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Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012: Immigration reform, labor mural, the fiscal cliff


Library commendation

I would like to commend the BDN for its placement of the story about the awards given to Maine libraries, which appeared on the front page of the State section of the paper on Monday. I would like to further point out that the Southwest Harbor Public Library received an overall five-star rating from Library Journal, the only one to be selected last year for this distinction and one we share with two other libraries this year.

We celebrate the success of all of our sister libraries but would like to single out library director Candy Emlen, her talented and dedicated staff and the small army of volunteers who keep our library at the heart of our island community.

Patsy Fogarty

Chairwoman, Southwest Harbor Library trustees

Southwest Harbor


Auction success

The Merrymeeting Conservation and Education Alliance would like to sincerely thank the community for the fantastic success of the first annual online auction. One hundred sixty-four items were auctioned off and more than $24,000 was raised for the three partnering conservation organizations — the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, the Cathance River Education Alliance and the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust — to conserve land and to conduct nature-based education programs in the Merrymeeting Bay region.

We greatly appreciate the resounding support from the businesses and individuals who donated and solicited items to this year’s auction, and we are already looking forward to next year.

Carrie Kinne



Continue labor merger

In an OpEd on Nov. 26, “ Maine workers and employers deserve more attention,” Democratic state Reps. Terry Hayes and Paul Gilbert advocated splitting up the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee and creating a committee focused solely on labor issues. This is the way it was years ago, but the committees were recently merged in order to bring unions together with employers so that no single special-interest group gained too much influence.

It is important for labor and management to come together around the same table to reach compromises. We see the need for this especially in the wake of the closing of Hostess Brands and its layoff of 18,000 workers due to a dispute between labor and management. LCRED, the newly combined business and labor committee, has been instrumental in crafting sensible laws that both unions and employers can agree upon.

Breaking it up and sending each group in its own direction would be a big mistake and a regrettable step backward at a time when our economy needs to move forward without the kind of disasters that we saw at Hostess.

I urge the new Democratic leadership to maintain the harmony that the merged business and labor committee has provided and reject the proposal of Hayes and Gilbert.

Irv Marsters



Immigration reform

An “Other Voices” editorial on Nov. 24-25, “GOP needs Immigration Change,” repeats the standard political narrative concerning “comprehensive immigration reform” originally proposed by Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. John McCain in 2006. We are told that it was repeatedly defeated by Republicans, but we’re never told why.

The “comprehensive immigration reform” bill would have massively expanded legal immigration, providing millions of new temporary workers a path to citizenship. The amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants was tiny in comparison.

A 2006 population impact study by Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation estimated that “comprehensive immigration reform” would add between 100 and 192 million new immigrants in two decades. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that providing public services to amnestied illegal immigrants would have added $126 billion to the budget deficit.

The numbers and the costs. That’s why it’s been repeatedly defeated.

Kenneth Roy

New England Coalition for a Sustainable Population



‘Fiscal cliff’ compromise

With the “fiscal cliff” looming over the nation, the constant wailing of those on Capitol Hill appears to be almost exclusively about defense cuts. Other considerations have been seemingly cast aside in favor of their favorite drum to beat, a strong military.

We spend more than the next 17 countries combined. $16.2 trillion of U.S. debt and counting says at some point, something has to give. With a divided Congress and nation, the reality is it can’t come just from entitlements or a tax on the so-called rich.

Just a few weeks from now, after Dec. 29, 2.1 million Americans will see their Emergency Unemployment Compensation stop immediately if no deal is reached. That means a little over 40 percent of the estimated 5 million Americans on EUC will be in dire straits very quickly, and with the winter months just taking hold.

Compromise has become a dirty word on “The Hill.” The divisive nature of the partisan political directive has driven a wedge between us and pushed class warfare and party agenda ahead of common sense.

Congressional backbone virtually disappears if the tenant in the White House has the same letter in front of his/her name as the respective senator or congressman does. Our nation can’t survive much more of this neglect. They need to do their job and do it soon, or their jobs and our nation will become irrelevant.

Michael D. Hilliker



Not above the law

If Gov. Paul LePage were to walk into the state library and remove a book that he was at variance with from one of its shelves, thereby removing that book from the purview of the public, he would have effectively destroyed an item of public property, an item bought and paid for by the people of the state of Maine. And he would have done so willfully and maliciously! If you don’t believe so, there is a seminal court case that says as much: State v. Ronan, 380 A.2d 207, 1977.

Now a labor mural is not a book, but it is an item bought and paid for by public funds and therefore public property, and when LePage sequesters such a mural in his figurative desk drawer, he functionally destroys that mural by removing it from the public purview, willfully and maliciously, and is, therefore, criminally culpable. Bring an action against him and force him to cough up our mural and restore it to a place of display commensurate with its statement.

Phil Tobin



Pastry politicians

Now that the end of the Hostess company seems to be at hand, Twinkies will certainly be hard to find. But there is positively no chance that we will ever run out of Ding Dongs as they are all in Washington and they call themselves Republicans.

Russ Irwin


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