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Friday, Jan. 20, 2012: Live Lobster, Maine Housing and voting rights

A better business

My adult working life has been spent at the Prospect Harbor waterfront site, now home to the Live Lobster processing facility. Mr. Bussone is my fifth employer at this site.

Herring, or sardines, was the primary product, but as quotas got smaller and subsidized competition got larger, Maine’s once-vibrant herring industry died.

The shock of suddenly not having a job hit us all. The burden to federal, state, counties and local communities in the form of unemployment benefits, rent and food vouchers, retraining and health care were costly and lasted over a year for most of the 128 unemployed.

Mr. Bussone has re-employed 75 workers and we support his vision to add value by processing lobster to rival any other country’s exports. Maine lobster is renowned for its superiority in taste and public appeal.

We can argue the point of government stimulus packages being sought to support this economic growth in Down East Maine but that time is at the voting booth before packages are funded and qualifications published for business applications.

This is a win for us in the work force for long-term employment with health care benefits, economic benefits for fishermen, economic community benefits and advertising of a Maine product ensuring statewide industry benefits.

Thank you, Bangor Daily News, for printing our side of the story.

Diana Young

Winter Harbor

Inhumane cuts

Echoing across the great state of Maine from the governor’s office are more negative vibrations, aimed this time at 65,000 Mainers receiving assistance through MaineCare. We have been advised that these individuals, because DHHS has a shortfall in their budget, are going to be cut from the rolls.

It is obvious to we Mainers that DHHS is in need of a thorough review of its budgeting and operational procedures. The governor has made it clear how he wants to go about solving these DHHS issues. Let me remind the governor that we have a legislature of very intelligent, caring and knowledgeable men and women who are more than willing to work collaboratively with the LePage administration to find ways to improve the budget and procedural rules that govern the operation of DHHS.

The governor’s proposal to cut 65,000 Maine people from MaineCare rolls is extremely shortsighted. It will ultimately be harmful to the Maine economy because of subsequent layoffs of some DHHS employees.

Also, as a result of an increase in emergency room visits by those no longer on the rolls who are unable to afford regular doctor appointments, Mainers will face increased health insurance premiums as unpaid hospital medical care increases their expenses. Increased health care insurance costs will leave Maine residents with less disposable income with which to stimulate our weakened economy.

All in all the governor’s proposal is not viable and is an inhumane act directed at its residents most in need.

Bob Chaplin

Bar Harbor

Considering Carlson

Let us begin with the finding that one out of four of us has been sexually molested as a child. This is more than 75 million Americans. This suggests that there are many millions of molesters and predators.

Most go unpunished because they devote much energy into deception. They deceive at every turn in manufacturing these 75 million victims. The older they are, the longer they have been able to practice and perfect their deceptions.

They put themselves in trusted positions to have access to their victims. They work hard to become pillars of their communities; the trusted ones. Carlson seems to fit this profile perfectly.

It is our obligation to investigate the potential victims, assuming they are to be found.

What may be most important is that we focus on victims and the real nature of these misdeeds; how they mark us, the 75 million, forever, and how one finds it difficult to trust and to cope. We should not focus so much on what Carlson may have done to all those he deceived; how “good” we thought he was and how he may have let us down. It is about the victims, not us and our vanities.

Pierre Woog


Overhaul MaineHousing

Under Dale McCormick’s reign, MaineHousing is a financial disaster for taxpayers. She should resign immediately.

Recent examples of profligacy are: $15,000 for theater classes for prison inmates and $140,000 in cash bonuses for employees while LIHEAP recipients are desperate for winter fuel aid. This is particularly egregious insofar as MaineHousing administers the LIHEAP program.

These examples pale in comparison to the waste in low-income housing projects completed, while 6,500 people wait in line for affordable housing. MaineHousing construction costs range from $240 to $537 per square foot for studios and small apartments. Rich folks pay these prices for houses in the Hamptons or Seal Harbor. Where are the 99 percent protesters on this example of “corporate greed”?

There are 5,400 individual properties for sale in Maine between $1 and $175,000. Some are “teardowns,” but many could be rehabilitated for less than $125 per square foot. Maine’s 16 regional housing authorities should initiate a pilot program to build new or rebuild properties in Maine’s rural communities devastated by recession. This would benefit underemployed local building contractors, other trades and increase sales and income tax revenue as well as put a floor under real estate values while repopulating rural towns.

Investment in affordable housing needs to be widely dispersed and the behemoth in Augusta needs to be downsized and its operations rationalized. Legislative oversight, accountability, transparency and integrity are part of a necessary overhaul.

Dudley Gray

Rangeley Plantation

Voting threats continue

Debbie Alexander’s Jan. 12 letter to the editor, expressing frustration with our government and ending with “‘the little people’ really have no recourse except their one vote,” begs the response that across the country — including possibly Maine — “one vote” is going to be increasingly difficult or impossible to cast.

This wave of voter suppression in its many forms has been researched by the Brennan Center for Justice and is available in its report “Voting Changes in 2012: A Wave of New Laws,” which is available online at brennancenter.org/votingchanges2012.

In Maine, the legislative action to eliminate same-day voter registration was overwhelmingly defeated by referendum. A photo ID bill did not get through the Legislature last session. But again, in this session, the photo ID bill is being considered. This bill, LD 199, should be carefully and thoughtfully watched.

Linda Hoskins

Blue Hill

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