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Thursday, November 14, 2013: Bath Iron Works, Robert Carlson and Maine philanthropy

‘TIF truths’

Once again, Bath Iron Works is asking the city of Bath to finance its corporate growth through a tax-increment-financing arranged tax break.

Simply put, according to public comment by the Bath City Council:

With a TIF, Bath receives $6.25 million in new taxes over 25 years.

Without a TIF, Bath receives $12.5 to $14 million in new taxes over the same period.

Either way, newly generated taxes will be “sheltered” from state coffers and any disbursements reduction because the property growth will take place in an already existing TIF district.

No matter what spin is employed, the truth is that TIF approval means an additional windfall for BIW and another major loss of rightful and needed economic gain for Bath.

Existing TIF support to BIW amounts to $85 million in assistance from Bath alone, where only 8 percent of its workforce resides. Bath need never feel conflicted in asking BIW to take responsibility for its own business interests. The two-part question to BIW is: Without TIF approval will you still go ahead and modernize for essential competitiveness? If not, why won’t BIW-General Dynamics fully self-invest?

Suggestions that BIW’s demise will somehow occur if this TIF is denied are without credibility. Fear mongering should never triumph over reasoned argument.

Continued public assistance to such a major corporate entity needs incontestable explanation of need to those of us in Bath struggling to continue bearing a tax burden BIW refuses to responsibly offset.

Gary Anderson

Member of Bath Citizens for Responsible TIF Action


Truth be known

On Nov. 13, 2011, Robert Carlson committed suicide. For more than 30 years, he was likely a sexual predator of children. He left behind parishioners, parents, many victims and our communities deeply hurt and confused. Three questions: Was the investigation thorough? Were appropriate actions taken to prevent sexual abuse of children? Did the victims receive adequate help? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Carlson gained access to children through his employment as pastor and chaplain in fire and police departments and at Husson University. His employers didn’t do enough to check his apparently fraudulent credentials. Their excuse: “Bob was bigger than life.”

The police report from the summer of 2012 explains little. It does give a list of mistakes by responsible people, inaction, dereliction of duty and missed opportunities in response to Carlson’s crimes. Therapists knew “specific details” but did not report; officials heard of Carlson’s interest in “child pornography” but did not investigate or make a postmortem search for indecent documents or complicity. Telephone conversations to William Beardsley indicating Carlson’s possible dangerousness remained unexplained. District Attorney Chris Almy’s explanation for doing nothing: “The penalty is not clearly spelled out.”

To correct this travesty of justice, an independent investigator should redo the investigation; by law, mandated reporters who fail to report child abuse should face prosecution; and compensation should be obtained for the victims.

Healing can begin only when the full truth is known.

Robert Gossart

Salisbury Cove

Leaving mark in Maine

Thirty years ago one of Maine’s most important philanthropic organizations began with a modest $10 donation.

Philanthropist Bob Blum approached Edward Kaelber, recently retired as president at College of the Atlantic, with the idea of launching a community foundation for Maine. He offered to start the first fund — and the rest is history.

Today the foundation’s assets have grown to $350 million, held in stewardship for more than 1,400 funds. Maine Community Foundation has awarded $180 million in scholarships and grants that strengthen our communities and help Maine students achieve education beyond high school.

This week we join more than 750 community foundations across America to celebrate the 14th annual Community Foundation Week.

As we all saw with the recent government shutdown, philanthropy provides a critical bulwark against uncertainty. Place-based philanthropy engages community leaders to improve lives through direct action, and is not subject to political whims or partisan bickering.

Community foundations represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy. Every state in the United States is home to at least one community foundation. Even as the nation continues through a difficult economic recovery, gifts by community foundation increased 15 percent, according to the 2012 Columbus Foundation Survey.

Today, as Maine’s own community foundation begins its fourth decade, we celebrate the generosity of Mainers who have helped preserve our communities, educate our youth and provide leadership toward an even brighter future.

One dollar at a time, they’ve left their mark on Maine.

Meredith Jones

President and CEO, Maine Community Foundation


Donor matches

While it may never be realistically possible for organ donation to become mandatory after death, it is important for potential donors to understand the positive effect organ donation presents. There are currently more than 120,000 patients on a waiting list for organs in the United States. In cases where organs are not eligible for transplant, they are used for research.

What many people don’t realize is that one single organ donor can save up to eight lives. One reason someone may be hesitant to register for organ donation is that it forces us to face our own mortality. As fate should have it, everyone dies eventually. It is in the best interest of our country for individuals to die with the potential of allowing others to live.

In Maine alone, 91 people were saved by only 26 donors in 2011. According to Donate Life’s 2011 National Donor Designation Report Card, 48 percent of Maine’s population older than 18 were registered as organ donors. This does not account for the minors who are allowed to register upon receiving their driver’s license.

Of the 90 percent of Americans that support organ, eye and tissue donation, only 30 percent report that they know how to register. As a result, 18 people die each day waiting to be matched with a donor. Additionally, in the time that it took for you to read these facts, a patient somewhere in the United States has been added to the waiting list. In order to join, visit donatelife.net.

Ashley Karr

South Berwick

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