10 incredible ideas to save Maine forever

Every two years, The Bollard publishes a satirical feature called “Ideas for a Greater Greater Portland.” This year marks the beginning of a new tradition for this Bangor Daily News column: “10 Incredible Ideas to Save Maine Forever.”

1. Gov. Paul LePage has a point when he complains about the tracker hired by the Democratic party to videotape all his public appearances. It’s too obtrusive, yes, but the real problem is it’s too obvious. The Democrats should switch to a subtler method of spying: wiretaps and bugs. Ever since Richard Nixon, it’s worked for the Republicans …

2. … who now have damaging dirt on Democratic Senate President Justin Alfond, thanks to the bug they placed inside his Prius. If Alfond were smart, he’d get out ahead of the controversy and hold a press conference admitting and defending the fact he listens to Q 97.9 and has sung along to hits by One Direction and Justin Bieber. That said, senator, if they bring up Katy Perry, deny, deny, deny.

3. Marginal Way has a lot of potential. It runs parallel to Interstate 295 between two of the most highly trafficked exits into Portland, and earlier this year a developer unveiled plans to build seven towering apartment buildings, some as high as 12 stories, along its southern side. But this byway will never achieve greatness so long as it’s saddled with that name. How about Magnificent Boulevard?

4. The town of Gray could use a similar upgrade, though I like the assonance of Gray, Maine. What about Great?

5. I’ve been visiting the BDN website every day for the last six months, and I think I’ve finally figured out what’s been dragging down northern Maine’s economy. Things will not turn around until the BDN stops prominently publishing police reports in the upper-right corner of its home page. “Chain saw used to break into Lincoln home.” “Minot man arrested after dozens of shots fired during 6-hour standoff.” “Naked driver rams Phippsburg cruiser after low-speed chase.” And that’s just a sampling from this past week! Will people to move up there and start businesses after they read that stuff?

6. The Kennebunk prostitution scandal has made almost everybody mad. People opposed to allowing other people to have sex for money are understandably upset. And people who love the Latin dance-fitness program are not pleased that it’s now inexorably associated with sex-for-hire. (A Google search for “zumba” results in no fewer than four stories about the sex scandal on the first page).

I believe I have a way to appease the first group: Make prostitution in Maine legal on condition that johns finish a full Zumba workout, in front of a large plate-glass window in downtown Portland, before the transaction begins. This will reduce the number of johns considerably by thinning the ranks of those who are lazy, ashamed or at risk of cardiac arrest. My suggestion for the second group: add an “h” to the exercise’s name, so it’s Zumbah. This will fool Google, while making it more of Maine thing.

7. Speaking of legalization, Maine needs to follow the lead of two western states and legalize the recreational use of marijuana, if for no other reason than to give the workers at the Twinkie factory in Biddeford their jobs back.

8. Maine lawmakers should take a page from their counterparts in Washington and link upcoming budget negotiations to the threat of a fiscal cliff. We’ve got all sorts of cliffs along our coast. Whaddya say we require the next state budget to increase taxes on the rich and spending for public education and pledge that, if it doesn’t, the governor must stand on the promontory by Portland Head Light and throw $100 bills into the ocean until members of his party freak out and capitulate?

9. Who hasn’t had the aggravating experience of trying to make a quick stop at the “convenience” store only to be held up in line while some bozo tries to decide how many and which scratch cards and lottery games to play? Since we’ve already effectively turned every corner store, Cumby’s and 7-11 in the state into a casino, let’s go all in and let ’em have slots and table games, too. The boost in gaming-tax revenue would ensure LePage never has to toss a single Benjamin into the Atlantic.

10. Goodbye, Dead and Nonesuch rivers. Hello, Resurrected River and Sucha River!

Chris Busby

About Chris Busby

Chris Busby is editor and publisher of The Bollard, a monthly magazine about Portland. He writes a weekly column for the BDN.