LETTERS

Friday, June 21, 2013: Background checks, wind power and adult education

Posted June 20, 2013, at 5:37 p.m.

Require checks

The Maine Senate has voted 18-17 to require background checks for all firearm sales, and rightly so, as there is nothing in Maine’s Constitution that gives any citizen “the right” to sell firearms. I repeat, there is nothing in Maine’s Constitution that gives any citizen “the right” to sell firearms.

Maine ranks above the national average in the export of gun crime, according to the site “Trace the Guns,” a project by the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Only by doing all that can be done to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands can we say we are not complicit in the commission of those crimes.

Maine has hundreds of federally licensed gun dealers. It would be no hardship for any citizen who wants to sell a gun to access the background check system. I truly cannot fathom why anyone would fail to support such a measure.

Because this bill passed with the narrowest of margins, it will not sustain a veto. And so my heart and mind will weep for those who will be victimized if LD 1240 is not signed into law.

Mary Royal

Winterport

 

It ain’t over ’til it’s over

Quotes from Yogi Berra to consider as Gov. Paul LePage decides whether to veto or let the budget pass without his signature:

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it ”

This whole legislative session has one fundamental subtext: Will we continue down the road to Greece as an entitlement state or change course? The governor has at least slowed down our headlong rush towards dependency and aggressive redistribution.

“It’s deja vu all over again.”

Two years ago, the governor declined to sign a flawed budget. He should do the same now because “if the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be” and “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

“If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.”

A veto, whether sustained or overridden, will likely have this effect on Republican enthusiasm.

Jon Reisman

Cooper

 

One-sided on wind

David Gordon’s June 6 OpEd on wind power, “Why wind energy is right for Aroostook County,” is not the opinion of all. Since he employs people in Oakfield, of course they will listen to him. It means their jobs.

At a tax increment financing meeting where 80 people voted for and 20 against, I had people come up and thank us for speaking against the turbines, including people speaking firsthand from their experience at Lincoln Lakes. Wind is not clean. Google “wind turbines and toxicity” and see why.

Follow the world record with wind power. It skyrockets prices, according to an article in USA Today. Just look at Spain and Germany.

Wind on ridges is intermittent, and turbines destroy forests with clear cutting, as well as making humans ill and murdering birds and bats, according to the organization Save the Eagles International.

More than 700 people signed a petition and many sent letters against the Oakfield Project. They care more about the future of this pristine area — with its two highly ranked historic lakes that were preserved until the 2008 expedited wind law under former Gov. John Baldacci — than the short-term gain of using our government dollars to subsidize a technology that is industrial — not windmills, but turbines. There’s a big difference.

These create audible and low-frequency noise, creating wind turbine syndrome. This project was expanded to taller and more turbines than the original.

Those leasing their property, like Gordon, sing its praises. Thank goodness legislation is presented to oppose the red flashing lights over our lakes and statewide.

Donna Sewall Davidge

Island Falls

 

Keep on truckin’

On June 13, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development held a hearing about our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. I was confounded to hear Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, decry the dire condition of highways and bridges throughout our state since she was the lead proponent of allowing behemoth 100,000-pound trucks on our interstate.

In January 2011, I urged members of the Maine delegation to stop the 20-year congressional pilot program allowing these overweight trucks on our roads. Despite clear and compelling facts demonstrating the safety risks and damage to our infrastructure, the program was enacted.

Now, Collins says that Maine’s roads and bridges are among the worst in the nation’s rural transportation system. Well, the senator should know that large, heavy trucks are a major cause of bridge and pavement damage.

The Maine Department of Transportation estimates that to maintain state highways and bridges in good repair would cost $335 million annually — $110 million above current levels. The senator should have considered the cost to Maine’s citizens and taxpayers before supporting legislation to allow more big trucks on I-95.

Aside from the damage to our infrastructure, large truck crashes continue to claim about 4,000 lives annually. In 1993, my teenage son, Jeff, and three friends were killed by a large truck while stopped in their car in the breakdown lane of the Maine Turnpike. The chance of surviving a serious crash with a large truck is slim, and now with 100,000-pound trucks, it’s even slimmer.

Daphne Izer

Lisbon

 

Adult education improvement

Kudos to the June 13 BDN article, “Portland Adult Education center needs new home after 27 years in ‘temporary’ spot.”

Rainwater drips from the ceiling as we practice verb tenses. No one complains. My English language class at the West School in Portland has 27 immigrants. Old and young, they come from nine countries and speak 14 languages.

Despite the variety of ages, languages, talents and educational backgrounds, my students are united in one belief: In order to realize their dreams — a high school diploma, a college degree, a better job, a better life — knowing well spoken English is critical.

Our students are eager, our classrooms full. Our teachers are smart, upbeat and inventive. Community volunteers arrive early, impatient to help. Our administrative staff, all magicians, hold the program together. We form a vibrant community. Together we focus on our most important goals — learning and teaching.

Our building may have broken down, but we always hold classes. Our program is excellent, but our home is gone.

What do we need? One building where together we can continue our work. We need adequate classrooms, workspace for staff, some parking and safe access day and evening. Portland City Council members, school board members, elected officials, citizens — we appeal for help and ideas, so that we can continue to serve our students and thus enhance all our lives.

Phyllia Klein

Cape Elizabeth

 

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