March 9 Letters to the Editor

Posted March 08, 2011, at 4:58 p.m.
Last modified March 08, 2011, at 5:31 p.m.

Today's poll

Do you believe the print media in Maine provides fair reporting of Gov. LePage's administration and its actions?

Yes
No

Police reports for sale

It is bad enough to be involved in an auto accident, but to have the police refuse to give you the information you need to make an insurance claim – unless you buy the police report - causes a lot of delay and problems in processing claims.

It appears that police department (most, but not all) have hit on the money-making opportunity to sell information. Shame on them!

Bonny Freeman

Clifton

•••

Communication failed in Hampden

Imagine seeing a proposed land management map of the town you live in, then seeing 30-plus acres that you own highlighted on said map. Upon asking what this new proposed land management means, you are told “Oh, you don’t need to be concerned about that.” That is what is raising the ire and voices in Hampden.

I don’t believe the members who spent many hours over the last three years working on the new comprehensive plan did so to deceive landowners. That being said, I also don’t believe landowners in the proposed affected areas were informed. I can say that because the land that my husband and I purchased, have a home on and pay taxes on are highlighted on that map. We knew nothing about the plan until three weeks ago.

We have read the plan, as did many fellow landowners in attendance on March 1. It is unfortunate that the behavior of some residents is what is drawing attention. But this is an emotionally charged issue! This is our home, our property and we need to be informed.

In other towns, when issues arise, residents in affected areas are notified by mailings. The newsletter the town puts out is far too brief to make this comprehensive plan clear.

We agree the accusatory tone is not the way to handle this, but we are hopeful that through cooperation and respect, the town we live in and love can come together on this plan.

Jeri and Tony Carney

Hampden

•••

Let’s use our heads

Private sector employees often have to plan and save for their own retirements, while simultaneously paying into Social Security, Medicare, their own health care packages plus paying for state workers’ retirement funds. That’s what they were promised, right?

What’s being missed is that the pensions promised over the last 30 years were poorly planned, under-funded and are impossible to deliver unless concessions are made now.

Maine is in dire straits and massive debt. Gov. LePage’s budget proposal strives to salvage teacher and state employee pensions and their jobs while reducing the unsustainable debt forced upon Maine taxpayers. State workers are being asked to give a little to save a lot.

Many private sector jobs have been lost, homes foreclosed and huge sacrifices made.  Chris Quint, executive director of the Maine State Employees Association, has said “LePage is balancing the budget on the backs of 15,000 state workers with $524 million in proposed cuts in retirement and health benefits.” Yet, there is no mention of the cuts made in the lives of thousands of other Mainers.

Quint said they would consider “reasonable options.” However, unions are notorious for refusing to concede, sometimes to their own detriment.

State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin eloquently laid out the reasons and purposes behind the LePage proposal. They make sense to me. I would advise people to look at both sides of this deal before resorting to, as Quint stated, “members asking us when we’re going to take to the streets.”

Let’s use our heads here, not our fists.

Gayle Blydenstein

Waterville

•••

A growth plateau

Republicans in Congress are trying to abolish the Planned Parenthood organization. For millions of women, subsidized community health programs, such as those provided by Planned Parenthood, are the only available path to reproductive services, family planning and birth control.

Even today, nearly 50 percent of U.S. pregnancies and some 40 percent of those around the world are unintended, resulting in many millions of unintentional births. The world’s population will soon exceed seven billion, with food, fuel, water and other commodities already in short supply. Can you imagine what will happen when every Chinese owns a car, every Indian has air-conditioning, every Brazilian has a flat-screen TV? The fact is that for most of humanity, the U.S. lifestyle is unattainable. For all of us, U.S. included, it is unsustainable.

Overpopulation is driving climate change, habitat destruction and resource depletion.  Moreover, growing scarcities may lead to resource wars, over water, if not oil. We already are going broke with two trillion-dollar wars.

Despite a sense of things going terribly wrong, we continue to idealize growth (GDP is up!) while ignoring its costs and consequences. In a finite world, however, infinite growth is impossible.

Thus, while shutting down Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health facilities is reprehensible social policy; it also is exactly the opposite direction to pursue if we take seriously the looming threat of overpopulation. In a living body, out of control growth is called cancer and it is fatal.

Kent Price

Orland

•••

Who’s more valuable?

Gov. LePage and I have something in common since both our daughters now work for the state of Maine, earning about the same salary and benefits (although my daughter isn’t getting free room and board from the state).

LePage’s administration states Lauren LePage’s compensation is commensurate with her experience (a few months), work history (none), and education (Bachelor’s in an unrelated field).

Using the governor’s rationale, what should my daughter’s compensation be if commensurate with experience (extensive in teaching and research), work history (present position since 2001), and education (Bachelor’s in biology, Master’s in education, both relevant to her job as a high school science teacher).

While studies show Maine ranks above the national average in education delivered, the teacher pay is near the bottom. Fortunately, Maine’s teachers have stayed the course, their passion for education overriding their ability to earn more elsewhere. They only asked for a decent pension, as they cannot collect any Social Security.

LePage, however, chooses to attack those retirement funds, trying to “balance” his budget on the back of my daughter and all Maine teachers.

Since the taxpayers of Maine are paying the almost identical compensation packages for both of these daughters, I wonder which would be considered most valuable to Maine’s future.  The governor’s daughter, straight from college and into a partisan political job, or my daughter, with more education and experience, unto whom has been entrusted Maine’s greatest resource – its children.

Patricia Shanholtzer

Sun City West, Ariz.

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