A more accurate and truthful title for Dawn Gagnon’s Feb. 26 article, “Warden apprehends cat-eating Orono bobcat,” about the bobcat relocated from an Orono neighborhood would be “Hungry cat captured.” After all, the bobcat didn’t murder the pet; he simply ate it for dinner.
I’m writing in reference to Doug Thomas’ OpEd, “Our economy won’t improve if we reject development” (BDN, Feb. 20), in which he laments the loss of numerous “improvement” projects, then serves up a panoply of economic pluses should the east-west corridor be built, namely lower property taxes, an improvement in our transportation system and lower costs to help our businesses compete. Taxes would assuredly be lowered on properties depreciated by noise, exhaust and visual pollution from the corridor. Moreover, there has been no decision on dispersing any tax revenue from private corridors.
It’s difficult to comprehend how a private or public-private toll road might improve our transportation system or help businesses compete. The elephant in this room is a bypass resulting from time-sensitive cargo and a destination-oriented motoring public using the corridor to save time, the corridor’s purpose. Consequently, there would be less travel on secondary roads, less opportunity to visit many shops and small businesses, and fewer tourists discovering “life the way it should be.”
On March 12, 2014, the Maine Small Business Coalition — which has more than 3,400 members — sensitive to this, stood opposed to the east-west corridor. “As small businesses we favor economic development that works for our shops as well as our customers and the proposed corridor does neither.” All evidence the MSBC developed on the corridor project pointed to significant environmental distress and significant financial benefit for corporations.
Liberty and justice for all
I’m not sure I completely agree with letter-writer Allison Hepler (BDN, Feb 27) about the Pledge of Allegiance controversy in South Portland. Yes, loyalty is better demonstrated by the acts she mentioned, but a reminder that this country aspires for “liberty and justice for all” is very important. We don’t yet have “liberty and justice for all,” so we must at least say that this is our aim. Maybe it will instill a little thought about it, so we can better achieve it. I do think that the pledge should be modified to focus on that.
I also would like to see that as a challenge in their civics course, if they have one, as to what the students believe in. Maybe they could write an essay on the pledge, whether or not it has merit and, if not, what would be a good vehicle to inspire people to believe in liberty and justice for all.
Infant sleep non-debate
The Feb. 24 article titled “Infant deaths ignite sleeping debate” is disturbing. As presented, it isn’t much of a debate. On one side is the American Academy of Pediatrics and a certified infant/child sleep consultant from Gray. On the other side, and repeatedly quoted as if an expert, is Marleina Schwenk Ford, “an Ellsworth mother of three.” Unless there are more credentials or qualifications we should know about Ms. Ford, this feels like irresponsible journalism at best.
While I agree it is an unimaginable tragedy to implicate parental responsibility in an infant death, the data against bed sharing seem unequivocal, as noted in a subsequent BDN editorial. To imply otherwise without some sort of basis represents journalistic carelessness. The token addition of a comment from a policy advisor to a British parenting charity, presumably pulled off the Web from the Guardian newspaper, compounds the BDN’s irresponsibility.
Per the article, five infants have died of suffocation in Maine since early January and four of these infants were bed sharing. While these were deemed accidental and the bed sharing does not prove cause and effect, the correlation is worthy of note. The published data and recommendations of experts demand responsible journalism and a clear public health notice. If a robust debate truly does exist, and I doubt it does, then the people of Maine deserve a true representation of both sides of that debate.
Protect elderly, disabled
It is hard to believe, but having been defeated year after year, proposals to implement drastic cuts to the Medicare Savings Program and the Drugs for the Elderly have been reintroduced as part of the governor’s 2015 budget proposal. The argument is that those funds should be diverted to some other programs for our aging population, but the reality is that cutting those funds will mean tens of thousands of at-risk Mainers will lose some or all coverage for prescription drugs, hospital deductibles, skilled nursing care and outpatient services. In the oldest state in the country — one in which a third of residents over 65 subsist entirely on Social Security income — this simply doesn’t make sense.
After the Legislature’s successful bipartisan efforts to protect the interests of Maine seniors with these vital programs, even at the depths of the recent recession, the proposed cuts don’t make sense. Could the renewed attempt to reduce funding for seniors be related to concurrent plans to cut tens of millions of dollars of state income by eliminating the estate tax?
Older Mainers and those with disabilities simply cannot absorb these costs. They will stop going to their doctors and taking their medications. They will use the emergency room for primary care. They risk institutional placement — a much more costly alternative to staying at home in the communities they love.
Isn’t it time to take reduction of services to Maine’s most vulnerable older residents off the table once and for all?
AARP state president
Let’s hear from Rouhani
On Tuesday, Congress heard from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That is good. How refreshing that Congress listened to someone directly affected by its actions.
Now Congress will want to hear from Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran. After all, giving audience to Netanyahu without offering equal time to Rouhani would be the height of hypocrisy.
David Paul Henry