The BDN has this editorial on the surprising news that a better LURC is close, as the commission that most (including me) assumed would recommend abolishing the de facto zoning board for Maine's unorganized territories is proposing changes instead.
Rep. Maeghan Maloney (D-Augusta) had this opinion piece in the PPH arguing for her bill that would create a veterans court.
Let's call this the takings bill and examine the revised version that the committee will complete at its final meeting on November 21. Put simply, the bill would force the state to pay private landowners if any state land use regulations diminish the value of their property by fifty percent or more.
That may sound fair, but the impact of such a law could turn out to be profound. After the legislature gets the bill, I'll take a closer look at those potential impacts. The current version of the bill is a lawyer's dream, and I'm no lawyer.
If a "fact finder" determines that a new state regulation has diminished a parcel of land by 50 percent or more, the landowner will be entitled to compensation from the state. Two possibilities exist. In one, the state would pay the full value of the property and buy it. In the other, the state would pay the landowner an amount equal to the lost value. The bill does not seek to create a compensation fund.
This bill is even worse than Smith describes, since it would require compensation for loss of "perceived value," not actual value - that is, if zoning prohibited development of a fast food restaurant, the property owner could sue even if they have no intent of actually developing one. A similar bill (LD1135) was killed earlier this year - it would have applied retroactively.
Good evening. Now that the dishes have been cleaned and put away, grab a coffee or other after-dinner drink and enjoy this open thread.
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (whose real first name is Willard) released his first television campaign ad on Wednesday, in which he uses a clip of then-Sen. Barack Obama quoting a staffer of Sen. John McCain in such a way that it looks like it comes directly from Obama. This stoyful narrative provides all the context of the ad and reaction to it; regarding the ad, Steve Benen explains the difference between a liar and a bullshit artist (h/t Lyle):
A liar makes false claims. A b.s. artist doesn't much care what's true or false, because facts are irrelevant in the person's larger agenda. Liars care what's true and deliberately say the opposite; b.s. artists are indifferent to what's true and tend to see facts as inconveniences that simply get in the way.
Michele Simon has this report from the annual conference of the American Dietetic Association The conference is nation's largest gathering of nutrition professionals, and is sponsored by e Coca-Cola, Aramark, the National Dairy Council, and Hershey, PepsiCo, Mars, and General Mills, amongst others. Which makes it no surprise that seminars included:
"Are Sugars Toxic: What's Wrong with Current Research?" sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association
"Snacking and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines" sponsored by Frito-Lay
"A Fresh Look at Processed Foods" sponsored by the International Food and Information Council (IFIC)
On the Board of Trustees are representatives from PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Dannon, Mars, and General Mills.
Our friends over to As Maine Goes are making a big to do over a statement from Sen. Olympia Snowe to Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner, that Rome is burning while the Obama administration fiddles. Scott Fish is using a video produced by Snowe's office; below I post the raw feed (and yes, Snowe was in Congress when Reagan was elected 31 years ago):
It's of interest that Fish is just posting about Snowe's statement now, since it happened more than a month ago. Steve Benin had this about her actions and her misplaced rhetoric on 18 October:
"Rome is burning"? And who, exactly, does Snowe believe is responsible? The party with good economic ideas that can't overcome Republican obstructionism, or the party engaged in the obstructionist tactics, offering ideas that would make the economy worse, and by some accounts, holding back the nation deliberately?
Snowe seems to believe the status quo isn't working. On this, she's correct. But it's not working because Republicans are getting their way.
In what universe does it make sense for Snowe to blame Geithner? Snowe and Republicans got the tax cuts they demanded; Snowe and Republicans saw the stimulus spending evaporate, just as they wanted; Snowe and Republicans are watching the public sector lay off hundreds of thousands of workers, just as GOP policy dictates; and Snowe and Republicans have forced the White House to accept massive spending cuts, which takes money out of the economy on purpose.
And now she's complaining? Why, because her party is getting what it wants and she doesn't like the results?
If you missed Al Sharpton's take-down of Snowe from a month ago, see here.