Jan. 19 Letters to the Editor

Posted Jan. 18, 2010, at 5:41 p.m.

Shape our community

Applications are now available at City Hall for positions on many of Bangor’s civic committees. This is where our local government happens — at the planning board, harbor committee, ethics committee and many others — where residents and city staff help to shape our community.

We need volunteers now more than ever. There are many other places you can volunteer and help, but City Hall is where we the people are the government, the place where more decisions that affect our daily lives are made than at any other.

You may not get a lot of public recognition, parades in your honor, troops snapping to attention when you pass by. But you will be able to tell your grandchildren that when the Great Recession rolled across America and pontificating pundits crackled and flashed on the horizon like summer thunder, you were part of the solution. You were an integral part of our social capital, the essential foundation upon which a lasting sense of place and of community is built. You met new challenges, thought about new ideas, met new people; you knew novelty, surprise, concern and the pleasure of belonging. You helped to create and maintain a small city that can be left with pride to the next generation.

Invest in our children, our city, our democracy, our future. Call 992-4218 before the last week of January to find out more or visit the city’s Web site at Bangormaine.gov.

Geoff Gratwick

Bangor

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Loaded words

I found Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese’s comment in the Jan. 14 issue of the BDN a bit amusing. She was quoted as saying, “You just don’t hold a gun to someone’s head and pull the trigger without making sure it’s not loaded.”

Any responsible person that handles firearms should know that you treat every firearm as if it is loaded, unless you visually verify that it is not.

More importantly, you never aim a firearm at an individual unless you are prepared to do them bodily harm, to include a fatal wound. The promptness in reaching a verdict in the Lavallee-Davidson case was not very surprising.

George Montee

Fort Fairfield

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US health care system

Although this health care bill may not be what Sen. Ted Kennedy wanted, it’s a start. I don’t understand why some Americans are so adamantly against this, but if these questions could be answered I am eager to listen.

Why do conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh believe that the current health care system in America is fine when 50 percent of Americans are uninsured and thousands die every year due to lack of insurance? Why do Republicans say we can’t afford health care, yet they have no problem cutting taxes for America’s wealthiest, which has cost this country a tril-lion dollars over the last 10 years? Why not bring back that tax to help pay for the new health care system?

How come conservatives go on a rampage about government-sponsored health care making us socialistic, yet, have no problem cashing Social Security checks, collecting Medicare benefits, or cashing their welfare checks? Why are Europeans kind enough to pay higher taxes to have universal health care, but Americans will not?

Why is America’s current health care system the most expensive in the world, but we only rank 37th for quality?

How come insurance companies are not held to the same anti-trust laws as other companies?

Why were Bush and his party against allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices in his Medicare bill?

Finally, Sens. Collins and Snowe admit we need health care reform, but complain this bill has been too rushed. They have had the last nine or more years when their party was in control and how did they help?

I eagerly await these answers.

Sylvia L. Tapley

Penobscot

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Follow the money

I read with great interest the BDN’s Dec. 28 OpEd “Councilors not giving Bangoreans whole story,” regarding their decision not to renew the contract with their city manager. This may be true, and unfortunately, I feel that in too many instances the residents of Bangor have not been made aware of where some of their tax money is going and why, beyond a vote by the council.

Bangor’s present city council has declared that changes and decisions should be made by the council for the betterment of residents and businesses in the city, and have named it a vision. Fine. Bangor residents would be amazed at where and at what rate their tax money is spent.

Having been working with dollars and cents all of my life after Bentley College and WWII, and two terms on the Bangor City Council (including the hiring of the former city manager), I get a copy of Bangor’s annual report and go through it page by page. I have watched our long-term debt go up and up, so that the total interest and principal adds up to $141,258,597 from 2009 through 2028.

With debt like this, Bangor doesn’t have much room to move. A new complex at Bass Park should be private enterprise and the surrounding areas that benefit should take part in the project. The Bangor area can have a bright future with a new auditorium complex, Hollywood Slots, the Penobscot River, the waterfront and all the things this will generate.

Arthur Tilley

Bangor

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Wrong priorities

This week the Legislature will be debating a proposed 10 percent MaineCare cut to nursing homes and residential care facilities. This comes at a time when these homes are already financially stressed and often understaffed. The Island Nursing Home, our neighborhood gem, would be set to lose more than $263,000 annually. The repercussions from this may in-clude less staffing, less attention per resident, and less money trickling down into the local economy. Some nursing homes are likely to fold altogether.

We are blessed to have this excellent facility on our island, with a manifestly caring staff. I would hate to see it jeopardized.

That said, we ought to acknowledge why there is a fiscal crisis in Maine. Since 2001, $2.5 billion from Maine taxpayers have been spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010 alone, $1.9 billion of your taxes will go toward defense spending, a great irony as it is leaving our most vulnerable neighbors defenseless. Our economy is hemorrhaging from war. It’s time to get our priorities straight.

Nancy Hill

Stonington

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