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Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011: The definition of rich, guilt, and meaning of Thanksgiving

Keep counties in LURC

On Nov. 3, I attended a meeting of the LURC study committee in Calais. I heard people speak in favor of dismantling LURC and in favor of improving it. I believe LURC should be improved, not abolished, and we need to identify the specific places where improvements should be made.

The Land Use Regulation Commission has done a good job of balancing economic development and environmental protection in the Unorganized Territory for 40 years. However, a vocal contingent of study committee members is pushing to allow whole counties to opt out of LURC to achieve local control.

Local control would not work for the North Woods. This area makes up half the state (10.4 million acres), but has less than 1 percent of Maine’s population. The North Woods is a statewide resource and we need a statewide agency to oversee resource management there.

If a county opted out of LURC, it would have to replicate the planning, permitting and zoning work of LURC. Having different rules in each county would increase bureaucracy, raise taxes and decrease predictability for residents. If a county needs legal help, it would have to pay. This is why Piscataquis County commissioners voted unanimously against dismantling LURC.

The study committee should examine the facts about LURC’s performance and make improvements based on facts, not anecdotes or ideology. That is the best choice for the whole state.

Ellen Johnson


Occupiers not worthy

What are the Occupy Wall Street protesters? Are they well-meaning kids with a legitimate grievance who got together spontaneously? Are they just another form of tea party?

I believe the Occupy demonstrators have been well organized by extremists with an agenda to bring down capitalism and the entire financial system of our country. Some of them are calling for revolution to accomplish this goal. Some occupiers openly admit to being communists. The tea party, on the other hand, simply wants smaller government, free enterprise and the right of each citizen to live up to his/her potential.

Next, the occupiers appear to have no morals or ethics. They have been living in filth, having open sex and there have been charges that one occupier raped a fellow occupier. They also are doing drugs, urinating and vomiting all over the public or privately owned parks where they have been living. Conversely, when hundreds of thousands in the tea party assembled in Washington, D.C., they left no mess, helped each other and felt safe bringing their young children. There was no violence, which cannot be said of the Occupy movement.

While our financial system and government aren’t perfect, they are the best in the world. I applaud the police who have finally driven occupiers from parks in many cities, forbidding them to sleep there anymore, such as Zuccotti Park in Manhattan and Peirce Park in Bangor. But what is the matter with those who run the Bangor Public Library for permitting the occupiers to remain, I may never know!

Rosalie Welch-Johnson


Guilty until proven innocent

I hate it all: all crimes, especially crimes that ruin lives. Murder, rape, incest, child molestation and assault.

The last thing I, as a middle-aged mother and grandmother, would ever condone is anything that would physically hurt or mentally damage a child. However, what I hate most, and what has now become the final judgment, is the phrase, “It has been said …” Now the accused must prove a negative. I do not believe that that can ever be done.

If a person accused of a crime is guilty and does not want to go through the judicial system, he may well commit suicide. But a person accused of a crime who is innocent also may conclude suicide is the only answer, because the accusation would destroy families, good works and reputations.

I make no assumptions as to the guilt or innocence of anyone who has not had a jury of their peers sit in judgment, but I will be in a minority, I fear.

Whatever the facts are, it is now too late; way too late for quite a few people to be healed either by justice or by vindication and my heart aches for them all.

Jan I. Blanchard


Define ‘rich,’ please

Sorry, but I am easily confused. Would somebody define “rich” for me?

The protesters in Bangor have signs that say “Tax the Rich, Feed the Poor.” “Rich” is a nice buzz word that has been thrown around during these campaigns and protests and in deciding how to generate more revenue.

Where does “poor” leave off and “rich” begin? What do you call the middle ground? Is rich an income-, asset- or net worth-based category? Or is rich a combination of these? Does it apply to individuals, families, small businesses, large businesses or all of them?

I don’t see how you could levy higher taxes on somebody who has reached some level of comfort even if their income is only five figures.

If the rich need to pay their share, what is a fair percentage? And how much to tax somebody before the incentive for going to work, running a business or investing in the market is gone?

I don’t think the problem is figuring out where to draw lines. I think it is in the monstrosity we call the tax code. A multi-thousand page, convoluted, contradictory, jumbled mess. It is time to simplify it with a flat tax or consumption tax or some combination of the two with some very basic deductions and/or an income floor to insure that some basic living necessities can be met.

If somebody in Bangor near the campfire or under the tarp has a definition of “rich” or “fair share,” I would be interested in hearing it.

Joseph Kiley


Thanks, but no thanks

As Thanksgiving approaches and we all celebrate, this time of year brings me back ages ago when Time magazine ran a Thanksgiving article by an author who wrote that thanks to the pilgrims, the Native Americans would have a better life! He concluded with “What would the natives have if not for the pilgrims?”

As fate would have it, the magazine landed where a friend of mine was residing. He not only was a captain in the U.S.A.F., but told me he was also a Native American chief back home. So with his permission he allowed me to write to Time and respond.

His words verbatim were, “Tell the pilgrims we would still have our bison, our clean waters, clean skies, abundance of organic foods and of most importance, not be living as prisoners enslaved on a reservation in a country we all used to own, stripped of our dignity, and culture, thanks to your generosity!

My friend and I served together many years and he never celebrated this day.

Frank Slason


Clip-worthy column

I don’t often keep articles from the paper, but I will keep Renee Ordway’s Nov. 19 column, “Acts of grace that can’t be forgotten.”

No matter what the outcome of this tragedy, I will always remember what the Rev. Bob Carlson did for so many. Thank you for helping us all remember the good and for helping us heal.

Bonnie M. Cone


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