- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 26, 2003

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Maine could get its first casino after the costliest referendum campaign in state history. San Franciscans could mandate a “living wage” of $8.50 an hour for local workers. And the mellow of the world could take heart if Denver voters endorse a call for citywide stress reduction.

Across the country, state and local ballots on Nov. 4 will include an eclectic array of propositions — dealing with homosexual rights, the environment and economic development, among other topics.

In terms of bitterness and spending (more than $6.8 million by the two sides), the Maine casino proposal had few competitors during this campaign season.

It envisions development of a $650 million gambling resort in economically struggling Sanford, in southern Maine about 90 miles north of Boston.

Some opponents, including Democratic Gov. John Baldacci, say the claims of economic gains are overstated.

In Colorado’s largest city, the most eye-catching ballot item — called the “peace initiative” — would require Denver officials to implement programs to reduce stress and promote peace. The initiative’s guiding force is Jeff Peckman, a former transcendental meditation teacher who says group meditation “can generate a field of peacefulness and calm.”

Many business groups in San Francisco are urging defeat of the “living wage” proposal there. It would require a minimum wage of $8.50 for any work performed in the city.

Voters in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, will decide whether unmarried partners — heterosexual or homosexual — should be given official recognition through a domestic-partnership registry.

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