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Saturday/Sunday, April 28-29, 2012: Drug testing, same-sex marriage and Ted Nugent

Drug problems

Maine has a prescription drug problem and a welfare problem. Thirty percent of Maine’s budget funds welfare programs, more than we spend on schools and new jobs. There are 22 programs. Sign up for one, your eligibility for the other 21 is automatically checked.

Washington County alone has almost 50 percent of its population receiving TANF, food stamps or Medicaid. Twenty-two percent of the convictions in the most recent session of Washington County Superior Court involved one or more drug charges, all of those involving scheduled (prescription) drugs. Maine currently requires individuals convicted of drug felonies to submit to a drug test before receiving welfare.

What about those who don’t get caught or are convicted of a misdemeanor? Most jobs today require applicants to submit to a pre-employment drug test. Maine residents who receive welfare should have to do the same. Current welfare recipients have expressed offense and outrage at the idea that they should have to submit to a drug test; that someone is implying welfare users are drug users. That’s hardly the case. Prescription drug users and abusers should not be allowed to have the same benefits as law-abiding people who are simply using the “hand up” that the state offers as a means to better their situation for their families and themselves. Its not an accusation aimed at those who receive state aid. It’s a means to ensure they receive the aid they qualify for, without wasting resources on people who illegally abuse drugs.

Andrea Ahearn


What marriage is about

We read Mr. Pinette’s OpEd (“Compromise is possible,” BDN, April 20) asking if there could be a “title” that would be acceptable to those of us in the gay and lesbian community who wish to marry. We appreciate and share Mr. Pinette’s wish for consideration and compassion toward one another.

Same-sex marriage is not only about rights and privileges, but also about love, respect, commitment, responsibility and family. These are what marriage is really about for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.

There is a problem if different states arrive at various “titles.” Every state has laws that allow only “married” adults standing that many married man-and-woman couples take for granted.

Let us explain that we are a same-sex couple in our 70s. We grew up, the same as everyone else, believing that marriage was the ultimate commitment a person can make to another. We married in Vermont, but we want our marriage legally recognized in Maine.

Joy was with her previous partner for over 30 years, yet was not allowed to claim her body because she was not related to her. Lynn cannot name Joy as her pension beneficiary; her pension plan allows changes only for recognized marriages. These same types of written regulations, laws and rules exist in every state.

We were born and we have birth certificates. We will die and we will have death certificates. Please help us to be married and have legal marriage certificates from the state of Maine.

Lynn Smith

Joy Landers


Augusta vote

The Republicans in Augusta shirked their duty when they refused to return to work to address the governor’s line-item veto. After weeks of hard work and late nights to create a budget, they just then rolled over and played dead.

Imagine if you or I refused to go back to work because we couldn’t be bothered. How long do you think we would last in our jobs?

Who are these legislators, anyway? It seems there was a secret vote not to go back to work. If our elected officials vote on something that affects public policy, we have a right to know who they are. They don’t even seem to have the courage of their convictions to step forward to say who they are and why they voted the way they did.

Readers, get in touch with your Republican legislators and ask them if they were among those who refused to go back and why. Since it is the majority of Republicans, I am assuming it is all who are guilty of dereliction of duty until I hear otherwise.

Fortunately, we can “fire” these servants of the people next election.

Linda Buckmaster


Kudos to councilors

Kudos to Councilors Charlie Longo and Joseph Baldacci for going on the record opposing an appearance by Ted Nugent in Bangor’s summer concert series. Nugent’s flagrant disrespect for our president and secretary of state is outrageous.

Bangor should not be held hostage by a concert promoter’s dire warnings should Nugent’s act be canceled. Ted Nugent’s remarks are an affront to the decent, good people of our city. We can and should do far better than simply staying at home to protest his appearance, regardless of the city’s contractual agreement with Waterfront Concerts.

Rev. Mark Allen Doty, Ph.D.


Councilor Concert

As an Army veteran I took an oath to protect my country from enemies foreign and domestic. I would have to consider these two Bangor City councilors the latter for wanting to keep Ted Nugent from coming to Bangor. The secret service interviewed Mr. Nugent and cleared him of any wrongdoing. That should be good enough for them to let it go. The residents of Bangor deserve better than these two. Thank you Alex Gray for standing your ground.

Ron Cote

Old Town

John Paul mistake

“There is no room in the priesthood for those who harm children,” said John Paul II to the American church leaders 10 years ago (“This Day In History” BDN 4/23/2012). Wishful thinking that was! The events of the past 10 years have shown how mistaken John Paul was.

Thousands of cases of sexual children by Catholic priests have been reported in this country; hundreds of cases have been settled (Boston; Los Angeles; Tucson; Stockton, Calif., and other places) at a cost to the church of more than three billion dollars. In other countries, the record has been equally disastrous: Last year, Ireland closed its embassy at the Vatican following the reports of sexual abuse of thousands of children and coverups by religious authorities; in Belgium, Pope Benedict failed to defrock bishop Vangeluwe of Brugge, even after he admitted on French television that he sexually abused two young boys.

In our own state of Maine, contrary to John Paul ‘s promise, bishop Malone is keeping secret a list of priests who are credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Robert Gossart

Salisbury Cove

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