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April 26, 2011: Arena, legalizing pot, young lawyers

Arena yes

I feel privileged to be a part of this community where people care about one another. Although Bangor is designated a “city” we are really a town where people know one another and welcome visitors with genuine hospitality.

I have been amazed over these last four decades at the evolving passion to be a destination for visitors, beginning with the building of a civic center in the ’70s to augment the Bangor Auditorium to our current initiative of building of a new, efficient, cost effective and magnificent event center, a combined facility where we can roll out the red carpet and show others from across Maine and the Maritimes that you can come to Bangor and have a fantastic time.

My dear friend John Baldacci, while governor, would not permit staff to speak of two Maines. He wanted to prevent negative thinking about the great divide that has historically existed — real or imagined — between the communities north and south of Augusta. However, I believe we all know there is a distinct difference which impacts economics, entertainment and quality of life. One of the best ways for us to bring about change and eliminate that divide is to create our own destiny.

I believe construction of this center will position us as a “go to” place where people matter. An “arena yes” vote May 4 will give us the edge up that we need to continue our vitality and passion as a place to work, live and share our city with others.

The Rev. Bob Carlson


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Legalizing marijuana

Thank you for the front page story, “Portland representative wants to legalize pot” (BDN, April 21), describing the latest meddling politicians drug pushing promotion. From their point of view, it sounds like a good idea, but it doesn’t tell the other side of the story.

Legalizing marijuana will give us more of the same devastating problems we have experienced with tobacco.

And, is tobacco really legal? It is illegal to poison anyone with defective toxic products.

Ray Perkins Jr.


• • •

Don’t miss chance

From the circus, the fair, the Harlem Globetrotters and even my high school graduation, I have enjoyed events at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center. Now, the opportunity has presented itself that a new arena and convention center could be built to replace the existing structure. This is a chance we can’t miss.

When you walk into the current building, you can see that many events and people have passed through its doors and that time has not treated the building well. It served its purpose, and it is time for a new, updated building to grace Bangor. The Bangor City Council has outlined how they intend to pay for the project from revenues from Hollywood Slots and tax increment financing, which would protect citizens from any new taxes related to the building of the arena.

Now is the time to build a new arena. Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” This is a chance of a lifetime. We have picked the architect, and the design of the new facility is impressive. A new arena means new jobs and increased revenue for the city. This is a positive action that would benefit us for years to come. There is no reason not to build a new facility. Please join me and vote yes on May 4.

Andrew George


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Yes on May 4

Most of us learned at an early age, that we cannot expect others to help us unless we demonstrate a willingness to help ourselves. As the economy painfully struggles to re-emerge, our Bangor community has an enormous opportunity to help ourselves, and leave a legacy for generations to follow. The proposed Arena and Convention Center can be an immediate local economic stimulus program with the nearly instantaneous creation of 1,200 construction jobs for the 24 months necessary to build the facility. Moreover, those workers will generate additional stimulus through their local purchases and other spending right here, helping local businesses to rebound.

Once completed, the facility will generate yet a new source of economic activity and growth with the advent of sports, entertainment, convention, and conference activity, drawing whole new opportunities to the Bangor area, both in economic and cultural terms. The experience of last summer demonstrated Bangor’s potential to be the central hub of our immediate area and beyond.

I went to City Hall to vote YES on the issue which every voter in Bangor has the opportunity to influence in a most positive and lasting way. I felt great having done so, and knowing that in the process, I was helping to revive not only our local economy, but in a sense, passing along something for my children, and future generations to inherit and benefit from. Now is the time to really make a lasting difference. Join with me in voting YES on Wednesday, May 4th.

John Hanson


• • •

Lawyers and Bangor

Readers of Judy Harrison’s excellent piece on young attorneys practicing in northern and eastern Maine (“Young attorneys replacing graying lawyers,” BDN, April 25) may draw a bleaker conclusion about the recruiting landscape than is warranted.

It is true that competing with Portland for the best and the brightest is a challenge. However, Bangor is more vibrant today than it has been in years, and communities throughout central and northern Maine, despite hard economic times, are bringing creativity and vision to bear on issues that matter most to their residents.

Viewed in this light, Husson University’s efforts to open a law school in Bangor is both a symptom of the larger issue and a breath of fresh air. Much of the credit for the new vibrancy in communities like Bangor goes to under-30 professionals who choose not just to work here, but to devote their time and energy to making this one of the best possible places to live, work and raise a family.

The “graying” of the bar is a source of legitimate concern, but the future indicators are bright. If there is a lag time between reality and perception, particularly for those younger professionals who are just starting out in their careers, the difference is shrinking. It makes the job of those who recruit young professionals to work here that much easier, and gives all of us greater hope for the future.

William Devoe


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