It would be refreshing to see some honesty when petitioners ask for signatures from the general public. I had the recent experience of being in front of the Muskie Federal Building in Augusta and the Great Wall Buffet in Portland and overheard the spiel that two petitioners were giving as a lure for the public to sign their respective petitions, which were actually in regards to the potential building of a casino in southern Maine.

I know. I know. You should always read a petition before you sign it but, the petitioners were very adept at avoiding that scenario when they were approaching people.

Both individuals were telling prospective signatories that “this petition is to get the casino to pay a $7 million tax in order to provide scholarship money to graduating high school seniors.”

This outright lie was told in a way that made folks think that they were talking about a casino that was already built. That is not the case.

What the petitioners were doing, because of the allure of getting between $7 and $10 per signature, was a misrepresentation. What the petitioners were not saying and should have been honest about was that they were gathering signatures that would endorse the building of a new casino in southern Maine so that they could then get the new casino to dedicate $7 million annually to scholarships for graduating high school seniors. Why couldn’t they have said that to begin with, instead of concealing the truth?

I am aware that the petitioners have a First Amendment right to say, or lie about, what they want. But lying just causes folks to further justify avoiding signing petitions because of the the deceitful nature of the petitioners.

Charles Ferguson II


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