he mean, Maine can’t afford a national park? Won’t it will bring millions in tourism revenue?

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
The wrap from Dover-Foxcroft: LePage Plays to Base at Tepid Town Meeting http://ow.ly/5KtXm #megov #mepolitics

 

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Off to Dover-Foxcroft shortly for the #LePage Town Hall meeting #mepoliticsDirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
@Citizensnews @CalebRosser Perhaps a contest to name #LePage’s favorite key on the keyboard? #mepolitics

andiparkinson2 Andrea Parkinson
@DirigoBlue @Citizensnews @CalebRosser I’m guessing it wouldn’t be “Ins”urance, “Alt”ernate energy- maybe “Esc”ape to Jamaica again? #megov

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage Town Hall at Centre Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft marquee has TRANSORMERS 3 NOW INVADING #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Maybe one more table for the panelists Like sardines now #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
1st Question on how to combat high student dropout rate Bowen talks about standards based learning #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Bowen: We have a college dropout problem too #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Are schools going to be teaching the Constitution to our kids? Bowen my dept just provides resources #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
W/#LePage are Bowen Bernhardt Poliquin Winglass Erskine (Woodcock) Mayhew Chervais Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#megov says that he is not cutting social services but is looking to cut fraud #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#megov says that Maine has highest % of people on social services #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#megov wants citizens to report welfare fraud when they see it Call hotline State can’t knock on 300,000 doors #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Poliquin says State had $1B shortfall I’m not sure how estate tax cut helped solve that #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
DOT Bernhardt consistently to demonstrate a solid grasp of his department #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage that higher MPG means less revenue from fuel tax Bonds are option I’m not sure why increasing tax rate isn’t Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage says Maine ranked #50 worst state for doing biz Forbes :: I debunked that study here bit.ly/r75vR4 Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
12 foot shoulders are too wide but let’s hope Bernhardt understands that 6 foot wide are great for bicycles #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage says that #meleg steals money from Highway Fund to pay for State Police should come out of General Fund Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
No questions about Norm Olsen yet Beginning to think they are screened out #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage repeats bogus claim that Mainers spend 42% more for energy than national avg Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage talks about lowering energy costs w/o mentioning conservation But does think gas-fired elect plant in Pisc Cty good idea #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
We’ve all learned to not ask Winglass any questions #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Media at #LePage Town Hall WABI Susan Cover from KJ

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Media at #LePage Town Hall WABI Susan Cover from KJ #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Where rank tourism in importance 1 to 5? #LePage treat as #5 but must be part of broad mix Manufacturing #5 too Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
@Ronzio That’s why you’re an editor

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage puts nice spin on low Maine per cap income & tourism Let’s raise standard here so we can enjoy what people from away do #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage One national park is enough Maine can’t afford another one Maine is not for sale Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage “I’m all for conservation – I’m not for preservation” Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage “We have become a State of entitlement” Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
LePage somehow thinks eliminating tax on pensions will get kids off welfare Town Hall #mepolitics

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
#LePage Keep wealthy retirees in Maine so they can mentor young people in poverty Town Hall #mepolitics #pipedream

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
@Ronzio Is PPH website offline? I can’t get it.

DirigoBlue Gerald Weinand
Not one question on Norm Olsen SURPRISE #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
Stopping for supplies at the Dexter Renys. Dover-Foxcroft here we come! #megov #mepolitics http://ow.ly/i/eFl2MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
Made it! http://ow.ly/i/eFrp

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
Things are getting started here at the Center Theatre!

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
Bowen: More “thorough review” of school funding formula coming. #megov

Maybe one more table for the panelists Like sardines now #LePage Town Hall #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
LePage: “I did not say that I was going to create jobs.” #megov #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
#LePage: We have become so liberal with our social services, we have become the social service state. #megov #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
Mainer: “Am I living on another planet?” #LePage: “I think so”

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
Poliquin: Taking stimulus money was a “gimmick”.

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
Poliquin: “The state is broke.” So why did we give huge tax breaks to the wealthy? #megov #mepolitics #lepage

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
@dirigoblue Exactly. And what’s with blaming the feds for cutting services? Does LePage support getting rid of Bush tax cuts for the rich?

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
#LePage: Maine is 50th worst state to start a business. So, how is Portland the 10th best city? #megov #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
LePage’s plan for EconDev for rural Maine: Deregulate business, deregulate health insurance, stop using renewable energy. #mepolitics #megov

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
#LePage loves nuclear and gas power. Does he realize these are subsidized by the federal government?

