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September 9 Letters to the Editor

Electric cars

Science writer Tom Walsh’s piece, “Why electric cars aren’t right for Mainers — right now” (BDN, Sept. 2), seemed to be missing correct information, except that Maine electricity rates are among the highest in the nation.

I’ve read that electric cars are relatively inexpensive to use, compared to cars using traditional fuels. I’ve also read our corded electric lawn mower only costs about $5 per year to use. I don’t have a way to separate its usage from our other electric usage, but I do know gasoline mowers cost a lot more than that to use.

Further, gasoline motors are complicated and in need of routine maintenance. Electric motors are simple.

Electric cars’ problem now is their limited maximum mileage before needing recharging. I hope that improves.

Walsh wrote that Maine’s electricity comes largely from natural gas. Ours is from hydropower. We buy it from a Portland company, Maine Renewable Energy, through Bangor Hydro and available by contacting Bangor Hydro. The rate we pay, fixed for two years, is cheaper than the standard offer.

We have an electric canoe motor, which is quiet, powerful and gives us a peaceful experience on the water. I would love to use an electric car and plug it in at night to our hydropower-produced electricity.

Milt Gross



Picketers’ rights

I wish to respond to the Sept. 1 letter to the editor, “Offensive photos,” concerning the abortion protesters at the Mount Hope Avenue site of Mabel Wadsworth clinic.

Picketing is protected by the First Amendment when it states, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech … or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Picketers are also protected by the 14th Amendment, “no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property.” The Supreme Court has interpreted it to include the right to picket on certain public property deemed free speech zones with certain limitations.

The picketers have the constitutional right to educate. They are not allowed to obstruct the right of way, or violate any other laws such as the anti-discrimination laws.

The letter writer asks, “Who would be at fault if someone was so disturbed by what they are seeing that they go off the road and hit one of the individuals holding the signs?” The driver is required to have her car under control at all times and so she would be negligent. She should find a safe place to stop and recompose herself.

The graphic abortion posters are upsetting but they depict the truth. Graphic pictures are what drew public outcry against the Vietnam War, civil rights violations stemming from slavery, and the atrocities of the Holocaust. We should be thankful to these Americans who are willing to exercise their First Amendment right to expose the truth no matter how objectionable it may be.

Jean Barry



Senators’ bravery

Regarding the op-ed piece “Verdict on the stimulus: a costly, ineffective failure” (BDN, Sept. 4-5) by Lawrence E. Lockman, author of “The Aids Epidemic: A Citizen’s Guide to Protecting Your Family and Community from the Gay Plague,” I wish first of all to thank our two Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, for their bravery in representing Maine people despite pressure from their party to vote no.

Some figures not mentioned by Mr. Lockman:

President Bush’s tax break, still in effect, for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, average income $1.5 million and no work requirement to be eligible, amounts to $85,000 each and will cost $234 billion.

The Earned Income Tax for 2010 will cost $83 billion and go to workers with income at or below $13,460 for a single person and $43,352 for a family of five.

To be eligible for Medicaid (cost, $81 billion) one must meet certain guidelines like being aged, blind, disabled and poor. In Maine eligibility is limited to 150 percent of poverty, or $16,245 for a single person and $38,685 for a family of five.

President Bush signed the legislation requiring the transition from analog to digital transmission, the bill providing $1.5 billion to help households make the change. All of the “stimulus” Lockman cites to help our poorest (EIC, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, food stamps) by his figures totals $220 billion, whereas the Bush tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent costs $234 billion.

Thank you Sens. Collins and Snowe, Reps. Pingree and Michaud, for your votes for Maine people.

Karen Saum


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