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Tuesday, April 16, 2013: Black bear cruelty and court fees

Broken legal system

In all the clamor about illegal immigration, what is lost is the legal immigration system’s inability to function anywhere near efficiently and the impact that has on people’s lives. Here is our story in very brief.

My wife is Chinese. She is a remarkable, brave and smart woman who has a discerning eye for truth and beauty, makes the best dumplings ever and loves her adopted home in Maine. Her journey from initial application to “green card” took more than four years. It cost more than $3,000 in “fees” and countless hours, travel, 15 months of separation and agonizing waiting, none of which was necessary.

We complain about going to other countries and having to bribe local officials, but here we just call it a “user fee.”

The legal system is broken. Its inefficiencies serve neither national security nor families. We could modernize our legal immigration system so that family reunification is a higher priority. Employment-based legal immigration levels should be tied to the state of the economy – increasing when employers cannot fill jobs and decreasing when unemployment is high.

While efforts to reform the system are a step in the right direction, given the backlog, adding millions more to the waiting line will mean their children will still be waiting.

Here in Maine, there are many families with a spouse living in Canada just because of some “t” or “i” that got missed. We can and should do better.

Phil Bailey


Stop cruelty to bears

Hounding Maine’s black bears with attack dogs or trapping them near bait piles and then executing these helpless bears are two barbaric traditions that must end.

Black bears are gentle and shy beings. They are not war criminals. It is unacceptable, horrible animal abuse to allow GPS-collared, trained attack dogs to chase Maine’s black bears or any wild being through the woods of our state.

Such brutality against innocent wildlife should no longer have a place in Maine.

Bears are subdued and often torn apart, alive, by these dogs. If the bear makes it up a tree, it is terrorized until the “brave hunter” gets out of his truck, follows the GPS signal and shoots the terrorized bear out of the tree.

Bears are often still alive when they fall to the ground. The dogs attack and tear into them. Does any wild being, any of God’s creatures, deserve to be treated with such cruelty and terror?

Maine is the only state that allows bears to be snared or trapped. Bears are lured to rotting piles of food where snares have been laid out. A trapped bear can suffer for many hours, sometimes even a day or more, until their executioner arrives and shoots them at point blank range. This is not ethical, fair chase hunting.

The Humane Society is sponsoring the Maine Bear Protection Act that will outlaw these cruel and unethical attacks on Maine’s black bears. Please contact your state legislators and ask them to support this humane legislation.

Robert Goldman

South Portland

Too much talk about BPA

To me, the continued discussions about bisphenol A have become almost redundant and certainly tiresome. How many years has Maine been discussing how to regulate this chemical, both in the Legislature and before the Board of Environmental Protection?

As a scientist with some 32 years as a public servant for the state of Maine, this continued dialogue has had the effect of numbing me to the whole regulatory process.

BPA is an organic compound, belonging to the bisphenols group. Do readers know that BPA is being targeted when in fact there are other bisphenols that may serve as substitutes for BPA, many with similar or even greater toxic concern and that many manufactures are already switching to these alternatives?

Here are examples: bisphenol AP, bisphenol AF, bisphenol B, bisphenol BD, bisphenol C, bisphenol E, bispenol F, bisphenol G, bisphenol M, bisphenol S, bisphenol P, bisphenol PH, bisphenol TMC, bisphenol Z.

If we chose to discuss bisphenol A for several years, what about the alphabet soup of all these other bisphenols? I believe that talking BPA to death is part of a strategy best named, “deny and delay.”

My point is that we need to stop concentrating all of our attention on BPA and begin to look at the big picture. We should revisit Maine’s effort to take some real steps under the Kids Safe Products Act, including reporting chemicals of high concern and naming new priority chemicals, repealing food packaging exemptions and finally defining “contaminant.”

Please support LD 1181 to put an end to this madness.

John (Jack) Krueger


Family court fees

I am writing in response to the March 29 article, “Lawmakers, judges, parents call for improvements to court-appointed guardian system.”

The article ends with a quote by Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute President Toby Hollander that says, “The parties will pay top dollar to get pediatricians and counselors to testify and will put their families fate in the hands of the very judges that they have come to scorn.”

That is one of the major problems here. The cost of family court and the fees these guardian ad litems are asking single income earning families to pay in the midst of their worst time of their lives, can be outrageous.

It is true that families will pay top dollar and not because they have the money to but because in a contested custody case you would be putting your children on the line if you did not have experts testifying on your behalf.

Personally it is not only outrageous what the guardian ad litem is charging but the cost of the court process itself. It is unjust that I had to tap into my retirement, clean out any savings and borrow money to come up with the eventual total cost of $23,000 for my custody case, and that was only for the interim hearing.

The family court system and its process need to be re-evaluated because rendering families into financial hardship that are already struggling is definitely not in the best interest of the child.

There is so much room for improvements, and I think regulating the guardian ad litems is a step in the right direction, as well as putting a cap on the fees and finding a way to expedite the family court process — so it does not become so costly to families.

Cynthia MartinezEdgar


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