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Friday, Jan. 27, 2012: Helping our neighbors, examining Bangor ordinances


Poliquin’s comic opera

What a comic opera Mainers are being entertained with Bruce Poliquin’s rantings against Dale McCormick and Maine State Housing. A couple of facts might serve to make the blackness of the humor clearer.

Even back in the late 1970s when the governor was an independent (James Longley), the Senate was Republican and the House, Democratic, government functions were regularly scheduled to be held at the Samoset resort in Rockland and Sugarloaf ski resort. Has Dale found an even more upscale venue than these?

Income inequality returned to the U.S. in the late ’70s and since then the gap between the income of the richest 1 percent and median income has steadily grown. As a result, new housing starts have increasingly been for second homes to serve the 1 percent while housing stock for middle income and lower has declined dramatically.

The private market has not provided any way near adequate low-income housing for the past quarter century.

Among his real estate holdings, Bruce Poliquin owns Dirigo Housing and Popham Woods in Phippsburg, where one can buy a “New England style model home designed for comfort, quality, and low maintenance.” Not to mention tennis courts and a small playground, and for an additional fee a beach club right on Popham Beach.

But somehow, reviewing all this, I seem to have lost my sense of humor.

Karen Saum


Review Bangor ordinances

No city ordinance or policy should live forever.

Is it time for the city of Bangor to undergo a formal review of all its ordinances and policies? My answer is yes.

In 2010, a City Council-appointed charter review committee completed its review of the Bangor City Charter. Its recommendations were forwarded to the City Council for review. The council placed changes on the ballot in November 2010.

The same type of review should happen for ordinances and policies which are used to operate the city. As times change things need to be added, changed or deleted in order to stay current.

The time for review is now.

Steven Sleeper


The help saves lives

We have in recent weeks seen and heard about the deficit in the DHHS budget. I have no argument with reviewing where cuts can be made. But as a taxpayer, I do not see the logic of cutting benefits for some of our most vulnerable citizens on the backs of the tax cuts that have been discussed. I fail to see the math. Where are the savings?

Every week I see, as a Medicare counselor, the actual persons who either benefit or would benefit from the help the Medicare Savings Plan provides. Many of these people struggle to pay for the daily necessities of life. I have seen people who do not have the resources to buy life-sustaining medications; are these the people we “throw to the wolves”?

I would hope the people of Maine have not regressed to the point that we would deny the less fortunate among us the compassion and help they need. If you agree with some or part of the above why not call or email your legislator and voice an opinion? Let us not let our Legislature take this life-giving help away on the back of a tax cut.

Grady Stevenson


Thoughtful, careful cuts

As we consider dropping tens of thousands of Mainers from the MaineCare program, let’s consider the impact on each of these fellow citizens. Let me describe the young patient I saw in my office today.

He is 23 years old. He suffers from Crohn’s disease and asthma. For a while these diseases were ravaging his body and he was disabled. His treatment was therefore covered by MaineCare and over the past year he has done well enough that he is now back working full-time.

Unfortunately he is now no longer considered disabled and is suddenly no longer covered by MaineCare. The three medicines he needs to keep his Crohn’s disease and asthma under control now cost him more than $2,000 per month — more money than he earns! I am afraid that the end result may be that he will relapse and again qualify for MaineCare only by virtue of being too sick to work.

I don’t think this is a very good outcome, and I don’t mind some of my many tax dollars going to help people like him keep their disease in check so that they can continue to be productive members of our society. Helping our neighbors is what makes us a civilized society. And for those who remind us that ours is arguably a Christian nation: Letting our neighbors go without health care is not a Christian thing to do. Cost-cutting is necessary, but it must be done thoughtfully and carefully so people are not seriously hurt.

Dr. Stephen Blythe


Ross wants the best

We have known Glenn Ross since his first campaign for Penobscot County sheriff almost 30 years ago. He has earned the respect of not only his employees and others in local law enforcement agencies but those he comes into contact with each day in Penobscot County. He is a hardworking, honest and fair individual who simply wants to do the very best job that he can do.

We are not privy to all of the information surrounding the tragic demise of Robert Carlson but we do know that Glenn takes his responsibilities as Penobscot County sheriff very seriously. His decisions would have been made, first and foremost, to protect the inmates at the jail even as he was understandably reeling from the shocking allegations against his longtime friend. It was a sad surprise for many in our community.

We only hope that Glenn’s valuable contributions are not buried by senseless speculation about his actions and motives in this situation. Our community is very fortunate to have such a dedicated, professional, public servant.

Suzanne and Bob Kelly


No delay needed

I am distressed by the disrespect shown to Gov. LePage in the BDN’s Jan. 24 editorial cartoon. A citizen in the cartoon says, “The governor’s address is on a five-second delay. He has a tendency to go off-script.”

I listened carefully to the governor’s State of the State address and found it to be an intelligent, passionate and wise presentation. He spoke from his heart, not relying on words on a screen in front of him.

Let us respect our elected officials. We don’t have to agree with everything, but we should be seeking to give them the honor due their office and not ridicule them.

Mary Pearson


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