Jan. 24 Letters to the Editor

Posted Jan. 23, 2009, at 6:07 p.m.

Consolidation yes

Voters in Old Town, Milford, Bradley, Alton and Greenbush will vote on Jan. 27 to decide whether to consolidate their five municipal school districts into a single regional school unit or RSU. If you look at the budget situation that we face statewide, I think it makes sense to vote yes.

We need to find efficiencies in all areas of government. The school consolidation plan that is being offered to voters on Jan. 27 does not propose that we spend more on educating our children; it suggests that we consolidate our five municipal school districts so that we can spend our education dollars more efficiently, so that we can get better results for the dollars that we do spend. If we fail to consolidate now, we’ll look back and wonder why we missed the opportunity to spend our education dollars more wisely when we had the chance. I encourage voters to vote yes on Jan. 27.

Rep. Richard Blanchard

House District 14

Old Town

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Tax cheat at Treasury?

What a country! Only in America can a tax cheat become Secretary of the Treasury, ultimate head of the IRS. Timothy Geithner knew exactly what he was doing when he failed to pay his taxes. Strangely, he’s on track for confirmation by the U.S. Senate. It’s hard to believe.

Sen. Snowe is on the public record as leaning toward confirmation. No words, yet, from Sen. Collins.

Gerrard W. Rudmin

Dexter

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Acadian Congress

I have to make a note about a curious headline in the Jan. 10-11 Bangor Daily News. “Fort Kent seeks Acadian Congress” is completely misleading. The communities seeking the Acadian Congress run all along the length and breadth of the Upper St. John River Valley on both sides of the border.

I am assuming the meaning of the headline was to emphasize the participation of the University of Maine at Fort Kent and the “Acadian” archives there. I can assure you those institutions are but small pieces in a much greater puzzle.

There will be at least 9-10 historical societies involved on the American side alone, not to mention the actual community offices and other organizations that can mobilize efforts to bring the Congress here. The Congress can also give publicity to the impressive genealogical collections of the Madawaska and Van Buren public libraries.

The event will also bring to the fore the impressive knowledge and abilities of many local residents dedicated to keeping the unique culture, language and history here alive. Guy Dubay, Terry Ouellette, Dave Wylie, Linda Dube, John Connors, Louise Martin, Darlene Coltart, Anne Roy — just to name a minute few — labor without recompense, without the funding of the University, and often without recognition.

So let’s not chalk up this possible celebration of our culture as a University of Maine event. Let’s recognize and show some respect for everyone who is involved.

Ken Theriault, Jr.

St. David

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Support Israel

I am not Jewish, but I support Israel’s right to defend herself. Why are so many so quick to verbally assault the country for protecting its citizens and interests? Israel is regarded as though it was some schoolyard bully looking for a fight.

Look at the facts: Hamas is a recognized terrorist organization by both the United States and Israel. Hamas is financed heavily by Iran. Iran and Hamas have regularly and unabashedly stated their desire to see Israel “wiped off the map.” Hamas broke the cease-fire agreement and launches missiles daily into Israel.

If Mexico were to fire missiles into the United States once, let alone on a daily basis, how long as a country would we stand for it? Hamas hides weapons inside of schools, hospitals, and among their woman and children, yet the world is supposed to act surprised and feel sympathy for them when they get blown up. I don’t think so.

Israel should continue its attack in Gaza, destroying all targets that serve as launch points or hiding places for Hamas until it agrees to abide by the cease-fire and stand down.

Joel West

Dedham

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Spray last

A recent letter to the editor about pesticide drift should be a clear warning to all who are concerned about the threat it poses. According to the World Health Organization, there are at least 3 million pesticide poisonings annually worldwide or six persons poisoned every minute. It has been proven that exposure to pesticides and other toxics have caused cancer, birth defects, sexual disorders, nervous system problems and more. We do not know what the longer-term effects are.

Why should you have to pay $20 to the state to be on a registry to find out when your land and family may be poisoned by your neighbor spraying? Even if you object, they still are allowed to spray.

I believe that the Board of Pesticides Control does not take its responsibility to ensure the public’s health as seriously as other state boards and agencies. State law governing subdivisions and the Site Location of Development Law require all abutters be notified and in some cases everyone within one mile.

Until the BPC adopts a zero tolerance to pesticide drift from any type of application method it is not acting in the public’s best interest. The board should apply its own motto: “Think first, spray last.”

Bob Foster

Lubec

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Egalitarian tax code

Egalitarian tax code

Government debt represents state and federal government’s failure to live within its means. It also shows a reckless and shortsighted preference of burdening young families and our children with crippling debt.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, interest on the national debt will cost taxpayers $234 billion or 8 percent of the budget. We need to streamline wasteful spending while also pursuing a pro-growth tax policy as the best way to keep the debt ratio at a manageable level and improve economic prosperity.

The state of Maine desperately needs a short-term economic stimulus, including establishing a better tax framework for long-term growth. We need to make the tax code more egalitarian by reducing the tax burden on families and small businesses.

I advocate three fundamental policy changes: doubling the child tax credit to offset day care expenses for families and single mothers; providing a $3,500 tax credit for health care insurance for small businesses per full-time employees; and expanding incentives for retirement savings and college investments.

In times of economic crisis, we need bold policy ideas that will benefit working families and small businesses in Maine.

Rep. H David Cotta

China

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Correction

The Jan. 23 editorial, “Digital, Ready or Not,” incorrectly said the Federal Communications Commission runs the federal converter box coupon program. It is, in fact, run by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is part of the Department of Commerce. The BDN apologizes for the error.

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