June 19, 2018
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June 7 Letters to the Editor

On double-dipping

I’m sure retirees from all walks of life find they can use additional income during their retirement. Teachers, principals and superintendents who choose to take on employment during their retirement — whether as a part-time employee outside the field of education or full time in it — should not be looked upon differently than anyone else.

The question that needs to be answered is whether these retirees are paying into the Maine State Retirement System when they are employed by a school district. If the answer is no, something needs to be changed as the retirement system should not be shortchanged by these circumstances.

Jim Paton



Conflict in Rockport

In its real first test, the Rockport Town Charter came up short. Two select board members have had business relationships with the town, despite that being prohibited. With no clear enforcement mechanism, the charter relies on voluntary compliance. That didn’t happen regarding the select board, neither at the time of the viola-tions nor at an April hearing.

The charter should be amended to add some specific procedures for creating vacancies on the board when members run afoul of the section on eligibility and qualifications for office. Perhaps the writers of the charter did not envision a board with not one member willing to uphold the simple, common sense wording found there. Instead we get parsing of words and an obvious desire to do anything but enforce.

Residents have little recourse but to point out the violations, and for this, some were criticized. Constructive criticism can be a path to improvement, but to attack people for being late to point out violations is not constructive or helpful.

Rather, I would ask why the town government failed to see these conflicts. The existence of the charter was no secret and it is, by the vote of the residents, the document that is to guide our town government.

For its failures, the town government owes Mr. Duke and Mr. Farley an apology. In turn, Mr. Duke and Mr. Farley owe to the residents of Rockport their apologies and resignations.

Kevin Shields



Seeing clearly

Remember “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff? Well, we’re all seeing clearly that the promise of Obama and the Democrats was just campaign talk designed to deceive us while they schemed to pay off their indigent supporters by redistributing the rewards earned by those who work and given to those who watch television instead.

Proof of this is seen in a USA Today analysis of government data.

“Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year. At the same time, government-provided benefits from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.”

The genius of the Democrats’ scheme was to have an African-American as the front man, because you can’t criticize a black president without being prejudiced. A white president who handled the oil spill by telling BP that he had a boot on their neck and waiting five days to wake up to the issue would be seen as incompetent. An angry press would have landed on him like a duck on a spring bug.

Do you think George Bush would have waited, threatening lawsuits and oil price tax increases? No, he would have brought the full force of American ingenuity to the problem and, with BP’s help, it would have been solved by now. Instead of doer, we have a talker.

But the fog of deceit is lifting, and if you listen carefully you’ll hear America humming, “I Can See Clearly Now.”

David Huck



The people who promise us that LNG tankers entering Head Harbor Pass will be safe are the same ones who promised that offshore drilling will be safe. It’s time our state and federal representatives cared more about the people of Washington County than big oil and gas businesses.

Washington County is being treated like a Third World country. Yes, we need jobs, but decent jobs with decent wages. The LNG firms have promised jobs but never gave specifics as to what kind of jobs or how much pay. They have their own specialized work crews, and once the work is done, a few well-paid technical jobs will not go to our workers untrained in the energy field, but to their own people.

All the people here will get are low-paying, grunt jobs. All we will get is the noise, the life-threatening hazards, human environmental risks and low- paying unskilled jobs.

So, please, when someone argues that we economically need LNG and it will safe, remember the coast of Mississippi and ask yourselves, do we want the same disaster in our backyard. If Massachusetts needs natural gas, then let LNG build in Boston Harbor.

Gene Gaffey



Helping addicts

What about drug addicts who haven’t committed crimes?

I find it curious that we spend a lot of money for programs such as drug court to help people who have committed felonies to shake their drug addictions. These services seem to be for free, and I am quite confident that a percentage of the people who are admitted to drug court are using it as a get-out-of- jail-free card.

I am not against drug court. In fact I support it with all my heart.

What I would like to see is a program similar to drug court for those who truly want to learn the tools to help them beat their particular addictions, just as drug court does for convicted felons.

In my opinion, it is a crime that you need to commit a crime in order to receive these services.

Thomas Bonner



As Camden goes…

When you’re outdoors this spring working on your lawn and garden, you can protect your family’s health by choosing organic products and avoiding pesticides. Toxic chemicals applied around your home are hazardous to humans and other animals. One study showed that dogs exposed to chemically treated lawns were four to seven times more likely to get cancer than those on untreated lawns.

If you have pets or children who enjoy playing on your lawn, it’s particularly important to minimize their exposure to toxic pesticides.

Runoff from pesticides also gets into groundwater, rivers and — ultimately — the ocean.

You can maintain a healthy and attractive lawn without using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. If you care for your yard yourself, visit safelawns.org for actions to take; simple measures such as setting your mower on a high setting and leaving grass clippings to act as a natural fertilizer. If you pre-fer using a lawn care company, hire one that only uses organic methods. You’ll be doing your health and the environment a big favor, and you won’t have those ugly white warning signs marking your lawn.

Camden’s parks and lodging establishments boast beautiful lawns and gardens, which are maintained without use of toxic chemicals. If they can do it, so can you.

Laurie Wolfrum

Citizens for a Green Camden


Time for single-stream

Not many people recycle. Most say recycling is too complicated (bad excuse, but maybe). Other people who do recycle are limited by what can be recycled here in central Maine. Overall, recycling in Bangor has changed very little since its introduction, mostly because it has faced no competition.

All of that is about to change. Single-stream is a modern method of recycling that has existed in urban areas since the 1990s, and now it’s available in Bangor. Single-stream makes the recycling process easier for everyone and allows people to recycle more. It will allow more waste to be diverted away from PERC and our land-fill.

For many communities, it has the potential to save money and energy use by reducing the processes involved in recycling. Single-stream is the future of recycling, and it’s time for the Bangor City Council to let go of the past.

Gregory Edwards


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