May 13, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Posted May 12, 2009, at 7:52 p.m.

Listen to the GOP

Cheryl Lovely’s letter to the editor, “GOP’s same old ideas” (BDN, May 7), illustrates a lack of understanding as to how our economy and our government interact.

Tax dollars stem from the private sector. In the private sector, should expenses exceed revenue, a business fails. Should revenue exceed expenses, the business has an opportunity to succeed.

However, there are no guarantees. And to survive, tough decisions often have to be made. Workers and owners alike are not entitled to benefits on the backs of a business. Those that have benefits at no cost have a luxury and that luxury comes from a business being able to afford to do so — not because they have to.

Asking state workers to pay a small percentage of insurance is not a stretch. It’s a necessity. I understand their discontent, but zero contribution is a luxury. For most working Mainers, paying only fifteen percent would be considered a luxury.

Maine’s government has grown to such a tremendous size that it’s hard to tell anymore where the luxury ends and entitlements begin. And it’s this growing sense of entitlement and shrinking sense of responsibility that’s destroying our state. And if you look, it’s not the GOP that’s doing it.

Next time, before pointing your finger, Ms. Lovely, take a look at who is really making the decisions, crafting policy and charting the course. We’d be better served by listening to GOP ideas than making excuses for the current lack of responsibility and sound judgment.

Cary Weston

Bangor

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Milbridge housing

I am saddened and discouraged by the response of Milbridge town leaders to the proposed development of affordable housing for local families. The moratorium written to stop the housing project states this proposal poses a “threat to public safety and well-being.” I ask readers to consider how the creation of safe, affordable living spaces for working families can ever create a threat to public safety or public health. If anything, it has been well documented throughout history that the lack of safe and affordable housing is linked to health and safety concerns in communities worldwide.

People who are familiar with the work of Mano en Mano know that it is our stated mission to help create a community where all people feel safe and healthy. For over seven years we have contributed to the community of Milbridge by offering classes in English and Spanish, community potlucks designed to bring people together, women’s health workshops, an after-school program to assist children with limited English skills, and an annual celebration for Mother’s Day. The housing project is an extension of this work and is intended to meet an expressed need within our community.

I sincerely hope Milbridge residents will recognize that the opportunities presented by this project are far greater than the threats and will come out and vote against the moratorium on May 14.

Chloe Dowley

Machias

Chloe Dowley

Machias

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Target legislators

The Maine Family Policy Council, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and the Maine Jeremiah Project effort to repeal the gay marriage bill is wasteful of time, energy and resources. It will merely give proponents of the measure, under the rubric of “equal rights,” an opportunity to create Californian-style disharmony and conflict within the body politic.

In the long run, after such trial and tribulation, attempts to nullify a democratically enacted measure will fail. The groups should recognize that acceptance of same-sex marriage is gaining momentum in this country. Resistance is futile.

A more effective and peaceful method to voice opposition is to identify those legislators who approved the measure and target them for defeat in the next general election. Perhaps if they are replaced, the law can be repealed in the same manner it was enacted. Gays could always relocate to nearby New Hampshire where they would enjoy marital bliss in a more friendly environment.

Ron Goldstone

Dexter

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Dam the St. John?

As Maine increases its commitment to wind energy, the experience of Denmark may be a useful model. Nearly all of Denmark’s wind power is exported to its nearby neighbors. The nameplate capacity of Denmark’s wind system is 3.1 gigawatts. This is the equivalent of three large nuclear plants. Nearby Norway has 27 gigawatts of hydro with large reservoirs of storage. Along with its Norway electrical connection, Denmark is also tied to Sweden and Germany. As the willy-nilly wind supplies energy to the grid, Denmark’s neighbors pump in stabilizing hydro energy.

When the bookkeeping is done, Norway collects more for the hydro energy it supplies to Denmark than Denmark charges Norway for its wind contribution.

If Maine is to be serious about wind energy, it must have Churchill Falls or Hydro Quebec standing in the wings to stabilize the grid with reliable power. If we are really dedicated to “Maine-made” renewable energy, we could construct a dam on the St. John just below the confluence with the Allagash. This would create a multi-hundred-thousand acre lake in northern Maine with hydro potential to “firm” the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t wind energy.

Given this choice, Maine folks will opt for Canadian hydro.

James Schlesinger and Robert L. Hirsch were correct in the April 2 BDN piece — fossil fuel back-up for wind energy is a bad idea.

Richard C. Hill

Old Town

• • •

Time for single-payer

I’ve been watching people and employers pay enormous amounts in premiums to for-profit insurance companies and HMOs, much of which goes to “overhead” (profit, advertising, lobbying, campaigning) rather than to health care. I know people who cannot afford health insurance worry about high medical bills with ever more exotic and redundant and overprescribed pharmaceuticals and technological procedures. Yet we don’t have enough simple regional clinics and primary care people to care for us, teach us and help us stay healthy. The uninsured get socked with especially high fees, because they have no bargaining power, and there is minimal cost containment effort, except by excluding people.

Not being able to count on medical treatment is scary for everybody, even more so in an economic downturn. It makes it hard to leave bad jobs, to start businesses and create jobs, and insuring employees is a huge drag on businesses that do. A large proportion of personal bankruptcies are brought on by medical costs, and U.S. companies are challenged and brought down by health insurance costs. We are impoverished as a country by this condition.

Our new administration could achieve broader but piecemeal coverage for people currently being left out with insurance companies still being involved and taking the cream off the top. Tell our delegation to support single-payer universal health care, as in HR 676 (see www.pnhp.org), and show political support at the May 30 Augusta rally. (See midcoasthealthcarereform.org).

Beedy Parker

Camden

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