Sept. 21 Letters to the Editor

Posted Sept. 20, 2009, at 6:28 p.m.

Peace dividend

Saw those four contrails in the clear blue sky over Lubec yesterday. I said to myself, “That one could pave every road in Washington County. That one could re-open Health Ways. That one could make sure our little school stays open. That one could fund our library for the next five years.”

And so it goes. Forty cents of every taxpayer dollar goes to the military. We’re still spending between $10 and $12 billion dollars in Iraq every month and uncounted billions in Afghanistan. And young Mainers are dying in those distant lands to satisfy the egos of politicians who refuse to give health care to the very taxpayers who pay for their salaries and health insurance.

So I stand in silent protest every Saturday morning on the triangle in Lubec from 11 a.m. to noon, just one humble citizen who says, “No. Not in my name. Bring them home. Feed the hungry. Give us jobs. Give us health care. Rebuild America. And let us have peace on earth.”

Join me. Together we can make the politicians listen.

Dick Hoyt

Lubec

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Pre-existing welfare

Perhaps something has gone missing in the translation from government-speak to standard English.

Obama’s plan for mandatory insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions would seem to open up a vast new field of opportunity for those in desperate need of being reimbursed for their [other] expenses. If medical insurance [is allowed] for pre-existing conditions, why not car, home or even life insurance?

Consider: My car was smashed yesterday. Give me collision insurance now and I’ll submit my claim. And my cabin burned down last month. I need fire insurance and I’ll submit my claim. Oh, and I died last year and my heirs want some life insurance for me so they can at least cover the burial costs.

The whole point of insurance is to plan ahead for unforeseen future expenses. Covering pre-existing conditions is welfare, not insurance. And just think of the premiums the rest of us will henceforth be charged to cover these welfare costs!

Everett Ellis Briggs

Topsfield

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Wilson had a point

President Obama made it clear: no taxpayer funded health care for illegal immigrants. And a Rasmussen poll found that 80 percent of Americans are opposed to providing health care benefits to illegal immigrants. The people and the president are in agreement.

The problem is that H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Healthcare Choices Act of 2009,” the bill being debated in the House, has no verification system. Although Section 242 prohibits “undocumented aliens” from receiving health care, it has no method for enforcement. Nearly all government welfare and public programs today require agencies to use Systematic Alienage Verification for Entitlements, which is a system to verify an applicant’s legal status.

Republicans introduced legislation twice to include a verification system in the health care bill, and both times it was voted down along party lines. See Factcheck.org.

So congressman Joe Wilson raised a legitimate point. If Obama is serious about no health care for illegal immigrants, then he needs to require Democratic leadership to include a verification system in the bill. And that means the Dems will have to face down powerful lobbies in their own party: cheap labor business, immigration lawyers and ethnic lobbies.

The old “wink and nod” immigration policy won’t be dismantled easily.

Jonette Christian

Holden

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Voluntary cooperation

The editorial “Consolidation Transition” (BDN, Sept. 9) made some good points about the state’s consolidation policies for school districts, but a broader view of the subject is needed.

Savings from administrative consolidation may be important in some of the state’s 26 new regional districts, but this is only a small part of the overall issues raised by towns and cities joining with neighboring communities.

Administrative expenses account for only 5 percent of school budgets.

The remaining 95 percent covers teaching and support staff, special education programs and such services as collective bargaining, transportation, cafeterias, purchasing and payroll. These budget items are much more likely to yield substantial savings over time through cooperative efforts.

Even more important, reorganized districts are in a strong position to improve education, since they can offer more advanced placement courses, stronger vocational-technical programs and improve their staff development efforts.

School districts that have not yet decided to consolidate or are still discussing the matter with their neighbors also have a new tool to improve educational quality and increase efficiency. Forming voluntary cooperatives can be a valuable interim or long-term step for schools. Such agreements were authorized under LD 1049, now Public Law Chapter 154, which was passed unanimously by the House and Senate in May.

As schools contend with decreased funding and increased demands for services, we believe that both consolidation and voluntary cooperation will have important roles to play in achieving educational excellence and providing savings for taxpayers.

Dean Crocker, President

Maine Children’s Alliance

Augusta

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Phantom tea party?

On Monday morning, Sept. 14, I rushed to get my BDN and couldn’t wait to see the pictures of the National Tea Party that was held this past weekend in Washington, D.C. It wasn’t there. What happened?

Thousands of ordinary, hard-working people just like you and me were marching to let their senators and congressmen know their views on taxation and sensible health care. They were peaceful and traveled miles to be part of this wonderful display.

Please, BDN, won’t you be the first in the nation who will give peaceful and hardworking men and women the dignity of front-page coverage. Lighthouse could have waited until Tuesday. What happened?

Marion Bailey

Bangor

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Policy, not racism

According to former President Carter, the reason I oppose the policies of President Obama is that I’m a racist. Huh. I didn’t know that about myself.

So the reason I opposed the policies of former President Clinton was …?

Diane Oliver Pushard

Dedham

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