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
#LePage : Tourism is important, but it’s not one of the top three industries for prosperity. #megov #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
#LePage thinks if we were more like NH, Maine’s average income would be higher. So we should turn ourselves into a Boston suburb?

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
#LePage on environment: “I’m for conservation, not preservation” #megov #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
#LePage : “We have become a state of entitlement.” Way to support the hard working people of Maine. #megov #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
Amazing tension here between hatred of the fed govt and the realization that many Piscataquis County rely on fed entitlements. #mepolitics

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
@dirigoblue What does he mean, Maine can’t afford a national park? Won’t it will bring millions in tourism revenue?

MainesMajority Maine’s Majority
The wrap from Dover-Foxcroft: LePage Plays to Base at Tepid Town Meeting http://ow.ly/5KtXm #megov #mepolitics

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Portland Mayor Nick Mavodones Responds to Olsen Allegations; Requests Meeting With Gov LePage

Posted on July 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Heh. Now this is getting interesting. Portland Press Herald published the following letter from Mayor Nick Malvadones to Governor Paul LePage, moments ago:

 

The Honorable Paul LePage
Governor of Maine
1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Dear Governor LePage,

I write you today to request a meeting to discuss statements released by the former Commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources Norman Olsen to the public yesterday, as well as, the future of the city and state’s combined efforts to develop and enact policies to help restore the state’s groundfishing fleet.

As I am sure you are aware, Mr. Olsen claims that during a meeting with you, you instructed the then-Commissioner that there was to be no further collaboration with the City of Portland to develop measures to return groundfishing boats to Maine. Mr. Olsen also asserts that you made the following statements in this meeting. “Portland was against him, he said, and we will not work with that city. Rather than work with Portland, he said, we’ll build a new port somewhere.” I trust you understand that regardless of the veracity of these statements, the public and the City of Portland need to be reassured that economic development in all Maine communities, both large and small, are a priority for the Governor’s office. More germane to Mr. Olsen’s claim, is a need to clearly understand your commitment to the state’s marine industries of which groundfishing has and continues to be an integral part.

The City of Portland and the State of Maine have worked in partnership under the leadership of every Governor to expand economic opportunity and spur growth for all industries including marine-based businesses. Whether through the lease arrangement with the Maine Port Authority for the International Marine Terminal to allow for the expansion of cargo shipping or through the recent passage of legislation that created a tax exemption for the purchase of fuel for local ground fishing boats, there has been a mutual understanding that economic growth in the Port of Portland isn’t just good for Portland, it’s good for Maine. Statements implying that the Governor’s office “will not work” with Portland, true or not, are harmful to the business climate both locally and statewide.

I hope that you will clear this matter up publicly by reassuring local business owners and employees that the economic engine of Portland is, and will continue to be, an important priority for your administration, and by meeting with city officials and members of the ground fishing industry to discuss ways we can work together to help bring our ground fishing fleet and the jobs and economic opportunity that comes with them back to Maine.

Thank you for your prompt response to this request and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this issue in greater detail in the near future.

Sincerely,

Nicholas M. Mavodones

Nicole Clegg
Director of Communications
City of Portland
389 Congress Street, Room 208
Portland, ME 04101
office: 207-756-8173
cell: 207-272-4477

Related:
*Former Marine Resources Head Olsen’s Statement Slams LePage, Reveals Closed Door Meetings

*UPDATED: Marine Resources Commissioner Norm Olsen Resigns; Maine Dems Respond

*ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER RELEASES STATEMENT ON OLSON RESIGNATION

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ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER RELEASES STATEMENT ON OLSON RESIGNATION

Posted on July 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Maine Legislature
Senate Democratic OfficeFor Immediate Release

July 21, 2011

Contact: Ericka Wainberg [Alfond], 232-5892 (m)

ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER RELEASES STATEMENT ON OLSON RESIGNATION

AUGUSTA-State Senator Justin Alfond (D-Portland) released the following statement upon learning of Marine Resources Commissioner Norman Olson’s resignation:

“I applaud Commissioner Olson’s courage and integrity. His open letter confirms my worst fears for the state. Commissioner Olson has shined a light on the LePage administration- illuminating the cronyism, bullying, and fear tactics.

