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Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011: Automobiles, gambling and voting

More standardization needed

The automotive industry’s approach to marketing philosophies has cost the consumer a fortune.

There is very, very little standardization, many sizes of fuel filters, many sizes and types of bulbs and fuses, many under-the-hood repositioned items, wheels and hard-to-find tires, many odd exhaust system components, many bearings and expensive sensors.

Most of the above are geared to make a large profit for the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer, similar to the medicine market. I could go on and on, but let’s hope we do not go backward in our struggle for profits and complex technologies.

Bernard Michaud

Presque Isle

Small public benefit

Of all the myths and misinformation contained in the BDN’s editorial in support of Question 2 on November’s ballot, the most egregious one comes near the end in the claim that “casinos bestow about 50 percent of revenue on government.” That’s certainly what casinos would like the public to believe, but it is absolutely false and it’s appalling to see reporters and editorial writers continue to fall for and perpetuate this lie.

A quick check with the Maine Gambling Control Board would show that most of the revenue not retained by the casino actually goes right back into the hands of the gambling industry — racetrack owners, owners of off-track-betting parlors, racing purses, etc. What the government actually keeps from the slot machine revenues for things such as health care and education comes to just 18 percent. Another 1 percent of the gross receipts goes to the Gambling Control Board for regulation, an expense that of course would not be needed if we didn’t have slot machines.

The casino owners and promoters like to publicize their contribution to state needs, but it’s pennies compared to the millions they collect. Since Hollywood Slots opened in 2005, for example, more revenue from the slots has gone to the owners of the state’s off-track-betting parlors than for scholarships at the state’s community college system. What does that say about the state’s priorities?

We expect casinos to exaggerate and overstate their economic benefits to the state. But we expect more from the BDN.

Dennis Bailey


Vote for democracy

Vote yes on Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot. Question 1 is a people’s veto which, if approved, will ensure that all eligible Mainers will continue to have the right to register to vote on Election Day.

This is a right that has been in place in Maine and has worked flawlessly for over 38 years. It not only allows but encourages newly eligible voters and those who recently have moved to Maine or have moved from one Maine district to another to vote. It is a law that recognizes that a democracy really works only when its citizens can freely exercise their right to vote.

In a true democracy eligible voters are not turned away on Election Day because they did not think to register the week before. If, for example, you moved from Bangor to Deer Isle in October and in the flurry of moving and settling into your new home forgot to change your registration, don’t you think you still should be able to vote? If your answer is yes, then you need to vote yes on Question 1.

A yes vote is a vote for democracy.

Sue Newlin

Deer Isle

Let’s get answers

For the past few weeks the debate and focus surrounding the proposed national park and the need for a feasibility study has changed. We need to be focused on the merits of feasibility study.

We need discussions on the facts surrounding a feasibility study and a national park on the east branch of the Penobscot River. It’s our responsibility as residents to make the right decisions going forward to ensure the future of our families, our region, our state and our country.

What Maine needs right now is opportunity and that’s what we have before us right now, a chance to explore some options for our future. What is the hurt in getting some sound answers to everyone’s questions? It would be a shame to not have all the right information at hand before we make hasty decisions.

A lot has changed in Maine over the last 20 years in ways that people could have never predicted. Our traditional industries have been weakened by overseas competition and the economic condition of our country. Our standard of living has been degraded. Now is not the time to rule out any options without careful thought and consideration.

Let’s take a look at the proposition we have before us and focus on the business at hand. Let’s get some answers. Let’s get a feasibility study.

Quenten Clark

Superintendent of Schools

AOS 66 (East Millinocket, Medway, Woodville)

Horses betrayed

I wish to thank Robert Fisk for his Oct. 22-23 OpEd exposing “The secret lives of harness-racing horses.”

That these magnificent creatures, which have served mankind so valiantly throughout the generations, are now being betrayed is heart wrenching. Deeply disturbing is the complicity of the officials entrusted to protect animals from the horrific abuses described in Mr. Fisk’s OpEd, who instead choose to serve the industry.

If this miserable life for horses is supported by revenue from casinos, I will indeed vote no on Question 2.

Carolyn McKinnon


Help for Maine farms

As community leaders, we must not simply talk about our support of agricultural jobs and resources. We must take action. We need to work toward public policies and private-sector investments that preserve and expand our farms, agricultural products and invaluable open spaces.

We have one of those opportunities with Question 2 on the statewide ballot Nov. 8.

The initiative would allow for the creation of racinos in Biddeford and Washington County. The Biddeford project is led by Ocean Properties and Scarborough Downs. The Washington County project is led by the Passamaquoddy Tribe. The proposals would bring construction, hospitality and entertainment jobs to those communities.

Local agriculture also would benefit. The harness racing industry is a key piece of the larger horse industry in Maine. There are about 35,000 horses in our state for racing, work and pleasure. Vibrant racetracks in Biddeford and Washington County will support breeders, stable workers, agricultural supply stores, hay farmers and others.

On Nov. 8, please join us in voting yes on Question 2.

Rep. Peter Edgecomb


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