Focus on Bangor
The Bangor Public Library is a source of great civic pride. It has a well-deserved reputation for delivering excellent service, and it supplies thousands of its resident-readers with books, periodicals and research materials and services as well as extending its reach far beyond the city limits to Mainers all over the state.
While the city council proposes cutting the budget for the Bangor Public Library by $32,900, which undoubtedly will necessitate cuts in staff, hours and books, it is busily planning to spend $60 million-plus for a new auditorium that the city cannot possibly afford.
We are not Boston or New York. We need to focus on what makes Bangor special, causing people to move here and stay for its safety, access to family events and services, and its caring, small-town environment. And let’s not forget: Bangor reads.
Tax alcohol, too
Alcohol is another mind-altering drug that allows people to escape reality. Alcohol is glamorized on TV and billboards. Most sporting events are sponsored by alcohol advertisements. Look at hockey and baseball. They’re plastered with ads everywhere. Isn’t that aimed at children and young adults?
With the concern about the effects of tobacco and our children, why isn’t there a concern about the effects of alcohol? They have surveys of how many kids smoke but none about drinking. Has drinking become so socially accepted that no one wants to look at this problem? Why the concern about one drug (tobacco) but not the other (alcohol)? Alcohol attacks the whole person, mind, body and spirit. It’s highly addictive and deadly. Alcoholism affects millions of people each year, yet nobody cares. It seems to be a right when a teen becomes of legal age just to hit the bars. Shouldn’‘t our children know about the life-threatening dangers of this drug?
How many young adults have to die in accidents because of alcohol before society smartens up? If you raise taxes on tobacco, then tax alcohol, too. Is this the legacy we want to hand down to our children, you can be a drunk but don’t smoke?
By any other name
Recent events on the local business scene have prompted me to make this effort to clear the air. Much confusion has been caused by the action of people intent on opening a business that would take advantage of a well-known landmark. I would like to clear at the outset that neither myself, the Rist family, nor the Rist corporation are in any way connected to and do not endorse, support or give our approval to the soon to open Coffee Pot Cafe.
I have been approached many times and even congratulated on going back in business — this is not the case. This is due to the way some people advertise. I thank all of you who extended warm wishes on my retirement and assure you that my decision was final.
My father opened The Coffee Pot in 1930 on Hancock Street and began selling Italian sandwiches. His success sprouted many imitators, so he began to call his sandwiches “coffee pots.” Apparently, history does repeat itself.
There is nothing wrong with anyone attempting to open a new business; we remember that the Coffee Pot was once a new business as well. It is another thing altogether to use a name so closely identified with a specific business in an attempt to capitalize on its many years of success.
It’s a legal matter
For years, I’ve been confounded by the allegations of wrongdoing in the Catholic (and other) churches with regard to calls of predatory child molestation. Why is the church treated any differently than any other employer, organization or nonprofit?
If you take your child to work with you and your child is sexually molested by a co-worker, you don’t complain to your boss. You go to the police and file a complaint.
If you find out the Boy Scout leader has sexually molested your child, you don’t call the Boy Scouts and complain. You go to the police and file charges.
Why would any parent expect any less from themselves, and from their churches? A pedophile is a pedophile, regardless of the frock or robe they wear. It shouldn’t matter if it’s a choir robe in a confessional, or a black trench coat in back alley. Pedophiles are breaking the law and should be sent to prison.
Priests to prey on the young are no different than any other criminal and should be treated no differently. Who knows, perhaps they would find good use for their faith in prison.
Brooklin in limbo
Brooklin’s three Select Board resignations over squabbling among town officials left the rest of us completely uncertain as to how to proceed with town meeting. George Eaton, elected moderator the day before, saved the day by his methodical and consultative approach to the uncertainties. Still, there were anomalies.
The assembled had agreed to pass over any items for which adequate answers could not be provided by those present. Nonetheless, an affirmative vote was taken on one article doubling an appropriation absent explanatory information.
One argument advanced for going ahead with town meeting instead of adjourning it to a later date was that selectmen “were not required to be present at town meeting; it is just a courtesy that they be here to answer questions.” Perhaps technically true, it is a dangerous belief that the performance of town officials is merely a courtesy, that the public is being done a favor, rather than being owed responsibility for performing the duties of the offices to which they are elected or appointed.
It’s hard not to conclude from the way it played out that the three selectmen acted in concert. If they did so, they violated Maine’s sunshine laws by conferring with one another on a matter of critical importance to the town without adequate public notice. By their actions they chose to place the town in limbo, the municipal equivalent of receivership, until a new board can be elected.
We must now craft a silver lining from the clean sweep.