Tuesday, May 29, 2012: Susan Collins, freedom of speech and school budgets

Posted May 28, 2012, at 2:54 p.m.

Kudos to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins

Sen. Collins’ recent successful intervention in helping to prevent the closing of the Hampden processing facility once more allows us to marvel at her abilities.

She completely understood the hardships that would come about if that plant had been closed. Not only would it have put hundreds of hard-working postal workers in the unemployment line but hundreds of thousands of Mainers would have had their mail delayed by as much as three days. This was a burden, especially on our elderly, many of whom depend upon the mail for the delivery of their medications and receipt of that daily mail including their newspaper.

Not only the elderly would have suffered, thousands of businesses in the second district would have also been severely affected. From financial institutions to hospitals to the ordinary businesses like our own, we all would have been negatively affected.

Our company, which processes millions of pieces of mail each year for our customers watched the development of this potential crisis with much interest. Like everyone else in our district we were thankful to the senator for her efforts on behalf of all of us.

Things are back to normal. Postal employees still have good-paying jobs, companies like our own will still be able to offer our customers discounts on their mailings and in a couple of months this averted threat will most likely be forgotten.

We need to remember who made things happen. It was Sen. Collins who led the charge in Washington for this reversal.

Ed Armstrong

Chairman, The Snowman Group

Hermon

Is Freedom too noisy?

We have a dilemma in Bangor. On one hand, we have a waterfront concert that disturbed the peace within a mile radius until 11:30 p.m. with screeching shouts purported to be music.

On the flip side, we have a citizen, who objects to past government policies, disrupting by shouting, a graduation speech at Colby College. Who is exercising the freedom to be heard, and who is disturbing the peace? Where does individual freedom become infringement on others, as opposed to the legitimate right to speak out and to be heard? When does the end justify the means?

Does the money brought into Bangor from the concerts offset the right for folks to peacefully enjoy a weekend evening? Does the education and empowerment generated by disrupting an invited speaker whose policies underwrote an ill-advised war, offset the disturbance experienced by those who were there simply to witness their child graduate from college? What is justified in both these instances, and how do we arrive at that justification? Who do we punish, who do we encourage, and why do we do either in either case?

What priorities determine our individual judgment in both of these situations? How many parents objected to the protests at the graduation, but took their graduating child to the waterfront concert as a gift, fully aware that the evening’s peace and quiet throughout Bangor was disturbed?

There’s no getting around it: democracy is a messy business, and it never is easy.

Nancy Nadzo

Bangor

Approval meeting

If repeated often enough, the same old story gets boring, even if it’s true.

That may be the case with “We are in tough economic times.” That same old story is repeated often this time of year when school systems are developing and promoting their budgets. In most school systems the public approval of a school budget is a two-part process: a public town-meeting type session where the budget is approved by citizens of the district, section by section, and a secret ballot validation vote on primary day in June.

For RSU 67 (Chester, Lincoln, Mattawamkeag) the approval meeting date is May 29 and the validation vote is June 12. This has been a year of unrest in RSU 67 with a high turnover in administration and teaching staff, along with developing lack of trust in the district’s top leadership. I strongly urge the voting citizens of RSU 67 to attend the approval meeting on May 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Mattanawcook Academy. At this meeting the citizens and taxpayers can ask questions and make comments about the budget, its development, and its effect on the education of their children.

Sarah M. Crockett

Lincoln

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