Thursday, May 5, 2005

Editorial: Changing times

Published in the Current

(May 5, 2005): The problem with a legislative proposal pushed by Cape Town Councilor Mike Mowles and sponsored by Republican Rep. Kevin Glynn of South Portland is not that changing from Eastern Time to Atlantic Time would probably make us all feel better.

And Mowles is right to think that having an extra hour of daylight in the evening might be more fun, could be safer and would likely save us money on energy bills.

The problem isn’t that Maine is way out east of the rest of the United States and with different national boundaries might actually be in the Atlantic Time Zone.

It’s also an interesting point that the rest of New England, still on Eastern Time, would think it was the same time as Maine all summer long, when they would go on daylight-saving time and we would not.

While we’d be even more isolated in winter than before, perhaps the summertime adjustment would reduce some of the worst problems for the big tourist season.

The real problem is that the proposal doesn’t pass the straight-face test, a requirement if the issue is to pass a statewide referendum.

We were surprised to learn of the proposal from Mowles last week, when he was fresh from testifying for it in Augusta. And two people sitting nearby, who heard his exuberance in favor of the idea, immediately chimed in with the instinctive questions we all have:

What about the economy? Would putting Maine an hour ahead of the country make us even less of a place businesses would look at as a serious option? What about scheduling appointments with people in other states? What about making phone calls to family and friends elsewhere? Will other New England states go along with it? Should we change something that has worked for years, just to make ourselves feel better?

But behind this particular legislative request for extra daylight, something darker lurks.

The fact that the State and Local Government Committee members went for it unanimously paints a frightening picture of what really goes on in the Statehouse.

If lawmakers are so out of touch with actual Mainers that they believe we would all come around to their point of view if only we understood reality – we need “education,” as the public-relations folks say – they are hopelessly far from understanding what else might actually make life better here.

But then again, as we wake up each black morning to the foibles and whims of those elected to represent us, maybe we could use that extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day, to make us feel a little better about it all.

National pride

Bethany Roy should be very proud of herself, and her family, her school and community should be too.

Roy, known to many around Cape Elizabeth as a participant in more activities and groups than any of us can remember, has been named a Presidential Scholar and will be honored in Washington, D.C., though she may not be there because of a family trip.

The honor has been conferred on only two people from Maine this year, and is given to fewer than 150 of the most promising high school seniors nationwide.

Congratulations to her, and to those who have taught, helped and supported her along the way, and continue to do so today.

Jeff Inglis, editor