One of the tough things about writing a newspaper column after having blogged for a while is the distressing lack of hypertext. Words have to stand on their own, rather than being butressed by photos, videos and links to sources.
So I'm going to use this opportunity to provide some linked context to today's Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel column on LePage's decision to exempt himself from cutbacks to the pensions of teachers and other public employees, and how the money the state saves from these cutbacks is to be used to reduce taxes for Maine's wealthiest residents.
MRSA Title 2 spells out the governor's pension and other benefits and Title 5 governs other state employees' benefits. They all currently pay the same 7.65% pension contribution. Part S of LePage's budget changes Title 5, but leaves Title 2 alone, which means that LePage's pension contributions will stay the same even as they are increased for other public employees. Title 2 also describes how LePage will be eligible for a pension worth 3/8ths of his salary as soon as he leaves office. Read more »
The latest article on the gubernatorial race from the Center for Public Interest Reporting is on Democratic candidate Rosa Scarcelli and lacks the fascinating revelations seen in some of their previous pieces. There's nothing that holds a candle to their description of the cratering of Les Otten's American Skiing Company or their expose on a patronage appointment within John Richardson's Department of Economic and Community Development.
Instead, the piece is a competent and meticulous rebuttal of Scarcelli's campaign themes of political independence and business acumen. It also probes several areas of potential weakness for the candidate and finds some dirt, but nothing too damaging.
Al Diamon writes that the piece is the first to give details about her relationship with her mother, controversial and politically-connected developer Pamela Gleichman, but while that's important, it's not exactly new information and was widely known in Democratic circles.
One line in the article, however, if accurate, would be big news:
Scarcelli has also received consulting help from top Democratic party operatives, including Ricky Arriola of Miami, who is working for the Democratic National Committee on just three campaigns this year — Scarcelli’s is one of them.
If Arriola were working for the DNC on Scarcelli's campaign, it would mean the national party has involved itself in a contested primary and would be a huge deal.
According to Scarcelli campaign spokesperson Dennis Bailey, however, the report is inaccurate.
They know each other as Crown Fellows, Ricky is a donor, a strong supporter and has helped Rosa organize a few fundraisers in a volunteer capacity. He is not assisting the campaign in any official way, nor have we ever said anything to the contrary.
McCue needs to answer for herself where she got her information. I’m not even sure that Ricky is connected with the DNC. I know he got an arts commission appointment or some such thing.
Update: According to John Christie at CPIR, the information on Arriola came from this profile of the Florida businessman. Here's the original line from the piece, which seems to have been a bit mangled in translation:
He’s also now an active member of the Democratic National Committee, working on three campaigns: Alex Sink, for Florida Governor, Rosa Scarcelli for Governor of Maine and Alexi Giannoulias of Illinois for the U.S. Senate.
In related news, a previous subject of an article by the Center, Anthony Monfiletto, resigned from his post on the Maine Workers' Compensation Board today.