Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight the state supreme court rules ranked-choice voting unconstitutional; a judge has ordered local media to hand over recordings related to the Sanborn murder case; and we’re frying crabs.
What we’re talking about
Ranked-choice voting unconstitutional — Maine’s supreme court said Tuesday that the state’s first-in-the-nation ranked-choice voting system is unconstitutional, throwing the voter-approved law into jeopardy ahead of the key 2018 campaign when it was supposed to be implemented, reports BDN’s Michael Shepherd. The unanimous 44-page decision found that the system violates a provision of the Maine Constitution that allows elections to be won by pluralities — and not necessarily majorities — of votes.
Judge to review WGME, Maine Public tapes — A judge wants to review recordings from local news broadcasts related to the legal push to clear Anthony Sanborn of a 1989 murder before ruling on whether they must be turned over to his lawyer as evidence in the case. On Monday, Justice Joyce Wheeler ordered WGME-TV and Maine Public to send the court the raw recordings from their April interviews with the prosecutor who originally handled Sanborn’s trial and conviction for the murder of 16-year-old Jessica Briggs.
Saco wakes up with a wave of coffee shops — South Portland’s popular cafe Cia opens in downtown Saco next month. The move follows closely on the heels of Quiero Cafe, which opened nearby in May, and a third barista bar called The Rugged Spruce, which will serve Speckled Ax coffee on Main Street. Saco’s caffeine renaissance comes right on time for lovers of the bean, who have had to cross the bridge to Elements in Biddeford for a decent fix. — Kathleen Pierce
Lock up Liberty — Federal prosecutors will recommend that prominent developer and entrepreneur Michael Liberty serve six months in jail or under home arrest for illegally masking $22,500 donations to a presidential campaign, BDN’s Darren Fishell reports. Earlier this year, Liberty pleaded guilty to making $22,500 in illegal campaign contributions, which court documents indicate benefited 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Budget drops aid to some asylum seekers — While public debate and attention was focused on the issue of cutting the mayor’s aide and the possibility that he would veto the budget, the city cut roughly $1 million to provide assistance to some asylum seekers who may be legally cut off from state aid this year, the Press Herald’s Randy Billings reports. State law limits immigrants seeking asylum to no more than 24 months of public assistance, and a small number of local recipients are approaching that cut-off. City leaders now hope state government will change the law or a non-profit will step in to fill the gap.
Fried crab — That’s one top chefs solution to the scourge of invasive crustaceans that have begun to devour the softshell clam industry and decimate delicate eelgrass habitat, BDN’s Beth Brogan reports. Portland restaurateur Sam Hayward shared this simple recipe: “Get a pot of oil … and get it up to 340, 345 degrees…Then drop them in.”
Intimate beer talk and taste — Cloudport is hosting something called an “intimate dialogue with Baxter Brewing owner, Luke Livingston, and guided beer tasting.” Not sure what that means but you can check it out on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. — Troy R. Bennett
Tweet of the day
From Tablet reporter Yair Roesnberg:
The Big Idea
‘Kushnerville’ — “Tenants in more than a dozen Baltimore-area rental complexes complain about a property owner who they say leaves their homes in disrepair, humiliates late-paying renters and often sues them when they try to move out,” reports Alec MacGillis. They didn’t know their landlord the the president’s son-in-law.
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