LETTERS

Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013: Veterans, Bangor potholes, LePage and poverty

Posted Nov. 27, 2013, at 9:25 a.m.

Veterans Day

I want to thank everyone who attended the Veteran’s Day parade in Bangor. Many people braved a chilly day to pay their respects. My father is a Vietnam Veteran, and he greatly appreciated the crowd.

I’d like to encourage more people to attend these parades. No matter where you stand regarding the military or war there’s no question the selfless men and women who serve or have served this country deserve our utmost respect.

We are losing World War II veterans every day, and fewer people attend the parade every year. People should take advantage of the opportunity to see these men march before more time slips away.

Let us also not forget the terrible trend in our country of ignoring the true purpose of holidays. Too many citizens use these days off for their own agenda. They shop, relax at home or do something else with the time. I do not begrudge these things because everyone needs time off, and I understand that not everyone can attend these parades. But I know there are many who can and choose not to.

Lastly, our country has gotten soft. We have not faced war on our shores for so long that too many of us take our security for granted. Bringing our children to the parades and educating them about duty and sacrifice would help ensure the freedom we cherish lives on.

Show these men and women who have done so much for us that their efforts have not been in vain or forgotten.

Greg DaSilva

Winterport

Broken ground

Recently I attended the Chicago concert at the Cross center in Bangor with friend. The parking areas near the center are in good shape. My friend and I are in our mid-60s. It was dark when the concert was over. We had to park in near the race track bleachers. The parking lot is not well lit and is full of cracks and foot-sized potholes. My female companion managed to step in one, and down she went. Fortunately, she was not hurt, just a little shaken.

A few evenings ago my friend was driving down on Harlow Street headed into town. As she passed in front of the federal building, she hit a pothole. The impact bent her rim and ruined the tire beyond repair. Cost to fix it: $700. I had to go down and rescue her at 7 p.m. We called AAA, and they came and put on her temporary spare tire.

The tow truck driver looked at the damaged tire and said the rim had been damaged which in turn caused the tire to rip open. He continued that he had attended to eight flat tires since 5 p.m. in Bangor. Half of them had been caused by potholes in Bangor and, of those, the rims had been damaged as well.

It’s too bad the city can’t be sued in such instances. If it could, then I think more would be done.

David Winslow

Brewer

Put it in writing

Out of his own mouth, Gov. Paul LePage has afforded ample opportunities for criticism. But that pales in comparison with his refusal to allow his department heads to appear before legislative committees. That action borders on, if not actually crosses, the boundaries of gubernatorial competence and constitutional integrity.

Anyone with a passing relationship to government knows that if legislators cannot directly access the data and its meaning from the senior administrators of government departments they cannot properly perform their legislative responsibilities. Furthermore, if in face-to-face communication legislators cannot publicly test the completeness or accuracy of such data, or officials’ understandings of its meaning and import, they cannot perform their critical function of fully vetting the grounds for the public policies they are responsible for formulating.

But it’s even worse. In the absence of direct, public exchanges with administrative leadership, which the governor has now practically forbidden, legislators will be obliged to pursue informal contacts as best they individually can. This will virtually guarantee individual legislator unevenness of access at the same time that transparency of government is sharply compromised.

Is the governor being merely petulant? Or is he only ratcheting up the campaign to undermine government any way he can? Impossible to tell, but arguably his refusal to make his department heads available to the Legislature to permit its performance of its constitutional responsibilities should be grounds for impeachment for violation of his oath of office.

Hendrik D. Gideonse

Brooklin

Living in poverty

Imagine, however long ago it was, when you had to rely on someone else for everything in this world. Someone else had to provide the toys, buy the clothes, pay the electricity and set the food on the table. Children are subject to the consequences, both negative and positive, of their parents’ decisions, choices or even their punishments. When a parent is promoted and gets a sudden increase in pay, then the child hopefully benefits reciprocally. Likewise, when a parent is laid off from a job, the children, through no fault of their own, are subject to the benefits that their parents receive, or lack thereof.

As dependents, children reap the sowings of those who provided them with life. According to Marla Berg-Weger in the text, “Social Work and Social Welfare: An Invitation,” it states, “Approximately 22 percent of all children in the United States … live in poverty.” In reality, children struggle just as much with poverty as their parents do.

It is naturally a human default to think about how this is only an adult issue, yet, as Nancy Folbre of The New York Times notes, “Childhood poverty and lack of access to high-quality early-childhood education leave a discernibly negative imprint.” Children suffer just as much as their parents when struggling with poverty.

Especially around the holiday season, when people reach out to their neighbors most, it is important to consider the most innocent among us. That neighbor may just be a child.

Ashley Harvey

Hermon

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