LETTERS

Monday, April 23, 2012: Wind power, gay marriage and student loan forgiveness

Posted April 22, 2012, at 5:02 p.m.

Industrial wind and transparency

When LD 2283 came blowing through the legislative signature pad in 2008, everyone thought that the objective behind this push was to implement something green to help with energy. This became an easy sale when the price increase in gas and everything hit the working class in the wallet. When repercussions started occurring, an interest group formed to ask viability questions such as, “why so big and why the big rush, and hey guys, looks like you didn’t finish your homework on impacts.”

My motivator is to ensure that the people of Maine are respected and not sold a bad deal of goods. “There is a lot of money to be made in energy” — this rings through my mind from a class or two. Then I remember the conversation around emissions trading — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissions_trading. The cap and trade market was created when the EPA placed caps on CO2 and SO2 emissions to protect us and our future from irreversible harm.

These turbines are being implemented at the industrial scale ONLY regardless of financial nonviability so that the package of green credits they are applicable for are purchasable by other industrial entities so they can pollute beyond regulations and it still looks good on the books. I am betting that no one who is selling industrial wind to the state of Maine and the people who want to be a part of a green solution are telling them the real objectives. They won’t care what you know after they are all up and running. Maybe this explains the expedited nature?

Carolyn Rae

Dixmont

Constitutional rights

Once again Mainers find themselves presented with a referendum on marriage equality. We have voted to ensure our fellow Mainers can marry and then denied them this right.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared that a ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, though Proposition 8 has not yet been officially repealed.

The United States Constitution promises equal rights to all of its citizens. Why is gay marriage an exception? This country was built on the principles of freedom of speech and religion. Banning gay marriage violates the very core of these values. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. Arguments against gay marriage are often based on biblical readings.

Living by the dictates of a 2000 year old document means endorsing slavery and stoning our daughters for their transgressions. Our country must recognize the rights of all regardless of the religious views of some. Our country has made several mistakes regarding equal rights: denying citizenship to African-Americans, allowing “Jim Crow” laws to exist and prohibiting the right of women to vote. When will we allow all of our citizens the right to marry?

We are juniors from Monmouth Academy. We want to raise our future children in a world where they have the same rights others enjoy, no matter their race, sexuality or gender.

In the words of Bob Dylan, “How many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free?”

Adriana Ortiz-Burnham

Kara Rowley

Monmouth

Offering loan forgiveness

Social services is an ever-growing field in our current economy. Social workers play a major role in an individual’s quality of life for populations of all ages. Offering loan forgiveness would give the field of social work a more appealing facade to students who are deciding what degree to choose. Loan forgiveness would put social workers at ease for the future when the final paycheck adds up to $30,000 a year.

Although recent cuts have emerged to social services, we need to think of loan forgiveness with a “preventative care” type of view. Society has demands for individuals who are in need of services and resources that social workers can offer them; if the number of social workers declines, these populations may not be able to get the services or resources that they need. In turn, they become sicker, more helpless or miss opportunities and build up the need for more services.

In the long run, the government will end up paying for the lack of a helping professional in a society that demands it. If clients are able to use the resources of a social worker to get these services from the beginning, it will create a healthier society and it is less money the government will ultimately dish out.

Offering loan forgiveness would be beneficial to these professionals who are struggling to pay back their loans on a social work salary. It would also be an opportunity to recruit qualified individuals into the helping profession which Maine would benefit from.

Pamela Hashinsky

Sara Richardson

Orono

Health Maine Fund cuts

We are writing as co-chairs of the Maine Medical Association Public Health Committee to express our deep concern for proposed cuts in 2013 to the Fund for a Healthy Maine. The committee, representing over 30 Maine physicians, has made the preservation of this fund one of its top priorities for the coming year. We took this action for two reasons: First, this is not taxpayer money — it was extracted from tobacco companies to compensate Maine for the costs of caring for people who became ill from smoking. Second, this fund is preventive in nature. The money is used to prevent the onset of the terrible chronic diseases that exact high costs, both to the individual and to the state.

Many high-cost medical conditions are entirely preventable through education, lifestyle changes and early interventions. However, Governor LePage is proposing to remove many of those options from our toolkit through cuts to the Healthy Maine Partnerships, immunizations, Head Start, home visiting, family planning, Drugs for the Elderly and other programs.

While moving these dollars may plug a hole in the MaineCare budget for now, in the long run it will be extraordinarily expensive to the state’s bottom line and the health of our residents. We know that Maine can save $7.50 for every $1.00 spent on prevention efforts.

As a committee and as physicians, we urge the Legislature to rethink these proposed cuts. As our founding father Benjamin Franklin wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Lani Graham, MD

Daniel Oppenheim, MD

Co-chairs

Maine Medical Association Public Health Committee

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