Less then 24 hours after the Gabby Giffords tragedy, I was watching politicians and pundits alike talking about the need for civility in political discussion. It’s too bad that these are hollow words and that soon enough they will be back to business as usual. Calling names and throwing incendiary accusations has become the norm.
Just once, I would like to see those on both sides of the aisle say, “My opponent is not evil. He or she just happens to have a different opinion of what’s best for our country from my own.” The idea that one party or the other is out to destroy our country is a little too black and white, a little too simplistic. This isn’t about good guys and bad guys. These aren’t super heroes.
Politicians start out as average Joes who have decided to get involved. They want to help.
Others may say that I’m naive, but that’s how I see it. If you disagree respectfully with those who don’t hold your opinion, most likely you’ll find that they’re more open to listening to you.
As a property owner in Sinclair Township in northern Maine, I was looking forward to retiring on our property at Long Lake. That was until I encountered the Land Use Regulation Commission. I was frustrated in my dealings with the agency and its one-size-fits-all regulations with no provision for variance appeal and no practical recourse process.
Further research revealed that LURC actually is a self-governing autocratic agency that essentially has no representation of the property owners it supposedly serves. I read with interest the Dec. 31 guest column on LURC’s commitment to economic prosperity by LURC chairpersons Gwen Hilton and Steve Schaefer and reader comments on the political cronyism and apparent borderline corruption of the agency.
My main issue with the Hilton and Schaefer column is the assertion that county governments did not have the expertise or capacity to perform the diverse planning and compliance tasks. The problem is LURC does not have the capacity to adequately serve the property owners, and county governments are in a better position to understand the needs in their jurisdiction and would have regional judicial infrastructure to resolve appeals for variance, etc.
File this under favoring the replacement of LURC with a structure that consists of regional government components and statues that pay attention to the basic property rights of taxpaying residents.
In praise of Dirigo
Dirigo Choice has been a controversial subsidized health care program. Let me offer a perspective of one who has been a subscriber for several years.
As a self-employed worker, I have not been able to afford full health coverage on my own. Before Dirigo Choice, I either had no coverage or else catastrophic only, with a high deductible.
Fortunately, I had no major illnesses or accidents until three years ago, when I fell from a ladder and broke my ankle. The bill for two nights in the hospital, surgery and all related expenses came to around $25,000.
If not for Dirigo Choice, for which I pay regular premiums, my options would have been limited. I could have stuck the hospital with the bill (which is not acceptable), spent the rest of my life trying to pay off the debt (not a good choice for me or the hospital) or sold my house (not a good choice for my family).
I am extremely grateful that Dirigo Choice saved me from being forced into one of those dead ends, as no one should be. In the long run, I believe Dirigo Choice costs less than society pays for those who cannot afford full coverage on their own.
Postal by the pound
Hats off to all the U.S. Postal Service letter carriers who endured another demanding holiday, replete with its requisite small avalanche of mail, much of it unsolicited.
Just for laughs, I kept track of the catalogs delivered to my home between Halloween and Christmas, all 271 of them. One day, our household received 22 catalogs. “That’s nothing,” my rural letter carrier said.
“There’s a house down the road that gets about 40 a day.”
I’ll haul them out for curbside recycling, all 103 pounds.
Fluoride is poison
The AP’s article, “Too much fluoride in U.S. water” in the Bangor Daily News (Jan. 8-9) speaks of too much fluoride in U.S. drinking water, telling us that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now recommends a reduction of fluoride application to 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water.
How many of us who drink from the city of Bangor’s water supply are aware that this water is being medicated with fluoride? According to the city water department’s website, Bangor’s fluoride content ranges from 1.20 to 1.47 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. According to one source, Dr. William C. Douglas, fluoride is a poison; applications of such are not precisely controlled.
Over several years, I have gathered dentists’ opinions about fluoride use and have learned there seems to be a divided school as to the safety of such. Most tubes of toothpaste have warnings, which say not to give it to children under the age of 6 and if swallowed, get medical help right away or contact a poison control center immediately. Studies have proved that a pea size of toothpaste is comparable to the amount of fluoride in an 8-ounce glass of water.
Fluoride use in public water systems is dangerous. It is a drug. The human body treats fluoride as a poison; many side effects include brain damage in babies, immune system alteration, musculoskeletal harm, genetic damage and thyroid dysfunction. Bangor residents need to request that fluoride be eliminated from our public drinking water. No more fluoride, now.