Saturday, March 15, 2014: Domestic violence, bond payments, harness racing

Posted March 14, 2014, at 12:11 p.m.

Support LD 1656

Over the past several years, Sen. Emily Cain, D-Orono, has worked along with Gov. Paul LePage and other lawmakers to further protect victims of domestic violence. In December 2013 Cain introduced LD 1656, “An Act to Increase Safety for Victims of Domestic Violence.”

Individuals including police chiefs, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, Julie Colpitts of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, and many others testified in support of this proposal on Jan. 11.

As Cain stated in testimony, “It does not create new policy changes. Today’s bill is about making the laws we have passed work better and as intended.”

LD 1656 has three main goals regarding no-contact laws, the Address Confidentiality Program, and advocates’ access to the criminal history of alleged offenders. The amendment to the currently standing no-contact law will be a particular achievement for domestic violence and sexual assault advocates. Under this legislation, it will be considered a Class D crime for an alleged offender to contact a victim directly or indirectly during the time span between an arrest and when bail is set.

Statistics show the effect domestic violence has on our communities. In 2013 there were 24 homicides in Maine with approximately half being the result of domestic violence. This and other figures support the need for legislation to protect victims and promote the prevention of domestic violence.

I encourage all Maine citizens to support LD 1656 and Cain’s efforts.

Abigail Atcheson

Mapleton

Keep harness racing

As the Maine Legislature decides the future of Maine’s harness racing industry, I wonder how many of our legislators truly understand Maine’s agricultural heritage in relationship to Maine’s early agricultural societies and harness racing. In the 19th century, the horse was king. Mainers loved their horses. As farmers created agricultural societies for the improvement of agriculture, they purchased land for their fairgrounds, and on these fairgrounds they built trotting tracks.

Horses were transportation for our families, workers in the field, movers of our economy, warriors in the battlefields, and our entertainment at the trotting parks. It is this history that contributes to our agricultural heritage. At one time more than 105 Maine towns supported trotting parks.

Today’s horsemen and horsewomen are living examples of our agricultural heritage. If this slice of Maine life is to flourish, then the Maine Legislature and the people of Maine need to support the mechanisms that will bring funding to the harness racing industry. Maine’s commercial tracks need to be supported.

Supporting the current Scarborough Downs initiative will ensure that harness racing will continue at a commercial track in southern Maine. For the livelihood of many Maine families and the preservation of this industry for future generations, it is critical that the Maine Legislature support the Scarborough Downs racino initiative and other initiatives that will keep harness racing alive in the state of Maine.

Stephen D. Thompson

Hallowell

Nagging administration

“Fathers, do not nag your children lest they lose heart,” is a biblical quote that I loved hearing as a child. It didn’t apply to Dad; he was the gentlest parent to his seven daughters and three sons, but I loved the notion that he was also answerable to a higher power. As an adult, I’ve broadened my interpretation of that passage. Today it should be lived by all people who have control over others. It certainly should apply to elected officials, who are sworn to be responsible. I know that dysfunction is not normal. Instead of doing the job they were elected to do, fixing problems, officials moan and groan.

The dissonance came to the St. John Valley at a hearing held to hear from the elderly about their issues. An hour and a half into the hearing, we had been talked to, lectured to, and harangued by the governor and legislators on a myriad of issues. The major sin of the elderly is that they are major consumers of pensions, health care, and possibly food; that is all welfare, don’t you know.

I observed the audience sinking in their chairs under the tongue-lashing. They were the survivors of our communities. Many had raised large, healthy, well-educated families with little money. I respectfully stated that the talking points should be made in Augusta without forgetting the faces of our people. Some individuals then reminded the governor that all the food, heat, gas and utilities that he and his family get at the Blaine House come from our hard-earned tax dollars. Welfare. The contentious non-hearing adjourned abruptly.

Every day the voices of the workers, negotiators and problem-solvers are being drowned out by the dissonant cacophony of some of our elected officials. The people of our beautiful state have to suffer the humiliation of being nagged to death by this administration.

Judy Ayotte Paradis

Frenchville

Down the drain

I live in two places, Bangor and Miami, Fla. Behind my home in Miami is a $600 million stadium. It will take over $1 billion paid by taxpayers for the next 40 years to satisfy the bonds.

There’s somewhat of a problem when a retired person put his or her savings into CDs with the expectation of living the good life. What is the present return on $200,000 in CDs? Answer: Less than a couple thousand dollars annually. Only a few years ago, he or she would have received $16,000 per year to spend around and about.

Something is wrong with this banking business. Paying 7-8 percent interest (plus fees and upfront commissions in the first place) is a foul deal for taxpayers.

The history of Wall Street is not a healthy subject to digest. It is one failure after another with Congress patching up the laws as it goes along. This last real estate gamble that the investment banks carried out on the public was an act of grand theft, and not a soul went to jail.

The United States should study the “Way Maine Goes” because it will be the same for the other 49 states, with unemployment lines stretching from Bangor to San Diego, before we understand the foul plays of the banking industry.

Maine needs to bypass New York and sell its bonds locally and only do road construction projects as the money from Maine people comes along. Never forget the big-time commissions for Wall Street when it grades an offering. On $100 million, that’s $5 million or $6 million down the drain before a bulldozer moves.

Robert Fournier

Bangor

 

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