Tuesday, Sept. 22 Letters to the Editor

Posted Sept. 21, 2009, at 5:39 p.m.

Live and let live

I have read with deep concern the letters that appear regularly on the subject of same-sex marriage. My opinion is that same-sex couples should not own the title “marriage.” That state is a holy sacrament of the church and should only be conferred on a man and woman.

That said, I have no hatred for those who believe differently. I am not forcing them to give up anything except the title marriage.

They say that they want the legal rights of marriage; under legal or civil union, they should have that.

What does concern and cause me deep sadness is the divide this controversy is causing between good people. I see anger and hurt on the faces of those I love and it hurts me so much.

One thing I have learned in life is that I cannot have all the things I want. It seems to me there are many in this time and age that must learn this lesson.

Larissa Bilodeau

Waldoboro

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Protect mental health

Tough budget decisions have been challenging Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services. Throughout the past several years of curtailments, Maine’s community behavioral health providers have advocated for protecting services for clients while working with the Legislature and DHHS to meet important budget initiatives. Devastating cuts have closed programs and caused dedicated employees to be laid off, as a result.

Commissioner Brenda Harvey’s presentation to the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee on Sept. 2 reinforced our concern for protecting vital services for those with mental illness and behavioral health or addiction disorders. Commissioner Harvey pointed out how additional cuts in the DHHS budget will undoubtedly cause further elimination of important programs.

Consequently, even as budget reductions are affecting community behavioral health programs, the costs of the cuts are shifted to corrections, hospital emergency departments and homeless shelters, all of which are stressed. These alternatives are not satisfactory because they cannot replace the quality care provided by community behavioral health care programs.

During these difficult financial times, Maine’s community behavioral health providers support collaboration with our health care colleagues to recommend system redesigns, both with DHHS itself and the contracted provider community. No one program can possibly absorb the state’s deficit, but programs supporting the mentally ill, behavioral health and addiction disorders must be protected while the efficiencies required to meet budget targets are implemented.

Juliana L’Heureux

executive director

Maine Association of Mental Health Services

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Congressional challenge

The members of Congress have excellent health care insurance which is paid for by the American taxpayers, many of whom have inadequate or no health insurance. It is a matter of justice and fairness that the members of Congress rectify this situation.

I challenge those congressional members who oppose a public option, especially Sen. Snowe, to describe for the public in clear, concrete terms their plan for providing immediate relief to all under and noninsured Americans.

Susan Davis

Bucksport

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Do the right thing

I am hoping Milbridge voters will attend a special town meeting scheduled for Sept. 28 and vote to rescind the building moratorium that was adopted on June 16.

The idea for the moratorium came after an informational meeting held to discuss the Mano en Mano project on April 8. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, it was obvious to many that there was a little racial profiling going on in comments made by some opposing the project. A tone of discrimination was also detected in a petition opposing the project circulated during the summer of 2008.

The obvious reactive moratorium that followed, disguised as a sudden need to revise the town’s building codes and regulations, was quite transparent in its intention given the fact that the town knew the project was in the pipeline for over a year.

It was unfortunate no town official informed the public before the moratorium vote of the potential consequences of passing said moratorium and we are now facing those consequences.

After sitting on it all summer and with a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 2, our two attorneys finally impressed upon the town the need to act on a citizens’ petition to rescind the moratorium and that’s what I hope we do on Sept. 28 because it’s the right thing to do.

Patricia Pellegrini

Milbridge

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Tort reform not needed

A study by the Public Citizen found that medical malpractice payments were at or near record lows in 2008 because a lower percentage of injured people were receiving compensation, not that health safety was getting better. They also say that no matter how you look at it, medical liability accounts for less than 1 percent of the total cost of our country’s health care costs and the vast majority of victims receive no compensation what so ever.

More than 80 percent of the medical malpractice money paid out in 2008 was for cases involving “significant permanent injuries,” injuries resulting in quadriplegia, “major permanent injuries,” brain damage or the need for permanent care and death. Studies also show that several times as many patients suffer avoidable injuries as those that sue.

The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, learned about 116 occasions in which surgeons operated on the wrong part of the patient’s body in 2008 and 71 times foreign objects were left inside patients. Things like this should never happen.

I would like to ask any of our Republican representatives to tell me why they are so obsessed with something that is less than 1 percent of health care costs instead of looking at the other 99 percent. I also would like them to explain how they think putting pre-set caps on malpractice litigation is good for somebody who has suffered life-altering or life-ending injuries because of a mistake that never should have happened.

Mike Avery Sr.

Milford

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Quota crazy

Congratulations to Bangor Police Chief Ron Gastia on his parking ticket quota. What a wonderfully pro-business idea. Also, how helpful to Wal-Mart to have Sgt. Bob Bishop checking for parking violations in its parking lot.

I live in Newport, and will take my business to Waterville in the future.

Don’t want to be ticketed by an overzealous officer trying to fill his quota.

David R. Patterson

Newport

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