Victory for access
Free and unfettered access to public information will forever remain integral to the weft and warp of the fabric of our society. The importance of such access can’t be overstated, particularly in the area of land records where the vitality of an economy, industry and even ancestry are so clearly documented in terms of both time and space.
The recent landmark decision by the Hancock County commissioners to remove all fees for copies of records from its Web site (hancockcountydeeds.com) sets the tone of the discussion that is sure to follow for the other 15 counties in Maine; that this is the public’s information and not a commodity to be mongered at the public’s further expense.
As a daily user of this public information and on behalf of all the clients that we serve, I wish to express my gratitude and praise to Commissioners Fay Lawson, Joe Brown and Steve Joy for their decision to make copies available free to the public from the Hancock County Registry of Deeds Web site. I also wish to express my sincere thanks to the Registrar of Deeds Julie Curtis and to her entire staff for a job well done in leading Hancock County and Maine toward better stewardship of our public land records and away from the hands of the hucksters and profiteers.
V. Kelly Bellis, PLS
Horizon Surveying Co., Inc
Moved by film
I was lucky enough to catch the movie “The Way We Get By” on MPBN this past week. I was moved by this film. How lucky are we to have folks like this associated with our great state?
I remember them personally when I flew overseas and again when I returned. I can only hope that I may have the chance in my life to do for someone else what these amazing people have done for so many. It was saddening to see how much they were struggling in their own lives, yet put it all aside to shake the hands and pat the backs of our men and women in uniform.
I hope my generation can carry on their values and respect. God bless them for their fine work.
Power to the people
Don’t be too quick to canonize Sen. Snowe or her acolyte Collins. You might first take a good look at their lists of campaign donors. Both of these paragons of altruism count the health care industry as big-money friends. It’s no wonder Snowe says no to a public option. After all, can you waste a million dollar check? Collins does OK, too. Last election, Big Pharma gave her $120,000 to make sure the money tree doesn’t get cut down.
Let’s face it, the corporations are in charge, and you and I are the cash cows. It’s truly amazing how easily duped the American public can be.
Reagan ushered in an era of cutting regulations and opening the wallets of Americans to big business while making sure we had no protection. The Republicans passed laws that made it simple to pay no corporate taxes, then gave tax cuts to these same corporations for moving American jobs to Third World countries.
Now these folks feign rage that President Obama has trouble producing jobs.
We must have a public option for health care. Also, we must spend the next seven years undoing the terrible damage done to us as a nation.
Now we need to have the power, not the corporations.
James I. Scroggy
I had to laugh at the statement by Maine DHHS Commis-sioner [Brenda] Harvey that “providers won’t get paid” if they don’t enroll in the new electronic billing-payment system. They’re not getting paid now.
DHHS owes hospitals and providers millions of dollars from claims submitted as long as two years ago. And she wonders why people are slow to join. Not to mention MaineCare’s renowned inefficiency.
It’s a classic case of the government saying, “Trust me, things will be better.”
Michael Socolow’s OpEd, “Agnew speeches sparked move toward soft news” (BDN, Nov. 13), offers an interesting, possible link between the current state of journalism and Agnew’s criticisms of the press. But he does not necessarily discuss all of Agnew’s motivations. Since Agnew, a Republican, was vice-president so long ago, for your younger readers here is some factual history to place his attacks in further perspective.
Agnew’s attacks on the media in 1969 were likely politically motivated by the Vietnam War. That war was not going well. Agnew served as President Nixon’s hatchet man, much like Cheney for G.W. Bush in Iraq. Covert bombings by the U.S. were under way in Cambodia. The political establishment in Washington, both Republican and Democrat, was not being straight with the American public about that war. More was to come, including the release of the Pentagon Papers, the shootings at Kent State, and Nixon’s subversion of the U.S. Constitution known as Watergate. Of course Agnew and Nixon wanted a soft press.
Agnew resigned as vice president of the United States in 1973 following charges of extortion, tax fraud and bribery. Nixon resigned a year later.
BDN backs wrong fix
The opening salvo in the second phase of the tax reform battle was fired by the Bangor Daily News in its Nov. 14-15 editorial. An editorial used to be a carefully thought out and researched opinion. Apparently this is no longer the case with the BDN.
With this editorial, the BDN ignores any information contrary to its agenda. Even the tiniest amount of research would have brought the fantastic claims of this tax reform scheme in doubt. Instead, the BDN apparently chose to parrot the Democratic leadership’s talking points and ignore the research done by nonpartisan experts, which clearly show one thing — this tax “reform” is about little more than new and steadier revenue to Augusta.
The editorial claims that Republicans “misunderstand” tax reform and are politically motivated. I wonder how much time the BDN has spent crunching the numbers to understand the truth. And yes, if being against higher taxes for working Mainers is being politically motivated, then you can label us as such. And don’t forget to label the Greens, unenrolled and many Democrats that want to kill this unfair and regressive tax expansion as politically motivated, too.
The BDN is on the wrong side of this issue. The paper also supported other grand Augusta disappointments like Dirigo and LD 1. Need I say more?