I worry that this is not an isolated case, as the Governor has consistently put special interests and favoritism ahead of Maine people. We now know that his tactics of bullying and threats of retribution are not only used with legislators, but also with his own cabinet. Everyone in the state of Maine should be asking the same question — is Governor LePage fit to lead our state?

###

Related:
*Former Marine Resources Head Olsen’s Statement Slams LePage, Reveals Closed Door Meetings

*UPDATED: Marine Resources Commissioner Norm Olsen Resigns; Maine Dems Respond

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UPDATED: Marine Resources Commissioner Norm Olsen Resigns; Maine Dems Respond

Posted on July 20, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Contact: Adam FisherGovernor Accepts Resignation of Marine Resources Commissioner

Augusta – Norm Olsen, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, offered his resignation to Governor Paul LePage this morning.  Governor LePage accepted the resignation, which is effective today.

Patrick C Keliher, who was previously Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources has been sworn in as Olsen’s replacement and will serve in an acting capacity while the search opens for a new Commissioner to lead the agency.

“I am grateful to Commissioner Olsen for his work in my administration.  Moving forward, I’m confident in Mr. Keliher’s abilities to continue our important work of improving opportunities for Maine’s coastal communities.”

Keliher has worked for the Department of Marine Resources since 2007, when he was hired as director of the Bureau of Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat.  Prior to his state service, he was Executive Director of the Atlantic Salmon Commission.

MDP Ben Grant’s response:

 

Press Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 20, 2011MDP Chairman’s Response to the Resignation of Norm Olsen
Another One Bites the Dust

AUGUSTA, ME – Today Norm Olsen resigned from his post as Commissioner of Marine Resources. This is the second resignation from a member of the LePage administration in so many days and the fifth resignation since Governor Paul LePage took office this January. Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant released this statement:

“This is a clear reflection of Governor LePage’s poor leadership capabilities. It’s the fifth resignation since he took office. If it weren’t so serious, it would be comical at this point. In any other line of work, a new CEO who couldn’t keep his own hand-picked team together for more than a few months would be out the door. Candidate LePage told everyone he would run Maine like a business, that he would surround himself with the best and brightest. Instead he has surrounded himself with his cronies and shown those who don’t agree with him the door. It has been an embarrassment to our State. What Maine needs right now is a steady hand at the rudder to steer us through a difficult time – instead, we have Paul LePage.”

Earlier this year Phil Congdon resigned from his post as Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development because of racists comments he made while speaking at an event in Aroostook County. Darryl Brown resigned form his post as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection because of a conflict of interest. Dan Demeritt resigned from his position as communications director for Governor LePage. Just yesterday, Lawrence E. Dwight Jr. announced his resignation from the Economic Forecasting Commission following his arrest.

With now multiple errors committed regarding the illegal land deal with Prison Warden Patricia Barnhart and finance chief Sawin Millett taking the blame, will we see yet another resignation soon?

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Maine Democrats Launch “Get Real Maine” Tour

Posted on July 16, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

(Originally posted 7/16/11 on MPW’s SoapBlox CMS)

July 14, 2011Maine Democrats Launch “Get Real Maine” Tour

Democrats say Maine people need real solutions not extreme GOP proposals

AUGUSTA – The Maine Democratic Party announced the launch of a summer working tour Thursday, July 14, in front of the State House. Members of the state House and Senate caucuses, along with Representatives from Congressman Mike Michaud’s and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s campaigns, joined party leaders as they rolled out their statewide “Get Real Maine” tour. The tour begins a conversation with Mainers about real solutions to real problems.

“If you’re a family farmer struggling to turn a profit – we want to talk to you. If you’re a young Maine family choosing between putting food on your table or heating your home – we want to talk to you. If you’re a teacher worrying about your ability to retire – we want to talk to you,” said Ben Grant, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party.

Democrats will travel to all corners of the state speaking and listening to the communities and constituencies they represent over the summer and fall.

According to House Minority Leader Emily Cain and Assistant Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond, the tour was born out of a frustration about the radical agenda being pushed in Augusta.

“In November, Maine people sent us to Augusta with a mandate – a mandate to create jobs and to improve our economy,” Cain said. “For the first time in decades Republicans were in charge. Instead of putting that mandate into action, they pushed an extreme agenda. Bill after bill we saw solutions in search of problems — from efforts to undermine the rights of working people to allowing toxic chemicals in sippy cups.”

