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Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011: Oil dependence, gambling and Occupy Bangor

Time to ditch oil

Russ van Arsdale raised legitimate questions about Environment Maine’s recent report, Getting Off Oil — visit tinyurl.com/63qavdm. As one of the co-authors of that report, I agree that oil is a difficult habit to break and I understand his skepticism of this latest effort to reduce Maine’s oil dependence. For decades, we’ve heard politicians in both parties make big promises to reduce our oil dependence, but deliver only half-measures and token gestures.

There are two reasons to believe this time can be different. First, we have better technology available to replace oil than ever before, from the first mass-produced electric vehicles to rapid improvements in automobile engine efficiency to dramatic advances in solar power. These technologies will take time and in some cases initial public support to achieve their full potential but they can deliver major oil savings.

Second, the cost of our oil dependence only goes up from here. With global demand surging and conventional supplies stagnating, oil is growing dirtier, more dangerous and more expensive. Meanwhile, the average Maine family will spend over $2,500 on home heating oil this winter. That’s money that leaves our state and ends up in the hands of oil companies and hostile foreign states.

By passing LD 553 unanimously, the Legislature has clearly declared that enough is enough. Mainers of all ideologies and political parties want to get off oil. We should let our policymakers know it is time for a serious solution to our dependence on oil.

Daniel Gatti

Environment Maine


Scrutinize candidates

Please carefully observe those presidential candidates who flagrantly ignore the separation of church and state through their steadfast commitment to evangelical religious right and conservative Christian voters.

Recently I have noted that some are stressing the following:

We must love Jesus and call upon the “living Christ’ with the nation’s problems. The policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” should not be implemented in the military. Marriage should be just between a man and a woman and homosexuality is a voluntary evil choice. All abortions must be prohibited. Alternatives to evolution should be taught in public schools. Use tax dollars to fund religious education. Clergy should be allowed to endorse political candidates and parties from the pulpit.

Add an amendment to our Constitution to declare that we are a “Christian” nation. Have more official prayer days to solve our problems. The principle of separation of religion and government does not reflect the views of our Founding Father. Christianity is the one true religion: proselytize. Christian prayers and symbols should be stressed in public schools and other public places.

All these views reflect the belief that the Bible is our sole source of truth, moral values and guidance. This ignores history and the fact that our nation’s greatness and strength resides in the multicultural composition of our people representing many different perspectives on faith and religion. Our next president must respect this broad diversity and always pursue a vigorous separation of church and state.

Richard E. Faust


Gambling vultures

Once again gambling is proposed to be our savior for jobs and getting people back on their feet.

Have voters thought this out? How can baiting people into believing they will win big provide jobs? Where does the money to pay the construction workers or in those gambling establishments come from?

It comes from all of the people who had jobs and went to play the slots or went to a casino and lost. Why else would there be so much money to build such elaborate establishments?

This is not about jobs. This is about those who have made money from those in other states and now want to do the same to Maine people on the false promise that they might win.

In my home state of New Jersey I saw firsthand what happened to Atlantic City after the casinos were built. A family-oriented seashore became so crime ridden that in order to photograph the Historic Absecon Lighthouse behind the Trump casino, I had to take a guard with me for protection. We were besieged by those who intimidate. There were peep shows; businesses with all their windows barred, including storefronts and cellar windows — it became a city not only very dirty but also in great disrepair.

I have loved my adopted state of Maine now for 47 years. I don’t want it corrupted by these vultures with their false promises when we are in need of decent jobs.

Marjorie Monteleon

Southwest Harbor

We are you

Of Occupy Bangor, city councilor and PR strategist Cary Weston says: “They are coming into our community.”

No, Mr. Weston, the occupiers are “our community.”

I have personal knowledge of several occupiers from the Bangor area. How? Because the occupiers are our students, or the sons and daughters of neighbors, or people I meet in the stores and the coffee shop or in church basements.

Even if we do not agree with the occupations, we should still treat the occupiers with respect. Councilor Weston should withdraw his crude misrepresentation.

Sam Hunting


Protect Penobscot County jobs

Supporters of Questions 2 and 3 are promising the world to Maine voters. Jobs and financial security pull right on the heart strings of us northern New Englanders. Before voters jump at the idea of money and jobs, I ask that they consider the effects on existing Maine businesses.

Opening three of any type of business at once in a relatively small area is a bad idea. Opening three casinos at once is no different. It is difficult to project or predict just how badly Hollywood Slots and Penobscot County will be impacted, but the fact is that there will be a negative impact. I will vote no on Questions 2 and 3.

I am not against potential new casinos in our state. A casino gave me a job, a quality source of income and an amazing place to work. But it should be done right.

Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway got it right. Hollywood Slots was approved almost 10 years ago, expanded slowly, worked with the city and let Bangor know it was here to stay and more importantly to help.

I urge my fellow Penobscot County residents to explore the negative impacts that will be seen here if Questions 2 and 3 are passed. Hollywood Slots projects 30 percent of its revenue will be affected, which could mean 30 percent fewer jobs.

Protect Penobscot County jobs — including those of hundreds of my co-workers. Vote no on Questions 2 and 3.

Wade Wakefield


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