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June 6, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Stand for home rule

It is important for your readers to know that Renee Ordway’s column (“Brewer councilor’s comment questioned,” BDN, May 30) was written without any discussion with me and does not accurately reflect the true issues at hand. Renee’s article portrayed this resolution as a simple cost savings measure with the intention of creating an appointed committee of individuals charged to find annual savings of $1.5 million.

This resolution is not about saving money. Rather, it’s a measure to merge Bangor and Brewer into a single city. This is clearly seen in the original resolve’s stated goal of “personnel reductions … through attrition” or “affected positions … move to other vacant positions.”

It is my firm position that if we are to pursue this idea of city consolidation, we must first have the necessary and proper public debate. Frankly, it is either disingenuous or naive for Councilors Joe Ferris and Richard Stone to propose a joint resolution that leads to the eventual merger of our two communities as an “innocent cost savings measure.”

It is my position that our citizens are entitled to all the facts and an open and honest debate on the merits of a city merger resolution. If these councilors want to have this debate, then let’s have it. Until my constituents tell me that they want to abandon home rule for a consolidated local government, I will stand firmly against this resolve and all others that disguise their true intentions.

Manley G. Debeck, Jr.

Brewer City Councilor

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Charter change

We voted for President Obama by a wide margin. He campaigned for change. We voted for it.

When it comes to public charter schools, “Dirigo” is bitter and ironic. Maine isn’t even following. We are about to pass up the chance to be the 41st state to allow these tools for improving public education.

President Obama campaigned strongly for public charter schools. He and the research community found that these schools help ordinary families get schooling choices the rich get now, and they foster innovation in public schools.

Carrots shouldn’t be needed for such obvious reforms, but President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are offering them. There are grants for startup expenses of up to $450,000 over three years per charter school. Distribution of $4.3 billion in phase 2 stimulus grants — the Race to the Top money — will depend on how well states support and expand their public charter school programs.

By turning down voluntary public charter schools, the Legislature would be saying no to change. The vested interests of the status quo will have won again. In buckling to the forces of reaction, not only would the Legislature turn its back on huge federal grants at a time when state employees are forced to take pay cuts. They would be saying no to more public-school options for Maine’s children and the educators who want to provide them.

Bill Jones


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Trust but verify

As an examiner for the insurance industry, I learned that many insurance policy applicants routinely “misanswer” certain important questions. Denying a smoking history, inflating or deflating birth dates and denying traffic violations are common attempts by applicants to either feel good about themselves or to get lower premi-ums to pay.

The insurance industry has a time-honored, effective and easy method for these transgressions in honesty: “trust but verify.” A driver’s license number, body weight and height, and blood and urine samples all help an insurance company verify whether or not you smoke, live with smoke, how safe or dangerous you are on the road, and what medications you are or are not taking.

At a recent symposium for health care professionals on drug abuse, I learned some tests are so sensitive they can detect Friday alcohol consumption on Monday.

If Maine’s prescription narcotic abuse problem is truly the “epidemic” the BDN recently reported, the Mainecare department may want to consider simple body fluid analysis to verify narcotic use, misuse, diversion, etc. The money for testing should be quickly recouped with savings from reduced Mainecare prescription shop-ping — because word will get out that testing is being done, reduced narcotic-related accidents and crime — and reduced need for the seeming proliferation of methadone clinics.

I would welcome an opportunity to work with Mainecare in helping them verify that at least some of our tax money is more efficiently used for its intended health care good. Once the feds see the benefits and savings, they may want to tie school loans to this type of verifying.

Joseph Brito


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‘No’ on moratorium

Everyone is talking about the quaint little town of Town Hill. I was born and brought up in Bar Harbor and Town Hill and went to school there, as my children and their children did. My parents and my siblings lived in Town Hill.

I also loved Bar Harbor, which was a quaint little town at one time. Now it’s like something out of a horror story with all of the big hotels, motels, restaurants and gift shops, with more to come. Bar Harbor is not quaint anymore.

So why not let all the natives have what they want and put the Hannaford Store and Pharmacy in Town Hill, as it is difficult to get off the island in the summer? It is also difficult to find a parking space in Bar Harbor in the summer.

So a vote to have Hannaford in Town Hill would help the whole island. Please vote no on the moratorium.

Myrle Crockett

Bar Harbor

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Nonsensical gun laws

I wonder why so many editorial writers are so anti-gun and anti-NRA, BDN included. The May 27 editorial is an example of this. While it speaks for the Brady Campaign and the expired national ban on assault weapons, it does not, and probably cannot produce any evidence that the two have any effect in reducing or eliminat-ing crimes committed with guns.

The Brady campaign is primarily a “do nothing” outfit that has had no significant effect on anything related to crime and their rating of Maine at 12 out of 100 is totally meaningless. Any state that allows law abiding citizens to freely and legally possess firearms would receive such a rating. Columbine was a tragedy but to as-sume that background checks would have prevented the killers from obtaining weapons and committing such an act is totally ludicrous.

Many assume that the former ban on assault weapons produced great results. There was no significant reduction in crime during the time the ban was in effect and the weapons banned are not generally used in the commission of crimes. Most of the weapons banned were not assault weapons, but judged on the way they looked. Real assault weapons, which fire automatically, have been banned and/or severely regulated since the 1930s and further regulated since.

Many semi-automatic weapons, primarily hunting rifles, were included in the ban for no reason, also clips holding more than 10 bullets, but it takes approximately 2-3 seconds to change clips. Does that make sense? It appears we had people who didn’t know much about guns deciding what should be banned.

Tony Chiappone


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