Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011: Same-day voter registration, Chile’s 9/11

Posted Sept. 19, 2011, at 6:11 p.m.

College voting perspective

As a student at the University of Maine who has had to change residences every year, and as a result had to register under my new addresses, I would very much like to be able to register and vote on the same day. Especially this semester, as I am taking 18 credits (six classes), it would be monumentally more convenient for me to register and vote at roughly the same time.

My own situation is actually very common among fellow students, who are equally inconvenienced by the ending of same day voter registering. I’m sure there are many other Mainers who feel this same way, and there really isn’t any good reason to not be able to register and vote on the same day.

Carl Ekholm

Old Town

Chile’s 9/11

One more thought about 9/11. Thirty-eight years ago, the Chilean military with the help of the C.I.A. overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. In one day, democracy and hope were gone in Chile and years of dictatorship, death and torture began. The date: Sept. 11, 1973.

America was shocked by a changed world on 9/11, and so was Chile. One evil scheme plotted in the caves of Afghanistan, and the other in the offices of Washington, D.C.

While we commemorate our own 9/11, it would do us good to also remember Chile’s. While we remember how it felt for our world to end, it would do us good to remember how it ended once for those in Santiago. It would do us good to remember how it ended for those in Baghdad, or for those in Hiroshima.

For almost 10 years, Americans as angry victims have been waging war in response to what was done to us, but perhaps true peace and security come only when we fully comprehend the scope and consequences of what we have done to others.

Rebecca McCall

Blue Hill

A better response to 9/11

As we are remembering the horror of 9/11 and 10 years of wars, Sister Joan Chittister’s words about the Amish tragedy of 2005 are telling: “It was not the violence suffered by the Amish community that surprised people. What really stunned the country about the attack on the small Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania was that the Amish community itself simply refused to hate what had hurt them.

“Here they were, those whom our Christian ancestors called ‘heretics,’ who were modeling Christianity for all the world to see. The real problem with the whole situation is that deep down we had the chance to do the same. After the fall of the Twin Towers, we had the sympathy, the concern, the support of the entire world.

“You can’t help but wonder, when you see something like this, what the world would be like today if, instead of using the fall of the Twin Towers as an excuse to invade a nation, we had simply gone to each Muslim country on earth and said, ‘Don’t be afraid. We won’t hurt you. We know that this is coming from only a fringe of society, and we ask your help in saving others from this kind of violence.’”

We, of all persuasions, believers or nonbelievers, deep down, still have that chance every day. Love trumps vengeance. Love trumps religious fanaticism.

Lin Parker

Penobscot

Time for new taxes

More use of Mainecare for health care? No surprise, with increasing unemployment and poverty. State, town and federal layoffs plus decreased hours, foreclosures and losses in 401(k) and 403(b) funds contribute to this.

Pensions are rare in the private sector, so Social Security is a necessity unless you are rich enough to save and invest. How governors and U.S. legislators fail to see the ripple effect of public worker layoffs, I have no idea. That rich Congress and Senate reps, rich employers and profitable corporate boards deny the middle-class, poor, ill and handicapped subsistence with “no new taxes” is appalling.

On my modest Social Security retirement income, I am ready to pay higher taxes to save U.S.A. and the lives of my neighbors.

Jane Fairchild

Orneville Township

Quimby and tree growth

Too bad folks in Augusta wouldn’t pay more attention to Stu Kallgren’s letter (Sept. 14) about Roxanne Quimby receiving tree growth tax rate on her 70,000-plus acres of forest land. She has stated many times she doesn’t want any motorized transport on her land and she has no intention of harvesting. So why does she get this huge break when the children of Maine are receiving fewer and fewer needed benefits.

Five or six years ago when she first said no to snowmobiles on her land, then-Gov. Baldacci came to Millinocket and was asked directly at that time why she was getting the tree growth tax break. He said, “We are working on it.” I guess he meant making sure she gets it.

But why? This tax is handed out to large landowners and should benefit those who truly look to the tree harvest, not folks like Quimby. Wake up Augusta — there’s revenue out there.

Hope and Robert MacDonald

Millinocket

Tracking ALEC

The BDN’s news story and editorial were a fair assessment of the situation we citizens face regarding ALEC, the group charged with providing draft legislation to Maine Republicans.

I agree ALEC is doing what many such groups do, but it’s more secretive. Recently, a Wisconsin legislator was escorted out of an ALEC gathering; these conventionlike meetings are not open to public scrutiny. And, most important, the businesses involved benefit from the laws and regulations that are passed, often to the detriment of the state’s workers and citizens.

My particular concern is about privatizing social services. There is no public scrutiny allowed. That has become evident in several states whose most vulnerable citizens have been abused by private providers. Check out stories from New York, Pennsylvania and Florida. It is an ALEC model bill and I have heard this is being considered for Maine.

For those who want to do as the editorial suggests, I have a Facebook page, “ALEC Watch in Maine,” which invites you to choose a model bill you are passionate about and look for similar legislation being introduced in Maine. I hope those supporters of an ALEC agenda do the same.

We citizens need to be involved. And to those who think citizens should be the concern of legislative efforts, check the Progressive States Network’s website. I see no corporate sponsors that could benefit from that agenda, except by attracting smart workers who will receive a full-time job with a living wage.

Mary Royal

Winterport

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