Lockman strikes again
The bankruptcy of right wing rhetoric in Maine is evident in Republican Rep. Lawrence Lockman’s June 25 BDN OpEd piece, “Pass the 60 day ‘cooling off’ period; don’t raise taxes.” He must hope no one takes him seriously enough to read closely what he writes: “Liberalism measures its success by the number of people who depend on government to meet their basic needs.” I’m quoting him, but he is quoting no one. No liberal said that. Lockman made it up. It would be as bad to say that Gov. Paul LePage and Lockman measure success by how many Mainers die from lack of adequate health care or how many of our children go hungry. That’s Lockman’s technique turned against him.
He praises LePage’s success by bragging that he has us “dead last in business climate,” but his policies will (in some vague future time) move us up. Dead last is not success.
He condemns LePage’s infamous remarks, as if they were out of character. They aren’t.
And this OpEd was as disrespectful and dishonest as LePage’s remarks.
DEP true vision
While Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection deliberates the Bowers Mountain Wind Project, there is now the writing on the wall from Europe, and according to President Barack Obama, our energy policy “should follow the lead of Germany and Spain.” Spain’s wind turbine manufacturers are rapidly laying off workers. According to the wind turbine association AEE, investors in wind turbines no longer believe the outlook is attractive.
At the heart of the problem are the subsidies needed to cover the gap between the cost of producing electricity and the price charged to consumers. Sound familiar? It’s no wonder that Iberdrola, the Spanish manufacturer of wind turbines, is trying to sell them by the boatload to Maine. Following Spain’s lead now amounts to buying the future scrap metal of their failed industry.
According to the Energy Tribune, a global news source for the industry, Germany’s renewable energy programs also “have imploded.” Germany is now facing up to the hard realities of wind power: maintenance costs, the need for hydrocarbon back-up, and wind’s intermittent and unreliable generation.
As stated in Jay Lehr’s June 17 Wall Street Journal article predicting wind developer’s lack of funds for dismantling their turbines: “The result (of wind power proliferation) will be a scene from a science fiction movie — as though giant aliens descended on our planet only to freeze in place.”
We can only hope that the DEP have the long-term vision required to protect Maine’s future.
Maine against border deal
Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., introduced their amendment to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill last week to require hundreds of miles of border walls be added to the existing 651 miles and doubling the size of the U.S. border patrol by adding 20,000 agents.
The estimated cost of this endeavor is expected to top $48 billion in 10 years during a time when we need taxpayer money to focus on improving the economy and the lives of our people. Washington should be building new roads, improving schools and carrying out projects that stimulate the economy, not wasting money on border walls and technology that have already proven ineffective in tackling immigration.
Last year alone the U.S. spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement — more than all other federal law enforcement combined. Our borderland communities, the sensitive ecosystems along the Rio Grande in Texas and the awesome desert landscapes of the Southwest, are already overrun with excessive numbers of Border Patrol vehicles, agents, towers and buildings. We have more than 650 miles of border fence that only serve to bisect communities and devastate the borderlands environment.
The Corker amendment will expand upon Bush-era legislation that allows Homeland Security and Border Patrol to completely waive 37 environmental laws including the Clean Air Act, Historic Preservation Act and the Endangered Species Act, to name a few.
We should not unnecessarily sacrifice taxpayer money, the environment and our border communities to appease a few Republican senators with an amendment that will do nothing but harm.
Off our streets
As a resident of Stetson, I am delighted that the largest trucks are no longer required to travel on Maine’s small roads, through our downtown, past our schools and playgrounds.
It never made any sense that the law forced these trucks off the interstate, where it’s safer for them to travel, and onto our state roads.
The federal interstate is built to handle these trucks. Our smaller roads and bridges are not.
Our streets, and more important, our families and children are safer today because Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was able to pass a law allowing these trucks to drive on the interstate.
Thank you for the recent reporting on the University of Maine sports programs. We should call it the University of New Jersey at Orono — giving second-rate athletes’ a free education for what? Drop down to Division II and recruit Maine students for the teams and give them a free education. Why are all of our best leaving the state?
Now that a budget has been passed it’s time to start the work of the Maine people. Reduce the Legislature by a third, along with the accompanying support staff. Reduce the executive branch staff by 50 percent.
Health insurance is fine while members are in office; state-paid health insurance should end at the end of the term of office, including the governor’s.
There should be no state-funded pensions for elected officials. Eliminate the pensions of prior elected officials. Truthfully, with due respect, we send you to the Legislature to do a job for us, not to have a guaranteed income, no matter how small, forever more.
Eliminate taxpayer-supported election funding. Instead set up a fund that taxpayers can elect to donate to. Make the budget of every department available on the state website. Let us see where our money is going.
The people in Maine want to see real change. Experience tells us that when real change is desired one should clean one’s own home first. We who are being taxed to death want you to clean your house.
By starting with changes and cuts in the legislative and executive branches of the Maine government, not only will real savings be achieved but also collectively you will have shown that we are in this together. That no one is exempt from cuts and that the branches of our government actually are invested in working together for the well being of those they ostensibly represent.