The Bangor Police Department asserts that its purpose is to “provide an enhanced level of community safety, protect the constitutional rights guaranteed to all people, and improve the quality of life of each citizen.” Yet the structural arrangement of the Bangor police building’s reception area left me feeling more disrespected and vulnerable than protected or safe.
Twice in the last month I have been there to report my experience as a target of criminal activity. Both times I was told that I must make my report through an intercom, with glass between me and the police reception person, all from within the echoey and very public reception area where anyone waiting to be protected and served could hear the details of my report, including my name, age and home address. When making this sort of report, I assure you that the last thing anyone wants to announce in a public space is their name and home address.
When I suggested that I’d prefer to talk with an officer in private, one came out to the public reception area to talk with me. No space to speak privately was offered, nor was I asked if I’d like to sit down while making my report. I am sure that our police officers are caring and respectful people. But when they are required to work in a space that leaves people feeling humiliated and at risk, one has to question whether the department is doing all it can to meet its own goals.
Religion and answers
It’s interesting how the still whining right-wing religious fundamentalists refer to the Marriage equality law as a “law of man,” yet in 2009 it was God’s will because their prayers were answered when the original law was repealed. I guess it’s only God’s will when they get the answer they want.
Defend our economic future
The so-called “fiscal cliff” is a creation of the U.S. Congress and should be addressed and rectified by the Congress. It poses an immediate and long-term threat to Maine’s working families, and our state’s ability to survive this altogether too long economic recession. At stake are programs such as Head Start for our youth and Pell Grants for college students; grants to state and local governments for education and economic development; and federal support for infrastructure, public safety and environmental protection.
Educating our children, protecting their health and safety and building roads and bridges for their economic future are wise public investments. Putting these and other vital needs at risk is irresponsible and I would argue, un-American.
We must surely acknowledge and realize that cuts to these federal programs will only shift the cost to our state taxpayers. Fully one-third of these resources go directly to states and are already slated for deep cuts.
Many of our elected leaders already agree that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should expire as one solution to the fiscal cliff. And that’s good. But we must also ensure that important investments are not cut further. I am hopeful that U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will defend our children and grandchildren’s future now to ensure some degree of certainty and economic stability.
John R. Hanson
Raising taxes on the rich
Several recent letters to the BDN have advocated making “the rich” pay more taxes as their “fair share.” It would be interesting to know how many of their writers are among the roughly half of our citizens who pay no taxes. I believe their letters are based on either greed or naivete.
For some it’s greed. About half of our citizens want government to provide them with benefits they want someone else to pay for. Thoughtful writers as early as Benjamin Franklin realized our country would thrive only until a majority realized they could vote for more benefits than we could afford. We’ve reached that point and the country isn’t thriving, and won’t in the foreseeable future.
For some it’s naivete. They don’t realize that when more taxes are taken from “the rich,” there is less to invest in economic growth, so there are fewer jobs and lower wages and everyone suffers. Historically, raising taxes on the rich has never increased overall revenues.
Some think raising taxes on the rich will solve our economic woes. No way. If tax rates were raised to 100 percent on every man, woman and child in the country, that still wouldn’t cover what we spend annually.
McDonald’s doesn’t charge the rich more than the poor for a hamburger. Rich don’t pay more than poor to attend Bangor’s waterfront concerts. What logical basis is there for making “the rich” pay a higher tax rate than the poor, trying to prop up a failing economy?
Lawrence E. Merrill