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Saturday/Sunday, Oct. 15-16, 2011: Voting, Quimby and Dennis Dechaine

Troubling question

In her Oct. 12 column “Selective enforcement of voter laws troubling,” professor Amy Fried of UMaine cites three examples of alleged selective voting law enforcement involving two Republican presidents and the Maine Republican Party. No mention is made of the most recent incident of the alleged presidential selective enforcement conducted by President Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder.

The 2008 incident involved members of the New Black Panther Party who stood in front of a polling place in Philadelphia on Election Day wearing military-type clothing. They were captured on video and were accused of trying to discourage some people from voting. One carried a nightstick.

Obama’s Department of Justice declined to prosecute.

Professor Fried states that, “Some questions are even troubling to ask.”

So true. I have a troubling question to ask: Have selective, agenda-based, ideological presentations of facts and opinions infiltrated the teachings of our educational institutions?

Richard Hepworth


Another approach for Quimby

Thank you to Roxanne Quimby and Olympia Snowe for helping us Mainers work out who we really are. A few days ago I was fat and drugged out. Today I am a proud builder of warships.

But didn’t this start out as a conversation about a national park?

Quimby may have already shot her park idea in the foot, but it wasn’t the best use of her land anyway. She should consider Percival Baxter’s example. He used his own money to buy up parcels of land, then set up an endowment so the park would remain independent of government controls. A section of Baxter State Park is dedicated to scientific forestry practices, so land use within the park is diverse. The outcome for Quimby’s lands does not have to be black or white.

Mainers are naive if they think the North Woods tradition of public access to private lands is going to continue forever. We have enjoyed that privilege for decades, but that model, based on robust forest products markets, is coming apart. Take notice of Plum Creek and Quimby herself, both straying from North Woods tradition.

The creation of Baxter State Park was nontraditional and controversial at the time it happened. Today you can’t imagine Maine without it.

Tod Cheney

Blue Hill

Searsport tank worries

I implore DCP Midstream to be a good neighbor in Searsport the way Sprague Energy and Irving Oil are. They’re really good neighbors. They don’t draw attention to the tank farm, they hire local people, are quiet and honor our beautiful coastline, aren’t ostentatious and don’t ask for changes in our ordinances and standards.

We and our tourists love to see the ships coming in, bringing work to our area, heat and gas, sand for roads, wind mills, turbines, coatings for paper, etc. Now CDP Midstream comes along and wants to change all of that by building a skyscraper that necessitates a light in the sky to alert airplanes that an obstruction exists where one never existed.

That light, bringing attention to the tank farm, also will alert homegrown terrorists trying out what the FBI fears is the latest terror weapon — a model plane loaded with explosives. The devastation of such an act would cause a complete harbor shut down, the destruction of Searsport and the entire bay, shutting down businesses in the area.

Why not build two lower tanks?

Please be a good neighbor — keep us under the radar.

Nancy-Linn Nellis

Stockton Springs

Minority party blame

I was dismayed and disappointed by the BDN’s Oct. 12 headline regarding the failure of President Obama’s jobs bill in the Senate (“Senate votes down Obama jobs plan”). The statement is very misleading and does not describe what actually happened in the Senate.

The bill was not voted down. In fact, it was not allowed to come to a vote at all. The vote was blocked by the minority party, including our two senators, by a filibuster, an overused parliamentary maneuver by which 41 senators can prevent a vote on any bill ever taking place.

This is an important distinction. The headline implies that by being voted down in the Senate with its Democratic majority, the president’s bill lacked support even within his own party. On the contrary, the bill would have passed easily if it had been allowed to come to a vote. A more accurate description would be: “Minority Republicans obstruct Senate vote, again.”

Words have meaning, and I would encourage the BDN to use a little more care in choosing them.

Matthew Freedman


Goode was right

I have been following coverage of the repeal of same-day voter registration this year. It seems evident that in Maine’s 38-year history of same-day voter registration, there have been no significant problems with voter fraud. Many people in Maine work multiple jobs, which can make it difficult to take time off to register.

Rep. Adam Goode’s recent OpEd in the BDN made it clear that same-day registration has helped thousands of Mainers vote. He also showed how opponents of same-day registration are determined to make voters believe there is election fraud in Maine, despite the fact that there have been no significant problems with voter fraud in the past 38 years.

I am proud that Adam Goode is my representative, and I am glad he is opposed to creating unnecessary barriers to voting. I will be voting yes on Question 1.

Terri Young


Hollow shell of evidence

In Italy, prosecutors, seemingly on leave from a comic opera, insisted that “she devil” Amanda Knox was guilty of murder no matter what science and common sense indicated. It took four years for justice to prevail.

Yet in Maine, supposedly a land of sober Yankee rectitude, for more than 20 years Dennis Dechaine has been denied a retrial, despite the fact that 100 percent of the scientific evidence supports his claim of innocence.

With the discovery that the damning testimony of two detectives contradicted their original notes, the state’s “mountain of evidence” is revealed to be a hollow shell. That a second jury, if allowed to hear all the evidence, would again find Dechaine guilty, is all but inconceivable. That an innocent man may have been been imprisoned ’til death for the unspeakable crime of a psychopath who, in effect, has enjoyed the protection of the state, should impel our attorney general to seek the truth, not to try to bury it.

Compared to Maine’s, the Italian system of justice appears to be a shining model of efficiency, transparency and fairness. Who would have guessed?

William Bunting


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