50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Oh, Freedom! The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Then and Now

February 27, 2014 – The SMCC Learning Commons hosted a panel discussion commemorating the “Freedom Summer” and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The discussion was moderated by former Maine State Representative and current SMCC History Professor, Herb Adams. Featured panelists included: Attorney Harold Pachios – Former Assistant Press Secretary to President Lyndon B. Johnson, Hon. Gerald Talbot – First President of the Portland Branch of the NAACP and Voting Rights Activist, and Attorney Zach Heiden – Chief Legal Counsel, Maine Civil Liberties Union.

Referendum Summary

Dear Neighbors,

I hope this summary will help when you vote on our crowded state referendum ballot this fall. Question One was placed on the ballot by a Citizens’ Petition. Question Two through Seven are Bond Issues for the state to borrow money. Detailed info on all can be found at the Secretary of State’s website on the Upcoming Election 2014

Good luck voting this fall!

-Hon. Herb Adams (772-2565)

Click to View 2-Page PDF of my Referendum Summary

Professional Firefighters Endorsement Letter

Professional Firefighters of Maine  endorse Herb Adams 4014

Professional Fire Fighters of Maine Affiliated

International Association of Firefighters

John Martell, President 41 Brickyard Cove Rd.

Tel. 207-432-2370 Harpswell, Maine 04079

October 6, 2014

Dear Editor,

The Professional Firefighters of Maine are pleased to endorse Herb Adams for re-election. Working people will be in good hands with Herb back in the legislature. As professionals in our field, We’ve seen Herb at work in the Maine Legislature, and know that work has produced positive results for those in his District. Workplace safety, healthy conditions, and decent pay for decent work show that society cares for those who sacrifice to keep all of us prosperous, whatever our job. We’ve seen Herb always put his shoulder to the wheel for those things, and for all of us. In these tight budget times, those values mean more than ever. We need legislators who will work for all of Maine now, more than ever. Herb’s record shows he is such a legislator.  We have faith he always put the betterment of his constituents before any other consideration.  Working people need him back in the job now, more than ever.

We are proud to endorse him and encourage you to vote for Herb Adams on November 4.

Sincerely,

John Martell

President

Printed in the Portland Daily Sun

Thank you

Thanks to all for the kind words and hard work! Starting today, our next job must be to protect MaineCare, secure the social safety net, seek justice for all, and bridge the $756 million budget gap. For Maine’s sake, we are all in this together.

East Bayside in the spotlight

Nice to see some recognition for this neighborhood’s many good qualities. Check out today’s Press Herald story.

Heating Season is Here: Know Your Rights

Maine’s winter heating season has officially started, following a record number of CMP electric shutoffs for consumers who could not keep up with bills.

“Consumers better know their rights,” said former state Rep. Herb Adams, the longest-serving member of the Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee.

“Just before temperatures drop, the number of disconnects shot up,” said Adams. “Winter rules are different, and provide consumer protections longer, with help available sooner.”

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC), in its annual report, said Central Maine Power disconnected service to 29,554 Maine homes in 2011, a sharp increase of 60 percent over 2010.

CMP cites the national economy for the increase. “But CMP privatized their bill collection efforts, and beefed-up collection methods meant more shutoffs, even in the middle of a summer heat wave, endangering the health of elderly people and infants,” said Adams. “Winter gives consumers a chance to regroup under new rules and new protections.”

Under Maine law, gas and electric service cannot be cut off during the peak winter heating season, which runs from Oct. 15 to April 15. Additionally, PUC rules bar utilities from shutting off any customer between Nov. 15 and April 15 without explicit permission from the commission’s Consumer Protection Division.

Rules also require a full information packet explaining consumers’ rights and options be mailed or delivered to homes which have lost heat or light service since last April 15.

Letters from the utility company, phone calls and in-person attempts at contact are all required before a winter disconnection can take place, said Adams.

Consumers can contact the PUC’s Consumer Assistance Division toll-free at 1-800-452-4699 to work out a payment schedule and get free help to find ways to meet the bills.

These include:

  • A year-round Low Income Assistance Program (LIAP) that provides utility bill discounts or credits to challenged families.
  • An “Energy Crisis Intervention Program” for eligible families who get disconnection notices but still cannot negotiate or honor an existing payment plan.
  • Emergency assistance from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services when a disconnection is imminent.
  • Eligible customers on oxygen pumps and ventilators at least 8 hours a day may qualify for a utility credit to cover the cost of electricity for life-saving equipment.

“Customers should contact their utility first – in Portland, CMP or Northern Utilities – and if not satisfied, call the PUC’s Consumer Assistance Division,” said Adams.

As a legislator, Adams sponsored the original laws that created many of the above consumer protections. “In a district that includes some of Portland’s most challenged and low-income neighborhoods, a little help can go a long way toward keeping families stable during the darkest months of the year,” he said. “These winter rules are good for all of Maine.”

 

Farewell, Steve

Steve Huston

(Press Herald photo by John Patriquin)

Yesterday I was honored to deliver the eulogy for Steve Huston, a strong advocate for and from Portland’s homeless community. Steve had his demons, and though he fought them bravely, he was not always able to keep them at bay. But he also had a great deal of energy and passion which he devoted to seeking justice for the poorest and most troubled people of Portland. In that, he was an inspiration and a source of hope for many.

It was a moving event with a large crowd, held at the Preble Street Resource Center, where he was a former resident. Many people wore tie-dyed T-shirts in honor of Steve’s favorite attire.

I hope he was able to see what an impact he had made on so many lives. Even more, I hope that the people of Portland carry forward his message of justice and compassion for those most in need — not least in their decisions about how to vote in a few weeks.

Campaign and vane

Who would fire a gun at a church? Well, according to Portland legend, an inventor’s rifle may have left a dent in the First Parish weathervane — and restoration teams are now looking into whether there’s any evidence for the legend. I got a chance to look at the vane up close while out campaigning this week, and the Portland Daily Sun has the story.

Portland as an arts mecca

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longfellow was a creative Portlander long before there was an arts district!

Big Business gets TIFs, so why not Arts Districts? The creative economy has saved Downtown Portland, and brought life back to many a Main Street in Maine towns where our traditional local economy is under stress or has vanished. You don’t have to flee to the mall to fill storefronts with talent, creativity, and art. The creative economy has its eye on tomorrow!

On that note, I was pleased to see that Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation recognized the Portland Creative Economy TIF (Tax Increment Financing district) as Maine’s sole contribution to its “Bright Ideas” list for innovative government programs.

The TIF, which establishes the Arts District downtown and allows the city to finance arts programs with revenues to be generated from the district, was not my idea, but I was proud to sponsor it in the Legislature after Justin Alfond — then with the League of Young Voters, now state senator for Portland — suggested it to me in 2008.

Of course, Portland’s many amazing creative people do not need an Ivy League school to tell them they’re doing great work! But it’s good to be recognized in any case — especially as the Ash Center is part of the Kennedy School of Government, where I studied in the State Executives Program.

 

 

Shout-out to state workers

I’m grateful for every endorsement, but I was particularly proud to receive one from the MSEA, Maine State Employees Association (SEIU Local 1989). I’ve known many state employees and found them to be dedicated people, many of whom choose to work for the state rather than pursue higher pay elsewhere because they care about serving the people of Maine. I’m grateful for the work they do and hope to have the honor of serving them and all working families in the Legislature once more.

Web site by Pat Washburn, Eunice Pomfret Media.