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Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012: Romney’s taxes, rockweed harvesting and smart meters


Campaign clutter

Now that both the Republican and Democratic Party conventions are over, I am hopeful that American voters will have a good sense of where the presidential candidates stand on the issues they care about.

It can be difficult to wade through the enormous amount of information and advertisements coming our way. Cutting through the political campaign clutter can be quite a challenge.

With this in mind, the annual AARP Voters’ Guides can help. Our nonpartisan status enables us to offer specific information about congressional and presidential candidates’ positions on issues of concern to older voters. This year, our guides focus on Social Security, Medicare and financial security. With more than one-third of Mainers over 65 relying on their Social Security benefit for their entire income, we know this is a critical issue.

With almost 270,000 Medicare beneficiaries in our state, we understand that voters will want to know what the candidates plan to do to strengthen this vital program. With almost 7 percent of older Mainers going hungry every day, it’s time to find out how the candidates plan to address financial security problems.

If you would like to find out where the candidates stand on these matters, go to earnedasay.org and take a look at our voters’ guides. The candidates’ responses are culled from publicly available information and excerpts from their own campaign sources.

Please also join us on Election Day, when we all have the opportunity to make our voices heard on these critical issues.

John Hennessy

AARP Maine advocacy director


A stand-up guy

Sam Canders has and always will stand up for his fellow veterans of this country. When a man confronted my husband, a veteran, and told him he was wrong for holding a sign in support of his brothers and sisters in the military, Canders stood by my husband and defended him.

The only veteran that stood up and defended my husband when no one else did, Canders, a Republican from Bangor, is a candidate who would serve our people well. If only we could duplicate him 100 times over, we would. We need more people willing to speak up and stand up for what’s right, even if it means he stands alone.

He would be a great asset to House District 15. Canders never compromises his principles; he’s a stand-up guy, a man of his word. District 15 would be lucky to have him.

Jeanne Hoxie


Taxing comments

It is becoming most tedious to read letters accusing Mitt Romney of somehow failing to pay his “fair share” of federal income tax. The latest installment penned by Debbie Brooks suggests he should be considered a traitor for maintaining multiple offshore accounts, which deprive the Treasury of all his sheltered taxes.

She and others so inclined seem bemused that “rich” people use such a legal, Internal Revenue Services approved mechanism to their financial advantage. They perceive that offshore accounts disqualify only affluent Republicans from running for president.

Romney has reported paying a 13.9 percent tax rate on his considerable 2010 income. To my knowledge, that return is not being audited by the IRS. If this bona fide rate on his millions earns him condemnation as a traitor, how shall we characterize the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax?

Collectively, they wield millions of daggers capable of inflicting millions of stab wounds in the back of our country. So who is doing more damage to our nation? Brooks is, of course, entitled to her opinion and the BDN, which buys ink by the barrel, is entitled to publish such ad hominem attacks against President Barack Obama’s challenger.

However, as a conservative who believes Romney’s policies will relieve this country of its economic woes, I am convinced that letters which criticize him at the personal level are published merely to taint Romney’s character, to diminish him as a viable candidate and ultimately to serve as a whetstone upon which to hone the BDN’s liberal ax.

Ron Goldstone


Harvesting concerns

As a native of Down East Maine, I can relate to George Seaver’s ( BDN, Sept. 9) concerns about rockweed harvesting. Like other old-timers, I’ve watched the steady disappearance of coastal resources and the resultant decline of Washington County’s economy. I’d like nothing better than to see a revival of the fisheries and jobs that would come from it. That will never happen by the grab-all-you-can method we’ve used in the past. It can only happen through realistic regulation based on good science.

What is known suggests that the seaweed is vital habitat and food supply for the whole inshore ecosystem, and the more we take away, the more harm it will do. Seaweed torn off by nature returns its nutrients to the water; not so what is hauled away. The amount harvested will become much greater as the global market expands.

Except for Cobscook Bay, Maine sets no limit on how much can be taken. Only honest science can tell us what the effects are and, so far, the necessary studies have not been done.

I joined the Rockweed Coalition because removal of the seaweed looked like more nails in the coffin of our coastal ecosystem. If studies prove that wrong, so be it. In the meantime, I say to the coastal fishers: Science and environmental protection are our friends, not our enemies.

Harvesting jobs, and tourism and wildlife as well, depend on a healthy ecosystem. Let’s work together to restore the coastal ecology, not fight over the last scraps.

Ken Ross


Health issues due to smart meters

My husband and I opted out of our smart meter after it was installed without our knowledge or permission. As you know, the opt-out fee is $40, plus an additional $12 tacked onto our monthly Central Maine Power bill.

To me this is nothing short of highway robbery. Even though we don’t have a smart meter directly on our house, we are surrounded by our neighbor’s smart meters. One of our neighbor’s smart meter is directly opposite our bedroom.

I’ve had health issues that showed up shortly after the installation of the smart meters. I’ve been plagued with tinnitus, heart palpitations and insomnia. The tinnitus has produced ticking in one ear and loud humming in the other ear. CMP seems not to care about its customers well-being. This is not the way Maine should be.

Susan Kanellakis


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