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April 21, 2011: Biker decibels, SAT predictor, LD 1129


Harass a biker, lose money

While Maine is grappling with high unemployment, mill closings and the high cost of MaineCare, it seems that just as the Legislature focuses on whoopee pies, it also finds it necessary to pass another incoherent law. To target motorcycles and their riders based on an arbitrary assessment of the level of decibels is unfair and makes no sense. If Maine wants to pass and enforce a quiet vehicle” law and control the decibel level of all vehicles, it would be stupid but fair.

Not all bikers are poor. In fact, motorcyclists buy gas, go to restaurants, stay in hotels and contribute to the economy by buying motorcycle parts. I will not spend a dime in any town that enforces this law. If Waterville wants a quiet town, it can have it — without the dollars I spend at local stores, gas stations and restaurants.

I would suggest that bikers educate themselves regarding the towns that enforce this law and spend their money elsewhere, and that would include avoiding towns that benefit from state rallies. One thing Maine has is lots of roads, which allows bikers to avoid towns and still get where they want to go.

If these towns want our money, they should not harass bikers with arbitrary enforcement of this unscientific and senseless law.

Ron Lane


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SAT poor predictor

The April 15 “Maine’s ‘Worst’ Schools” editorial contains some good ideas but also several misstatements. The $47 cost of the SAT (not including subject tests) prevents some low-income students from taking the exam, foregoing their chance to go to college, and I applaud former Education Commissioner Susan Gendron’s attempt to broaden access by providing a free SAT for all Maine juniors.

However, your statement that the SAT “predicts colleges grades” is incorrect. Many studies have shown that the SAT is actually a poor predictor of college grades and that the single best predictor of college grades is high school grades. Research shows that the SAT is a better predictor of what kind of car your parents drive then how well you’ll do in college.

Using the SAT in Maine public schools is a fine college access initiative, but as the editorial says, the SAT is not a metric for assessing educational progress. Maine schools are being unfairly penalized for low scores on a test that never was intended to be an achievement test. Rather, what Maine needs are more student-centered access initiatives and an accurate metric to asses schools’ progress through an exam that actually tests material students have learned in the classroom.

Maria Millard


• • •

Remove LD 1129

The Legislature’s recent positive action on keeping our citizens, particularly our children, safe from the dangers of BPA and other harmful chemicals shows good judgment and truly represents the wishes of the people of Maine.

However, it all will be for naught if the ill-conceived bill LD 1129, sponsored by Rep. Jim Hamper from Oxford, is passed. This bill would undo the good work of all but three legislators in Augusta and eliminate the health protections we now enjoy by having the Kid-Safe Products Act in effect. LD 1129 would allow harmful chemicals to affect developing babies in pregnant mothers’ wombs and to harm teenagers older than 12, would ignore independent, peer-reviewed scientific studies on BPA’s toxicity, and put out-of-state corporations’ profits ahead of the safety of Maine’s citizens.

In order to address the danger of harmful chemicals, another bill, LD 1185, would narrow the list of chemicals considered for regulatory scrutiny to between 10 and 50.  These chemicals have demonstrated the potential to harm children. By having a list available, manufacturers could know which ones would not be welcomed or allowed in products to be sold in Maine.

I am contacting my local representative, Jim Parker of Veazie, to ask him not to support LD 1129 and instead to support LD 1185. If other voters want to keep Maine and its children safe from dangerous chemicals, they also should contact their representatives in Augusta and ask them to reject LD 1129. That bill would not be good for Maine.

Al Larson


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