March 10 Letters to the Editor

Posted March 09, 2009, at 6:45 p.m.

Maine’s polite ways

Maine has been plagued by “out-of-staters” coming here trying to change us since as long as I can remember. Susan Cosgrove has publicly demonstrated this bad habit in a recent letter to the editor.

Merging also is a pet peeve of mine. She correctly quotes the excellent advice from the state’s handbook but failed to recognize its intent: “look for a gap then speed up to get into formation.” The trouble is, there still remains a yield sign on all ramps. That means that you can’t bully yourself into the traffic.

Too many people expect the traffic to move over, slow down or speed up to let the ramp traffic merge. Mainers are polite people and will usually help the merging traffic, but please do not come to our state and take advantage of our moderate ways and politeness. Sometimes you have to stop on a ramp because merging is not possible at the moment.

As a truck driver, I’ve witnessed on too many occasions people coming off the ramp hardly looking and totally expecting someone to move. Don’t be so arrogant to expect this; sometimes it is impossible to move over if there is already traffic on the left.

Bill Philbrook

Appleton

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Support charter schools

I am writing to correct a statement made in the Feb. 26 BDN editorial, “Reckoning and Responsibility,” which comments on Gov. Jindal’s response to Obama’s speech: “Unfortunately, he quickly turned to the well-worn Republican play book to suggest tax cuts, charter schools and defense spending as an alternative.”Public charter schools are not a Republican Party initiative. The charter school movement has been created by educators and citizens of all persuasions to reach children not thriving in the existing system. The public charter school federal grant program, currently going strong in 40 states, was created during the Clinton administration. President Obama has repeatedly shown strong support for public charter schools.

Support is growing for the public charter school movement in Maine. Let’s not undermine this effort by lumping it together with tax cuts and defense spending.

Mary Thibodeau Gagnon

Mariaville

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Thanks, Big Brother

It’s interesting how the poor are being looked after nowadays. President Obama claims to be intent on making sure the working poor are paying little or no taxes. The dirty little secret that Washington doesn’t like to discuss is that the poor pay plenty. With the new tobacco tax, smokers who had found financial relief from cigarette taxes will be running over one another at the local smoke shop on March 31, as though they were shoppers at Filene’s basement.

What this does is make poor people poorer. I can guarantee that the people who quit will be minimal. What this tax really appears to be is a tax preying on what is primarily a lower income addiction.

Society doesn’t seem to have any qualms about making smokers feel like pariahs, constantly berating them and telling them that they are weak and even if they stand alone in the middle of a field on a windy day they are still to close to them. And yet do we ever hear any talk of banning cigarettes? No, and as long as smokers continue to foot a pretty substantial bill (more than $28 billion nationwide last year) we won’t.

Thanks, Big Brother, I’m so glad you’re looking out for me.

Gregory Bouchard

Bangor

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Help wanted sometimes

While driving to work through Ellsworth Falls recently, I read a sign that says “Small Businesses — We Need To Work Together.” I have noticed this sign goes up in the late fall and is removed in the spring, just before this business fills its summer positions with foreign help. Let’s work together during the hard times but when the easier times arrive, let’s not employ locals but hire foreigners?

With the unemployment rate at 7.3 percent in Maine and with my own husband a part of that percentage, I find it hard to support such a two-faced operation. Unfortunately, this seems to be the trend in this type of business more and more. And that makes it sad, very sad.

Cindy Bailey

Southwest Harbor

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Obscene stimulus

The tree of the obscene federal stimulus, nourished in part by the defection of our lady senators, is already bearing fruit. However, it has a distinct porcine flavor, seasoned with a hint of patronage. Our own Ms. Collins has encouraged federal auditors to hire more government workers quickly, even on a temporary basis, to oversee the effective and efficient use of funds.

Gov. Baldacci is adding to the employment rolls by hiring a few more state employees to make sure our tax dollars are not ill-used. He will also put some Web page designers to work so that we residents can track where and how our money is being spent. I guess this will supplement the president’s Web site which supposedly serves the same purpose.

Not to be outdone, the 1st District Representative has hired her predecessor’s chief of staff to become her “recovery czar” to ensure that helpless businessmen and individuals in the southern socialist republic have access to available booty. Meanwhile back in the private sector …

Ron Goldstone

Dexter

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Make cars affordable

When I finished the article about poor auto sales in February, several thoughts ran through my head as I tried to understand the statements by industry executives and study groups.

Through all this talk of borrowing large sums of money from me there has been no mention of the price of the vehicles, which is simply outrageous; that the buying price after the discount from the bizarre sticker price is still simply a crazy sum of money; that there is no value in a $40,000 or $50,000 Chevrolet (I am not picking on GM here — the big three, four or five are all the same) — which is only going to last five or six years, dollar-wise; that dealers still practice the same old selling tactics because they are stuck with the failed gimmicks of the respective manufacturers and because they have a business lifestyle which needs if not high margins high dollars between those margins.

But I’m not going to write about those and many more inconsistencies from the mouths of the automobile industry. Instead I will continue to read the BDN looking for changes in that business which will make cars affordable again.

Tom Flacke

Morrill

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