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Saturday/Sunday, May 19-20, 2012: LePage’s middle management comments, Syria and oil addiction

LePage support

To all those who are so incensed by Gov. LePage calling state middle management corrupt; speaking from firsthand experience, I would say that Gov. LePage called it like it is.

There is a large group of us who were contracted by the state to provide care services to our most vulnerable citizens, and when advocating for those we were responsible for, we became the recipients of disrespect, bullying and egregious abuses of power from our middle-management boss.

He used his contacts with other middle managers to put liens on our homes, have us audited, provide false information and harass us in various other ways. And guess what? Gov. LePage has done something about these “corrupt middle managers” who have tainted the reputations of the honest and respecting other middle managers. With the help of his appointee Mary Mayhew, he has eliminated their positions, persuaded others into retirement, and is cleaning house as well as he can, given his restraints.

As Karl Ward stated in his OpEd, Gov. LePage walked into a mess that was polished over with political rhetoric for so long that it is almost impossible to clean up. So Gov. LePage is a little “Archie Bunker”-ish. We don’t like everything about everyone and I, for one, like a lot of what Gov. LePage is doing to make a difference in our state and can thus overlook his foot often landing in his mouth! So I know who I’ll be voting for — and I’m not even a Republican!

Alice Duston


Syrian silence

Hamza al-Khatib would have been 14 this week. He disappeared from a peaceful protest, returned to his family, dead. Videos show his severely bloated and bruised body as a result of severe torture. He had broken bones and gunshot wounds — shot into his body as a method of torture. His jaw and knee caps had been smashed and he had cigarette burns all over his body. His genitals were cut off and he had been beaten with a cable and electrocuted.

The Syrian government denies that there were any signs of torture as they have with thousands of others. They claimed his body was just “naturally decomposing.” Over 14,000 men, women and children have been massacred by the government. Soccer stadiums have been transformed into prisons for torture. Today, over 100,000 brave Syrians have been detained for their call to freedom.

Bashar al-Assad and his Baath regime will only continue to kill with the complete support of China and Russia. All forms of diplomatic efforts have been exhausted, including efforts from the United Nations, Turkey and the Arab League. Syrians have asked to be allowed to stand for their right for freedom and democracy against this brutal regime. The United States must allow the allies of the Syrian people to provide logistical support and arms for the Free Syrian army before more innocent civilians are killed. The Baath regime is known for its crimes against humanity and will continue to do so unabated. Every day brave Syrians take to the streets, many with a message: “Your silence is killing us.”

Jenan Jondy


East-west idea

I feel the east-west highway is not a good idea. I feel the most economical means would be a railway across the state. If it included passenger service, all the better. I do not believe building a road for truckers is for the trucking industry. It appears it is a means of transporting chemicals, oils, etc., in a pipeline to cross our watersheds, pristine lakes, ponds and woods.

If any product is so vital that it cannot get from one destination to another in one day of driving, then why not fly it across the state?

Gary Watson


System in crisis

Thank you for shining light on the critical issue of waiting lists for hundreds of adults with autism and developmental disabilities across the state (April 21, 2012). It is particularly disconcerting that the lead agency for this population has to place their clients into crisis beds, with strangers, as a way of providing care. Seemingly, the system is in crisis, but clients should not need to be placed in crisis, in order to access programs that provide for their safety, well-being and personal growth.

It is appalling that hundreds of our most vulnerable residents do not have access to the supports they need to work toward their potential. Many could lead very productive lives, given proper programming. Instead, they sit at home, in front of TV or a computer, often unsupervised. They have no opportunities to practice the skills they learned in school, they become more isolated, and their behaviors become entrenched and decline to the point where their caregivers burn out.

This week (May 14, 2012) we learned that one in three young adults with autism have no paid job experience or education nearly seven years after graduation. Furthermore, approximately half a million children with autism will reach adulthood in the next decade. Gov. LePage ran on a platform of care for our society’s most vulnerable people. It is now a matter of urgency for policymakers to assist these young people and their families by providing the resources they need to be productive citizens of Maine.

David Sawyer


Fuel addiction

We live in a world that has become addicted to fossil fuels. We seem to think we can continue to take natural resources out of the earth indefinitely without any harm. That is the real reason for the proposed east-west corridor. The big corporations with big money want more money and think the way to get it is to send natural gas which is being fracked out of the ground in Quebec to countries that are hungry for more using a short cut through Maine. It will make the development of these fracking fields more economical for Irving and others. They don’t even plan to sell it here!

Furthermore, with an enormous corridor like that they can build pipelines for tar sands, which are known to be the dirtiest form of oil ever produced and which are the most toxic when spilled. Maine is a beautiful place with a quality of life that depends on its clean natural environment, its woods, rivers, streams and lakes. Our entire world must reduce its dependency on these fossil fuels and does not need more oil fields and gas fields being developed at risk to our water and wildlife. We should not be supporting this oil and gas “habit.” Building a road to make it cheaper to ship these products is simply enabling the addiction to continue.

Ellen Gray


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