Monday, October 6, 2008

One Yes, Three Against!

Now that was a great, productive weekend for the Gator Group. We only set out to accomplish one project and we did, but power washing that deck of ours took longer than we had expected. Fortunately, Gator Daughter was here to give us a hand both days. But the deck sure does look pretty nice now that the task has been accomplished.

We also took the opportunity to clean both Gator Wife’s walk-behind self-propelled machine and the wheels and deck of the tractor. GW’s lawn mower got pretty well clogged up when she mowed last week. The grass was wet and it jammed between the blade and the top. She eventually had to give up helping me mow the wet grass because the machine simply wouldn’t run anymore.

After scraping a bucketful of grass from underneath, we power washed it and now it’s ready for another use. We know it’ll take another cleaning before we put it away for the winter, but that should be just a normal, end-of-season task unless we have to mow wet grass again.

The deck on the tractor had survived the wet grass and a simple power wash took care of it in just a couple of minutes. The wheels were another story. Before we start any mow event, we walk the entire yard to clean up anything the dog may have deposited. After the pick-up last week, Gator Golden must have decided the time had come. Because I was driving faster than usual as the showers were present, I simply didn’t see it. The left side wheels needed cleaning.

A happy moment for me was a Gators’ football win. The surprising Patriots won. And the Red Sox take a two games to one lead into tonight’s American League playoff series game four.

The Maine Sunday Telegram yesterday offered its opinion on three referendum questions facing Maine voters next month. I read their opinions on I’m not sure if they’re still reachable today. However, I agree with the first two of their recommendations but disagree on the third. The newspaper called for a “YES” on Question 1, a “NO” vote on Question 2, and a “YES” vote on Question 3.

Question 1 would repeal a tax on just about every beverage you’d buy and a new tax on paid insurance claims. That tax, you may recall, was passed by the Legislature in the final moments of the last session. It would raise about $75-million to pay for the Dirigo health plan. The newspaper got it right when it said we don’t need any new taxes at this time. I’d add we don’t need new taxes at any time. In fact, I’d say we don’t need the Dirigo health plan. The tax is now law, incidentally, and only awaiting next months vote to either go into effect or get repealed. Vote “YES” on #1.

Question 2 concerns more casino gambling for Maine. The law that proponents want passed is so flawed that even they say the Legislature will have to make adjustments if it passes. Among other things, it calls for a reduction of the voting age from 21 to 19. It would prohibit any other casino establishments in Maine for 10 years. The originator of the proposal included a provision that the head of the casino would serve on several Maine boards and commissions. There are more equally offensive provisions which both sides say have to be addressed.

But if the referendum passes, then it will serve as the basis of the law and there’s no guarantees that the Legislature would make the changes the voters might want. Voters absolutely should not pass a very flawed referendum question, especially when both sides say it needs to be fixed. Reject the question, let the Legislature fix it, and try again next year. Vote “NO” on #2.

Question 3 is a bond question asking voters to approve borrowing for sewer disposal and clean water. The money would generate more from the Federal government. I’m opposed as I am to most all bond questions. Bond questions for most issues are sent to voters every year and routinely passed. I always wonder what has happened to all the money the state has borrowed in the past 30 or more years. I can’t bring myself to blindly accept “it’s an investment” without that knowledge. “Investment” in state parlance is “tax.” Vote “NO” on #3.

And while I’m on it, I’m also urging a vote against a casino question facing Scarborough voters. The proponents want to put slots at Scarborough Downs, the real reason for the proposal, and use the age old argument that all the tax dollars potential development could bring to the town would reduce property taxes. If all the development money that saved my property taxes had saved as much as promised over the years, the communities would be paying us to live there. This proposal which we’re told will bring us millions and millions of dollars will, like the rest, end up costing us lots and lots of money in the long run. Vote against slots in Scarborough.


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