Oct. 19 Letters to the Editor

Posted Oct. 18, 2010, at 6:14 p.m.

Pay bills first

Anne Perry’s Oct. 10 OpEd piece, “Maine programs essential,” states that “we need to work together to re-evaluate and restructure Maine’s safety net programs.”

How about starting with a plan to pay for the programs we already have?

No fisherman in Washington County (Ms. Perry’s district) can go three or four years without paying for his gear. Yet Ms. Perry and her cohorts in Augusta have run up a debt to Maine’s hospitals of hundreds of millions of dollars over the last four years.

And people such as she in Augusta have no plan to pay for these costs. Now, hospitals across the state, unable to continue to carry this enormous financial load, have started laying people off, cutting programs and borrowing more and more money.

It’s time for Augusta to pay its bills. Stop bragging about how many people you’ve enrolled in MaineCare and then running from the costs like a mortgage banker running from the clients he put in overpriced houses when they face foreclosure. Pay your debts, Ms. Perry. Only then will it be time to talk about restructuring programs.

John Edwards

Surry

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Who’s on your side?

Recent BDN editorials show why you should vote Democratic. For example, on Sept. 28, the BDN wrote, “Requiring cars and trucks to go farther on a gallon of gasoline is good for the economy and the environment — as well as national security.”

Democrats favor sound regulations such as increasing fuel efficiency.

Republicans oppose regulation, even though current regulations are so weak that they failed to prevent the financial crisis, the BP oil spill and death of workers on the job (e.g., BP employees and miners).

On Sept. 30, the BDN made “the strong case for investing more in higher education.” Democrats want to strengthen higher education to develop the educated workers our economy will need.

On Oct. 1, the BDN noted, “Policies on taxes, education and other matters must begin to [move] back toward helping the middle class.” Republicans oppose letting the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans expire. On Oct. 4, the BDN noted, “Allowing the massive cuts to expire would not increase taxes, but rather it would simply undo an unwise and unfortunate tax reduction.”

Noting Paul LePage’s lack of self-control, on Oct. 1, the BDN remarked, “Saying you’ll tell the president to go to hell isn’t a fiscally prudent strategy for a would-be governor.” Democrats would bring more federal dollars to Maine.

On Oct. 10, the BDN noted, “Existing law, weakened by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, is letting a flood of unidentified money flow into the congressional races,” mainly for Republicans. Democrats oppose letting big corporations secretly push their agenda.

Which party fights for people like you?

Bruce Smith

Fort Kent

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Not LePage, please

I never write letters about politics because I assume everyone interested in politics will do what I do — inform themselves about the situation and make a decision based on their best judgment. I doubt greatly their opinions will be changed by the comments of a stranger.

However, when it comes to Paul LePage, I have to say something. As a Maine native, I have lived here most of my life but have also lived in other states and countries, and I get tired of hearing comments such as, “Gee, do you have inside plmbing? Do you people eat moose every meal? Do you marry your relatives?”

The comments are ignorant but are based on ignorant people speaking for us and saying they represent the regular Mainer. We have wonderful representatives such as George Mitchell, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who make us proud and represent us as the creative, intelligent, hard-working people we are. Please, don’t take a step backward by electing a foul-mouthed, hotheaded thug who doesn’t respect the office of the president, civil discourse or basic good manners.

When all of the state governors line up for a photo at their annual governor’s conference, do you really want to see Paul LePage standing there representing Maine and, even worse, do you want to read a quote from him?

Don’t do this. Republican, Democrat, independent, I don’t care, but please, vote for a gracious, intelligent, dignified governor to represent our beautiful state.

Aynne Ames

Belfast

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Health care questions

Although I generally agree with Dr. Erik Steele in his BDN column, on Oct. 5 (“Need-to-know health care”), I think Dr. Steele leaves out a very important responsibility for our next governor, a responsibility that, to date, no governor has had the courage to assume. Tom Robbins in his novel “Jitterbug Perfume” says that before we can solve our political problems, we need to solve our philosophical problems.

In my opinion, Maine’s next governor must possess the courage to initiate that discussion with us, with doctors, hospital administrators, nurses, EMS personnel and even the Legislature. How much health care can we afford? What is the government’s (state or federal) responsibility to provide that health care, and how do we know that to be true? When is it time to let go and say that we just can’t afford that procedure? (See “Letting Go” by Dr. Atul Gawande in the Aug. 2 New Yorker magazine.)

What responsibilities do we have as individuals to live a healthy lifestyle and to contribute to our own health care? What are the obligations of those who can afford health insurance to those who can’t afford it, don’t want it or refuse to buy it?

These are complicated questions fraught with dilemmas and paradoxes, but until our governors and presidents engage us in this discussion, our health care system will continue to resemble the Gordian knot that it is.

Walter N. Plaut Jr.

Trescott

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Music for life

Reading about the new Harmony Elementary School band (BDN, Oct. 8) reminded me that back in 1933, I went through this same thing and got my first clarinet. I hope they have a great success, because music is something that will last your whole life. It made a great deal of difference in my life.

I was able to play until two years ago, and I’m 87.

High school activities are great, but how many high school activities can you do your whole life? How many 90-year-old people are still playing football?

Charlie Libby

Belfast

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Thibodeau has my vote

In any election, it is important to pick the best person for the job.

Here in State Senate District 23, the choice could not be more crystal clear. Mike Thibodeau has my vote.

Mike is a small business owner, a fiscal conservative and a devoted family man. Mike knows the struggles we all face during these uncertain economic times. He knows what it’s like to face a sea of state-mandated red tape. He knows that taxing and spending our way to prosperity is not the answer. We need Mike in Augusta to represent the frugal taxpayers of Waldo County.

Mike Thibodeau knows that the private sector and small businesses drive job creation and job growth, not state government. I’m convinced that a man with his business acumen and friendly demeanor will do an outstanding job as our new state senator, just as he’s done as state representative.

I encourage all my friends and neighbors in District 23 to vote for Mike Thibodeau. We need a fiscal conservative to watch over our tax dollars in Augusta, not a “shift-and-shaft” tax-and-spender. Those who want to raise our taxes got a loud-and-clear message during the June referendum election; more than 60 percent of Mainers said no to more than 100 new taxes proposed.

Good folks of Waldo County, we need to send another loud-and-clear message to Augusta Nov. 2 — Sen. Mike Thibodeau.

Thomas Carter

Montville

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