Working families harmed
I would like to respond to the Aug. 19 article “Orono after-school program cut.” Just two weeks before the start of the new school year, a representative from the Parks and Recreation Department sent an email notifying parents of children enrolled in the after-school program that the town would no longer offer after-school services. I was troubled by this communication. It was casual in tone and did not acknowledge that the decision would have a substantial impact on families, even if there are just “6 percent” of us, as Town Manager Sophie Wilson suggests.
According to Wilson, this change was apparently first presented in written form to families of Asa Adams Elementary School students by way of a note placed in children’s backpacks at the conclusion of the previous school year. Notwithstanding this apparent communication, the town then approved its fiscal year 2016 budget, which included a line item for the after-school program.
These apparent contradictions make it very difficult to discern what exactly the town was trying to communicate. It goes without saying that communicating effectively and transparently with working parents about child care is critical and access to safe, affordable child care is an issue about which we should all care deeply.
Having moved to Orono from a nearby community because of the town’s strong reputation for these types of services, I’m left with the impression that working families — even if we constitute only 6 percent of the families at Asa Adams — are not a priority for the town.
Clean Power Plan
Congratulations to the Bangor Daily News for its Aug. 19 editorial supporting President Barack Obama’s announced finalization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan — the centerpiece of his climate change strategy — which sets the first federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. The plan calls for a reduction of CO2 from our nation’s power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Action now is required to avoid the most extreme effects of climate change. The Clean Power Plan is a great first step.
In addition to fighting climate change, the plan is expected to prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks in children.
The Clean Power Plan gives states an unprecedented opportunity to build customized plans. Maine and the eight other Northeast states that participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have been reducing their carbon emissions for years and are well positioned to comply with the Clean Power Plan.
The long list of benefits of the Clean Power Plan hasn’t stopped Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his gang of climate-denying polluter allies from trying to block these and other climate safeguards. Despite their efforts, though, they’re failing. It’s time for climate deniers to change their tune and support action on climate before it’s too late.
Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King should stand up against attempts by McConnell and other climate deniers to derail the Clean Power Plan. The time to act is now.
Hendrik D. Gideonse
Attendants at meeting after meeting of the Board of Selectmen in Eddington have heard a repetition of the faults of the chairperson, Joan Brooks, and the reasons for a petition being circulated to force her from office. The petition was started by a small group of people determined to stop the permitting of a quarry in the town.
On Aug. 18, the board was to be presented with the petition. The town’s lawyer determined that all of the criteria for this process had been met. Therefore when the 116 signatures requesting her ouster had been certified, the outcome of the meeting was deemed inevitable.
The first item was initiated by board member Peter Lyford, who moved and proposed that Joan Brooks be re-elected as chairperson of the Board of Selectmen. An immediate second and unanimous “yes” vote from the members moved the board to the second item, to accept a petition from the townspeople to remove their new/old chairperson from office for malfeasance.
Discussion from the floor was opened, old history presented and it soon became obvious to all that the best way to decide this issue would be a vote of all the citizens of the town. So, there will be a special town vote from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, in the Town Hall. The warrant will have one question: Should Joan Brooks, chair of the Board of Selectmen, be removed from office? Absentee ballots will be available soon at the town office.
As we celebrate the 95th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day and when American women got the right to vote, it’s important to recognize how far women have come in our fight for equality and how far we still have to go.
As a young woman about to begin my final year of undergraduate education at the University of Maine, the issue of equal pay is especially concerning to me. Next year I will enter the workforce and immediately be at a disadvantage. My female colleagues and I will get paid 78 cents for every dollar that men with the same job and education will get paid. This pay gap is even greater for women of color, who earn only 64 cents for every dollar white men earn.
The Paycheck Fairness Act was recently introduced again by female lawmakers and would remedy this problem. It is important for us to question why this act has yet to be passed by Congress despite strong support from President Barack Obama and the American public. In order to achieve the goal of equality, we must take action and demand it.
As this key anniversary approaches, we must remember that we haven’t achieved complete equality. The only way to reach this goal is to work together and to show our support for one another. The issue of equal pay is only one of the many reasons I plan to attend the Mabel Wadsworth Center’s Women’s Equality Day Rally on Aug. 26 in Bangor.