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July 7 Letters to the Editor

Glowing endorsement

I agree with the June 26 BDN OpEd, “Nuclear power is the answer to our energy needs.”

For 26 years, my wife and I lived in a Connecticut town that had nuclear power plants. We left there in 1986, suffered no ill effects, and are still in good health.

Richard W. Sykes



All you need is love

I usually find Dr. Erik Steele gives thoughtful advice in his BDN column. That’s why I was so deeply disappointed by his June 15 offering. His advice to fathers of brides was wrong on so many levels.

Most loving, nondoctor fathers can’t afford the kind of wedding he describes. Not looking at the checkbook or credit card report for two years is insanity in today’s economy. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What bugs me is that Dr. Steele buys into the myth —carefully fostered by big business — that big spending equals love and having money spent on you is the route to happiness.

Materialism may not be the root of all evil. But it comes closer than just about anything else to being the cause of the greedy, shallow, fossil-fuel dependent, globally unsustainable American lifestyle.

What is a wedding all about? Is it a couple’s chance to celebrate their love and commitment surrounded by loved ones? Or is it just another display of wealth?

My wedding was on a budget. But I was radiant and in love. Looking at the pictures brings back precious memories. Looking in the mirror 20 years later makes me smile. The woman I see may have graying hair and wrinkles. But the radiance still shines in her eyes. And it probably will never fade.

This happiness is what I want for my children. Isn’t it what you want for yours?

Julia Emily Hathaway



Headline doubts

I need to respond to the Bangor Daily News headline on June 28. “Police affidavit: Brooks man shot wife over nagging.”

I realize that this is the alleged killer’s version of the story. I realize that it’s not really the BDN’s belief that it’s a reasonable thing to kill someone over “nagging.” Simultaneously, is it really necessary to print an accused killer’s version of events in the headline? Is there something to be gained by perpetuating the stereotype of the nagging wife right there on the front page?

We all know that the vast majority of victims of domestic violence are women. Examples of the misogyny that supports and perpetuates this violence in our culture abound: wife beater T-shirts, pop songs using derogatory slang words for women, advertisements for everything from makeup to jeans that depict women looking (at best) highly sexualized or (at worst) like corpses, and much more.

I invite the editors of the BDN to take a critical look at the use of this language as a headline to an article about this terrible, violent act and to mindfully reach instead for words that don’t perpetuate negative stereotypes about women.

The truth is that he didn’t kill her because she was nagging him. He killed her because he felt that he had a right to kill her. Let’s put that in the headline.

Penny Guisinger



Clean energy path

Last month, the League of Women Voters of Maine awarded Climate and Clean Energy Awards to both our senators and our two U.S. representatives for their support for clean energy and climate change action at the federal level.

Now, as the large economic, human health and environmental effects of our nation’s deep dependence on fossil fuels are made clear once again with the huge and growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the time could not be more appropriate for action in the U.S. Senate finally to set a new clean-energy path for the United States.

The League of Women Voters of Maine is delighted that our two senators will be able to play an important role in this debate, and we urge them to continue their positive work on climate and clean energy legislation.

We ask our senators to ensure that three things are included in the legislation:

• Set enforceable targets and timetables for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are consistent with the science.

• Have the proceeds from any new plan go to spurring renewables and conservation.

• Have proceeds from any new plan go to assuring equity for consumers.

The League of Women Voters of Maine does not wish any federal funds to go to already established and mature technologies — nuclear, coal or oil.

Our senators can help move our nation toward a clean-energy economy that protects national security and the environment and provides for clean-energy jobs in the U.S.

Barbara McDade

president, LWVME



Kudos, not outrage

Former Bangor Mayor Larry Willey again has warned us (BDN letters, July 6) that Bangor’s budget process “is in shambles” after the City Council rejected his advice to use one-time money, instead of permanent funding, to close a tiny gap in the city’s 2011 budget.

Avoiding this gimmick was, of course, a prudent move by the council, even though it resulted in a property tax increase in the outrageous amount of 0.8 percent!

Only those genetically predisposed not to pay taxes can find 15 cents on $1,000 of property valuation worthy of such scorn. Consider recent increases in tuition, health care, groceries, etc. Anywhere else we’d consider an increase of less than 1 percent a gift.

The two women councilors taken to task by Willey for expressing support and respect for the people at all levels who staff city government need no defense from anyone. Those present at the final budget meeting will recall, moreover, that other councilors also expressed support for city workers and stated their belief that tentative budget understandings worked out in the closing stages of the budget negotiations should not be abandoned at the last minute.

Councilors devoted hours to budget workshops, listened respectfully to resident concerns about some extreme cuts proposed early in the process and discussed publicly their own views on the issues. The council’s ability to fashion a widely acceptable spending plan at a trivial increase in taxes, while avoiding a full-throated demand to use a gimmick, merits not our outrage, but our congratulations.

Bill Sullivan



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