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Friday, Nov. 18, 2011: Councilor Baldacci, handicapped access and education cuts

Wetlands land grab

The BDN’s headline asked, “Will plan to reduce red tape hurt Maine’s wetlands?” How come no one ever asked “Will plan to regulate land next to wetlands hurt Maine landowners?”

Those for regulation like to make it seem this is just about big developers, but the majority of those affected are like me. I own 18 acres, six are literally swamp and the rest borders it. I’ve lost use of over 20 percent of my property to a state-mandated bird sanctuary.

We’re not talking about the reasonable 75-foot buffer that existed into 2009, we’re talking about a 250-foot buffer the state forced all towns in Maine to adopt by 2009. I’ve lost value and freedom to use my land 70 feet from the back of my house.

The state essentially seized my property, my family’s only real asset, providing no compensation and leaving us the options of applying for a permit and paying hefty fees to use some small part of the affected land or leaving it all to the birds.

I can’t afford to donate a significant portion of my family’s holdings to the birds and I don’t want to. I regard this action as theft.

Through all this I keep wondering: If the protection of my property is of such importance to the state and people of Maine, why can’t the people of Maine be asked to share in the cost? Is it because the people would be unwilling to put their hard-earned money where the environmentalists mouths are?

Anthony Garrity

West Newfield

Bravo to Baldacci

I read two clips in the BDN right after Joe Baldacci was recently elected to the Bangor City Council.

The first clip was his letter to the editor urging Bangor residents to communicate with him on any issue, with telephone numbers no less. Now that is what representative government used to be, and should be.

The second is his comment regarding the council’s reluctance to shift the direction of the summer concert stage on the waterfront to address the noise issue for 2012, and his observation that the city should be receiving far more money in return for permitting such a venue is right on. Bravo again.

The noise from the concerts doesn’t only reach the ears of close neighbors, it wafts through the city even a mile away. The very least the city should receive is considerably more recompense for the noise disturbance it produces for those residents who don’t attend. I’m all for these concerts, but the noise issue needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, or the residents may end up by referendum voting the entire enterprise out, which would be extremely unfortunate because they benefit the whole community. This problem is something which should not be that difficult to fix in a timely manner.

My heartiest congratulations to this new councilor. He has, to my mind, set a tone of representation that is encouraging and optimistic.

Nancy Nadzo


Another kind of voter access

Now that Bangor’s city clerk has gotten her much desired single voting place it is time to make it more convenient for handicapped voters to get inside.

Currently, handicap spaces are several hundred feet from the front doors of the voting place. They are placed where they are because the only wheelchair “curb cut” that could be used by a wheelchair-bound voter is at that end of the sidewalk many feet away.

Parking in front of the voting place is not permitted. Perhaps a space or two in front of the voting place could be arranged. A curb cut in front also would be helpful.

A discussion with three city council hopefuls revealed they had noticed this inequity as well. Some of the money saved by having only one voting place could be spent as a one-time expense to make this happen for handicapped voters. After all, convenience in voting is the theme of one group of voter advocates in this election.

David Hastings


Cheap political points

An otherwise reasonable editorial, “Sex Abuse, Institutionalized” (BDN, Nov. 12) falls flat because the editorial staff could not help itself and attempted to establish a moral equivalency with the outrage at Penn State and the accusations leveled at Herman Cain. If the BDN was interested in discussing the issue of an institution’s instinct for self-preservation at the expense of dealing with sexual abuse, the Catholic Church would have been a much better example.

Attempting to equate the Cain accusations is flawed for a variety of reasons. No one has suggested, nor is there any evidence at this time, that the National Restaurant Association somehow covered up criminal activity that should have been reported to the police.

In the specific case of Ms. Bialeck’s allegations, she was not an employee of the National Restaurant Association at the time the incident she alleges took place. Furthermore, Ms. Bialeck apparently chose not to report the alleged unwanted advances to either the NRA or the police. This was a decision on her part, not an institutional one and certainly not a decision by the NRA.

The BDN is entitled to its view of the world on its editorial pages, but this editorial is an example of playing with facts to score cheap political points.

Joseph Lallande

Fort Fairfield

Education and welfare

The recent BDN article on Gov. LePage threatening education cuts if welfare isn’t reined in seems on course for a man who obviously doesn’t understand that education is the answer to shrinking the welfare ranks.

How about some ideas?

A placement test for unemployed recipients of welfare programs would make sense. Educate them in areas where opportunities exist. Demand training in exchange for services. Make training available at local schools and provide incentives to business for on-the-job training. Allow support to continue during early employment as an incentive to move away from welfare.

The leader of our state should consider taking positive steps using the wealth of knowledge in the education system to provide the leg up many need to start over. All of us know that more cuts to welfare will impact the oldest and the poorest among us and more cuts to education will keep it that way. So we should expect to have to pay to enact a program that works to achieve a goal of greatly reduced unemployment in Maine. The bill for no action will far exceed the cost of getting the training Mainers need to compete.

David Robinson


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