Cain also said GOP policies to roll back voting rights and add a new tax to health insurance policies have nothing to do with job creation or building a stronger Maine.

“The Get Real Maine tour is about connecting with all Mainers to make sure we can continue to stand up for you against these radical Republican attacks in Augusta next session,” Alfond said. “We are in the minority in Augusta. We can’t stop the extremism, favoritism and damaging proposals that work against Maine people’s interests without you. We are coming to you this summer to learn and develop a strategy in hopes that you will come back to Augusta with us in January.”

The first stop on the tour is Saturday, July 16, at the Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield. The Maine Democratic Party will be participating in the weekend festivities by marching in the annual parade in the early afternoon. Later that evening, they will be meeting with a group of local farmers to talk about agricultural issues.

More stops are being scheduled throughout the summer. To find out more about the tour, visit the Maine Democratic Party’s website.

###

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Former Marine Resources Head Olsen’s Statement Slams LePage, Reveals Closed Door Meetings

Posted on July 12, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

One wonders what the reaction will be to this condemnation of the governor and revelation of his numerous closed-door meetings with special interests groups. Will LePage claim the newspapers are lying again?

Via the Kennebec Journal, here is the full statement of Norman Olsen, former commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, speaking on his resignation from Governor LePage’s staff.

 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I submitted my resignation to Governor LePage, effective at 0915 hours this morning.

As you all know from my confirmation hearing testimony, my interviews with some of you, and from repeated appearances before the Marine Resources Committee, I took this job with several aims, all of which I discussed with the seven-person committee that unanimously recommended me as the sole candidate for Commissioner of Marine Resources, and with the Governor when I met him December 30 and he offered me the job.

Among those aims were to manage Maine’s marine resources for sustainability: of our resources, of our fishing industry, of our coastal communities, and for all the people of Maine.

The marine resources of Maine are, we should all recall, the resources of the people of the entire state, not just those who, by having been in the industry at the right time, now have not only the exclusive right to harvest lobster, scallops, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and, in many towns, even clams, but enjoy, on their own and without recourse to other authority, the right to enact, and then alter as they wish, regulations to exclude all others.

The other 1.3 million residents of Maine who have been excluded from these fisheries and from the opportunity to make a living on the ocean should feel no less a sense of ownership of these valuable resources.

In managing for sustainability, I planned, and the Governor concurred, that we would take advantage of the vastly increasing offshore groundfish stocks and return to Maine the fleet of boats that has, for economic and regulatory reasons, migrated to Massachusetts — taking with them hundreds of shoreside processing jobs.

We would also seek to adapt the laws and regulations by which interest groups exclude from their fisheries all competition and new entrants, enacting instead transparent means for new entrants to join each fishery, while prudently maintaining sustainable resources.

We would manage our resources based on science — both biology and economics — not based on how many lobstermen can fill a legislative hearing at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Governor was clear that those were his aims, as well as mine, and he pledged his resolve to pursue that course for the benefit of all the people of Maine.  Speaking at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in March, he said “Commissioner Olsen is in charge.”

Let me be clear.  Had the Governor not been perfectly clear on those points of agreement, I would not have accepted the position.  As you all know, I did, after all, grow up in this industry.  Like my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before me, I had my own boat by age 12.  I worked my way up to a larger boat and fished 550 traps single-handed by the time I was out of college.  I spent the first decade of my professional career deeply involved in fishing and fishery management.  I knew the challenges of dealing with entrenched groups, particularly those who have taken public resources for their exclusive use, and who can intimidate lawmakers who question such exclusive privilege.

I was equally clear in my statements at my confirmation hearing before the Joint standing Committee on Marine Resources, which saw fit to unanimously endorse my nomination as Commissioner of Marine Resources.  At that time, I also pledged both complete transparency, and my determination to maintain a constant dialogue with industry, a determination that I have fulfilled in working every single day since assuming duty January 26.

At the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in March, I addressed completely and transparently every question put before me by an audience of some 400, including many members of the press and the Marine Resources Committee.  The Governor told the same gathering, “Commissioner Olsen is in charge.”

Regrettably, while I have maintained my commitments, the Governor’s office has not maintained its resolve.

Since then, the Governor and his senior team have repeatedly given private audiences to groups and individuals objecting to my open discussion of the issues.  While legitimate fishing industry representatives wait months for appointments, a single vocal individual with wild accusations can get through the door within days.  A group with a photocopier can generate a hundred letters of complaint.

