Political season descends upon us

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: It would be nice if politicians would stop having helpers make unwanted calls to homes at all times of the day and night. And people do not need their mailboxes filled every day with their advertisements. They just go in my recycle bin.

I am a registered independent and get bombarded with these things, and I resent this. I watch the news all the time and I read the paper, so I am informed with things. There is still a month to go before Election Day, and it is getting so that I hate politics with too much information.

It seems to be a waste of money, and I would like to find a way to stop all this. — Not a happy camper

ANSWER: Not that it will be much solace, but you are not alone. Sun Spots gave up on commercial TV long ago, and this election season will undoubtedly have more people pulling the plug.

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In the short term, there is not much you can do but turn off the TV, continue to recycle the mail and use caller ID to avoid the phone calls.

In the long term, you can vote for politicians who say they support campaign finance reform. Hopefully, they actually will. Surely many politicians are tired of spending 30 to 70 percent of their time (according to many news stories) to raise money to bombard you every other fall.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have always wondered what a candidate does with contribution funds that are not spent before the election? — Gail Bennett, Katzmaine@hotmail.com

ANSWER: Sun Spots got this same question in 2012 when former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe retired and readers wondered what she would do with her campaign funds. 

The funds raised belong to the campaign, not to the politician. Mentalfloss.com offers this on campaign funds:

“The Federal Election Commission has strict rules about what federal candidates can and can’t do with leftover campaign money, and the biggest commandment is that they can’t pocket it for personal use. Here’s what a campaign committee is allowed to do with any lingering cash: It can donate the funds to charities or political parties; it can contribute $2,000 per election to other candidates; and it can save the money in case the candidate chooses to run again.

“In reality, though, there’s rarely a giant pot of money for losing candidates to play with. Running a campaign is an expensive proposition — Barack Obama spent more than $700 million on his 2008 White House bid — and insufficient cash is often the reason campaigns go belly up.

“As for winning politicians, they’ll often put their leftover funds toward their next race. If they choose not to run, they have to abide by the same rules. Oddly, this wasn’t always the case. Until 1993, U.S. representatives who took office before Jan. 8, 1980, were allowed to keep any leftover campaign change when they retired.”

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Although the political (or advertising) signs that were in front of Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street in Lewiston were removed, readers are reminded that they should not be placed there.

This park is a memorial to all past military service members who served our great country, as well as those who are still active in the military. We honor all of them in this park, and we shouldn’t place any kind of signs.

Many families and friends sit in the park or walk by, and it brings them many memories. They should not be distracted with candidate signs. — Bert Dutil, badutil32@yahoo.com

GOOD MORNING, SUN SPOTS: Would you please run this one more time before Nov. 8? I’m hoping that it will get out there to our servicemen and they will join us for this special celebration.

The ship is being taken for scrape now and that hurts. There wasn’t any way to save it.

The annual USS Forrestal Veterans Day Ceremony at Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agwan, Mass., will be held on Saturday, Nov. 8, beginning at 11 a.m.

If you plan to attend, please call Chet Kuzontikoski at 413-863-9284 or email him atchet25@comcast.net. We need a count for the director and lunch.

Let’s be proud of serving on the USS Forrestal and join in this ceremony. Thank you. — kane0705@cs.com

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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