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March 9, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Stop crime early on

Recently, I was in Washington, D.C., and had the opportunity to meet with and thank our congressional delegation for their support for Maine’s youngest citizens. Now I would like to do so publicly.

As a police chief, my job is to fight crime. But my law enforcement colleagues and I wish that no one were ever in a position to contemplate a criminal act. We know, and research shows, that the best way to prevent future crime is to give each youngster the personal and academic tools to succeed. That’s why so many law enforcement leaders support increased investments in quality early education and care programs.

The recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act increases funding for child care and development block grants by $2 billion nationally. Head Start and Early Head Start are increased by $2.1 billion. Millions of these dollars will soon come to Maine to benefit our most at-risk young children.

With more than 65 percent of Maine parents working, high quality care for infants and youngsters is a necessity. And, I can tell you all that high quality early care and education are among some of the most proven ways to give our kids the right start in life and keep them out of crime.

Maine is fortunate that Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree know and value the educational, social and economic benefits of investments in high quality early care and education. I thank them all for their understanding and support.

Mark Leonard

Veazie chief of police

president, Maine Chiefs of Police Association


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Rights stomped

How long are the people of northern Maine going to allow their elected officials to stomp on our rights and prevent any meaningful growth in our communities? By allowing the vote on school administrative units to go forward with the threat of punishment if the desired outcome isn’t achieved is a violation of our rights. Now the government has taken the additional step of preventing any money from the stimulus package from getting to northern Maine.

When I was stationed in the Philippines during the 1970s, Ferdinand Marcos handled his problems much in the same way Maine government does by imposing threats and hardship on those who do not conform.

David Robinson


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No trust in Obama

Obama campaigned repeatedly against earmarks, the spending attachments to bills that have little or nothing to do with the bill itself. Now he says that they be limited to 9,000. Do you feel the arrogance, the blatant dismissal of his promise in that? Is that how you behave? Do you promise friends that you will do something and later tell them that you will do just the opposite? Did you notice that Obama didn’t stand up and apologize to his supporters for his reversal?

Are things getting better for you? Is your job more secure, your home worth more, your savings increasing? Do you trust his promise that things will get better as much as you trusted his promise to eliminate earmarks?

I never trusted him from the time he said that Pastor Wright was his friend and later denounced him I knew he was a phony.

David Huck


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Excise tax hurts salese

We’ve been reading in the paper and watching on the television how all the automobile manufacturers in this country are hurting because people are not purchasing cars at this time. I’ve even seen advertisements aimed at the consumer to try to talk us into going into debt to buy a new vehicle.

Here in Maine many people, who are perhaps thinking of getting that new car or truck, just can’t seem to afford the $800 to $1000 (or in some cases even more) excise tax and fees that we are forced to pay to put that car on the road. To make matters worse, our state government gives the new car buyer only 14 days or less to come up with that extra $1,000.

Still worse is the fact that no matter how good of a deal you get when buying a new vehicle you still will pay the tax on the MSRP. You are literally taxed on money you never paid.

If this state really wants to help the hundreds of car dealerships here to get back on their feet again they will do away with this unfair and archaic system of taxing its residents. Perhaps then more people can afford a new vehicle.

Gary Parente


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History lesson

A recent letter to the editor said that history teachers would be proud of the three Republican senators who voted for the stimulus bill. As a student majoring in history at the University of Maine and planning on being a history teacher, I felt obligated to respond.

The letter writer was right in saying “If we don’t learn from the lessons of history, they will be repeated until we do.” However, one’s history has to be correctly understood before this can be the case. It is known among historians that the New Deal was not the true antidote for the Great Depression. In fact, economists and histo-rians widely agree that the New Deal actually prolonged the Depression. What really brought the United States out of the Depression was foreign trade and the traditional American belief in the free market.

With foreign wars in Europe, America was able to sell military technologies overseas. The emergence of Hollywood and the automotive industry were also vital. Basically, America could provide the world with goods and services that no other country could at that time. I would encourage everyone to pick up some of the litera-ture around this topic. Just two examples are “New Deal or Raw Deal?” by Burton Folsom or “FDR’s Folly: How Roosevelt And His New Deal Prolonged The Great Depression” by Jim Powell. This future history teacher is certainly not proud of anyone who voted for this stimulus bill.

Aaron Santerre


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Change the motto

A state’s motto seems a small thing to change. In these times Dirigo, Latin for “I lead,” has the ring of craziness about it. It signifies a conflation of the needs and desires of a singular political entity with those of the people who live within the geographic boundaries of that entity. It carries the high pong of superannuated hyper-individualism, not working toward the common good.

Let’s change the pronoun from “I” to “we,” from singular to plural. From Dirigo to Dirigamus. Democracy grows from the roots up. It is dismembered from the crown down.

If we ever are to reach the democracy we long for, the one our founders envisioned, we who wholeheartedly side with the better angels of our nature evoked by President Obama ought to be known within and by the state of Maine as “We, the leaders.”

Judith Lawson


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