I learn about such meetings only when these individuals go back to their colleagues, or their fellow lobster zone council members, or, frankly, my own DMR staff, to draw from three known cases, to say that they got to the Governor and he’s going to fire the commissioner.

Instead of backing me in our joint aims of managing Maine’s marine resources for the benefit of the entire state, the Governor and his senior team cut me off. As a Commissioner of the State of Maine, I had to wait six full weeks, from early May to late June, to get a meeting with the Governor on time-critical issues of resource management worth tens of millions of dollars to the State.

When I did get a meeting, and presented my initiatives to the Governor, he rejected them all:

 

  • — No further collaboration with the City of Portland to develop measures to return our groundfish boats to Maine, despite the work already done to secure the support of visiting Commerce Department officials.  Portland was against him, he said, and we will not work with that city.  Rather than work with Portland, he said, we’ll build a new port somewhere. 
  • — No further collaboration with the Director of the federal National Marine Fisheries Service to secure emergency federal assistance that could help return the fleet to Maine. 
  • — No consideration of measures to properly and prudently manage the heavily overcapitalized shrimp fishery so that Maine could gain the most value-added from this resource. 
  • — No collaboration with the federal government to jointly manage resources in federal waters.Instead, he instructed his deputy legal counsel to find a way for Maine to supersede federal authority outside the three-mile limit.

    Yet more disturbing, after that meeting in late June, the Governor sent his chief of staff and his chief of boards and commissions to threaten me with firing if I would not do whatever necessary to stop the complaints reaching him from special interest groups.  I was not allowed to know the source of the complaints, or their content, but I was to back off.  “If you don’t turn this around by the end of summer, Commissioner Olsen, the Governor will have to make a hard decision, and you don’t want him to have to do that, Commissioner Olsen.”

    In addition, the Governor has adopted a policy of prohibiting me from attending meetings that he has with industry members, even those for whom I initiated the meeting request.  I learn the outcomes of these meetings — and his positions on the topics that they raise — from a staff aide who reports to me whatever she feels like reporting.

    Finally, with the initiation July 1 of the still-ongoing top-to-bottom, all-agency review of the Department of Marine Resources by a team of outside experts, and the uncovering of deficiencies there, those industry members, grant recipients and DMR staff members who have collaborated for the past decade to their mutual benefit, and against the best interests of the State, have found common cause in attacking me.  That’s understandable, I suppose.  It must be very uncomfortable when the Commissioner’s investigations uncover the fact that your supposedly well-run program essentially doesn’t exist.

    In the latest development, a senior DMR bureau director has ordered key staff members to no longer provide me with information that I am seeking.

    This morning, I asked the Governor for his direct support to take action.  He urged me to do so, including via firings, and confirmed that I have led his agenda of responsible fisheries management and government reform, but he declined to go public with that support.  Instead, his aide said, after Labor Day they would call unspecified people to get their opinions on me, and those poll results would determine whether I stay on as commissioner.  If such support was evident from the telephone poll, then, the governor pledged, he would hold a press conference to voice his unequivocal support for me.  If not, I would be relieved.  In short, my future, and that of Maine’s fishing industry, would depend on a staffer’s telephone poll.

    In that regard, and with me no longer here to ensure transparency, I urge each of you to insist on the publication of the review study, as required by law, and reject the attempt, already under way, at a cover-up.  I am confident that the report will reinforce my own findings that the Department is in need of major overhaul.

    I still find it amazing that a tiny faction of industry members seeking to protect their state-granted monopolies over a public resource — perhaps a hundred and fifty out of some 12,000 marine resource license holders — and signing pre-printed letters, can trounce a supposedly iron-willed Governor.  But, clearly, they have done so.

    So, I am leaving, not for health reasons, and not to spend more time with my family, and not to pursue other interests, which are all the commonly used themes for such resignations, but because this administration is more interested in pacifying special interest groups than in responsibly managing Maine’s marine resources for the benefit of the entire state.  I cannot be part of that.  The legacy of my fishermen father, grandfather and great grandfather will not allow it.

    I leave with regret for the people of Maine, who have allowed public resources to become the private domain of a select few, and especially for those other Mainers who have been prevented from earning a living.

