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Wednesday, July 9, 2014: Social Security, greenhouse gas initiative, Clifton wind vote

Governor Carbon

As Emily Figdor noted in her June 25 OpEd (“There’s reason for optimism in the fight against global warming; much more for Maine to do”), since its implementation in 2009, Mainers have continued to benefit from our state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Despite its success, Gov. Paul LePage has attacked this regional compact designed to reduce carbon emissions. If there’s any question as to why LePage is so hostile to RGGI, you need not look any further than his close ties with the Maine Heritage Policy Center, where he is scheduled to speak at a luncheon July 29.

The Maine Heritage Policy Center receives funding from industrialists Charles and David Koch as a member of their expansive network of front groups that work to fight alternative energy development in Maine and across the country. Recently, the center released a report with Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute — another recipient of Koch money — that used misleading data to rewrite RGGI’s success story as failure.

It’s not a coincidence that LePage, whose election campaign benefited from a $96,000 contribution from the Koch-affiliated American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), cited this report while calling for Maine to step out of RGGI. When corporate donors pull the strings in the LePage administration, we’re the ones paying the price.

Nancy Gilbert



Recipient revise

I have a comment about the “This Day in History” section of the July 2 BDN, which described Medal of Honor recipients receiving the Maine Gold Medal at the Maine Capitol Building. Notice that I said the “recipients.” I’m sick and tired of the media using the word “winners” to describe the Medal of Honor award.

It’s not a contest to win or lose. You will not find one Medal of Honor recipient say he or she was out to win the medal. The correct way to say it is: “Medal of Honor recipient (name),” or “he or she was awarded the Medal of Honor.”

The BDN should revise the way it publishes articles about the recipients who are awarded the Medal of Honor. They deserve it.

Terry White


Social insecurity

If you receive, or plan to receive, Social Security or Medicare, are you embarrassed?

I have been a registered Republican for most of my adult life, and now I am embarrassed to admit it. Born, raised and educated in Bangor and having worked my entire adult life in Maine (yes, paying all those taxes, buying a home and purchasing items locally), I am now being called a “welfare recipient” by our current governor, who chooses to use the term in negative connotation, as I receive Social Security.

Maybe it is time to think about moving out of Maine where I might be welcomed by state government.

Or maybe it’s time to get behind another candidate.

As a further insult, the governor and his public spokesperson have added confusion as they attempt to explain his remarks. Rather than partisan party rhetoric, prepared talking points and confusing qualifying statements, it’s time to have an interactive dialogue among the three candidates and the public. Unfiltered, let’s hear their respective positions on critical issues to aging Maine seniors such as myself.

It’s time for Republicans to rally around senior citizens who live, work, play and pay taxes in Maine and find another candidate to support. Right now, Bangor native Eliot Cutler is looking very attractive.

Bill Cohen


Moving forward

The vote in Clifton approving amendments regarding wind project siting rules illustrates a community that desires to move forward and seek beneficial growth. However, there is damage that is imposed when a community wants to move forward, and a minority of individuals wants to hold everyone back.

The rules clarified wind siting rules that were not found acceptable by the courts. The amended rules provide a balance of public protection while allowing a reasonable pathway for private landowner investment.

Unfortunately, the battle in Clifton has gone on too long, costing the town and landowners unnecessary expenses. Communities in Maine that have embraced wind energy development benefit from increase in the local tax base, community investments and local businesses opportunities. Communities pay the price of delaying these benefits with drawn-out legal challenges from individuals wanting to prevent change at all costs.

Society should champion landowners, such as farmers and forest producers, seeking additional means to sustainably use their land, generating income through wind leases to maintain their operations. Such landowners are responsible for providing jobs and a tax base to the local community.

Often those that oppose wind projects do so to prevent visual changes in their landscape. However, such individuals are not making investments to maintain that viewscape. That burden is left to those who own and pay taxes on that land. People have a right to be protected from encroachment on their properties, but that cannot extend to prevention of responsible investments made by other landowners.

Paul Williamson


Hate the system

Gov. Paul LePage’s mandate to towns to deny general assistance to undocumented immigrants is exactly what Maine needs.

We don’t need to make this state a safe haven for every illegal or undocumented person to come here and expect our tax dollars to support them.

The doors are open to come to America, but why not do it legally? Would Americans be as well cared for if we entered another country illegally? Take the case in Mexico where a young man made a wrong turn and ended up in prison. How well is he being taken care of by the Mexican government?

Come to America legally, or don’t come to America at all. We need to feed our needy first enough excuses and accusations. I’d like to know what immigrants in Maine feel hunted and hated. We hate the system, not the people.

Catherine Meyer



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