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May 21, 2011: Bigger fish, earning, not making


Explanation owed

If the pictorial representation and figures contained in the Bangor Daily News article on Friday, May 13, concerning the Republican plan to revamp Maine’s health insurance plan (which needs revamping) are correct, the plan seems to be an economic development tool for York and Cumberland counties to be funded by the people of eastern, central and northern Maine. The plan was approved on party lines.

If this is true, then our Republican senators Rosen and Farnham and our Republican legislators owe the citizens of this area an explanation of why it appears that their loyalty is greater to their party than to their constituents.

Norman Minsky


• • •

Over use of referendum

Recent activities by a small group of citizens in Bangor should lead one to question the role of local elected representatives. It is acceptable and even patriotic to challenge our elected officials and particularly at this time with out-of-control federal government spending. Let’s face it, the tea party movement was long overdue, and it is truly all-American to question big government.

Having stated this, extreme positions of any kind can become counter-productive. The other day when presented with an act to limit the spending authority of the Bangor City Council and the city staff, I referred to the act as a tea party hangover. My comment was accompanied by my support of an amended version of the proposal and the statement that “when spending bonds go out to Maine voters, they tend to pass by significant margins.”

Apparently this group has plans to circulate a petition to put this issue out to referendum.

Some issues require or at least are best served through the referendum process, and the arena was a good example of one of those issues. Ironically, some of these very same folks helped the council immensely by pushing for a referendum on the new arena. Yet public policy by referendum has created significant financial issues for Colorado, California and Maine.

Overuse of the referendum process, does not lead to good public policy.

David S. Nealley


• • •

Items to consider

Item — Lubec loses $650,000 in state aid to education and closes Lubec High School with total aid cut to $19,000 for the current school year.

Item — The Regional Medical Center of Lubec is selling off at least one of its buildings and has closed another.

Item — The Lubec School Board cuts its art instructor to half time in an effort to save funds.

Item — The Whiting Food Pantry is under increasing demand to meet the needs of hungry Washington County residents nearly 40 percent of whom are estimated to now live in poverty.

Item — The Department of Homeland Security plans construction of a nearly $3 million communications system on its border with New Brunswick.

Item — The estimated cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $12 billion per month with costs of these wars now in their second trillion dollars.

Item — The American Friends Service Committee publishes figures that show 60 cents of every taxpayer dollar goes to the U.S. military.

Item — Halliburton, a major contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, showed its profits more than doubled in the last quarter according to the N.Y. Times.

Item — As of May 17, at least 1,468 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan.

Had enough? Join us at Flat Iron Corner, Lubec, as we say, “It’s time for change. Bring the troops home. Let’s rebuild America.”

Dick Hoyt


• • •

Bigger fish, please

The Bangor Daily News on May 11 devoted a good part of a page of the State section to the sad story of a Lewiston woman who pleaded no contest to welfare fraud and a list of other charges brought to her by the Department of Health and Human Services, totaling around $20,000. Her dishonesty is no doubt just one chapter in a life filled with desperation and bad choices at a time when our country has put the well-being of women and children last on its list of financial priorities.

But the zeal with which her crimes were pursued and publicized makes me wish DHHS and the BDN were putting their accounting and investigative skills to work on Wall Street, where the big bank crimes of fraud and manipulation have robbed us of billions, crimes not only unpunished but rewarded still in multi-million dollar bonuses. Better yet would have been some DHHS bookkeepers over at the Pentagon, where trillions of our tax dollars, according to the General Accounting Office, are still unaccounted for.

The crimes of Kathleen Schidzig should never have happened, but the over-sized publication of her story is just one more distraction tossed our way while we stand here with our hands up, getting robbed in broad daylight by far bigger thieves.

Rebecca McCall

Blue Hill

• • •

Earning, not making

“Making money” is an illegal occupation; it is legally known as counterfeiting. “Earning a living,” on the other hand, is a respectable occupation, one long practiced by Maine families.

The majority of Mainers, certainly those who for generations have lived here year-round, hold fair opportunity in high regard. “Open for Business” implies making money: and craftiness. We want the rewards due us for jobs well done, the security of honorable employment, the satisfaction of fair treatment as Maine citizens.

The temporary tenants of Augusta should take note.

Rick Fayen


• • •

Oil taxes wrong

Proposals to selectively raise taxes on U.S. oil and natural gas companies by billions of dollars are a bad place to start a “substantive discussion of tax policy” (BDN May 13 editorial, “Will it ever be possible to raise taxes?”). These proposals ignore the value of the oil and natural gas industry to the nation, have no real connection with deficit reduction and would merely punish companies that already pay billions of dollars a year in income taxes at far higher effective rates than most other U.S. companies.

The proposed tax increases would reduce investment in new job-creating oil and natural gas projects, eventually lowering energy production and actually reducing much needed  government revenue.  They also would drive up oil imports and our trade deficit while doing absolutely nothing to reduce gasoline prices.

John E. Quinn

Executive Director

New England Petroleum Council

• • •

Purpose of Memorial Day

Every year we have a day when we stop to honor those men and women who served or who now serve our country in the military. It is a day for U.S. citizens to say thanks to those who gave so much. That day is Veterans Day.

However, the special day we have set aside for those individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country is Memorial Day. Please, honor the vets on Veterans Day and don’t dilute the solemn meaning of Memorial Day. Honor those who have died for this country on Memorial Day.

Ken Hoehlein


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