Oct. 17 Letters to the Editor

Posted Oct. 16, 2009, at 8:30 p.m.

Consolidation gets F

As a principal in Maine, I have become familiar with standards-based education and know all too well what it means for a group of students to not meet, partially meet, meet or exceed a standard. As part of the state budget signed in 2007, a new standard was created mandating that the number of school administrative units be reduced from 290 to 80. Maine’s DOE was given the task of “meeting” the standard by July 1, 2009. It’s time to see if, in fact, the standard has been met.

On June 21, there were 217 SAUs. If the standard was set at 80, there should have been a reduction of 210 units. The number reduced was 73 or a 34.76 percent success rate, which does not meet the standard.

One could look at the standard in terms of municipal vote, where 171 municipalities voted in favor of consolidation and 215 municipalities voted against. That’s a 44 percent success rate, which does not meet the standard.

Perhaps the best way to judge success is by looking at the number of students. First 57 percent of students were exempt from the process since their unit was already large enough. A little over 54,000 students have entered a consolidated unit or a 27.4 percent success rate, which does not meet the standard.

So what can we conclude? Are grades of 35, 44 or 27 acceptable? This standard is unobtainable and must be removed. Vote yes on Question 3.

Tony Maker

Machiasport

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Plate personalities

In case someone has forgotten, there was a great deal of work done on the roads and highways this summer. It was something long overdue and despite some minor inconveniences, the process went smoothly.

On many of the multilane highways, the orange signs would signal a lane closing within a short distance and request that traffic move into the open lane. Drivers would make the shift in an effort to limit unwanted traffic delays. Warnings appeared about every half-mile until the large yellow arrow heralded the last chance. However, even with the arrow well within view, drivers would speed in the now empty lane and cut in at the last possible minute.

I recently returned to central Maine from a trip south and came upon several areas of construction and as most followed the directions, I was amazed at the number of cars that raced past until the last minute to make the lane change often within feet of the yellow arrow. I decided to do an unscientific and independent study with a small sampling. I emphasize it was a very small sample.

The results were as follows: Forty-five percent of the cars had New York license plates. Thirty percent had New Hampshire plates. Twenty percent had Massachusetts plates and 5 percent were Maine plates. The Maine drivers were probably late to an appointment.

You may draw your own conclusions from the results. But as one who frequents the Maine highways, I am still glad the work was done.

Jan Laux

Pittsfield

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Evolution’s next step

As a lesbian whose biggest dream is to get married, I feel that everyone should have equal rights and be able to marry the person they love.

It makes no sense that two straight people have the right to be married, but not two gays or lesbians.

The slaves were freed, and segregation ended, plus, women won the right to vote, and I believe that same-sex rights should be the next step in our evolution. It has nothing to do with teaching it in schools, it’s about making lots of couples happy. Who are we to deny them that?

Bobbi Gatcomb

Bangor

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Backs public option

As a physician in practice for almost 50 years, a director of a division in a medical school, and one who worked both in the VA and naval medical facilities, it is my considered opinion that a single-payer system is optimal, and any system without a public option is essentially worthless. I feel so strongly about this that, as an independent voter, I am notifying both Maine senators and my representative in the House that I will not vote for their re-election unless they support a public option.

If other individuals from Maine believed the same regarding the present health bills and notified their senators and representatives of their views on this matter, perhaps they will respond to the wishes of the majority of the residents of Maine.

Arthur J. Weiss

Deer Isle

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Let love win

Just like most people, I get up every morning, get dressed, kiss my loved one, and leave for work. I come home, have supper, spend quality time with my partner, talk to my kids. Then I go to bed ready to do it all again tomorrow.

I am proud to be in a same-sex relationship that is supported by my family and friends. I want to be with my partner for the rest of my life. I would like to be able to care for her if she gets sick. She would like to be able to do the same for me. I want to marry her, just like many want to marry the ones they love.

There is nothing bad or wrong about what I feel for my partner. It is simply love between two people. I can appreciate that some may find same-sex relationships scary, or unnatural, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t very real for someone else. And it doesn’t mean it isn’t natural.

Being straight isn’t natural, it’s just more commonly talked about. But times are changing and people are now more aware and understanding of love and are able to speak about it more freely.

I want what so many have, the right to completely be a part of someone’s life and take care of her “till death do us part.” Let love win!

Please vote no on 1.

Diana Stowe

Milford

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Soda tax facts

This letter is in response to the BDN’s Oct. 2 editorial, “The Cost of a Soda,” supporting the proposed beverage tax. Your readers should know the facts about that tax.

Real world experience indicates that a beverage tax doesn’t make people healthier. West Virginia and Arkansas are the only two states with excise taxes on soda like the one being talked about at the federal level, yet, are among the 10 most obese states in the nation. Further, it’s pretty hard to single out soft drinks as a unique contributor to obesity when regular soft drink sales have declined 9.6 percent since 2000, yet adult and childhood obesity rates have been rising according to the Centers for Disease Control.

When it comes to weight management, there is absolutely nothing unique about the calories in beverages — or in any food or ingredient for that matter. It is simply a matter of balancing the calories we eat with the calories we burn. This is supported by a recent federally funded study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which reaffirmed the importance of calorie balance in both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.

There is no doubt that obesity is a serious and complex problem; but it requires thoughtful and comprehensive solutions. We can’t tax our way to better health — and we’re not going to solve the complexities of the health care system with a tax on sodas.

Russ Perry

Winterport

general manager,

Coca Cola Bangor

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