Tag Archives: John Baldacci

Panel votes to reject most human service budget cuts | Portland Press Herald

 Panel votes to reject most human service budget cuts | Portland Press Herald.

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Baldacci strikes the ‘right tone’ for tough times, observers say

Many lawmakers and observers said Thursday that Gov. John Baldacci’s final State of the State speech struck the right balance for uncertain times.

“I thought he hit the right tone,” said Rep. Patricia Sutherland, D-Chapman. “He was realistic, with some hope. I think Maine people are ‘cut-to-the-chase’ people, and would accept nothing less from the governor.”

Baldacci highlighted achievements of his seven years in office as well as plans for the future, particularly in the areas of renewable energy, government efficiency, education and forest conservation.

Click here to read the rest of “Baldacci strikes the ‘right tone’ for tough times, observers say” by the Kennebec Journal’s Ethan Wilensky-Lanford.

And click here to read the prepared text of Gov. John Baldacci’s final State of the State speech.

Baldacci eyes jobs, economy in address – Bangor Daily News

Baldacci eyes jobs, economy in address – Bangor Daily News.

How to help Haiti

BY ETHAN WILENSKY-LANFORD

Staff Writer

Gov. John Baldacci joined the American Red Cross in asking Mainers to donate money to support relief efforts in Haiti and channel any desire to volunteer into local action, rather than a trip to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Since the Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake that may have killed tens of thousands of people, hundreds here have called the Red Cross asking how to help. About a quarter have offered to travel to the country.

Here’s a link to the rest of How to help Haiti.

Baldacci presses for smarter use of resources, more sharing | Portland Press Herald

(I agree with the governor on sharing and consolidating resources, but … I was kind of thinking about going into public administration in Maine. I can’t do that if there are no jobs. *sigh* — KM)

 Baldacci presses for smarter use of resources, more sharing | Portland Press Herald.

Changing the way Mainers get their news – maybe

A main function of a free press is to make sure that agencies taking public money do what they should be doing with that money and that the people working for those agencies are not pocketing any of it for personal gain.

Part of that “watchdog function” involves usually costly, usually time-consuming investigative reporting to ferret out corruption, incompetence and whatever other problems there might be with the way an agency’s employees are dealing with the public’s money, property or facilities.

Because of the way things have gone for news gathering agencies, especially newspapers, newsrooms have been gutted and meaningful investigative reporting has greatly suffered for years.

But nonprofit organizations or organizations funded by foundations and donations are sprouting up in an effort to fill that gap. In Maine, one such agency is the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting founded by – and so far funded by – longtime journalist John Christie. The Center claims affiliation with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University.

The bio on Center’s website indicates that Christie “is a media executive whose 40-year career includes work in four states as a writer, editor, general manager and publisher for newspapers owned by Tribune Co., Dow Jones and Co. and the Seattle Times Co. In June, he retired after nine years as the president and publisher of Central Maine Newspapers, which publishes two daily papers, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel.”

Christie’s venture seems to be still getting off the ground, but it did produce a lengthy piece on recent tax reform in Maine. The story strongly suggested that Maine Gov. John Baldacci’s decision to not include a tax on the sale of luxury homes and a sales tax on ski lift tickets was influenced by lobbyists with whom he had close, long-term political relationships.

[Frankly, the story would have benefited from some “eye candy” – photos to illustrate the story and mugshots of the people quoted in the story (as the Bangor Daily News did in its version of the story), sidebar or two broken out from the main, very lengthy story, basic graphics to tell the money part of the story visually, and a few other minor changes that would have made the story appear on his website a bit more pleasing and more professional. Perhaps that sort of thing will be hammered out once he is not the sole employee of the Center. Oh, and there should be a date on the posting. How else would a reader know how fresh the information is?]

The Center’s media partners include the Bangor Daily News, Lewiston Sun Journal, Mount Desert Islander, and The Ellsworth American. Apparently, his departure from the Central Maine Newspapers – Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and the Waterville Morning Sentinel, among others – didn’t go so well since the Center’s story was not slated to appear in those publications.

As an out-of-work editor-columnist-blogger, I hope Christie’s effort and those of other nonprofit public service news organizations prosper and grow, and that their leaderships figure out what news executives should have figured out decades ago – sustainability.

Frankly, I don’t know if nonprofit is the way to go.

Below are links to just a few of the nonprofit public service news websites. More and more nonprofits are cropping up and using something such as “nonprofit journalism” should provide a lengthy list.

ProPublica produces national investigative reporting distributed at no cost to media outlets

Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

California already has a handful. The Sacramento-based California Watch is a project of the nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting.

Here’s a link to a blog about California Watch prior to its launch.

There is also the SF Public Press, which is sponsored by the San Francisco Foundation, Independent Arts & Media, and at least 200 individual donors.

VoiceofSanDiego.org is another nonprofit, public service journalism project.

Also, here are links to two DownEast.com blog items on the launching of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, one by Al Diamon and another by Mike Tipping. Both are regular bloggers for DownEast.com.

 

Energy-efficiency grants could create 1,000 jobs

(Reducing carbon emissions and creating and maintaining jobs is a good thing. It appears that at least a couple of the recipients are located in Aroostook County. That’s good for people there. — KM)

$8.9 million in funds partly from a carbon emissions trading plan is awarded to 16 projects.

By ETHAN WILENSKY-LANFORD

Kennebec Journal,

 January 7, 2010

The nation’s first mandatory carbon trading scheme is being credited with potentially creating nearly 1,000 jobs while promoting energy-efficiency projects in industries across Maine.

Sixteen projects were awarded $8.9 million in state and federal grant money on Wednesday. “These projects are ready to go,” Gov. John Baldacci said in announcing the grants.

The funds are a combination of federal stimulus money and revenue from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which requires industries to pay for each ton of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere.

Here’s a link to the rest of the story.