Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014: Climate change, tax increment financing, governor’s race

Posted Feb. 25, 2014, at 3:52 p.m.

Driver safety

I am responding to the recent column by Erin Rhoda regarding older drivers and driver safety issues.

Increasing the number of safe and conscientious drivers on the road can make our communities safer for all. Developing transportation alternatives and assessing ways to reduce accidents caused by poor signage or traffic signals are important steps, too. For example, eliminating the need for dangerous left turns at busy intersections could reduce accidents for drivers of all ages.

Helping people stay engaged and active as they age should also be a focus, since, as the piece mentions, many older Mainers who no longer drive risk becoming isolated. Maine’s older population is growing, and we need to think more about transportation alternatives. Data show that on any given day half of people who no longer drive are stuck at home. That’s why we want to help drivers refresh their skills and why we offer AARP Smart Driver courses in classrooms and online. You can find a suite of driver safety resources through AARP’s Driver Resource Center at http://bit.ly/1cqxlqX.

As Maine continues to age, there will be a growing number of older drivers on the road. AARP is committed to working with individuals, families and communities to ensure roads are safe as the state explores opportunities and solutions to address the influx. Each of us has the responsibility to help keep Maine’s roads safe by being careful drivers ourselves and by working with our own community leaders to improve road conditions and develop transportation alternatives.

Jane Margesson

AARP Maine Communications Director

Portland

Sources, Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer hit a new low with his Feb. 24 BDN column when he accused “climate-change proponents,” including, presumably, the 800 leading climate scientists of the world, who participated in the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of “whoring” after false gods.

The Los Angeles Times, one of the leading newspapers in the nation, no longer publishes climate denial letters and OpEds because it fact checks everything that goes on the pages. And these denials simply don’t pass the fact check.

When I turned to the online version of Krauthammer’s piece, eager to explore the sources for Krauthammer’s “facts,” to my dismay I found only one reference to a source. That was a hyperlink to the recent study of mammograms. That and Deuteronomy 11.

When accepting opinions for publication that bear on the critically important issue of climate change, whether from far or near, whether in letters or OpEd pieces, the BDN should as a minimum insist that all “facts” are referenced for its readers to examine.

Let’s see your sources, Krauthammer, and then their sources. And then their sources of funding. Then we can talk.

Sharon S. Tisher

Lecturer, School of Economics

University of Maine

Orono

TIF thanks

This is in response to an article in the Feb. 19 BDN titled “ Maine tax law diverts billions in business property taxes from local services.” The Bank of Maine Ice Vault in Hallowell is referenced in this article as having received tax increment financing from the city of Hallowell. The Skating Association of Maine would like to discuss the value of awarding this TIF to arena owner Peter Prescott and the influence that this TIF has had on the community members who gather at the rink.

The Skating Association of Maine is a nonprofit with a home office at the Bank of Maine Ice Vault. Our mission is to encourage and promote ice skating programs in the state.

Through the generosity of the city of Hallowell and Peter Prescott, our organization is able to provide ice time, learn-to-skate programs, hockey games, figure skating and events for more then 400 families. The families are from more than 50 Maine communities. Skating is about building community and honing skills that build core values. It allows the opportunity for our youth to follow their dreams and build community on and off the ice.

We wish to thank the city of Hallowell for awarding this TIF, which helped allow the rebuilding of the rink. We also want to thank Peter Prescott for taking a chance on our youth and building the Bank of Maine Ice Vault so that SAM is able to run affordable programs for all.

Kathy Carr

Skating Association of Maine

Hallowell

Do the right thing

Through a fair, democratic process, our state elected a governor whose vision, competence and manner are a staggering disappointment to many of us. Should Democrat Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler both continue to exercise their legitimate rights to pursue the governor’s office, we are poised to repeat this disaster — because the electoral system of the U.S. is designed for an increasingly outdated two-party system.

We are not likely to enact constitutional revisions involving run-off elections or ranked-choice voting before November. If only we had a history of statesmanship that we could invoke to craft solutions in times like this. But wait. We do. Our small state does have such a tradition — including Margaret Chase Smith, Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe.

In this critical moment, the leading statesmen of Maine affiliated with independent and Democratic politics have an opportunity to save us all. I implore them to do so.

My suggestion: George Mitchell and Sen. Angus King should convene a public debate specifically between Cutler and Michaud. Among the questions that each candidate is asked should be the following: “If, three weeks before Election Day, you are third in unbiased polls, would you commit to publicly withdraw, throwing full support behind your opponent in this debate? If not, why?”

Only through this exercise will the voters of Maine have a chance to clearly assess whether these two candidates put our state first or themselves. I believe that, thus informed, Maine’s electorate will do the right thing.

Eric Lister

Prospect Harbor

 

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