No more homeless vets
This year, let’s mark Veterans Day by committing to find permanent housing for more than 200,000 veterans nationally who sleep homeless every night.
Homeless veterans is a major problem, comprising 25 percent of all homelessness. But it doesn’t have to be something we’re stuck with — there are real, cost-effective solutions that can help people off the streets for good.
Permanent supportive housing combines housing with support services and case management. It costs relatively little and can save the public as much as $137,000 per person annually by cutting down on jail, clinic and ER use. The vast majority of supportive housing tenants never become homeless again.
Anyone interested in learning more about ending homelessness for veterans can visit 100khomes.org
You can also donate to your shelters in Bangor including Hope House (217-6713), the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter (947-6018) and Manna Ministries (990-2870). Hope House has the greatest need for sheets, personal hygiene products and milk. Manna needs turkeys and it also could use socks. Bangor Area Homeless Shelter’s top needs include coffee, unopened toiletries, telephone calling cards, men’s razors, shaving cream, cleaning supplies and office supplies.
Lack of backbone
On the night before Election Day, I spotted someone sneaking up to my mailboxes. I went to the door, but she had jumped into a car and was off down the street. In my BDN mailbox I found the most boring newspaper of all time — a Paul LePage poster.
I’ve done the door-to-door thing (my dad made me), so I can understand this woman’s skittishness. Talking to people is tough, because in trying to make your candidate relevant to others you end up questioning the ideals that motivated you to start knocking on doors in the first place. There’s a distinct chance you might leave with your tail between your legs, so it takes courage. The payoff is that you and your neighbors learn where you stand and what your candidate represents.
The conduct of Paul LePage’s representative reminded me of his decision to skip last week’s debates, and both suggest that his ideas will not stand up to scrutiny. I hope as governor he shows more backbone than he did as a candidate.
That is not to say that I hope he is bold in making changes — I hope that he doesn’t get around to half of what he promised on the campaign trail. But I hope he has the courage to let Mainers know his plans so that we can respond. If “business-friendly” turns out to mean back-room deals we’ll send him packing for that place in Florida.
Oh, and hands off our wild places, city slicker.
Thankful for access
There was a time when Vacationland was enjoyed by both Mainers and folks outside. These days, posted signs litter the landscape, limiting the access of many in Maine who have not much money, but have lived here their whole lives and find their riches by enjoying Maine’s mountains, beechnut ridges, brook trout streams and fiddlehead riverbanks.
I moved back to Maine in 2005 from Alaska with the hope of living out my days as I did as a child. Southern Maine has gone to the land-posting posse, however there are still generous folks who remember yesterday and allow Mainers to walk their land throughout the countryside, which is how Maine life use to be.
I would like to say a hearty thank you to Francis Mitchell and family as well as the East Branch landowners who still allow Mainers to feel welcomed on their land without locked gates, fenced roads and posted signs. It’s people such as Francis and the East Branch landowners who ensure the last frontier still exists in Maine as it does in Alaska.
During this season of thanksgiving, Carl Hunt, local residents and myself are so thankful for your generosity to all Mainers.
The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index rates how laws are implemented in countries around the globe. Criteria include how ordinary people fare in the system. The United States ranks 20th of the 35 nations surveyed, which is the lowest of the 11 developed nations. The U.S. didn’t lead in any of the rule of law measures including even fundamental rights.
Lawrence Tribe, Harvard law professor, has been appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to head a group to work with judges and lawyers across the country to help people find ways to gain access to the justice system in the United States. Unequal access to our legal system is one of the main concerns of this panel. Who would have realized we are not much better than some of the Third World countries?
Dan Froomkin writes in the Huffington Post, “The civil justice system in this country is essentially inaccessible to many Americans — and when it does get accessed is tilted toward the wealthy and moneyed interests.”
In Maine, residents would have realized this if only they read the HALT Report (halt.org) or tried to gain access to the system without sizable amounts of wealth. Maine is ranked 50th alongside Mississippi for overall access and transparency within our justice system.
I respectfully request the new governor to investigate this situation thoroughly and to ask the chief justice for her comments, which cannot be dismissed in light of both reports.
Kevin P. Morrissey
Slots revenue will drop
Now that the election is over and the Oxford County casino and the Biddeford Slots and racino have been approved by voters, the residents of Bangor should be concerned about allowing the Bangor City Council to go forth with plans to construct an arena.
We cannot depend on revenue from Hollywood Slots to support such a venture. There is more competition than ever before. People who have traveled from southern Maine to take advantage of the services offered by Hollywood Slots will think twice about traveling two or three hours. The people from the Maritime provinces now have such facilities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. They, too, probably will think twice about traveling.
Residents of Bangor: Our real estate taxes will go out of sight! Because of the added competition, Hollywood Slots will be unable to contribute to the city coffers to the tune that it has in the past.
City councilors: Please do not put this added tax burden on the residents of Bangor.
Mary J. Richard