Cheers and jeers from around the news:

• Jeers to whatever has gotten into selectmen in Andover. The River Valley town is weighing a second recall of Selectman Susan Merrow, which turned a recent meeting into a screaming match. Merrow narrowly kept her seat in a recall vote last November.

There are differences of opinion all the time in local government and, oftentimes, these differences seem to get loudest where population is smallest. All of Andover is engaged in this issue: In a community of about 900, some 550 voted in the last recall election.

Now that’s a turnout of which to be proud. What isn’t prideful is this turmoil among the selectmen. Second recall votes so soon are unneeded, whether in the smallest town or most sprawling city. The people have already spoken once. The right way to settle this dispute is like neighbors.

• Cheers to the Maine House for preserving LD 679, an eminently sensible bill that would openmunicipalities that knowingly violate the Freedom of Access Act to paying attorneys’ fees to the citizens or organizations that call them on it. We urge its passage in the Senate.

Attorneys’ fees create a definite penalty for violating FOAA, where now there is little. This would not only provide a strong incentive for ensuring the public’s right to know, but also would remove any financial barriers to citizens to enforce the letter of the law.

Many states and the federal government have this fee provision. So should Maine.

• Cheers to the selection of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. We’ll be brief: Prognostication about her is folly. Nobody – not even Sotomayor – likely knows what kind of justice she’ll be, not until she wears the robe.

David Souter was billed as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative at the time of his nomination. His record is anything but. If senators knew Clarence Thomas would turn into a Sphinx on the bench, saying nothing for years, would they have confirmed him?

Scrutiny of Sotomayor is warranted. But the irony is that the answer everyone really wants to know won’t come, unless she’s confirmed.

• Jeers to short attention spans. Two significant stories were overshadowed by Sotomayor: the looming bankruptcy of General Motors and the nuclear tests in North Korea. Both are more important, and have greater implications than one Supreme Court justice.

• Cheers to the editorial board of the Kennebec Journal for their spot-on assessment of why charter school legislation is again failing in Maine: the entrenched opposition of the education establishment.

To quote them: “We challenge the Legislature: If you don’t have the courage to stand up and beat off the prophets of doom who are so scared of charter schools, then just reject the bill.”

We couldn’t have said it better. And we wholeheartedly agree.


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