Oct. 29, Letters to the Editor

Posted Oct. 29, 2009, at 12:09 a.m.

New recipe needed

On Nov. 3 Maine residents will be asked to vote on Question 3, the repeal of the school consolidation law. It should be repealed.

From the beginning this was a flawed proposal. Top-down mandates do not entice cooperation and a product developed under duress and threat of penalties cannot in all honesty produce the best results. In the case where voluntary consolidation took place with enough time and money savings have been reported.

As with a lot of recent legislation, unintended consequences have proved to be costly to Maine towns and its residents. For example, one Hancock County superintendent recently reported unfunded and unbudgeted costs of $26,000 for survey work. Just the cost of repainting school buses takes away funds that are better served elsewhere. Looming ahead are the costs of collective bargaining.

I liken the school consolidation law to a student who, when making a batch of cookies, added baking powder and baking soda in the wrong amounts. Not wanting to waste the flour, the student tried to scoop some baking powder out and add more baking soda. Logic tells you to try to save the ingredients, finish adding the rest of the ingredients and hope that the cookies come out right. Experience tells you (after eating soapy tasting cookies) to toss the flour and start over, getting all the measurements right. It is time to toss out the flour, cut our losses and get a new recipe.

Vote yes on question 3.

Rep. Brian Langley

Ellsworth

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Freedom from religion

I have been married 30 years to my husband and believe in the ideals of marriage. However, I don’t believe that because my wedding was blessed by a priest that everyone believes or should believe in any single religion.

Most Americans believe we have a gift in our country. We call it freedom of religion. My husband’s ancestors came to this country from Holland in the late 1600s and fought in every war from George Washington’s Revolution to Vietnam. My ancestors came to this country with their dreams of a future for their family and dreams of happiness.

We will be facing a vote that is central to our dreams of freedom in Maine for the ability for one person to marry another. It is my hope that most Mainers will vote no on Question 1, so that two people of the same sex could marry.

From what I have learned from the gay and lesbian people I have met, they knew they were different when they were children. I don’t believe this could be taught to people.

So how can we stand in the way of two loving people who care about each other so much that they are willing to be together for life? The world is hard enough; why should we stand in their way?

Catherine Drew Burdette

Mount Desert

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Man on fire in Belfast

My brother Mike Hurley is running for Belfast City Council. If you wondered why there are little flames over his name on his campaign signs, Mike and I had the following conversation a month ago:

“What do you hear about my candidacy, Dave?”

“Absolutely nothing,” I answered (I live in Swanville). “If you set yourself on fire and ran out of your house, people would be talking more about you.”

Mike believes he can contribute to Belfast in a way he was unable to as mayor. Some people faulted him for being an activist mayor while others lauded it. As a councilor he would have the one opportunity he lacked as a mayor — a vote.

As mayor he demonstrated he was both a visionary and adept at being practical. He realized as mayor his job was to serve all the people of Belfast. Bearfest? Mike Hurley. Street party that blew everyone out of the water? Mike Hurley.

Mike got an interesting call a few years back: George Mitchell on the phone asking him to run for the Legislature.

Mike is essentially a local guy who thinks big. He sees possibilities when other people miss them. There’s a saying that if you want to get something done find someone who’s already busy. When your house is on fire do you want to see the firefighters outside your house doing a lot of talking?

Mike Hurley, man on fire. Vote for him.

David Hurley

Swanville

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Seeking Brewer support

Having had the privilege and honor of serving the citizens of Brewer as your city councilor over the last 21 years, I look forward, with your support, to continuing with public service for another few years, at least.

My fellow councilor Gail Kelly has been a pleasure to work with. Gail has been very instrumental in helping Brewer to secure the millions of dollars that Uncle Sam has provided for the last several years.

Gail and I have worked continuously with our city staff in maintaining a stable tax rate, and yet maintain the critical services that our citizens should be entitled to. Brewer has not had a tax increase in the previous five years.

We are proud to be a part of Brewer’s past, and look forward to a bright future for our citizens. Your support at the polls is great appreciated.

Larry T. Doughty

Brewer

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No vote for couples

Those of us who attended the April 22 hearing at the Augusta Civic Center witnessed a memorable and historic event. The stories of same sex families that unfolded over the course of the day were often beautiful, often heart-breaking and always courageous.

This was indeed a unique opportunity to hear of many difficult life situations that could be easily and simply improved by voting no on Question 1. There is absolutely no good reason for a marginalized segment of the population to continue such unnecessary suffering.

A no vote will help many, hurt no one and can only make our society a better, more humane one. Conversely, a yes vote will help no one, hurt many and contribute nothing to the positive evolution of our culture.

At a traditional wedding the minister will often ask the community to verbally affirm its support of the participants. They need this support.

Marriage offers many challenges. Gay and lesbian couples and families face even greater challenges than the majority of us so it stands to reason that they need even greater community support. Let’s make sure they get it by reaffirming the legislative process and voting no on Question 1.

Joe Haroutunian

Steuben

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Support design review

It is possible to provide for economic well-being and quality of life.

We can welcome businesses that benefit our Mount Desert Island community and still protect the history and character of island villages.

Design review, now in place in Bar Harbor’s downtown business district, is much needed in the Business District on Route 102. Future land use plans for Town Hill call for major commercial growth on Route 102. Without design review in place, anything goes: the town has no power to negotiate how the design of large projects could be modified to prevent harm to the value of existing homes and businesses while preserving the character of Town Hill village.

A yes vote to extend design review to the Route 102 Business District is good for business, protects property values and will help preserve the special quality of island life.

Christie Emigh

Town Hill

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Election notice

The Bangor Daily News has stopped accepting election-related letters and commentary. The newspaper will continue to publish such letters and commentary ending with the Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1 issue. Not all submissions can be published.

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