Friday, April 13, 2012: Fort Knox privatization, ‘second chances’ and Bangor’s city forest

Posted April 12, 2012, at 12:29 p.m.

Fort Knox back-story

It was with great sadness that I read the recent BDN story regarding the privatization of Fort Knox. Following GOP doctrine, Gov. LePage wants to absolve the state of fiscal responsibility for Fort Knox and so, in all but the actual deed to the property, will give it to the Friends of Fort Knox, thus privatizing this public property.

Limited space doesn’t allow me to enumerate the history behind this act. Suffice it to say it is the signature legislative bill of representative and former FOFK president Michael Celli. I and many other former members as well as former directors of the FOFK strenuously disagree with this act.

It is an act of disrespect towards the residents of Maine, an act of cowardice in meeting the fiscal responsibilities of the state, greed, corruption by power and the hidden political agenda of all involved. It is far easier to keep something than it is to give it away and then take it back.

But most important, remember that Fort Knox belongs to the residents of Maine, not the FOFK, regardless of how benevolent they may have been over the years. I urge Mainers to voice their opposition to this act by contacting the governor and their state representatives.

Gordon Williamson

Prospect

Stand up to speculators

It’s breathtaking. The combined populations of the United States and Canada are being held hostage by a small group of price speculators.

Most of us are now paying more than $4 a gallon for gasoline, with the prospect of further escalations to come. President Obama, usually quick with a jazzy answer, mumbles about market forces. Congress is too busy squabbling with itself to notice our plight.

The solution to this debacle sits right in the president’s lap, but he lacks the political will to use it.

Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, during World War II and the Korean War, respectively, and using the power of executive order, imposed price controls on a broad spectrum of essential goods and services. The Justice Department went after anyone who violated these orders.

Here we are, once again at war, or so our leaders keep telling us, and yet not one word about price controls escapes the lips of anyone in Washington or Ottawa. Better the North American economy grind to a halt than the residents of our two countries should be offered relief.

It is political cowardice of stunning proportion, and I not vote for anyone in the upcoming election who cannot show enough spine to put the well-being of residents ahead of the greedy manipulations of a small cadre of gougers and speculators.

The White House and Congress have yet to display as much courage as just one ordinary American who gets up and goes to work in the morning.

Henry Smith

Sorrento

Slap in the face

Is this the same Bangor City Council that said the city was too cash-strapped to help fund the American Folk Festival?

In 2005 the city loaned a couple $70,000 for home improvements and to pay off a mortgage that was being foreclosed for nonpayment. They breached the repayment schedule to which they had agreed, and in 2010 city staff reported the couple had not made one payment for three years, had not paid property taxes, insurance bills or sewer bills. They failed to return phone calls and ignored certified mailings.

In September 2010, one of the borrowers appeared before the Finance Committee to explain why they weren’t making payments. An agreement was reached for the couple to begin making monthly payments. Payments were not made as agreed, and the agreement was again extended. The outstanding balance is now over $133,000, with no payment in sight.

The Finance Committee recently voted to postpone bringing action against the couple. Councilor Charles Longo told reporters it was important to give this family a second chance. I don’t know where the phrase “second chance” came from, but my count is chance after chance over the course of seven years.

This vote is a blatant, obsequious, calculated effort to garner votes by feigning charitable intent and is a slap in the face to Bangor taxpayers who struggle to pay what they owe. As one who recently paid several hefty Bangor tax bills, I am disgusted at this politically motivated free ride.

Brent Slater

Bangor

Public, not private interest

I attended the recent Department of Health and Human Services meeting in Calais. The main point of the meeting seems to revolve around the loss of 52 beds allotted to Washington County for nursing care.

It came to my attention that if First Atlantic Health Care is allowed to close its facility in Calais it will be able to take the allotted beds to another county. Once they are taken away, Washington County and Calais in particular will not be allowed to open another facility in this county because First Atlantic has full possession of these allotted beds.

Is this more evidence of allowing the private sector taking control of the public need?

First Atlantic got approval from DHHS in a secret meeting to do the closure and apparently using false statistical information. It claimed the need for nursing home beds would be reduced in Washington County because of the out-migration of young people. It failed to disclose the fact that the number of people in Washington County 60 and older is increasing. According to some of the people who testified at the hearing this trend of increase in the elder population here is projected to continue until 2028.

Washington County can’t afford the loss of this facility and the loss of 90 plus skilled care personnel. The proposed closure of Atlantic Rehab and Nursing Home in Calais will be another death knell to Washington County.

Thomas Bonner

Alexander

Plastic not so fantastic

My family and I enjoy walks in the Bangor city forest as often as time and weather allow. It has become one of our favorite family activities, especially on nice days. Lately, though, our family walks have become somewhat less enjoyable due to irresponsible pet owners disposing of plastic-bagged dog excrement off-trail in the forest.

I personally think that dogs should be allowed to “do their business” off-trail in the city forest without the condition of owners being required to bag it and dispose of it. After all, animals in nature don’t have owners to bag up their leavings, so what exactly is the difference? What irks me here is the fact that the leavings are bagged and then disposed of in the forest as opposed to trash receptacles.

What gives? Are these people only half responsible? The city forest is not a midden heap for you to half-poop it. I would have far less complaint if you let your dog defecate in the middle of a trail than to have to see some pristine forest area look, literally, like a bag of crap.

Please be considerate.

William Perkins

Bangor

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/12/opinion/friday-april-13-2012-fort-knox-privatization-second-chances-and-bangors-city-forest/ printed on September 30, 2014