    Finally, I regret leaving that portion of DMR employees who, in the face of their supervisors’ and colleagues’ intransigence and willful disregard of the State’s greater interests, try their hardest to manage our state resources and enforce our laws for the benefit of all Mainers.  To them I give my heartfelt thanks and my best hopes for avoiding the retribution that they are even now facing.

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Protect Maine Voter Rights Open Thread

Posted on July 8, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

It occurs to me this morning that while there is a lot of buzz and conversations via social media regarding the Protect Maine Voter Rights petition gathering events scheduled for kickoff today and tomorrow, there is not one single place where the various info is being gathered.To that end, I am creating an open thread post which will be updated as information becomes available. If you would like to have your info added, please either leave a comment here or connect via my Andi Parkinson’s Facebook account.
Thanks!

Rules of petition signature gathering HERE.

Locations/Times/Events

 

  • (Androscoggin County) Maine People’s Alliance, 145 Lisbon Street Ste 200, Lewiston
    Saturday July 9th – 9am
    Regional Organizer: Genevieve Lysen – gen@mainepeoplesalliance.org, 240-6781
    Deputy Regional Organizer: Doug Kempner – dkempner@bates.edu, 689-1744 
  • (Aroostook County) TBA(NOTE: Troy Haines of Aroostook County Dems has told me that the list is still being compiled, but the expects there will be canvassing at next weekend’s Potato Blossom Festival in Ft Fairfield.)

     

  • (Cumberland County) Maine People’s Alliance, 565 Congress Street, Ste 200 Portland
    Saturday, July 9  – 9am
    Regional Organizer: Jennie Pirkl – jennie@mainepeoplesalliance.org, 671-2490 
  • (Franklin County)Anne Geller’s house, 108 Orchard St. Farmington
    Saturday July 9th – 10am 
  • (Hancock County) Maine People’s Alliance, 192 Main Street (Second Floor), Ellsworth
    Friday, July 8th – 5pm
    Regional Organizer: Heather Martin- heather@instigus.com,460-1587 
  • (Kennebec County) Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewell St, Augusta
    Saturday July 9th  –  10am
    Regional Organizer: Nicole Brown – nicole@opportunitymaine.org, 659-6199 
  • (Kennebec County) MoveOn members in the Augusta area can get forms and instructions while making signs for Old Hallowell Days…. check at MoveOn.com. 
  • (Knox County)  Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist, 200 Main Street, Thomaston
    2pm, Saturday July 9
    Contact: Bonnie Post, bonniepost@earthlink.net or 594-9263.
    Kickoff, pep rally, and signature gathering. 
  • (Lincoln County)
    Launch Saturday, July 9,  Rising Tide Supermarket, Main Street, Damariscotta, 11 AM – 6:30 PM.
    Petitions available for signature everyday at Rising Tide, 11 AM-1PM and 4:30 to 6:30 PM.
    Petitions available for signature at LCDC Monthly meeting, Boothbay Railway Village, Rte 27, Boothbay, Monday, July 11, 6 – 9 PM.County coordinator: Val Johnson, valariesmithjohnson@gmail.com, 632-8355

    Town coordinators:
    Damariscotta:  Dean Curran, deancurran@yahoo.com, 380-5103

    Bristol:  John Fitzpatrick, johl@tidewater.net, 677-2397

    South Bristol:  Helen Marsh, hmarsh@tidewater.net, 563-6186

    Newcastle and Monhegan:  Mick Devin, mdevin@maine.edu, 563-3132

    Waldoboro:  Sandie O’Farrell, sandieofarrell@gmail.com, 542-9380

    Bremen:  Wendy Pieh, wpieh@lincoln.midcoast.com

    Boothbay:  Sandra Rumery, jrumery@roadrunner.com, 633-2550

    Boothbay Harbor:  Jerry Topinka, bigtoe@midmaine.com, 633-0519

    Edgecomb:  Jo Cameron, jocam@tidewater.net, 633-2978

    Somerville:  Chris Johnson, chris@dirigo.net, 632-6066

    Nobleboro:  Emma Stephenson, Emma.Smith.Stephenson@gmail.com, 563-1886

    Jefferson:  Tom Eichler, 882-7060, teeichler@gamil.com

     

