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Eliot Cutler

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 »

'Flipping the Curve'

At the Governors' meeting in Washington on Monday, probably no one welcomed Bill Gates' gift basket book, Stretching the School Dollar,  more than Governor LePage.

Indeed, with every state executive facing down his own little bit of Madison, who would want to disbelieve that, to flip the achievement-spending curves, all we need to do to beat the test scores of the pesky Finns and Singaporeans is fire the bottom 15% of the nation's teachers and convey the savings as merit bonuses to the remaining stalwarts in compensation for the minor inconvenience of larger class sizes?

Then, one presumes, a similar supply-side subroutine could be turned loose on the medical field by retiring the bottom tier of doctors (as rigorously evidenced by -say- patient mortality) subsequently realizing both a dramatic uptick in longevity and a decimation of expense.

Plainly still jacked from this news at the conclusion of his own testimony at Wednesday's Appropriations hearing, Governor LePage sought to reassure Representative Fredette, whose teaching spouse stands to lose benefits under the Governor's budget, that teachers who survive the performance cut will enjoy some spoils. Read more »

Eliot Cutler's Political Future

Over at Down East, I take a look at second-place 2010 gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler's campaign to stay politically relevant and discuss his recent telephone town hall.

In that post, I mention that the event prompted an anticipatory front page story in the Portland Press Herald last week. A second article on the town hall made the paper's front page yesterday.

While it's obvious that Cutler is still looking for an opportunity to gain public office, it appears he won't be challenging Senator Olympia Snowe in 2012. In a recent interview with Roll Call, Cutler stated that he has "no desire to live in Washington" and has "been very clear in Maine I don't intend to leave the state." Cutler told the D.C. publication that a second attempt at the Blaine House in 2014 "depends on a lot of circumstances."

Click here for an mp3 of the No Labels conference call with Cutler and Crist.

Focus on Cutler Files Distracts from Worse Violators

"Finally, we can turn the page on one of the sorriest chapters in Maine's mostly proud political history", said the editorial page of the Maine Sunday Telegram on January 30, in a sharply worded editorial condemning a violation of state campaign finance laws.

Reading only that, one might reasonably conclude that the editors were speaking of the actions of the Republican State Leadership Committee. Eleven days before the election last November, the Alexandria, Virginia based RSLC spent $400,000 on TV, radio and mail in opposition to five Democratic State Senate Candidates. More importantly, the RSLC violated state law by failing to report these expenditures on time. All five of their targets were using Maine Clean Elections Act funds, and were deprived of timely matching funding to respond to the attacks. All five were defeated.

Such a sizable late expenditure that fails to comply with Maine’s excellent system of campaign finance reporting is indeed alarming and worthy of strong condemnation.

Sadly, that’s not what the Telegram was doing. No, they were putting-in what we can only hope is the final word on the dreaded "Cutler Files": the website critical of Eliot Cutler, created by Dennis Bailey and Thom Rhoads. Read more »

Cutler Files Investigation Records Released

In response to a Freedom of Access request from several journalists, the Maine Ethics Commission has just released a stack of documents related to their investigation into the Cutler Files website, including memos sent from staff to commissioners and hand-written notes from interviews conducted with a wide range of political figures.

In sending the information, Commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne cautioned against releasing the documents widely due to "the risk that people will misinterpret them for political motivations or simply for the pleasure of taking a shot at a public figure or political party."

He also added a caveat to the content of an investigative memo sent to the Commissioners.

[I]n the October 17 investigative memo to the Commissioners, I included a working theory concerning the Cutler Files website (pages 2-3 of the memo).  At the time I wrote the memo, Dennis Bailey and Thom Rhoads declined to be interviewed in depth, so the memo necessarily contained some speculation which was so noted for the Commissioners.  Having completed the investigation, I would say now that my description may have overstated the involvement of the Scarcelli campaign in the research that Thom Rhoads conducted at home.  So, please be aware of that as you read the October 17 memo.

  Read more »

Scarcelli Caught in Lie

Former Maine gubernatorial candidate and prospective Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rosa Scarcelli has been caught lying about her knowledge of her husband's involvement in the Cutler Files website controversy. MPBN's AJ Higgins has it all on tape, although he doesn't explicitly connect the dots for his listeners.

In the interview, Ms. Scarcelli says she knew her husband, Thomas Rhoads, had "done some Google" on Culter, but that she didn't learn of his involvement in the Cutler Files website until shortly after Labor Day and, as she says, prior to the Ethics Commission investigation, which officially went forward Oct. 20.
Read more »

Rhoads Admits Role in Cutler Files

Both Thom Rhoads and Rosa Scarcelli today released statements detailing their involvement or lack-thereof in the Cutler Files website. At Down East, I provide some context.

With the Ethics Commission having finished their investigation and the authors having fully outed themselves, this may be the last thing I ever write about the Cutler Files, a website whose authorship and legal standing got a lot more attention than its content.

Cutler Recieved Potentially Illegal Contribution

The Maine Today papers report that Eliot Cutler's former treasurer, Robert C.S. Monks (who also happens to have an ownership stake in Maine Today Media) may have given the campaign an illegal contribution through a PAC he oversees. The matter is under investigation by the Ethics Commission.

The Cutler campaign says this his nothing to do with the recent departure of Monks as treasurer.

Culter's New Ad

Eliot Cutler's first post-primary ad:

Cutler's Moody Blues

Idependent Shawn Moody's TV ad, featuring Survivor winner Bob Crowley:

If the theme of political insiders vs. outsiders that was so prevalent in the primary continues in the general, Moody (website) may gain some traction to the detriment of fellow independent Eliot Cutler, who worked on Capitol Hill, in the Carter administration and in the world of international business.