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Aug. 1, 2011: Hollywood Slots, pay-per-bag program

Good deal, Damon

As a resident of Bangor for almost 20 years, I want to commend Rep. Douglas Damon for introducing LD 1418. This bill will let the voters of Penobscot County decide this fall whether to allow table games at Hollywood Slots.

If the bill passes, it will create an estimated 90 additional jobs at the facility in addition to spin-off revenue at area lodging and dining businesses. The impact of the jobs and overall regional revenue will also help to support the new Bangor Arena both with a total recreational experience and increased revenue.

In my opinion, Rep. Damon should be commended for his initiative and foresight in carrying LD 1418 to successful passage in the Legislature this past session.

E. Jeff Barnes


Fresh recycling ideas

Compliments to City Councilor Charles Longo for stating publicly in a recent BDN letter that he will not support a pay-per-bag program at this difficult time economically. Rather, although Mr. Longo did not state this, I believe that Greater Bangor needs to look at other options more carefully before taking a step in a new direction.

For instance, in Glendale, Calif., the city pays cash to recyclers, by weight, for bringing their recyclables to a collection center. This approach is similar to the one my cousin, Jay Dresser of Bangor and former member of the Bangor Recycling Committee, advocates. There are two ways to create incentives, by reward or penalty. Pay-per- bag is a penalty incentive. I believe a cash reward is the preferable approach.

Another approach is used in Knoxville, Tenn.; the city developed 10 drop-off collection sites at Kroger supermarkets. Knoxville uses roll-off/roll-on containers to collect the materials voluntarily from recyclers, and the stations are staffed five days a week by Goodwill Industries. Knoxville collects 5,000 tons`annually through this voluntary effort.

RecycleBank is another reward-based recycling program that is offering its services to many communities throughout the United States.

We can do more research, combine the best of what’s out there, and adapt it to our unique situation. By soliciting requests for proposals over the next six to 12 months, we can decide which is the best for us, and implement well within the seven years before our contract with PERC expires in 2018.

Ben Dresser

Old Town

The real welfare cheats

I had to laugh reading that Gov. LePage is going after welfare cheats. It’s about time someone went after businesses that do not pay a living wage.

Some years ago I produced a video (“Working Women of Waldo County”) to establish whether women were being paid the same as men for equal work. Consistently discovering that women were paid less, I began to interview personnel directors asking the question, “Why are women being paid less?”

One annoyed personnel director snapped at me, “What difference does it make? They make it up in food stamps!”

In other words, businesses know that taxpayers, by providing money to purchase basic necessities, allow those businesses to pay their workers wages that are insufficient to live on.

Good for LePage! If he is going after welfare cheats I guess he intends to work for legislation to require a minimum wage that will allow workers to live without resorting to the humiliation of asking the state for help.

Karen Saum


My prayer

To pray or not to pray? Gov. Paul LePage has endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s call for a giant public prayer event on Aug. 6. Some have criticized this event, “The Response,” for its apparent relationship with Gov. Perry’s presidential ambitions.

Others are unhappy that Perry’s event has adopted a fundamentalist Christian creed. This creed excludes all Americans who are not fundamentalist Christians.

So, should we have a massive fundamentalist prayer event on Aug. 6? Jesus told us, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in private. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matt. 6:6). James Madison “the father of the Constitution,” wrote that religion flourishes better without the involvement of the government.

My personal prayers are for an end to the use of religion for political gain. I will also pray for an end to prejudice against people because of their race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, or because they are Muslims or members of other minority religious groups.

Of course, that might not be what the governor had in mind.

The Rev. Mark Worth


Improve, don’t cut Medicare

It has been 46 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation creating Medicare and Medicaid. In the decades since, millions of Mainers who otherwise would have been uninsured have received health insurance coverage through these programs.

Now, some national lawmakers are proposing major cuts to these programs that provide a vital safety-net to the elderly, low-income and disabled.

Imagine working your entire life knowing you will be eligible for Medicare at 65, and looking forward to the security it will provide. If the eligibility rule changes and seniors have to work longer or shop for insurance on the individual market, the consequences may be dire. Think of any older grandparent you know. Now think of them with no health care coverage. Not a nice thought.

Medicare and Medicaid are hugely successful in providing quality health care efficiently for those who need it most. Instead of cutting, we should build on the success of these programs that save money in the long run.

That is why Consumers for Affordable Health Care is leading Maine’s part in the Campaign for Better Care. The CBC is working with health care providers to help them provide better care coordination, which will help avoid hospitalizations, improve health and lower costs.

As our country puts its economic house in order, efforts like those of the CBC should enter the political discussion, not simply calling for major cuts to proven and essential safety-nets for our most vulnerable populations. We can do better.

Mia Poliquin Pross

Associate Director

Consumers for Affordable Health Care

National day of prayer

In response to the letter writer from Nobleboro on July 27, “Prayer won’t hurt!”

I happen to care very much about what the governor from Texas, the governor from Maine and every other political head thinks about calling for a national day of prayer. I don’t know about any requirements for a governor’s religious proclamation, but I do know we have a U.S. Constitution and first amendment that addresses the issue of separation of church and states. The religious far right conveniently interprets the Constitution to suit their ends and they are the ones who insist on linking politics and religion

Mimi Miller

Northeast Harbor

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