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Feb. 20 Letters to the Editor

Skewed priorities

One has to wonder where priorities lie in the United States. As a nation, we seem to glorify the business of war while avoiding the needs of our citizens.

As we figure our taxes for 2009, we should think about where our hard-earned dollars are being spent. I don’t like the idea of spending 40 cents of each tax dollar on the gigantic, wasteful and inefficient defense department and its related industries. Since 2001, Maine taxpayers have contributed $2.3 billion for the current quagmires in the Middle East, and the future looks just as costly.

Augusta’s problems would have been largely offset by having that money here to pay for better schools, roads and living conditions for our citizens. Thousands of families are facing the loss of their homes due to the ineptness and greed of the bosses of banks. They receive huge bailouts and obscene bonuses while small businesses go broke.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent over $2.5 million in Maine opposing health care reform. A majority of Mainers support reform, yet our senators seem to represent their insurance and pharma supporters more than their constituents.

We are now in an inverted capitalistic system where big losses are paid for by the public while big profits are privatized. The Supreme Court has decided to overthrow decades of restrictions on the power of big business to control Washington so now in the run-up to the next elections, we will be subjected to a mass of advertising designed to increase the bottom line of the multinational corporations. Why have we let priorities be so skewed?

Al Larson



Legislature no-brainer

When is a citizen initiative not a citizen initiative? When unrestricted out-of-state money is permitted to be spent on advertising and paying people to collect signatures. That paid signature collectors hold the potential for extensive hard-to-find fraud is a no-brainer. I cannot fathom why out-of-state money and paid signature collectors were permitted in the first instance. Nor can I understand why there is not a legislative rush to ban them.

Alas, we have a conundrum. On the one hand is the above mentioned no-brainer. On the other is the Maine Legislature. Never the twain shall meet?

Michael F. Garrett



Chickens, unite!

As our city councilors ponder the life and death issue concerning 50 chickens in Bangor, have they considered: When will the “Department of Chickens & Coop Inspection” be created?

How many staff will be required or will the city council handle this?

How soon before the “chicken coop inspector” will be hired?

Where will the chicken coop inspectors go to get their training?

Who will be responsible if chickens get cold?

Will Bangor establish chicken shelters for the cold months?

Will EPA wavers be required?

Will the chickens be organic?

Will permits from City Hall be required to eat the eggs?

Is this ordinance fair? Is rooster discrimination to be tolerated in Bangor?

Did the council follow procedures and form a subcommittee to find a consultant who could advise the council on the proper matters to consider when deliberating on the issue of 50 chickens in Bangor?

What’s the cost? How many paid hours were required to prepare the ordinance?

Lastly, fees must be increased to insure a meaningful and fulfilled life for the chickens. The chickens of Bangor deserve no less!

Vote “No” on 10-061.

Steven Sleeper



Collins owes apology

How hypocritical can one senator be? Sen. Susan Collins has conveniently forgotten many facts over the years, as have those who voted for her.

How does she have the nerve to say that President Obama needs to admit to “mistakes” about the FBI questioning of Abdulmutallab, when she has never admitted to, or apologized for her vote to go to war with Iraq?

She at least owes the families of the 4,350 dead American sons and daughters an admission of severe poor judgment. When will she admit her mistake to tens of thousands of Iraq War vets who will suffer with mental and physical injuries for the rest of their lives? When will she ask forgiveness for the deaths of at least 80,000 Iraqi men, women and children? When will she admit her grave error to the people of the U.S. for igniting a firestorm of terrorism in the Middle East by attacking a secular, Arab country that was only guilty of having vast oil reserves?

Susan Collins will say or do anything to get her picture on the evening news; maybe it’s time she spoke honestly to Maine and the U.S.

Christy Kraft



Let feds do registry

The biggest myth in the debate over a saltwater angler’s license for Maine is that if the state fails to act, anglers will be “sending their money to Washington.” The implication is that Maine could somehow benefit if this money was kept in-state.

The feds are creating their registry in order to survey anglers about their catch. The federal registry, consisting of a telephone or online registration, is free this year. In 2011 the feds can charge a fee to cover only the costs of the registration. They cannot raise money for programs or enforcement with this fee.

If Maine creates a saltwater fishing license, the state must cover the costs for selling and processing the licenses. But license advocates also want money to fill holes in the budget of the Department of Marine Resources, including alewife management and marine patrol positions.

Which do you think will be more expensive, the federal registration that can only cover the registration costs, or the state license that will cover the costs plus raise money for programs and enforcement?

If the fee charged by the feds is intolerably high, Maine can always establish a state registry or license. None of Maine’s options are lost if the Legislature fails to act this year.

Right now it makes more sense to let the feds proceed with their own registry. Like so many issues before the Legislature this session, this one is about money. And that’s no myth.

George Smith

Sportsman’s Alliance

of Maine


Happy birthday, Bangor

Happy 219th birthday to Bangor on Feb. 25. Please visit the City Council Chambers in Bangor City Hall to see the original Bangor Incorporation Charter of Feb. 25, 1791, which was signed by John Hancock.

Ken and Carol Fisher


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