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The Coastal Packet

The longtime national journal, Progressive Review, has moved its headquarters from Washington DC to Freeport, Maine, where its editor, Sam Smith, has long ties. This is a local edition dealing with Maine news and progressive politics.

2/10/10

DOWN EAST NOTES

Maine Public Broadcasting - Critics of the state's citizen's initiative ballot process are calling for big changes in the law, including one that would allow voters to retract their signatures from petitions if they felt they were misled when they signed the documents. Other proposed revisions before a legislative policy committee would require initiative proponents to state the costs of their proposal to voters and explain how it would be funded if adopted. . . Joel Foster of the Washington D.C.-based Ballot Initiatives Strategy Center says Maine scored a "D" in a national analysis in how well its citizen initiative process protects voters.

Press Herald - A proposal to prohibit sex offenders from living near schools and city parks is being met with skepticism by the City Council. At least five of the nine councilors either oppose the measure or question whether it would have unintended consequences. Meanwhile, the Maine Civil Liberties Union argues that the proposal offers only the "illusion" of protection and would in fact do more harm than good.. . . In Portland, an exclusionary zone of 750 feet would effectively ban sex offenders from the city's peninsula, except for neighborhoods near St. John Street and Maine Medical Center, said Councilor David Marshall. Because sex offenders are typically poor, he said, they would end up with fewer housing options. Some might decide to use false names and go "underground," he said, making it more difficult for authorities to monitor them. Others would end up homeless, Marshall said. He said the proposals sound comforting but wouldn't protect children. "It is not where the sex offenders are living that is unsafe," he said. "It's the behavior that is unsafe."

Water Tech Online - A study by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has found that even properly disposed of pharmaceuticals may find their way into the drinking water supply. . . Researchers found small amounts of medications - including antidepressants, birth control pills and over-the-counter pain relievers - in landfill water, or leachate. . . The results of the study have been released at the same time that Maine legislators are debating a bill which would require drug manufacturers to collect and dispose of unused drugs.

Phoenix - Ben Chipman, a Green party member on Portland's Charter Commission, reports that the commission has preliminarily moved toward recommending instant-runoff voting as the method for selecting the city's mayor.

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