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Jan. 7, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Pesticides control

I share Karen Baldauski’s concerns (“Uncontrolled pesticides,” BDN letters, Jan. 2) about the swift retreat staged by the Board of Pesticides Control on Dec. 19 in response to objections of inconvenience raised by some pesticide applicators. These particular changes would have required applicators to provide notification of aerial spraying adjacent to people’s homes. I fear further watering down of the board’s other modest proposals at their next meeting.

However, I think it is naive to expect much else, given that the BPC is the creation of the agriculture industry. Any and all changes that the board proposes have to be approved by the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and it would be hard to find a less open-minded group than that on the subject of pesticide use.

The way forward for those of us that care about this issue is for the BPC to be housed where it logically belongs — within the Department of Environmental Protection. Only then can the health and well-being of all the residents of Maine be truly and equally represented.

All it would take to start the process would be enough letters to the governor and to legislators to demand this change.

Peter Aldridge

Hatch Knoll Farm


• • •

Point not grasped

I failed to grasp the point of Dr. Erik Steele’s column (“CEO stress eclipses nights in ER,” BDN, Dec. 30). His image of the CEO: “to look good in a suit, make nice-nice with important people, run too many meetings, collect the big bucks and play golf frequently,” is very disconcerting.

But, it was disgusting when Dr. Steele admitted how the stressful new job requires him to wear his “big boy panties” full time! He gave away too much information. Was that the point, letting every reader know this is too much to handle? I certainly hope so.

Helen Small


• • •

Minnesota ‘do over’

The U.S. Senate should seat Roland Burris to fill the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. Minnesota should have a “do over” election in the contest between Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken.

Although Gov. Rod Blagoevich of Illinois probably is guilty of serious crimes, he retains the legal power to fill Senate vacancies. There is no clear legal basis to deny Mr. Burris his seat.

A more important reason to seat Burris is the political fallout that would result if he is not seated. There would be lawsuits and turmoil in the Senate.

Similarly, Minnesota should hold another election to settle the contest between Coleman and Franken. The results are too close to know who really got the most votes.

In an analogous race in 1984, Democrats in the U.S. House seated an incumbent who had a questionable, very narrow lead. The resulting acrimony contributed to the era of bad feelings that has existed in Congress far too long.

Economic conditions are the worst they have been since the Great Depression. Fortunately, there is widespread support for President-elect Obama and his agenda.

But if the U.S. Senate becomes mired in fights over two Senate seats, enactment of President Obama’s programs could be delayed, possibly threatened.

Then all of us would be losers.

Alan Ginsberg


• • •

Jesus could read

If Jesus “almost certainly was illiterate,” as the usually very perspicacious Gwynne Dyer claims in “Alternative Christmas message from Ahmadinejad” (BDN OpEd page, Dec. 30), it sort of contradicts Luke 4:16-21, where after being baptized and fasting in the wilderness for 40 days, Jesus returns to the synagogue in Nazareth and stands up to read from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah.

According to Funk & Wagnalls, almost everything we know about Jesus’ life comes from the four Gospels, the Epistles of St. Paul and the Book of Acts, so I think it’s kind of unfair to Jesus to say that he couldn’t read, especially since he knew the Scriptures so well.

Keith C. Taft

Van Buren

• • •

Not all growth is good

I vehemently disagree with the BDN’s Dec. 29 editorial, “Maine’s population woes.”

For the sake of our well-being and that of our descendants, we need to question the widely held myth that “growth is good.” We are fortunate that Maine’s “stagnant” population growth has helped protect our beautiful state from much of the congestion, urban sprawl, and hectic pace of life that have afflicted more densely populated states.

On a global scale, it should be obvious to anyone who can do arithmetic that a finite planet cannot support an ever-growing population with an ever-growing appetite for resources. We essentially are adding a city of 1 million people to the Earth every 3½ days. World ecosystems already are strained beyond the breaking point, the seas are being depleted of fish, aquifers are being drained faster than they can be replenished, croplands are being exhausted, rising sea levels threaten coastal cities and low-lying shore lands.

Dick Cheney — a man noted for neither wisdom nor humanity — recently declared that the American lifestyle is “non-negotiable.” Mother Nature will decide otherwise. Only cancers grow unchecked.

Phil Locke


• • •

Which age group?

While there are no data presented in the BDN’s Jan. 2-3 front-page article “Driving & old age,” the thrust of the argument seems clear — we older residents (I am 74) should have our driving privileges further restricted on account of the actions of a few. The article is based on two anecdotes reprinted from a Maine Public Safety bulletin of Dec. 15, and interviews with three persons who have not been involved in accidents. These are hardly convincing data.

In the same issue, I find reports of recent accidents involving drivers age 19 (“P.I. man hospitalized after crash”), age 32 (“Alcohol leads to New Year’s crash”), age 19 again (“3 cars crash in chain reaction on Route 15”), and age 26 (“Driver has minor injuries after truck wreck”), as well as the report on the indictment of a 43-year old for a fatal crash last fall, a driver reported to have had six license suspensions and 15 speeding violations in the past decade.

These “data” would seem to call for license restrictions on all younger persons!

I am not proposing a solution, but it is clear that further restricting the driving privileges of the elderly will not solve Maine’s highway safety problems.

George Kidder

Bar Harbor

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