Feb. 24, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Posted Feb. 23, 2009, at 5:38 p.m.

Honor tribal veterans

I am just returning from a hearing in Augusta LD 30, An Act to Establish Native American Veterans Day,” and I feel I should write to address the concern of the one veteran who spoke against this bill. I, too, had the same concern at one time.

All of our nation’s veterans deserve the same recognition for their service, no matter how great or small their contribution or their beliefs, orientation, gender, origin or rank They are a part of a rare team. However the contribution of the Maine Tribes remains unique because their status as federally sovereign nations makes this clear.

No other group has this same status. To make a separate day to honor one part of the “melting pot” or one team member for great service is good for all who have served as part of the team. This only serves to commend the character of the people of the tribes that have existed here since before we were a state, who never failed to join in service of our state and nation even though they still come from their own nations It is time for our state to honor this request.

Fred Fraley

Mount Desert

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Halt money changers

From 1920 to 1932, the money changers on Wall Street played fast and loose, as the government deregulated business under the premise that the business of government is business. This led to the October 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression. Having lived through the poverty, unemployment, suicides, Hoovervil-les (shantytowns) and soup kitchens, I can attest it was horrible. I pray that the current economic crisis can be halted and reversed.

It took a great leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with the assistance of like-minded leaders, to pull the U.S. through and out of the Depression. He chased the money changers from Wall Street by developing the Securities and Exchange Commission and other laws. We assumed the SEC would stop the money changers forever, but were unprepared for the deregulatory actions of government from 2001 through 2008.

Once again, we find the U.S. saddled with a concentration of wealth where the top 1 percent of the population owns half the country’s wealth. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. This could bring serious disruption in economic insecurity, social unrest, terrorism, increased rate of suicides and other forms of economic maladies that we experienced in the Great Depression. We must find remedies rapidly before this country falls apart at the seams, as it did in the 1930s.

Nat Crowley Sr.

Stockton Springs

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Marriage bill win-win

As a fourth-generation American and a believer in the United States Constitution which flatly states that there should be a separation of church and state, I cannot understand why any legislation that promotes equality for all should not be supported and passed.

I am appalled that religious groups, especially the Catholic Church, have become involved in this issue. Clearly, those who believe in God believe that only a marriage officiated by a minister, priest, rabbi or other church official is a marriage. Therefore, these people do not recognize couples married in a civil union.

The fact that they are involving the church and its influence, asking people to pray against this legislation and the like, shows that they are violating the Constitution which separates church and state. If same sex couples have a civil union and are afforded the same legal rights as people married in a church or other religious set-ting, then two things happen.

The first is that religious people will not recognize the marriage as valid. The second is that people so devoted to each other as to want to make their commitment binding and legal will have that right. This seems like a win-win situation if the legislation is passed. And by passing such legislation all the tenets of the Constitution will be upheld — equality under the law and separation of church and state.

Please be a committed American and pass legislation that supports equality in marriage for all couples. We are all entitled to this as American citizens.

David Berg

Searsport

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Teach mental health

The Legislature is reviewing LD 98 (HP 82), a resolve to direct the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to require teaching “mental health awareness in middle schools based on a national curriculum.”

I have worked as a licensed social worker in Maine for 21 years almost exclusively in the field of child welfare. I have worked directly with hundreds of children with mental health diagnoses and participated in school meetings with educators about meeting these children’s educational needs.

Many children diagnosed with mental health issues crave friendships with their peers. Many peers and parents who do not understand mental health issues often shy away from children who behave differently or do not fit into a description of a typical child.

I support LD 98 bill to create understanding and acceptance of children who are diagnosed with mental health issues. It is only with education that all people will lose their fear of interacting with people who may be different. Children are listening to what we as parents and educators teach them. Let us teach them understanding and tolerance of those who did not ask to be diagnosed with a mental health issue and how by being another child’s friend can make all the difference in the world.

Janet Anderson-Murch

Winterport

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Get smart, automakers

Sorry, but I just don’t get all these bailouts. Take the auto industry, for example. We, the people, are supposed to give them billions of dollars so they won’t go bankrupt. And their solution? Lay off workers to help their balance sheets.

Here’s a thought. Ford seems to be coping — so we’re left with Generous Motors and Crying Chrysler. Let them figure it out — just like they expect of foreclosed homeowners. Automakers say if they declare bankruptcy, people won’t buy their cars. When people are trying to save their jobs and their homes, a new car is not high on the list.

In the meantime smart automakers can reorganize and retool to make fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly cars. If bailout funds are used to support innovation and new ideas in smaller emerging companies it will help them compete globally to develop the cars of the future — just like the big automakers had to do when they started out (think Ford developing the assembly line, and then remember Edsel, for example).

We need to look to the future if we are to save our economy — not just shore up old companies, which may, or may not, have had their day.

Competition is the heart of capitalism. Let’s level the playing field and see how good — or bad — the big guys really are.

Ann Marie Maguire

Swans Island

• • •

Get smart, automakers

Sorry, but I just don’t get all these bailouts. Take the auto industry, for example. We, the people, are supposed to give them billions of dollars so they won’t go bankrupt. And their solution? Lay off workers to help their balance sheets.

Here’s a thought. Ford seems to be coping — so we’re left with Generous Motors and Crying Chrysler. Let them figure it out — just like they expect of foreclosed homeowners. Automakers say if they declare bankruptcy, people won’t buy their cars. When people are trying to save their jobs and their homes, a new car is not high on the list.

In the meantime smart automakers can reorganize and retool to make fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly cars. If bailout funds are used to support innovation and new ideas in smaller emerging companies it will help them compete globally to develop the cars of the future — just like the big automakers had to do when they started out (think Ford developing the assembly line, and then remember Edsel, for example).

We need to look to the future if we are to save our economy — not just shore up old companies, which may, or may not, have had their day.

Competition is the heart of capitalism. Let’s level the playing field and see how good — or bad — the big guys really are.

Ann Marie Maguire

Swans Island

• • •

Kudos to delegation

We want to thank all four members of Maine’s congressional delegation for their recent votes in favor of the federal economic stimulus bill. The “green jobs” provisions of this bill are particularly heartening as they could help solve so many problems at once.

The new investments in clean and efficient energy use, ecosystem restoration, clean drinking water and public transportation will create thousands of jobs in Maine, save families money, improve energy security, cut global warming and air pollution, reduce the flow of dollars out of Maine and the U.S. and bolster our economy for years to come.

Reps. Michaud and Pingree were stalwart supporters of the House stimulus bill. Sens. Collins and Snowe deserve special thanks for their willingness to step beyond partisanship, move the Senate bill forward and ensure the final stimulus package passed. We are proud that Maine is in the nation’s spotlight because of the tremen-dous work of these leaders.

Maine’s delegation has always displayed a strong commitment to our environment, understanding that our natural resources are the foundation of Maine’s economy and way of life. It is gratifying to see that at this moment in history, Maine’s motto “Dirigo,” or “I lead,” proved true once more, as Maine led the nation toward not only an economic recovery but also a cleaner, greener future.

Adam Lee

president, Lee Auto Malls

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