Monday, June 30, 2014: Clifton wind, disparaging welfare, assistance for citizens, Bangor taxes

Posted June 29, 2014, at 6:15 a.m.

Clifton wind vote

The outcome of a Maine Supreme Judicial Court decision expected later this year will have much more influence over the Pisgah Mountain wind project approved under Clifton’s 2010 land use ordinance than the proposed 2014 ordinance on the ballot July 1.

People may wish to check Greg Perkins’ sources in his June 26 BDN letter regarding the accommodation of the Pisgah Mountain project by the proposed ordinance.

First, there are no changes in the 4,000-foot residential setbacks from the initial 2010 ordinance. Second, the revision discards higher daytime 40- to 45-decibel sound levels and adopts the quieter nighttime standard of 35 decibels 24/7 within 100 feet of a residence. Third, there is a new 45-decibel limit at a property line. The ordinance’s methods to demonstrate compliance in the application process received engineering review by third-party acoustic engineering consultant David Hessler from Virginia.

The proposed ordinance’s application review process now includes requirements for comprehensive community impact assessments, such as development effects on real property valuation, on top of environmental impacts. There is a roadmap for public participation and specific means to slow down the review cycle. A complete, detailed, article-by-article review is available on the Clifton Planning Board website: http://bit.ly/cliftonpb.

Clifton voters may want to read the official planning board website as opposed to the bumper crop of hastily constructed, antagonistic websites put up by frustrated people on both sides of the issue. The official town site lists all questions raised publicly by those opposed with answers from the board. People may or may not agree with the comments and responses, but at least the voices are balanced and there is a lot less drama.

Eric Johns

Chair, Clifton Planning Board

Clifton

Social insecurity

Once again Gov. Paul LePage blathers before his brain is engaged. When he thoughtlessly refers to Social Security and Medicare as “welfare” he intentionally spreads misinformation.

He should know the Social Security program provides a pension that almost everyone will eventually need. He should know a component of Social Security is called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, for disabled people who cannot earn enough to live on. He should know that Medicare is an affordable health care plan for elderly people on miniscule pensions. And he should know that Medicaid is for disabled people and those who cannot earn enough to pay high health insurance premiums. Yet he further saps the dignity of those already ashamed they need help.

So if he knew all that what would he do about disabled and elderly people in Maine when they can’t work, or are too old to work or don’t earn enough to pay the high cost of living in Maine? All humanitarians know that those who can must provide some help for the less fortunate so they won’t end up ragged and starving on the streets or on the governor’s doorstep. If these same less fortunate people are ill or injured and have too little or no income to afford the astronomical cost of health care in the state of Maine, they somehow will need medical treatment so they won’t spread their disease to the governor. Knowing all that, would the governor still disparage these essential programs?

Jim Chiddix

Waterville

My two cents

In response to Attorney General Janet Mills calling the implementation of a proposed rule barring state money from being used to fund General Assistance for undocumented immigrants illegal, I would like to give my “two cents’ worth.”

What is really unlawful is giving state money to illegal, undocumented immigrants. Yes, that’s where unlawfulness begins.

What should be unlawful is that there are too many legal citizens who have worked all their lives, retired, continue to pay bills, feed themselves, and work part-time to make ends meet and for extra spending money. Many must work long hours to save for vacation travels.

Also, what should be unlawful is the amount of retirees who have worked all their lives and have paid into their Social Security and Maine state retirement accounts, but now lose Social Security benefits because they aren’t allowed to collect both.

The handing out of money that we have worked hard to earn and pay our taxes to illegal immigrants — that is what is unlawful.

Irene B. Dumond

Van Buren

Art critics

The thing about art critics is that they usually can’t see the forest for the trees. That is to say that they get so caught up in trivia that they miss the point: Art is statement, and the mood is the message. If there is no mood/message, it’s not art: it’s illustration or it’s therapy or, lacking the latter, it’s drivel! And I know whereof I speak.

I was taught about art by a man, an uncle, who taught Norman Rockwell how to paint. But more than that, he taught Rockwell what art is and what it is not, and I have never seen a Rockwell painting that didn’t make a strong statement as conjured up by a powerful mood. Likewise, I have never seen an Andrew Wyeth painting that didn’t create a powerful mood. DaVinci called it “Motion of the Mind,” and the principle applies to all art forms whether it be of the brush or of the pen. When the early English poet wrote “Spring is icumin in, Syng Cuckoo, Syng!” he was on point as to mood and message! So I say to the lady up in Calais who recently wrote in, in defense of Wyeth: Forget the critics, madam, for they know not.

Phil Tobin Ellsworth

Taxing situation

Our property taxes in Bangor are increasing again.

Meanwhile, gas prices continue to rise, and our vehicles are literally falling apart around us as we venture out on the roads. Groceries are out of control. Our insurance premiums are rising; so is our dental. And even with a raise, our weekly checks seem less than they were a year ago.

But we drift aimlessly along, paying our taxes. We continue to hold jobs, try to do the right thing by our neighbors, and pray we live long enough to enjoy a retirement — if that even exists in the future.

Alas, a day in the life of an average Bangor resident. Ain’t it grand? But are there greener pastures? I am really starting to doubt it.

Jennifer Theriault

Bangor

 

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