Poetry and politics
Everyone loves a good fight as long as they’re not in the middle of it.
Lost in the blur of words on the Belfast poet laureate discussion was the reality for an unwilling participant. While I had known I was being quoted by the local paper and felt justified in questioning the process by which the new poet laureate was chosen, I made a mistake in how and when I expressed my opinion. Barbara Maria, Barbaria, was blind-sided and justly felt aggrieved.
The selection committee, an all-volunteer group, had known of my concerns but I agree with outgoing Poet Laureate Linda Buckmaster, who stood by how the process worked, for the work the committee did, and the naming of Barbaria as the Belfast Poet Laureate for 2011 and 2012.
I picked the wrong time and place to express my views on how to change a process I had concerns about. I have apologized to Barbaria personally and my hope is she will serve the term she has been appointed to.
My intentions were good but so is the pavement on the road to hell.
I’ve heard from many who sadly enjoyed this chance to make fun of poets and poetry and that’s disappointing. Belfast has benefited greatly by honoring poetry and the arts. We were the first city in Maine to create the official Poet Laureate position and that is something for all of us to be proud of, to encourage, and to grow into the future.
Belfast city councilor
Build arena right
I’d like to thank the Bangor City Council for recently moving forward on the arena process.
As a business owner and resident of Bangor for 25 years, I believe investment is going to be instrumental in the future of Bangor. The arena is the first step of reinvestment and is the catalyst to rejuvenating this city.
Opponents of the arena suggest that it is fiscally risky to commit to such an investment and their concern is fair. However, I believe inaction is far riskier.
This region must adapt to the changes of a global economy. The former industries that fueled Bangor’s growth in the past are dwindling, leaving behind a region that must evolve.
The arena is an opportunity to rejuvenate this city culturally and economically. Consider the potential business we could attract here to Maine with such a facility: conferences, events, games and concerts. As executive director of KahBang, I can already confirm one interested party, as KahBang would be waiting in line to promote and use the world-class facility.
However, as we know, opportunities are not forever; and before you realize it, the opportunity has come and gone.
That is why I ask the city to build this arena. Build it now. Build something to send a message to young people, to businesses and to the community. Build something Bangor can be proud of, and build it so it exemplifies Bangor’s worth and brilliance to the entire state.
Violent speech hypocrisy
On. Jan. 11, ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Penn., wrote an op-ed in the New York Times which said: “We all lose an element of freedom when security considerations distance public officials from the people. Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.”
However, according to the Scranton Times, Kanjorski said the following about Florida’s new Republican Governor Rick Scott on October 23: “That Scott down there that’s running for governor of Florida,” Mr. Kanjorski said. “Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him.”
In the days following the recent Arizona tragedy, many, like Kanjorski, have called for civility, as they expediently implicate political opponents, while conveniently exempting their own words or those of others in their party, from this discussion about overheated political rhetoric.
A Jan. 12 BDN letter “Democratic Dialogue” is a classic example of this. We are somehow supposed to believe that the 2008 Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States, Sarah Palin, is endorsing political assassinations in America. And the proof of this claim is: targets drawn on a political district map and the unrelated use of the phrase “Don’t retreat, reload.”
Evidently that is this letter writer’s idea of constructive and civil political dialogue — gratuitously accusing those in the other party of complicity with acts of murder.
Call me crazy, but I’m thinking that’s not particularly helpful.
David D. Wilson
Red tape reduction
I thought Meg Haskell’s Jan. 8 article on Gov. LePage’s red tape audit was terrific. By quoting several business owners, she gave us a flavor of what can go on in Augusta.
Some of our regulations have obviously played a part in our struggling economy and our last-place ranking in Forbes’ business climate survey. I believe the LePage administration will bring a more balanced approach to regulation, with economic concerns getting more weight.
I think this is desperately needed.
Mental health support
On Saturday, upon hearing the news of the shooting in Tucson, I ran to the phone, speed-dialed my 24-year-old daughter who is visiting there and was able to breathe again when she answered the phone with, “I’m OK, Mom, I’m OK.” My heart goes out to Christina’s parents. Their daughter is not OK.
As America grieves our latest gun tragedy, I ask us all to be aware of the importance of mental health support for people who are ill. In Maine, Gov. LePage is creating his budget. There is pressure to cut help for those who need it most — people who need intensive, long-term help.
Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Hospital in Bangor is a 60-bed, in-treatment facility that serves approximately 300 people a year.
It also serves approximately 130 outpatients a day, supervising important medication usage and therapy groups. DDPC touches many in our community, keeping fragile people whole and able to live productive lives.
Acadia Hospital is a short-term facility with most patients staying a few days at most. There is great need for long-term treatment.
Did the newest shooter have a mental illness? Yes. Did he find help?
No. I hope that all people who find refuge in DDPC, and their families, let our new governor know that a shortsighted view will harm many people and our community.