A troubling road
We Americans like to think of ourselves as being smart and having the brains to deal effectively with difficult problems. Unfortunately, there is much evidence lately indicating we may not qualify as a smart society.
Example number one is Afghanistan. We are told by our leaders that operations in that far-off place are vital to our national interest. Yet these same leaders cannot, in any meaningful way, make a clear, logical connection between this “war” and our security or much else. Eight years ago the mission was valid. Today, after all this time, the fighting still continues and intensifies. That our entanglement is evermore binding is evidenced by our latest move, in which we provide Afghanistan with its very own air force. Will the next step be to give them a navy, too?
Example number two is health care. As we have had drilled into us for months now, we consume about 17 percent of our GNP for health care, yet many of our citizens still come up short. How can it be, that we the (smart) people, could spend so many billions of dollars on a system so very seriously flawed that it may or may not be fixable? One side to the question says we cannot afford to fix it. The other side says we can’t afford not to fix it.
The sad conclusion must be that as a nation we seem to be traveling a winding road, moving along, but unable to steer.
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Empty and full
Surely my friend, Bangor City Council Chairman Gerry Palmer, did not mean to say what appeared in Saturday’s Bangor Daily News article regarding vacant retail and office space in the city. He was quoted as saying, “but taxes get paid whether [buildings] are full or empty.” This reflects a lack of understanding of and short-sighted approach to the local economy.
Empty buildings generate significantly fewer tax dollars, increased vandalism and an impression that things are going poorly, which in turn, discourages further development, and thus, more tax dollars.
Hopefully, our city leaders are concerned about more than just the tax revenue generated by a building, empty or full, and stand with all of us in hoping that everyone has 100 percent occupancy, which encourages people to invest further in Bangor.
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No government plan
I got home from work the other day, and my wife told me my dear friend Charlotte had a letter in the paper about the health care debate. I have health care insurance from my employer and the cost is around $600 a month. He has told me I will probably lose it and would be a part of the Obama plan. The reasons he explained were decisions based on what would be best for his business; that simple. This is not big business; this is a small business. Are the employees at big oil or big insurance losing their quality health insurance to a health insurance run by the government that cannot run a cafeteria, the postal service, Medicaid or Social Security without running it into the abyss of unsustainability?
I believe we can agree there is a problem with funding heath care.
But how to go about finding the right solution is not by following your party blindly like sheep and calling people who are debating the issue un-American or any of the other descriptive character representations I have heard such as the party of “no,” sheep, and now the most hurtful one, a heckler.
I am not any of the above. I am a father trying to provide for my family good affordable health insurance, and I do not need it from a government that in my opinion clearly does not have my and many American families’ best interest at heart.
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Arena, festival synergy
Maybe Bangor cannot afford a new arena the size an aspiring city out to become a desirable destination needs. Maybe the whole region cannot afford not to build big by digging deep now.
A new 5,000-seat arena might prove to be very self-limiting. Maybe the new complex could be so big and so close to Main Street that maybe we could re-name it the Bangor International Folk Festival and could readily move indoors during bad weather. If we in Bangor and the surrounding communities continue trying to forget that August has always been hurricane season, we will be repeatedly reminded, and we can forget about sustaining our beloved festival.
If we do not act to create positive growth in our city (where we personally work, play and pay property tax), we are not likely to luck into it much further. The old auditorium sorely needs replacing, and the folk festival needs a better back-up plan. We could combine our solutions by figuring in the potential cost of losing the folk festival with all of its momentum into the new arena equation. A growing global event with a good time guaranteed rain-or-shine could help fund the cost of building and maintaining a more in-scale facility while fueling the tanks of our local economic engine for years to come.
We could be opening the doors to a super cool jazz fest in January or all the fanfare of the world’s largest fly-tying symposium in February, etc.
David and Theresa Weigel
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