LETTERS

Friday, August 23, 2013: LePage, Clean Elections and noise pollution

Posted Aug. 22, 2013, at 11:30 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 27, 2013, at 9:33 a.m.

Room for both feet

The front page story in the Aug. 20 BDN, “Lawmakers: LePage said Obama ‘hates white people,’” shows that the Maine voters have most likely elected the most embarrassing and ill-suited governor in American history. When the fact that at a Republican Party fundraiser in Belgrade, he quipped that “President Barack Obama hates white people,” is coupled with the fact that 13 Republicans, including one member of the Republican National Committee and six others from the Maine Republican State Committee have resigned and left the Republican Party, it isn’t hard to figure out why.

In addition, the Maine Republican Party has had three changes of leadership in less time than I’ve had four haircuts. Charlie Webster, who could be called the Maine poster boy for political bigotry, Richard Cebra and now Rick Bennett show how the Republican Party has disintegrated into various individual factions and is no longer cohesive or representative of their constituency.

Bruce Hixon

Bowdoin

Clear distortions

Sam Jenkins’ Aug. 10 BDN letter to the editor “Clean Distortions,” stated that under Maine’s Clean Elections program, the number of women legislators has increased 150 percent. If true, this claim would be a striking piece of evidence that privately funded campaigns have seriously sexist effects and that taxpayer-funded campaigns can open new opportunities for women.

However, this claim is not true. It’s outrageously false.

In the last legislature before Clean Elections, Maine had 51 female legislators. Today, there are 54. That’s an increase of 5.9 percent, not 150 percent.

Advocates of taxpayer-funded campaigns have never let facts or math get in the way of their attempts to provide taxpayer dollars to politicians, but reasonable people should pay attention to the evidence.

The most women legislators Maine has ever had was 61 in 1991, under a system of privately financed campaigns. The other state to have taxpayer-funded campaigns since 2000, Arizona, has also seen its number of women legislators flatline under the system. Arizona had 32 women legislators in 1999, and it has 32 women legislators in 2013, according to information provided by the Center for Competitive Politics.

This is just one example of how proponents of taxpayer-funded campaigns distort or fabricate evidence to support their cause. The truth is that taxpayer-funded campaigns have not shown any ability at all to increase opportunities for women. The opportunity they open is for politicians to get more money for their campaigns, whether we like it or not.

Luke Wachob

Center for Competitive Politics policy analyst

Alexandria, Va.

Noise pollution

I feel sorry for those people in Bangor who are forced to listen to the Waterfront Concerts because of their house location. They should count it as a blessing, as it could be worse. They don’t have to listen to this noise every day.

In Monson, a generator can be run instead of using Central Maine Power Co. for power needs. Listening to that type of noise pollution 12 hours a day is not pleasant. It has turned my paradise into a nightmare.

Donna Wilson

Monson

Solutions, please

The AARP keeps bombarding people with letters demanding Social Security be kept inviolable. What part of, “the life span is increasing,” don’t these people understand?

Back when the Social Security Administration was reformed in the 1980s, the average lifespan was 74. Now it’s closer to 80. That means the money set aside for retirement is not going to last.

For those who know how to add, anyone can see that the system can only remain solvent two ways. Either reduce benefits, by increasing the age for full benefits, or raise the Social Security tax. I don’t suppose they want to do either.

Let’s come up with some solutions.

Owen Sear

East Machias

Calais revenue

Voters will be asked on Aug. 27 to validate the Calais school budget for the 2013-2014 school year. The city council allocated $1.4 million in funding for the schools, which amounts to a $251,103 increase over last year and equates to 85 percent of the $2 mill increase in property taxes.

Additionally the council gave $90,000 for school maintenance and books from the city’s fund balance for a total of $341,103 over last year. Furthermore, discussions have not even begun regarding last year’s shortfall in school revenues, which we are told is in six figures.

Calais is already experiencing cash flow problems and is utilizing its line of credit to keep operating. Payments that can be held back are being held back because of this.

Since 2008 the Calais municipal budget has decreased by $275,000, according to numbers provided by the city. This was achieved through cuts in personnel and service, changes to municipal employees health benefits and the diligent budgeting of the Calais city manager.

Now the city is asking the school to step forward and make the most of an $8.3 million budget. If we are to save our community from financial ruin, the rock throwing and blame game tactics must end.

We must work together as a community, roll up our sleeves and find ways to cut school expenses. The budget put forth by the city council needs to be approved, and then we must get to work figuring out how to pay for the revenue shortfall from last year.

Alan Dwelley

Calais city councilor

Calais

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of the letter about Calais revenue incorrectly listed that $1.4 million in funding for Calais schools amounted to 85 percent of the $2 million increase in property taxes. It was a 2 mill increase in property taxes.

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