  • (Oxford County)Norway Arts Festival
    Main Street, Norway
    Friday July 8th and Saturday July 9th 
  • (Oxford County) Launch throughout the day on Friday as petitions are distributed to our regional captains, and at the Street Dance on Friday night in Norway and the Art Fair in Norway on Saturday. We’d like to make 1/4 of our goal by Monday. Live in Oxford Co? Want to help? Message Cathy Newell. 
  • (Penobscot County) 20 Ivers St, Brewer
    Saturday, July 9th  –  9am
    Regional Organizer: Ryan Tipping-Spitz – ryan@mainepeoplesalliance.org 356-6997 
  • BangorContact Ryan Tipping-Spitz
    (cell: 356-6997) or stop by the MPA office at 27 State St #44 in Bangor during the week. 
  • (Piscataquis County) 
  • (Sagadahoc County) Bath Waterfront Park on Commercial St.
    Saturday July 9-  9am
    Dems have a table for signatures and petition distribution.
    Contact: Bronwen Tudor email pbt3413@gmail.com; phone 371-9980 
  • (Sagadahoc County) Bath Farmers Market
    Saturday, July 9th, morning 
  • (Somerset County) 
  • (Waldo County) Diane Messer: I’ll be covering the Belfast Farmers Mkt on Fri morning. 
  • (Waldo County) Belfast Co-op
    Saturday, July 9 · 9:00am – 12:00pm
    We will petition there, at Arts In The Park and at the Lincolnville Strawberry Festival. If you can pitch in, or if you need to pick up petitions to take to your town, please come join us. 
  • (Waldo County) TBD
    Saturday July 9th  – TBD
    Regional Organizer: Heather Martin- heather@instigus.com, 460-1587 
  • (Washington County) 
  • (York County) Outside of Alfred Parrish Church, 8 Old Kennebunk Road, Alfred
    Saturday, July 9 – 11am
    Regional Organizer: Dan Ankeles – dankeles@gmail.com, 756-3793 
  • Kennebunk
    Tomorrow, Kennebunk is hosting Old Home Week along Main Street. A representative from Equality Maine will be present at the Farmers’ Market collecting signatures. Bill Grabin will also be collecting signatures along Main Street from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm. Diane Denk will be collecting signatures along Main Street from 1:30 – 4:30 pm. Sunday morning, Diane will also be collecting signatures in the Kennebunk Town Hall Parking Lot from 10:00 – 11:00 am. Please come and sign the petitions. As volunteers schedule other collection locations and times, you will be notified.Volunteers are still needed. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Dan Ankeles, dankeles@gmail.com, 796-3793.

     

    Even before Governor LePage signed the voter suppression bill into law, I was flooded with calls and emails from people wondering what we could do to stop it.

    Rarely is a law passed that attacks our democracy in such a fundamental way.

    There will be two great milestones in our signature gathering effort. The second will be the day we submit enough petitions to stop the voter suppression bill from becoming law.

    The first is tomorrow, as we launch this campaign.

    Please join me and thousands of volunteers across the state as we take the first step to fight back against this cynical attempt to strip voting rights from the people of Maine.

    Tomorrow we’ll be holding launch events in at least 9 counties. I hope you can make it to one.

    This is your best chance to join this effort and make a difference in protecting our democracy and our rights.

    Androscoggin County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    TIME: 9am
    LOCATION: Maine People’s Alliance, 145 Lisbon Street Ste 200, Lewiston
    Regional Organizer: Genevieve Lysen – gen@mainepeoplesalliance.org, 240-6781
    Deputy Regional Organizer: Doug Kempner – dkempner@bates.edu, 689-1744

    Hancock County:
    DATE: Friday, July 8th
    TIME: 5pm
    LOCATION: Maine People’s Alliance, 192 Main Street (Second Floor), Ellsworth
    Regional Organizer: Heather Martin- heather@instigus.com,460-1587

    Waldo County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    TIME: TBD
    LOCATION: TBD
    Regional Organizer: Heather Martin- heather@instigus.com, 460-1587

    York County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    TIME: 11am
    LOCATION: (Outside) Alfred Parrish Church, 8 Old Kennebunk Road, Aflred
    Regional Organizer: Dan Ankeles – dankeles@gmail.com, 756-3793

    Cumberland County:
    DATE: Saturday, July 9th
    TIME: 9am
    LOCATION: Maine People’s Alliance, 565 Congress Street, Ste 200 Portland
    Regional Organizer: Jennie Pirkl – jennie@mainepeoplesalliance.org, 671-2490

