Child, not inmate
Although I do not believe that what happened to Mr. Sheldon Weinstein, the convicted sex offender at the Warren Correctional facility, is OK, I do believe that the comment from his lawyer, Mr. Scott Gardner, was absolutely obscene. (“Prison guard fired after inmate death,” BDN, Nov. 10).
Gardner is quoted as saying, “Can you imagine anybody more vulnerable than a 64-year-old man in a wheelchair?” As a matter of fact I can. How about the child he molested? If this man’s estate receives any money for his untimely death, I hope this child’s parents get it, so that this child can get the counseling he or she will need to learn how to live with what this monster did.
I am puzzled. The BDN’s front page focus story (Nov. 21-22) is headlined, “Homeless in Bangor — Overflowing shelters, spilling out into the street, under bridges or in the woods, their numbers are growing.”
But on the front of the B section is a story headlined: “Animal shelter starts expansion; Hancock County’s SPCA to make more room for cats, dogs.”
Something isn’t right here. Maybe the dogs will share their space with Jane and Norman, the homeless pair pictured on the front page.
Dawg days of fall
I have enjoyed Kent Ward’s column for a long time. In fact, along with my coffee it is a part of my Saturday morning ritual.
But Saturday’s offering (Nov. 21-22) was one of his best.
Quotes by Van Dyke and Frost notwithstanding, the whole piece was in itself poetry. It expressed perfectly the way I have been feeling about the fine November weather. I find Mr. Ward to be insightful and delightfully funny in the way only a Mainer can be.
I’m glad you can’t teach an Old Dawg new tricks. He does just fine with the ones he has.
Tax reform spin
Charlie Webster’s BDN Nov. 20 OpEd distorts the facts about the tax reform package adopted by the Legislature last spring in several ways.
The most important fact is that Maine Revenue Services estimates that the great majority of Maine households at every income level, both very low income, those who “work as a waitress or drive a truck,” and higher income households will have a lower overall tax liability under the reform plan than under present law.
According to the U.S. Census, Maine’s “own source state and local revenue” per capita ranks 15th among the states, not among the “highest taxed” in the country.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has studied and established the facts that more low-income people receiving Medicaid benefits, for example, move out of the state than move in.
Maine’s cash welfare payments are the lowest in New England, so not likely to be the draw for people to move to Maine that Webster claims.
These facts are indisputable; Webster’s claims to the contrary are simply not true. It is a shame that he did not read the BDN carefully or regularly enough to get his facts right. The BDN’s editorial supporting the legislation got it right.
Christopher St. John
On Saturday, Nov. 21, Maine’s two senators affirmed their departure from the best interests of their constituents by voting the Republican party line of no, the refusal to allow responsible dialog, or consider seriously formed alternative positions, or even permit the timely staffing of the executive and judicial branches of government.
They affirmed a position, had it been successful, that would have denied the opportunity to even discuss the health care bill, or consider alternative positions, or bring the matter to a substantive vote. And then Sen. Snowe had the gall to say that “moving forward [I] will offer amendments…” Oh, yes, immediately after she voted to try and prevent moving forward at all!
How, pray tell, does attempting to prevent action at all fulfill their most fundamental obligations to us? How can they possibly justify their attempt to refuse to allow formal deliberation on health care?
The stance our two senators have taken is contemptible. If they won’t legislate on our behalf, then perhaps they should relinquish their posts to public servants who are, on principle and performance, willing to join on the issues.