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Saturday, August 17, 2013: First Wind, school withdrawal and immigration

Tide is turning

First Wind is now in the process of submitting for an application to develop the Molunkus Wind Project in Medway, which would bring 65 wind turbines to the doorstep of Baxter State Park.

Similarly, First Wind is submitting for the Weaver Wind Project, which will bring another 60 wind turbines to Aurora. First Wind knows the tide is turning against them and is seeking to get these through as quickly and stealthy as possible.

We simply can’t afford to concede our state to Boston-based First Wind. They are destroying our state, one mountaintop at a time.

Darren Lord



Breathe easy

The House recently passed two bills that could cause great harm to public health by blocking and delaying the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to protect the air we all breathe. As a doctor, I often see patients in desperate need of relief from the severe health impacts caused by breathing air pollution. From severe asthma attacks to those experiencing chronic wheezing, air pollution is bad news not only for people with lung disease but for everyone who breathes.

Thankfully, Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, stood up against these dangerous dirty air bills intended to weaken the Clean Air Act. The fight to defend healthy air is far from over. This latest round of insidious attacks against our most basic healthy air protections threatens children whose lung development can be stunted when constantly bombarded by dirty air, possibly leading to a lifetime of lung health problems.

I like to think of the EPA and its work to implement the Clean Air Act as our nation’s healthy air enforcers. Without a good cop on the beat, we all will be forced to pay for the missteps of big polluters by sacrificing our health and some cases, even lives. That is why we need Michaud to continue his hard work to protect the air we breathe.

Paul Shapero, M.D.



RSU 20 withdrawal

Vote no on RSU 20 withdrawal.

First, withdrawing, then forming with six of the eight towns, is simply an attempt to expel two towns from the district, most likely forcing them to close their schools. I refuse to accept that the only way to gain control of our school district is to take away the schools and rights of our friends and neighbors.

Second, the withdrawal effort is causing real harm now. If we vote to start the process again, morale will suffer, we will risk losing our best faculty and staff, and desperately needed long-term educational improvement efforts will be stalled.

Third, withdrawal will not solve the dysfunction that we are seeing in school leadership. The former Belfast district had its share of dysfunctional school boards, financial mismanagement, flawed superintendents and budget battles, as did SAD 56. Withdrawal is not the answer to the very real need to develop innovative, engaged and visionary school leadership.

Fourth, the long-term financial outlook for a small district is not at all certain or optimistic. Paying for our children’s education will continue to be challenging. Finally, withdrawal will not prevent and may even increase the chances of our favorite local schools being closed.

We need to deliver better outcomes for our students while making the most efficient use of limited taxpayer dollars. We face substantial challenges and cannot address them effectively while withdrawal efforts are underway. Say no to withdrawal, and let’s focus our energies on creating the quality schools our children deserve.

Chip Curry



A simple solution

In response to news that Bangor will likely have to wait until 2016 for funding to place sidewalks on Hogan Road, I’d like to suggest that Bangor take a new approach to funding basic pedestrian infrastructure in the Bangor Mall area.

Specifically, I’d like to see a one-time fee paid by mall area businesses that would provide the needed capital to install a comprehensive network of sidewalks around the mall, without raising taxes on the residents of Bangor. The cost would be paid for almost entirely by the large, out-of-state corporations that dominate the mall landscape.

A utility fee such as this isn’t a new or creative idea, as fees for the installation of sewage and water utilities are all commonplace, but it seems Bangor has overlooked this simple solution to a large problem. Fortunately for Bangor, that problem was created by businesses with deep enough pockets to pay for a few sidewalks.

Greg Edwards



Immigration: Right, wrong

I’d like to respond to the Aug. 10 BDN opinion piece, “Everything you know about the immigration debate is wrong.”

At last. Some common sense. The border is not the issue. Throwing money at the border is what politicians do to convince the public they’re serious about stopping illegal immigration, when they aren’t. And the results prove it: We have 11 million more today after seven amnesties for six million, and we’ve dumped a fortune on the border. It’s a very expensive soap opera.

The Jordan Commission told Congress that the “lynchpin” to stopping illegal immigration is worksite enforcement. We have a fair, cost-effective, electronic and highly accurate method to enforce immigration laws at the worksite: E-Verify. But Congress has refused to require employers to use it because wealthy, politically connected elites want the flow of foreign labor to continue, driving down wages, forcing mostly poor Americans to compete with third world labor and requiring taxpayers to meet the basic needs of their low wage workforce.

In short, the employers and ethnic politicians have dominated Congress and immigration legislation for decades. And that’s why legal immigration visas have quadrupled. Not because the American public demanded this explosion in foreign workers.

True reform would begin by immediately requiring all employers to use E-verify and hire Americans. Future immigration should be managed by the Department of Labor, as we did in the past, where labor economists decide whether we have “labor shortages” and how they should be handled.

The “gang of eight” Senate immigration “reform” bill, which provides immediate legalization for all 11 million, massively expands visas for new foreign job seekers, protects employers from punishment, postpones E-verify and adds loopholes a mile wide is a disaster for American labor and a bonanza for the one percent. Guess who wrote it?

Jonette Christian, Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy


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