Sept. 24 Letters to the Editor

Posted Sept. 23, 2010, at 6:38 p.m.

Shame on senators

Isn’t it remarkable the lengths to which apologists for Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe will go to avoid holding our senators accountable for their role in passing the failed stimulus bill? Our senators cast the decisive votes to borrow money that our grandchildren haven’t earned yet, and all we have to show for it is a higher unemployment rate and an economy that teeters on the brink of a double-dip recession.

Neither of the letter-writers who attacked Lawrence Lockman’s September op-ed addressed the substance of his piece: that Collins and Snowe locked their constituents out of the legislative process so the bill could be written behind closed doors, and that the legislation failed to live up to the administration’s assurances that it would keep unemployment below 8 percent.

Bill Sneed of Prospect (Letters, Sept. 8) itemizes some of the $19.6 million of stimulus spending in Waldo County but doesn’t explain why it was necessary to jam the entire $862 billion worth of borrowing through Congress without a single public hearing. If all those expenditures are so self-evidently stimulative, why didn’t Collins and Snowe insist on letting the sun shine in on the process? By the way — is Waldo County’s economy now in full recovery mode, with lots of job opportunities for the unemployed?

No matter how you slice it, the stimulus bill was chock full of pork and public-sector bailouts. Shame on Collins and Snowe for their role in saddling future generations with the bill for this failed legislation.

Gary Mosley

Surry

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A coal wind blowing

I am writing to express dismay over Pete Didisheim’s attempt to tie wind development in Maine to the end of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. It’s clearly a desperate move to repair the eroding campaign by the NRCM to carpet rural Maine with wind turbines.

Given the small amount of coal used in New England for the production of electricity and the unlikeliness of wind supplanting coal use, this tactic is shameful and dishonest. Coal is mostly a base load supplier of electricity, which wind cannot duplicate.

Even if wind could offset fossil fuels to any degree, it would displace oil and gas, a fact echoed by RSG Inc. in a report prepared for the Conservation Law Foundation.

Mr. Didisheim states that about 10 percent of New England’s electricity comes from coal-fired generators. However, only about 1.3 percent of this electricity is generated by coal from states where mountaintop removal mining occurs.

Mr. Didisheim has partnered with Appalachian Voices, a group fighting mountaintop removal mining, to advance the NRCM wind advocacy effort. Oddly, the group’s website counters Didisheim’s claims. Supporting their opposition, the group cites the small, and declining, amount of electricity produced by mountaintop removal coal as a reason it wouldn’t be missed if the practice was stopped. They suggest actions that might help end mountaintop removal mining, asking visitors to seek passage of legislation that would resurrect Clean Water Act provisions that, if enforced, would stop mountaintop removal mining in its tracks.

There is no mention of wind turbines.

Alan Michka

Lexington

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Baker for House

Do you get the feeling that politicians have gotten out of hand, and that most are in it for the money? I feel that they couldn’t care less how the working person or the elderly scrimp and save to get by daily. In going over the records of and recent talks with Lewis Baker, who is seeking to represent the voters of Belmont, Northport and Belfast in the race for House District 43, I feel that he is one of us and understands the working man’s needs.

Lewis has served on the Belfast City Council and on a number of committees for 25 years. He is a local man who has been married 37 years to his wife, Linda. He has operated an auto body shop in Belfast. He and Linda reside on land that had been in the family of Linda’s grandparents, Gladys and Henry Robbins.

Lewis is aware of the issues of local city government and has been a spokesperson for the Shopping Opportunities group, which is interested in commercial development to bring larger retailers to the area, giving competition to the one large, existing food chain in the area. This competition would in turn benefit the consumer public.

Lewis has pledged to oppose and vote against efforts to increase taxes.

I feel that Lewis Baker would work for the people of Belmont, Northport and Belfast if given the opportunity to serve in Augusta.

Isabel Morse Maresh

Belmont

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Roads are now safer

I commend Sen. Susan Collins for her tireless efforts to permanently raise the weight limits on Maine’s federal interstate highways to match those on the state’s highways. As a businessman, I know how tough it can be to efficiently transport products. The truck weight pilot project that Sen. Collins fought so hard for has helped businesses save money in transporting their products.

Truckers will not have to unnecessarily navigate through rural communities to connect to markets in and out of Maine. The streets of Bangor and many other towns are much safer for pedestrians and other motorists, as the heavier trucks are now able to drive on the interstate, where they should be.

Sen. Collins is truly an advocate for our state and its people.

John H. Cashwell III

Bangor

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Kill Web survey

Kent Ward in his Sept. 18-19 column frames two recent results of BDN’s “You Decide It” web survey, which allows them to be taken as legitimate views of a cross-section of Mainers. This is an example of an inherent flaw in the Web survey, which loses its informal legitimacy when it becomes clear that an organized effort has been made to inflate figures of the number of respondents.

Ward, whose subtexts usually support Republican Party issues, quotes the surveys showing a plurality of more than 2,000 responses favorable to Paul LePage in questions regarding LePage’s tax and temperament issues. In so doing, Ward presents the responses as if they can be interpreted as legitimate polling statistics.

In contrast to the numbers responding to the Web survey dealing with LePage are the numbers cast in the survey on the same day as Ward’s column: 198 readers responded to the question, “Do you worry about food safety?” Fifty-five percent said “yes.”

The “You Decide It” survey has no legitimacy whatsoever as a cross-section of Mainers’ opinions. It is used, however, as a propaganda tool when its results are rigged by groups inflating figures to favor their causes and mislead the public. What no doubt was designed to promote Web readership does a disservice to a legitimate news-gathering publication, and though the BDN prints in minuscule type-face a disclaimer that the “poll is not a scientific survey,” it should be moved to the editorial pages or discontinued.

Paul A. Newlin

Deer Isle

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