    Penobscot County:
    DATE: Saturday, July 9th
    TIME: 9am
    LOCATION: 20 Ivers Street, Brewer
    Regional Organizer: Ryan Tipping-Spitz – ryan@mainepeoplesalliance.org 356-6997

    Kennebec County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    TIME: 10am
    LOCATION: Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewell St, Augusta
    Regional Organizer: Nicole Brown – nicole@opportunitymaine.org, 659-6199

    Franklin County:
    DATE: Saturday July 9th
    TIME: 10am
    LOCATION: the home of Anne Geller, 108 Orchard St. Farmington

    Oxford County:
    Date: Friday July 8th and Saturday July 9th
    Norway Arts Festival
    Main Street, Norway

    Full list and updated information at http://www.protectmainevotes.com

    Gen Lysen
    Maine People’s Alliance Lead Organizer
    gen@mainepeoplesalliance.org

    ===

    Knox County.

    2pm, Saturday July 9
    Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist
    200 Main Street
    Thomaston

    Contact: Bonnie Post, bonniepost@earthlink.net or 594-9263.
    Kickoff, pep rally, and signature gathering.

    ===

    Maine Women’s Lobby email:

     
    Hey volunteers,

    Thank you so much for committing some of your time to this campaign! The response has been amazing and we are lining up a strong force across the state of Maine to Protect Voting Rights.

    And, it’s GO time!

    As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Secretary of State’s office gave us the “green light” last evening and we are hitting the streets!

    With petitions in hand, you and me and hundreds of other Mainers across the State are heading out to fairs, malls, festivals, and neighborhoods to gather the needed signatures to put this question on the ballot:

    “Do you want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election?”

    Yes, we do want to reject it.

    We don’t believe that there should be any barriers to voting. Elections matter. And, every vote counts. We’re gonna get this question on the ballot – and, we’re gonna do it fast – one month.

    Oh Yeah. Yep. You Betcha. Yesiree bob.

    One month.

    Nobody wants to spend their entire summer collecting signatures when there’s so much ice cream and potato salad to enjoy. And, hot dogs, did I mention hot dogs?

    Anyway, thank you (so much) for signing up – we can do this!

    We’ll be reaching out by phone and by email over the next few hours – and next few days – to get YOU connected with those petitions.

    Also, keep checking back to for the nearest center – and volunteer coordinator – for you. It will be up and running soon! (I have included a list of local offices below).

    If you are in the Augusta/Hallowell area, we will be meeting at our office this weekend for signature collection kick-off!

    When: Saturday, July 9th
    Where: Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewall St. Augusta
    What time: Trainings every hour on the hour from 10:00am – 3:00pm.

    Please shoot me back a quick email to let me know if you can be here.

    Thanks again,

    Charlotte Warren

     

    ===

     

    Launch Saturday, July 9,  Rising Tide Supermarket, Main Street, Damariscotta, 11 AM – 6:30 PM.
    Petitions available for signature everyday at Rising Tide, 11 AM-1PM and 4:30 to 6:30 PM.
    Petitions available for signature at LCDC Monthly meeting, Boothbay Railway Village, Rte 27, Boothbay, Monday, July 11, 6 – 9 PM.

    County coordinator: Val Johnson, valariesmithjohnson@gmail.com, 632-8355

    Town coordinators:
    Damariscotta:  Dean Curran, deancurran@yahoo.com, 380-5103

    Bristol:  John Fitzpatrick, johl@tidewater.net, 677-2397

    South Bristol:  Helen Marsh, hmarsh@tidewater.net, 563-6186

    Newcastle and Monhegan:  Mick Devin, mdevin@maine.edu, 563-3132

    Waldoboro:  Sandie O’Farrell, sandieofarrell@gmail.com, 542-9380

    Bremen:  Wendy Pieh, wpieh@lincoln.midcoast.com

    Boothbay:  Sandra Rumery, jrumery@roadrunner.com, 633-2550

    Boothbay Harbor:  Jerry Topinka, bigtoe@midmaine.com, 633-0519

    Edgecomb:  Jo Cameron, jocam@tidewater.net, 633-2978

    Somerville:  Chris Johnson, chris@dirigo.net, 632-6066

    Nobleboro:  Emma Stephenson, Emma.Smith.Stephenson@gmail.com, 563-1886

    Jefferson:  Tom Eichler, 882-7060, teeichler@gamil.com

     

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