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Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011: Political advertising and the dangers at Mack Point

Truth in advertising, please

On Nov. 8, Maine voters passed ballot Question 1 — a referendum to restore a law that allows voter registration on Election Day — despite an onslaught of “vote no” advertising. There are more public referenda to come, so let’s all ask for more truth in advertising, and for accountability from media outlets that accept money to run political ads.

The pitch by Secure Maine’s Ballot, the group leading the “vote no” campaign, was that a yes vote would repeal “Maine’s ethics law.” When asked by this newspaper what ethics law the ads referred to, a spokesperson for the “vote no” group said that she didn’t know, the ad having been prepared out-of-state.

The claim that a yes vote on Question 1 would repeal Maine’s “ethics” law was at best misleading, and at worst, false. Nevertheless, WLBZ -TV for one, repeatedly ran the ad on its 6 p.m. Channel 2 evening news program. The repeated airing of false or misleading political ads diminishes community, and encourages more such ads in the future.

The First Amendment is properly tilted toward free speech, even if that speech is misleading. But when it comes to paid political ads, broadcasters should take pains to keep the thumb of their monetary gain off the scale.

In 2012, let us all speak up early and often for a high standard for political ads disseminated in Maine, from all sources, and by all purveyors.

Ian R. Walker


Warships and Christmas

Standing together in hope of a peaceful world, we hold the Advent Vigil for Disarmament at Bath Iron Works. We will meet across from the Bath Iron Works administration building on Washington Street in Bath from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the four Saturdays of Advent, Nov. 26 and Dec. 3, 10 and 17.

We stand with signs calling for the end of the building of weapons of mass destruction by General Dynamics here in Maine. Specifically, we stand in opposition to the Arleigh Burke class of Aegis Destroyers and the new Zumwalt Destroyers which now cost over $3 billion each and are presently under construction in the BIW shipyard.

These guided missile warships are nuclear capable, and the U.S. Navy now has over 50 of them. Appropriately named destroyers, these warships are a key component of what is called the Theater Missile Defense System. Their existence is a crime against humanity that condemns us to endless war.

It is time to end the construction of these warships. Peace is not possible while we continue to spend billions on these and other weapons systems.

Please join us for an hour on these four Saturdays before Christmas as we witness for a joyous revolution and a non-violent world by vigiling for peace through disarmament.

George and Maureen Ostensen


Unacceptable risks

According to reports, approval has been affirmed to build a 137-foot-high, 22.7 million gallon liquefied petroleum gas tank, which will generate 144 gas-tank trailer truck visits per day in Searsport’s Mack Point. It is expected that LPG tanker ships in Penobscot Bay will offload this explosive gas.

LPG is a flammable mixture of propane and butane, which releases over twice the energy of LNG when ignited. LPG containers subjected to fire of sufficient duration can undergo dangerous destructive “boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion.” Lightning strikes, static electricity or engine exhaust could trigger an explosion, which could spread to 13 million gallons of gasoline and heating oil stored at Mack Point.

Neither LPG nor gasoline fires can be extinguished with water, potentially incinerating Searsport, nearby towns, igniting a forest fire spreading to local towns with volunteer fire departments.

The 144 LPG tanker trailer trucks daily, leaving every 10 minutes, would be like mobile bombs increasing the risk of widespread destruction. The proposed tank site, near highly traveled U. S. Route 1, will protrude visibly for miles from land and sea.

Substantial safety risks, noise and the ugly appearance of a 137-foot tower rising over town will reduce property values, increase insurance rates and reduce tourist attractiveness of Midcoast Maine.

Transporting LPG over Maine roads is an unacceptable risk. DEP and DOT should reverse affirmative decisions on LPG due to public safety danger.

We should rely on safe, sustainable energy, wood-derived fuels, alcohols, solar, vertical axis wind, tidal and geothermal.

Randall Parr


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