Wednesday, March 14, 2012: Political parties, Iran and pensions

Posted March 13, 2012, at 5:05 p.m.

Better off without

I think we all would be better off if we did away with political parties. Candidates would then have to run on their own qualifications and not be stigmatized by what party they belong to. I think that a lot of people and legislators vote by party too much and don’t go it alone with what they think is best.

I’m glad that Angus King is running for the Senate and I plan on voting for him. Go, Angus!

Doug Pooler

Dexter

Kinder words, please

I am 85 years old and have never heard such disgusting and nonsensical comments in my entire life as I’ve heard recently over the radio, newspapers and TV. “Kiss my Butt,” calling women “sluts” and degrading candidates for electoral offices.

This is not, in my opinion, about free speech; it is about slander and ignorance and should be stopped once and for all, by barring them from public view and voice.

Hats off to those sponsors who dropped Rush Limbaugh from their lists.

I think if candidates running for public office spend their time presenting and promoting themselves instead of fighting their opponents with slanderous and very unkind words, they will rate higher with the public. I know it will with me.

Norman Philbrick

Bangor

Iran sounds like Iraq

The current crisis over Iran’s nuclear development has an eerily familiar ring, very much like the Iraq war entry rationale: a lot of hype and speculation and a paucity of solid facts.

What is overlooked in this current scenario is that Israel has had nuclear weapons for decades. Any reasonable person should ask: “If Iran should give up its nuclear ambitions, shouldn’t Israel get rid of its nuclear arsenal?”

For decades, Israel has exerted an oversized influence on U.S. politics. Our leaders, both Republican and Democrat, jump through hoops when Israel speaks. No state in the U.S. gets the doting TLC we give Israel. The time is long overdue for a tough love policy toward Israel.

Gene Wilbur

Parkman

RIP, TRJ

For those familiar with Belfast and Waldo County history, Village Soup, our only newspaper, doesn’t exist as of March 9.

Belfast had more than one newspaper in the early days, but The Republican Journal which was born in 1829, was the one constant in the area. Except for a short time during the Civil War, TRJ was available every week for the reader to pick up and read. Whether you agreed with the points of view, in the “olden” days you could write in your comments.

A few months ago, the name The Republican Journal was changed to Village Soup Journal, much to the chagrin of those of us who revered the name TRJ. Originally, as someone wrote to the Soup Journal, the name had nothing to do with the Republican Party, but referred to the republic of the United States. The name had withstood owners and editors from various political parties.

Perhaps those early owners and editors didn’t agree with the change of the newspaper name, used since 1829. Anyway, a few short years ago, Waldo County had three newspapers. I’m sure with the reporting history of Waldo County that there are many in the vicinity with newspaper experience, and that we won’t be without a newspaper for long, and perhaps The Republican Journal will exist again.

God bless, and may TRJ either rest in peace or rise from the ashes.

Isabel Morse Maresh

Belmont

Searsport must step up

Searsport voters have had their say and have turned down a temporary moratorium on DCP’s proposal to build an LPG terminal. This is a very good thing because there is now a clear sense of control in local hands, and with it, responsibility.

No one can expect DCP or any large corporation to focus exclusively on local needs; the Gulf Oil spill is a solemn reminder of that. Thus, the real work of the DCP proponents has only just begun.

Those Searsport residents who voted to move ahead right away have the responsibility to make sure that the 12 coveted jobs do go to locals, that the tax base is indeed increased, while residential property and small business values do not suffer, as they have maintained.

It will be up to them to follow up on all the environmental and safety issues at Mack Point and on the roads leading in and out of Searsport. And if things go wrong, they must be answerable to their neighbors and the town as a whole, as well as surrounding communities.

It now falls on their shoulders to invest the energy and long-term commitment needed to ensure that DCP follows up on all their promises. And whatever their personal feelings, the proponents will need environmental and safety studies, not funded by DCP, which consider the potential impact of such an installation on surrounding communities that would share in the effects of any accidents or other environmental damage.

Joanne Boynton

Belfast

Defending pensions

When accepted by the United States Peace Corps as a volunteer in Belize, I made plans to retire from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. I did not have sufficient years to qualify for a retirement fund, but I was asked, “How many years did you teach school?” That did it — my years of state service and six years of teaching were enough time. I was accepted as a state retiree!

Over the years I have been secure and comfortable knowing that I have a monthly income that allows me to live life as I want to live it. An additional security was the fact that as long as I am around, the state in 1934 had made a contract to “never alter the certain section of the public employee retirement contract.”

When I read a few weeks ago that the Maine Association of Retirees was suing the state retirement system for changing those early rules, I was amazed. Dumb as it may seem, I knew nothing about the past history of my retirement fund.

I went to work, read more about the issue, met with staff members at the Maine Association of Retirees office and slowly I am better aware of the issue.

Think of the thousands of teachers, firemen, game wardens and others who have worked each day to make and keep Maine the positive, unique state it is. Today I personally thank the Maine Association of Retirees group for carrying out its responsibility to defend its members and assure that financial benefits to each of us will continue.

Katy Perry

Hallowell

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