Friday, November 1, 2013: Cobscook Bay, voting early, Ellsworth withdrawal

Posted Oct. 29, 2013, at 3:11 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 31, 2013, at 12:20 p.m.

BDN misrepresents LePage

Whoever wrote the BDN editorial regarding Gov. Paul LePage’s recent visit to Washington County should have taken a little time to research the facts.

The Oct. 22 editorial, “LePage chooses made-for-TV standoff over problem-solving in Cobscook Bay,” claims, “Gov. Paul LePage traveled to Washington County on Thursday to make a macho show of defiance of the federal government and take credit for a change for which he deserves little.”

Had the BDN done minimal research, it would have discovered the governor’s trip had been planned for weeks in advance, and the decision to speak to those affected by the federal government shutdown was a late addition to his itinerary.

The governor’s trip included visits to the Elm Street School in East Machias, Down East Community Hospital, Coastal Maine General Contractors, and the East Machias Atlantic Salmon Hatchery. I was with the governor during this tour, and I can assure you the students, business leaders and hospital staff were pleased to meet with the governor. It was a productive event that frankly should have gotten more coverage in the media.

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Instead, this paper chose to ridicule the governor for speaking to people at Cobscook Bay State Park and the public boat launch because the shutdown had ended by the time he got there.

It ended just hours before he got there. What was he supposed to do, cancel the meeting after making the commitment? I, for one, am impressed that the governor took time from his busy schedule to show he cares about Washington County.

Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting

UCredit

Margaret Cruikshank’s Oct. 25 OpEd about how to solve UMaine’s declining enrollments by recruiting seniors was interesting and provocative. However, according to the University of Maine System’s website, “The Board of Trustees authorizes the waiver of tuition and Board-approved mandatory fees for senior citizens who register for undergraduate courses on a credit or audit basis at any university of the University of Maine System.”

John Chandler

Thomaston

Don’t vote too early

Voting season is now upon us, and it is up to all of us to get out and vote. Those who do not vote, in my opinion, give up their right to complain about the end result. I have already heard ads telling us to get out and vote early. To me, this is not a good idea. When someone throws their hat into the ring or a resolution is submitted, at first what you hear may be the cats meow, but as time draws close, the true person or agendas come out.

The last gubernatorial election is an excellent example. I truly feel that if the early voters had waited until the gloves came off, and the true candidates or agendas came out, many of those who voted early would have chosen differently, and the results could have been very different.

Once your vote is cast, you cannot change it no matter what until the next election. People get elected, and resolutions get passed or rejected by votes cast. I urge all legal voters to get out and vote, but not too early. Wait until you have heard and seen all sides of whatever or whoever you want or don’t want.

Timothy Smyth

Millinocket

Ellsworth vote

The residents of Ellsworth are being faced with the question of withdrawal from Regional School Unit 24 on Nov. 5. As this day approaches and residents listen to both sides of the argument, I ask the voters of Ellsworth to consider these things: Your child is now being educated by a “large corporation” that makes up RSU 24. Ellsworth has three seats on a board of 14, and our vote is 35 percent. Our teachers have not had a raise in two years because the other towns had to bring their teacher’s salaries up to Ellsworth’s rate. Ellsworth High School has lost 21 teachers in two years. The RSU has a central office that spends $1.3 million a year on management positions.

The RSU has spent taxpayer school dollars sending out flyers because they feel Ellsworth citizens have been misinformed. I would ask you: Whom do you believe? A biased RSU central office and school board or concerned Ellsworth citizens who have nothing to gain but local control?

As you go to vote Nov. 5, ask yourself: Do I want my local city council to once again have a direct hand in its school budget? Do I want a local school board that represents the values and interests of Ellsworth residents and addresses the specific issues of my schools? Do I want my taxes to stay in Ellsworth? If you answered yes to these questions, vote yes Nov. 5.

Patricia Boles

Ellsworth

Vote Hal

A public access broadcast of a recent Bangor City Council proceeding highlighted areas of concern, relating to city officials’ performance, which ought to be taken into consideration this election season.

In public discussion regarding city councilors’ failure to respond to citizen emails and phone calls, one councilor, Pat Blanchette, actually characterized such citizen communications as “petty complaints.”

Councilors, including Mayor Nelson Durgin, were observed sitting mute, while promoter Alex Gray of Waterfront Concerts advised Bangor residents that if they didn’t like the noise coming from his concerts, they should move to another “less vibrant” city.

Fortunately, on hand for this particular meeting was former councilor Hal Wheeler, who chastised officials for not doing their jobs in response to resident concerns, and for failing to uphold separation between themselves and for-profit interests, such as those represented by Gray.

Within the Bangor School Department, too, a lack of separation of powers seems to exist between the superintendent’s office and school committee, whose members appear to operate under a virtual gag order. Such lock-step approach sounds more akin to what one might find in some foreign, authoritarian regime — not a school board in the United States of America!

Incumbent candidate Jay Ye does not stand independently. Similarly, longtime office holder Sue Hawes — known for a “go along to get along” philosophy of governance — fails to make grade. New blood is needed on the committee.

For the council, Hal Wheeler will keep city management in check and ensure greater accountability.

Thomas Mooney

Bangor

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