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Oct. 14 Letters to the Editor


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Shameful ad

The full-page political ad (BDN, Sept. 30) featuring an angry “Rosa, Laundry Worker,” proclaiming, “The Union Intimidated Me” along with the scariest photo of Tom Allen ever dredged up is shameful.

I have been self-employed most of my working life and have never been a member of a union. But I support the right of the working people, especially those working for large corporations for low wages and few or no benefits, to form unions to improve their lives.

I suspect that intimidation, threats and firings are more likely to come from the employer than union organizers. The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, maintains squads of union busters ready to move into any store at the least sign of trouble. The top executives of these corporations pay themselves millions of dollars a year, but are unwilling to share profits with the people on the floor.

The bill the ad refers to, and Allen supports, would automatically establish a union as soon as a majority of the workers sign a membership card. The problem in the past is that corporations have been able to postpone elections almost indefinitely and in the meantime push out objectionable employees. Shame on them for smearing Tom Allen because he stands up for working people.

Gene Bryant


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On Down East health

I write in response to the editorial, “Washington County Health,” (BDN, Oct. 6) and in keeping with Mental Illness Awareness Week.

My career in community mental health spans two decades and five Maine counties. Washington County lags behind in delivery of mental health care for residents with a higher burden of disease including depression, substance abuse and suicide. Access to care is extremely limited and the county lacks programs and services for specialized mental health treatment.

Basic mental health care is often shifted to other delivery systems and to natural supports often ill-equipped to meet the need. Primary care providers, the county jail and churches do much with little and collaborate with limited mental health resources admirably.

As a resident of Washington County I am heartened by increasing public awareness of our dismal health conditions and I am particularly concerned about mental health treatment. Please support the CDC and state legislators in improving mental health treatment for Washington County residents.

Ann O’Brien


• • •

Sen. Smith needed

Regarding the Oct. 6 BDN story, “Alaska governor defends linking Obama to terrorists”: It has been 58 years since McCarthyite tactics were first used in a national election campaign (the 1950 midterm elections). At that time Maine’s Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, appalled at the direction the campaign was taking with the tacit support of her party’s leadership, acted to preserve her honor, that of the Senate and that of Maine.

In her historic “Declaration of Conscience” she deplored those who resorted to “character assassination” and said she didn’t want to see the Republican Party ride to victory on the “Four Horsemen of Calumny — Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.”

Dare we hope the cynics are wrong and that the old-fashioned virtue of honor has not been entirely driven out by frenetic sound-bite politics? Perhaps one of Sen. Smith’s successors can summon the degree of courage that it undoubtedly took in 1950 to put her obligation to decency and fair play above the “benefit” of polarizing the electorate and stoking cynicism.

A new “Declaration of Conscience” is very much needed.

Robert Rackmales


• • •

Spellman for House

On Nov. 4, Brewer residents will have the opportunity to elect Ruth-Marie Spellman as their House District 21 representative in Augusta. I initially met Ruth in the late 1970s when she and I served together on the Brewer School Committee. Since that time I have come to admire and respect Ruth as a diligent, compassionate and dedicated servant to the Brewer community.

For 29 consecutive years (1977-2006), she served as a member of the Brewer School Committee, including several terms as chairperson. For 24 years, Ruth has served as a member of the United Technologies Center in Bangor, and is currently serving as its chairperson. Further, throughout her entire adult life Ruth has been a tireless volunteer and advocate for numerous civic and charitable groups serving Brewer residents.

Ruth-Marie Spellman has worked and lived in Brewer her entire life. She has given much to her community, and now Ruth wishes to extend her long and exemplary record of service to Brewer residents by representing them in Augusta. She truly deserves this honor and privilege.

Bill Davis


• • •

Palin’s indiscretion

As a 92-year-old mother and grandmother, I felt that Sarah Palin’s indiscretion at the Republican National Convention was appalling.

Exposing to the world her daughter’s private life was degrading. A mother’s natural instinct is to protect and shield her children from airing intimate details of their lives. I furthermore disapprove of Palin’s exposure of her 4-month-old infant as a trophy for political gain.

A mother should take into consideration the environment her newborn is subjected to. Instead of her baby being in the quietness of a nursery listening to the soft music of a lullaby, this infant was in a convention hall attended by thousands of delegates and exposed to earsplitting sounds.

Palin states that she is in this race for “you.” Don’t let a pretty face fool you. Palin’s only concern is Sarah Palin.

Carmen de Carlo


• • •

English only

On June 6, 2007, the U.S. Senate considered a bill that would have made English our national language and the following senators voted against it: Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama. Are these the kind of leaders we want in charge of keeping this country free when they put votes ahead of our country’s language just to appease those that have immigrated here to enjoy our way of life and want us to adapt to their ways?

You have a right to choose in this country what your language is and your way of life and that is the way it has been since we started but English has been our language and we reserve the right to learn other languages if we so choose.

If you took a nationwide vote what do you think the outcome would be? Can you hear the hollering then? English has been our language since we began this nation. This is the language we print on our money and on all official documents and we have no desire to print them in several languages.

All we expect of a visitor to this country is a little common courtesy and a respect for our language and our way of life.

Robert L. Tufts

Stockton Springs

• • •

No’ on Belfast recall

We do not support the effort to recall Jan Anderson on the basis of her voting record as a member of the Belfast City Council.

Recalling a member for not voting is a matter deserving of consideration for recall, in our opinion. We looked at the community involvement Jan has exhibited in the past as the basis for supporting her for a seat on the council. Jan represented Belfast on a team trained in problem solving skills by the U.S. Department of Education. The team’s task was to identify and develop programs to solve community and school problems. From this experience Jan learned that the effective resolution of communality issues is based a thorough and representative expression of all points of view followed by a resolution that fits the problem as defined by the entire community.

More recently, Jan saw the need for reducing the use of illegal drugs by young people in our community. As head of the Belfast Areas Task Force on Substance Abuse, she devoted many months of her personal skills and energy to drawing together a truly representative group of citizens to significantly reduce that problem. In this process, Jan exhibited her ability to facilitate communication and problem solving by a representative group of citizens. These are skills that readied her to be an effective city councilor.

These are the two most important reasons we supported Jan Anderson for the council and, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we will vote No on the effort to recall her.

Jane and Bill Dopheide


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