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Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011: Planned Parenthood, protect vulnerable citizens

Occupy’s banking idea

For those of us who want to strengthen our local communities, the Occupy Bangor movement has made some very powerful points. One of these is to pay attention to how our banking institutions are reinvesting the hard-earned dollars in our deposit accounts in local homes and businesses, which promotes local jobs.

Is your bank actively reinvesting in the community, or is it hoarding cash or siphoning it off to its regional or national headquarters? (See Paul Krugman’s blog, “Cash Is Not the Answer,” in the New York Times, July 2.)

As it turns out, there are simple ways to check the performance of these institutions:

To learn how much banks are lending to small local businesses, request the Small Business Administration Loan Volume Report for Maine, fiscal 2011, by calling 622-8551.

To learn how well banks are reinvesting in Maine, check their performance ratings under the Community Reinvestment Act (as reported through the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council, ffiec.gov/craratings/default.aspx).

After an eye-opening investigation of these and other sources, we have transferred our deposits from a large regional bank to a Maine-based community bank which has regularly received “outstanding” ratings from FIFEC and is also the top lender under the SBA ratings. Contrary to some suggestions, the Occupy Bangor movement has made concrete suggestions for the betterment of our community. We appreciate its efforts.

George Schelling


Something is terribly wrong

While these are difficult times in the state and the nation, it is critical that our elected officials devise a practical plan to protect our elderly today and develop a sustainable plan that safeguards seniors in the future.

The current administration has proposed a supplemental budget that dismantles a large piece of Maine’s long-term care system by eliminating funding for private nonmedical institutions, i.e. residential care facilities. This very well could leave the most vulnerable seniors homeless. Then what? What is the plan for them?

Many low-income seniors are also in danger of losing their prescription drugs and other supports. What is the plan for them? How long before insulin shots are reduced to every other day or heart disease goes untreated due to cost?

If you are concerned about the welfare of Maine’s elderly, let it be known. Call or write the governor or your legislators today. Tell them offering a budget that eliminates the safety net that’s working for our elderly and disabled residents is wrong and more costly in the long run.

Ask lawmakers to stop these cuts and allow our seniors to age with peace and dignity and not live in daily fear of the future.

Something is terribly wrong when the most vulnerable citizens are sacrificed without an eye to the future. Ask your legislators to think long and hard about future plans for the state and its people.

Noelle Merrill

Executive Director

Eastern Area Agency on Aging

Family Planning defended

As a former social worker, I’ve seen what happens to some unwanted children. My first question to outspoken anti-contraception or so-called “pro-life” advocates is “How many unwanted children have you adopted?”

Mr. Thibodeau’s letter on how the state should stop funding Planned Parenthood features such nonsensical observations as most of the women who get pregnant were using contraception at the time, i.e., contraception doesn’t work. (I wonder how many of the women who were not using contraception get pregnant?)

Mr. Thibodeau’s letter also implies that it’s only teenagers using Planned Parenthood’s services, not the other people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who need the services as well.

But the centerpiece of Mr. Thibodeau’s far from unbiased viewpoint is the comparison of the salary that the Maine’s governor receives ($70,000) with the amount some unnamed Planned Parenthood exec gets ($115,000). What Mr. Thibodeau fails to mention, or perhaps even consider, is that our governor also receives many perks, free housing (the Blaine House), free transportation and security courtesy of Maine’s State Police and health insurance (one of Maine’s lucky few if the governor has anything to do with it).

It also is worth pointing out that anyone who works for family planning also has to deal with the insecurity of knowing there are anti-abortion crackpots out there gunning for them.

Diane Smith


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