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Feb. 6, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Quiet Side concerns

As residents of the west side of Mount Desert Island, we want to comment on the proposal to build a Hannaford supermarket in the Town Hill neighborhood of Bar Harbor.

We are concerned about the location at the triple intersection of Route 102-198, Knox Road and Crooked Road, which is a dangerous blind corner for traffic entering from the probable site west of the highway. Supermarket traffic there might endanger children using the nearby recently completed playground.

Another problem is its probable impact on many west side businesses, not only the Town Hill Market. Now in Southwest Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Tremont and Bass Harbor we have a number of excellent grocery and convenience stores, an outstanding pharmacy-variety store, and a number of liquor stores. These operations are all likely to suffer or be driven out of business by a new supermarket, destroying the cores of our small Quiet Side towns. The new supermarket proposal mentions jobs for about 100. Where would these families find affordable housing on MDI?

The trade-offs of this proposal do not seem good. In return for an oversize facility that duplicates present operations and — perhaps — slightly cheaper groceries, we are likely to get more dangerous driving conditions and serious erosion of our communities, this to increase profits for a large foreign-owned corporation. We hope town authorities study this supermarket proposal in the context of the welfare of our entire island and reject it.

Rick and Wanda Wright

Southwest Harbor

• • •

Kennedy a leader

A Jan. 30 BDN letter to the editor unfairly and inaccurately dismissed Robert Kennedy’s immense contributions as president of the University of Maine. The fact that Kansas State University is actively courting him demonstrates that President Kennedy is a skilled and effective leader. In fact, he has led the UMaine team of faculty, administrators and staff to unprecedented achievements even in the face of extreme budget difficulties.

Bob Kennedy has been at UMaine for nine years, serving as either interim president or president for half of that time. Under his leadership, UMaine has attained record student enrollment, set new standards for private fundraising and expanded its statewide economic impact through R&D initiatives and business assistance activities. He is a skilled, effective CEO whose management of the capable campus team that is UMaine has allowed us to keep moving forward in an environment where progress is difficult to achieve.

The UMaine Board of Visitors is unanimous in its strong belief that Bob Kennedy’s continued leadership is absolutely critical to the future of UMaine and our state. President Kennedy often says that UMaine is our state’s “best bet” for a brighter future. That bet will be much safer if Bob Kennedy remains at the helm in Orono.

Michael B. Trainor

Chairman, University of Maine Board of Visitors


• • •

U.S. pulling strings

Can you imagine Obama winning the election, moving into the White House, and the former President Bush formally dismissing him from office or attempting to?

This is what Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority claimed he was doing with the support of the United States. On June 14, 2007, Abbas dissolved the winning Hamas-led unity government of prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and appointed Salam Fayyad in his place.

In continuing to liken this to the recent U.S. presidential election, we would have Bush announcing on TV that he had dissolved the Obama government and planned to appoint Gov. Palin in his place and return the Republican administration to the White House once the Democratic administration had been evicted. Remarkable!

And the U.S. government either encouraged or directed this Middle Eastern farce.

Today, the Palestinians are, again, preparing for an election. And again Hamas appears to be the more popular party, due to its standing up to the Israeli onslaught. Abbas’ Palestinian Authority and the U.S. do not want to be embarrassed again so Clinton’s State Department has sent George Mitchell to the West Bank to help rehabilitate Mahmoud Abbas’ reputation and give him a better chance to win the nomination.

Since they believe this is going to take awhile, they have decided to delay the election until late in the year. I suppose that, like the 1956 election planned for reuniting the north and south of Vietnam, this one could also be canceled should it become obvious that the U.S. won’t win.

Eliot J. Chandler


• • •

Cabinet tax fraud

So far, at least two Obama Cabinet appointees, including former U.S. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, have admitted to false income tax filings. Several other Democratic politicians also have become snared in the IRS web.

All of these people seem immune from prosecution and have only apologized for their errors. Yet, a Bangor area chiropractor has been indicted for tax evasion and is being treated as a criminal. He is not alone. Many Mainers who have no “pull” in Washington have been punished for tax code violations.

There is a double standard when politicians who write the tax laws also violate them. And another double standard exists among those liberals who accused members of the Bush administration of being criminals and now are displaying some of their own bad manners.

John Hubbard


• • •

Costly cheap drugs

Some prescription medications have become very inexpensive since Wal-Mart began offering them for $4 per month a few years ago (10 to 30 times less than just a few years ago). This welcome change is due to the development of generic drug importation from China and India. However, it is the near absence of FDA regulation that has really helped, and the money saved costs us in the form of harm from substandard medications.

According to a Nov. 2 New York Times Magazine article by Gardiner Harris, in 2007, of all generic drug applications to the FDA, over 80 percent were from factories in either India or China. While domestic and European factories are routinely inspected, those in India and China are rarely. Over the past six years, only 90 of 714 Chinese factories were inspected (equal to once every 48 years). In contrast, U.S. plants are inspected every two to three years.

The FDA has been so weakened that it does not effectively regulate the new centers of drug manufacturing in Asia. Last year, tainted products given to or bought by Americans included Chinese toothpaste made with antifreeze and adulterated heparin (a blood thinner). While the FDA says it is “not designed to regulate the global pharmaceutical industry,” U.S. lives are at risk. The fact that the FDA has successfully regulated domestic and European factories shows that the Obama administration must now empower the FDA to start regulating Asian factories as well.

Bob Lodato


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