So I have been doing my best of late to ignore the Universe outside the small world I exist in most days. I have been doing this only so that I can marshall the few synapses I have left to more important things like keeping me sane and my business going. Best intentions and all aside, I still get yanked back into the madness that has no real affect on my day to day existence. The Gay marriage thing for instance. The whole intolerant Religious thing. And last but not least, the stupidity that seems to run our government. All of these issues, while they may be important in the long run, have no immediate impact on my world in the present tense.
Yes, I have been doing my best at keeping my head in a hole. A kinder way of putting it but less accurate, might be to say I have been trying to keep an eye on the ball. Specifically my ball. Not everyone else's ball. But my ball. Unfortunately, I now must pull my head out of..........my hole and pay attention to the other balls bouncing around me. It is coming up on November. In a couple of weeks I must once again trudge down to the town hall and cast ballots that will affect many balls bouncing around my state.
In that no one is running for something, this election is about referendums. State referendums. If I had been born into a less civic minded family, it would be easy for me to blow this election off. Ancestors from graves far flung would congregate at the foot of my bed in the middle of the night and haunt my dreams forever if I did not carry out this minor obligation of living in this country. Besides, I want to feel I have earned the right to bitch and complain. I would feel less empowered to do so had I not cast my vote.
The referendums on the ballot this November in Maine are really cool ones. Yeah, there's at least one of the typical bond ones that ask my permission to let the state borrow money for this or that. Some of the referendums here in Maine this year are being scrutinized by groups all over the country. We seem to have compiled a list of questions that just scream controversy.
Here is the final list of Maine referendum questions that will appear on the November 3, 2009 ballot:
Question 1: People’s Veto
An Act To End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom
“Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”
Question 2: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Decrease the Automobile Excise Tax and Promote Energy
“Do you want to cut the rate of the municipal excise tax by an average of 55% on motor vehicles less than six years old and exempt hybrid and other alternative-energy and highly fuel-efficient motor vehicles from sales tax and three years of excise tax?”
Question 3: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Repeal the School District Consolidation Laws
“Do you want to repeal the 2007 law on school district consolidation and restore the laws previously in effect?”
Question 4: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Provide Tax Relief
“Do you want to change the existing formulas that limit state and local government spending and require voter approval by referendum for spending over those limits and for increases in state taxes?”
Question 5: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Establish the Maine Medical Marijuana Act
“Do you want to change the medical marijuana laws to allow treatment of more medical conditions and to create a regulated system of distribution?”
Question 6: Bond Issue
(Part A of Ch. 414, Public Laws of 2009)
“Do you favor a $71,250,000 bond issue for improvements to highways and bridges, airports, public transit facilities, ferry and port facilities, including port and harbor structures, as well as funds for the Life Flight Foundation that will make the State eligible for over $148,000,000 in federal and other matching funds?”
Question 7: Constitutional Amendment
(Ch. 1, Constitutional Resolutions of 2009)
“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to increase the amount of time that local officials have to certify the signatures on direct initiative petitions?”
An impressive list no? We have Gays, Drugs, Religion, and Education all being addressed by our citizenry on a one by one basis. None of which has any immediate effect on me personally. But most will affect many of the people I know and consider friends. So I will cast my ballot and hope for the best.
I am also going to break with my tradition of keeping my vote to myself before the fact. What follows is how I will vote and why.
Question 1 - No of course. Gay marriage should be a non issue except in the religious arena. And this law allows the right of religions to refuse to marry them. But ensures that the state will.
Question 2 - No - This is not the time to cut taxes.
Question 3 - Yes - I was against the school consolidation in the beginning. I am still against it. Here's my chance to make it go away.
Question 4 - No - Why elect people to run things for us if we are going to try and do it ourselves. If you do not like the tax situation, elect officials that are on the same page as you. This circumnavigation technique is nothing but an effort to allow small focus groups to dictate law in our state.
Question 5 - Yes - Pot laws are stupid. This is a step in the right direction.
Question 6 - Yes - Any deal that means my state will get twice as much money in matching funds and might just fix a few potholes and bridges is okay in my book. We need to do something about the sad state of our infrastructure.
Question 7 - ????? - Not sure here. I need more information. Amending a constitution should not be done without serious consideration.
So there you have it. A list of questions that need answers. Answers that can only be supplied by those Mainers who feel the obligation to answer them. Turnout for these type of off year elections are historically low. Something tells me it will not be the case this time.
See you on the other side...............................
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