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campaign finance

Young People and Activism

My organizing mentors (those who have been in the struggle for 20, 30 years) often ask me why more young people aren’t out in the streets rallying, acting and pushing the way they did in the 60s. As someone who works directly with people aged 16 to 35, I often ask myself the same question.

The one answer I hate is: “They’re apathetic.” Well, excuse me, but I am not apathetic. I give a damn, but my actions today won’t be the same as if I had been 27 in 1968. It’s time that we all acknowledge that the world young people are living in and the realities we are facing are quite different from those of a generation ago. We must refrain from pointing the accusatory-finger-of-apathy at young people and take a look in a mirror. There are tons of reasons that youth activism today looks and feels very different from the 60s. However, for people who are most concerned with getting more young people involved in politics and political action, there are three challenges that young people face that I believe are the most significant. Read more »

Portland Mayor: Let's Talk About Money

Charles Carpenter is an interesting guy. His company, Historic Map Works, is kind of the historic Google Earth. He started a foundation that builds playgrounds for kids in Afghanistan, Haiti, and Somalia. He lives in a spacious loft whose finer amenities include views of Casco Bay, a tubular elevator to a music room, rare 15th century copies of Aristotle, and a nearly two-story pulpit from a gothic church. But I didn't show up at his loft because I was writing for Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors—I met him because I heard he was running for mayor.

It turns out that he's not an official candidate yet.

"I'm still thinking about it," Carpenter said. "I'm opinionated. If I ran, I recognize I couldn't win because I'm not politically correct."

What do you mean? What's politically incorrect about you?

"Portland can have more economic growth if it's a desirable place for more middle class people to live an work," he said. "That's difficult because of the congregation of social services right in our downtown. Much of Congress Street is slated as non-market rate housing. We can't have an economically viable city if the buildings are non-market rate." He went on to express frustration at seeing so many people being let out on to the streets by social service agencies downtown. "It doesn't work to take hundreds of dysfunctional people and turn them out on the streets every day." Read more »

PAC Attack

Colin Woodard is continuing his investigation into Maine campaign finance contributions and has today posted a list of PACs with exceptionally Orwellian names.

One example:

Sound Science for Maine PAC was not, as it sounds, a group advocating for science-based policy solutions. Rather, it was the shell through which two out-of-state chemical companies -- Albermarle Corporation and Chemtura Corporation -- funnelled $20,000 to various candidates, PACs and other entities associated with both parties. Makes one curious what business they may have before lawmakers next year.

I wonder if these companies have a stake in BPA or some of the other chemicals that could be banned under Maine's Kid Safe Products Act.

Who bankrolled LePage?

Colin Woodard has the rundown.

Otten Failed to Report Expenditure

I really thought I was done writing about Les Otten's website.

Not so. The latest chapter of the lesotten.com saga has the candidate violating not just Obama's intellectual property but the campaign finance regulations of the State of Maine.

Apparently, Otten failed to include the expenditure made to Insyt New Media to create the website on his July 15th campaign finance report.

"Maine law is clear. An expenditure is made and must be reporting when the promise to pay is made," explained a Republican familiar with Maine's campaign finance regulations. "You can't wait until you write the check. When you place the order, the expenditure is made and must be reported. The website was live before the end of the reporting period, yet no expenditure was reported. Looks like a violation to me."

"Nowhere on the report is any expense related to the infamous logo and website. Nothing. No expenditure; no in-kind expenditure; and no unpaid bill. No accounting for the cost whatsoever."

The site went live on June 29, 2009 and was obviously contracted for, planned and developed prior to that date. The report should have included all expenditures made up to June 30, 2009.

Down East: Senate District 15

My Down East post this week takes a look at the Senate race in district 15. This should be a very close one, and both candidates have been working hard for months.

If you'd like to know more about Snowe-Mello's positions, check out the extensive collection of op-eds on her website.

Simpson also has a (much nicer) website, which includes this interesting mini-documentary about her first run for office and use of clean elections funding.

Coke and Pepsi Together at Last

Despite their decades-long professional rivalry, Pepsi and Coca-Cola can agree on one thing, their support for Question 1, which would repeal the beverage tax meant to fund Dirigo Health.

PolitickerME is tracking the PAC finance reports filed today, the deadline, and notes massive contributions from both companies to Fed Up With Taxes. The PAC has raised more than $2 million so far for its veto effort.

Coca-Cola Companies: $345,600
Pepsi Bottling Company: $869,743