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April 21, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Stillwater scoff laws

It’s time for the city of Bangor and the Department of Transportation to make an earthshaking decision to enforce or change the left turn situation at the Exit 186 ramp onto Stillwater Avenue.

Now that the Shaw’s Plaza seems to be kaput, does anyone else see the humor in watching the scofflaws make a left turn off the ramp where it’s clearly marked with not one, but two no-left-turn signs? In fact, it appears that the engineers placed the signs one on top of the other to actually dare a driver to make that turn. Many drivers even announced it with a turn signal.

Here’s a suggestion: If the left turn isn’t going to be legally allowed anytime soon, would policing it be an option? I’m thinking that one officer could write several citations an hour there if he or she brought lunch and a thermos.

Incidentally, while challenging drivers to ignore those “no left-turn” signs, the same officer might also flag a few drivers making a right turn on a red arrow. That infraction also prevails at the Stillwater Avenue exchange.

Jack Gifford



Right-winger speaks

I must admit that even I was ignorant of my new status as a right-wing extremist, but according to our Department of Homeland Security I fit the bill. I happen to be a veteran, I happen to own guns and I happen to resent Barack Obama’s spending our money like a drunken sailor on leave. Apparently this makes me an RWE or right-wing extremist.

Now I’m left with many questions. AK-47 or M-16, car bomb or pipe bomb? I mean, the questions are endless. Does anyone have a copy of “Right-Wing Extremism for Dummies” that I can borrow? I mean, I want to be the very best RWE I can be.

I feel I owe it to our wonderful government to live up to the expectations required of an RWE. I promise to do my best. If all else fails perhaps the government will pay to send me to a good RWE school. Or rather, perhaps it will use some of the money it is stealing from us to fund my RWE training. I will keep working toward my goals and hope for the best. Wish me luck; being an RWE is hard work.

P.J. Yost



False statistics

Marriage is the cultural envelope that contains love over time, as well as the multiple civil contracts underlying everyday life. We are in a complicated discussion about extending that basic civil right to all our citizens. I accept differing opinions in that difficult discussion. I cannot accept distortion of facts, particularly about domestic violence. Domestic violence is too serious an issue to leave distortions unchallenged or to be used in false arguments against marriage equality.

In his letter, “’Dad-deprived’ kids” (BDN, April 8), Aaron Eastman calls statements linking domestic violence to homosexual relationships “reality.” National statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence state the greatest number of domestic violence victims (85 percent) are women, most often abused in intimate relationships with men.

One in four women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence. One in 12 women, one in 45 men, have been stalked. Of stalked women, 81 percent were physically assaulted. The “reality” is that women in heterosexual relationships are the highest risk group for domestic violence and the predominance of perpetrators are heterosexual men.

Like the women’s movement or the civil rights movement for African-Americans, this search for equal justice began with small groups of oppressed people standing up for their rights. It has also moved past that, now embraced by people of all kinds to make our country more just, equitable and loving for all our citizens. False “scare” statistics are not going to work as an obstacle to that progress.

Julie Colpitts

Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence



Auto industry woes

The government loans don’t appear to be solving many of the auto industry’s problems. Stocks don’t appear to be selling very well, workers are still losing their jobs even though they agreed to cuts in their wages and we have heard very little about the CEOs’ sacrifices, if there are any.

What about transparencies in the industry? How are they using their loans? People are expressing concerns about purchasing vehicles built by GM, Chrysler and Ford. Are they improving the quality of their vehicles? What about warranties? Where will they get continuing service?

Why not completely reconfigure the industry. Use fewer robotics and put workers back to doing many of the same jobs and pay them a living wage. I have not seen a great improvement on the quality of a vehicle built by a robot than one built by a human, and robots don’t save or spend money, and of course, they don’t have ideas or opinions.

Where unions are concerned, new laws could prevent exorbitant demands. More openness would create a better work environment and less friction. Why not let workers purchase stock in the companies they work for? It has worked in other companies. When one has a stake in the profits, they are more willing to be cooperative and concerned with the well-being of their company.

As a final thought, fewer models could be produced with standardization, as well as fewer tools required to perform the simple repairs, and using metrics on precision parts, such as the power train.

Bernard Michaud

Presque Isle


Maine flood victims

Does any sane person wonder why a person living in the gulf states or along the major tributaries in the U.S. that flood every year should qualify for government assistance and someone who lives near the St. John or other rivers in the state of Maine not qualify for relief because there are not enough people involved or enough monetary damage?

There was a documentary on TV a few years ago that identified people who had their homes, appliances and furnishings replaced on as many as 12 different occasions by government-subsidized insurance because of flooding. They didn’t want to move to a more secure area. There is no risk, just an inconvenience.

Why don’t people in Maine deserve the same consideration? It will never change as long as people with narrow visions in Washington make the decisions. It is just as much a disaster for these folks as it is for the others.

Eugene Bowden


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