Shenkin views not news
When will Dr. Jonathan Shenkin run out of chutzpah? He has ridden his high horse to victory on one fringe issue and seems to be mounting up again. I begin to wonder if he doesn’t stable his horse at 491 Main St.
What’s next? Should we require retired sardine cutters who live alone and draw on LIHEAP to share their homes with each other during the heating season? It certainly will have benefits for the public health as, collectively, they’ll be able to maintain their thermostats at some level above the 55 degrees they can now afford being on their own.
That’s reason alone to require it if we buy into Shenkin’s logic. By doing so, making the wider distribution of the limited LIHEAP funds possible would be a welcome ancillary benefit, enhancing even further the cause of public health while making more efficient use of tax-generated funds.
Shenkin is entitled to his views, but I have to question whether they are newsworthy.
Winter Harbor project
I am writing regarding the article on the proposed development in the Winter Harbor area (BDN, Nov. 3).
It is disgusting that so-called environmentalists come out of the woodwork every time someone proposes a development. As for the complaints of a very tiny minority, the former naval base has been lit up for years, and they also use lawn mowers.
But more to the point is the area’s economy. The development would mean jobs for all the building trades during and after construction and such other jobs as groundskeepers, landscapers, snowplowing, chambermaids, etc. It would be a shot in wallet for the local job market, plus a big boost in the tax base for the area.
I am formerly from Winter Harbor but due to the exorbitant cost of land and homes, I cannot now afford to live there. I have been on Schoodic Head a lot and it was rare to see anyone else up there, few tourists know how to get there and the park prefers it that way.
As for seeing the night sky there are millions of acres of land all over Hancock and Washington counties where one can watch the night sky. The anti-growth people only desire to limit growth. Their anti-growth mind-set is completely opposite of the majority of people’s views.
Stephen S. Torrey
Turnpike Authority plan
Now that the elections are over maybe people of Maine and those who visit our beautiful state will pay more attention to what the Maine Turnpike Authority is proposing.
The MTA has stated it will increase tolls on the turnpike 23 percent in February 2009, one year ahead of schedule because of revenue shortfalls.
This lack of revenue caused cancellations of many projects and layoffs of some personnel. But still at the top of the MTA’s priority list is the relocation of the York toll plaza at a cost of $40 million (funds for this fiasco already have been put aside, according to an MTA spokesman). Now the MTA says it will need a bond issue for financing. Who do you think is going to pay for this? Maine already is high on the list of taxpaying states; do we really need more?
Massachusetts is considering abolishing the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and Maine should do the same.
Pass arthritis bill
When Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins return to Washington, D.C., after the November election for a “lame duck” session, they will have a final opportunity to complete work and pass the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act (H.R. 1283). This bill was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and is awaiting action by the Senate where it has bipartisan support from 55 senators.
The bill expands federal and state public health programs to help the growing number of people with arthritis, which will reduce the health care costs from arthritis. It also authorizes federal programs to tackle the country’s critical shortage of pediatric rheumatologists.
On behalf of the 46 million adults and 300,000 children with arthritis in the U.S., including 335,000 adults and 1,100 children in Maine, I urge Sens. Snowe and Collins to ensure that this bill passes the Senate in November and becomes public law.
Robin D. Spencer-Laurie
Civil unions first
It appears to me the recent controversy over the “right” of gay couples to marry has taken on a life of its own with gay marriage proponents accusing opponents of narrow-mindedness, hatefulness, intolerance and bigotry. Proponents highlight the right of any committed couple to enjoy those rights society has seen fit to grant heterosexual couples while minimizing or denying any negative effect on the institution itself.
For proponents of gay marriage, I have just one question: If it is really just the attendant rights that society provides to married couples that you believe should be provided to all committed couples, then why do you not put your energies behind a fight you could easily win now, namely establishing civil unions with each and every one of the attendant statutory rights of marriage?
Even a staunch curmudgeon such as myself could support that. I fear the answer to that question has more to do with proponents’ insecurities than genuine concerns about equal rights. I can’t help but wonder if the gay marriage proponents’ beef is really more with the one responsible for discriminating against them by granting only heterosexual couples’ specially designed interlocking attributes and the ability to create new life than against their mortal opponents.
I want to follow up on the opinion piece by the Rev. Jill Saxby (executive director of the Maine Council of Churches) in the Nov. 15-16 Bangor Daily News (“Maine has the chance to lead the way with Clean Elections.”)
To be a model for our nation to follow in these times of change, I agree we need our Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to support the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 1285).
Wouldn’t we prefer to see our senators with more time to focus on the people they represent and on the challenges our nation faces than on raising money?
S. 1285, if passed, could offer an opportunity for any well-qualified person to run for national office. Viable candidates, by going through the process of establishing credibility as Fair Elections candidates, would receive public funds for primary and general elections.
Will Maine lead the way?