Anti-cruise ship arguments don't hold water

By The Courier-Gazette Editorial Board | May 17, 2018

Rockland now boasts a downtown business area that rivals Camden's.

We have a mix in this community of art galleries, stores, restaurants, museums and other businesses to attract tourists, not only for this season, but for return trips. It took the city a long time to build up its downtown into what it is today, and unlike some other communities, we don't roll up Main Street at the end of the season. We have the businesses that locals need and the industries to provide jobs as well.

The diversity of our businesses, ranging from Fisher Engineering or Maritime Energy to small galleries and shops geared toward tourists, gives us economic strength.

The suggested moratorium on cruise ship visits would hurt part of our economic mix, even though opponents argue otherwise. Restaurants, galleries, stores and even a chocolate business downtown all see benefit from cruise ship visits.

The petition unveiled at the recent meeting with 80 Rockland signatures and more than 700 from around the world was political theater.

We do want to maintain our character as a community, and that is why the City Council has worked to look at issues that could turn us into a "tourist trap," a Boothbay or a Bar Harbor. One of the issues it has looked at is short-term rentals or vacation rentals. It is working to maintain our sense of neighborhoods.

The council could consider reasonable limitations on cruise ship visits, perhaps, but there should be nothing like an outright ban. That would not be fair to some of our businesspeople.

We would support the council in holding an advisory referendum on the cruise ship issue to see how the majority in Rockland really feels about the issue.

In the meantime, however, we should continue to welcome cruise ships and the business they bring to the city.

Give ranked-choice voting a chance

We support a yes vote for ranked-choice voting in the June 12 primary election.

With ranked-choice, voters rank candidates in order of preference, including second- and third- and even fourth-choice candidates. If no one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes after the first count, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who chose the eliminated candidate would have their ballots added to the totals of their second-choice candidate. The process continues until one candidate has a clear majority and is declared the winner, according to the Portland Press Herald.

This means that when you have three candidates running for governor, which is often the case, you don't have to vote for the big party candidate rather than the third-party candidate just to avoid helping elect your least favorite.

It also means that whoever wins would have at least some support from the majority of voters, creating a more unified, less gridlocked government.

This does not favor liberals over conservatives. It is simply a fairer way to elect leaders.

We would favor approval of ranked-choice voting for all elected officials and an amendment to the Maine Constitution to make that possible.

Primary Day is coming

June 12 is the primary voting day for Democratic and Republican candidates for governor. One must be registered in their party by May 22 to be able to vote.

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