I wish to commend the BDN editorial staff for continuing to tell the truth about the state’s retirement system (“LePage in Wonderland” editorial, Mar. 26-27). As was skillfully pointed out, the teachers and retirees are being singled out for a problem that was created over time by previous governors and legislatures.
What readers need to know is that the current value of the MainePERS assets approximates $11 billion, a figure that hardly denotes “the sky is falling” that Treasurer Poloquin and Gov. LePage choose to perpetuate. As the stock market recovers, the retirement system will have even greater assets. Yet, the administration feels it necessary to demand that active teachers increase their deduction so that the state may reduce its share to give tax breaks and to pay for increased spending. Retirees are being asked to accept smaller benefits that have been promised for decades.
Is it any wonder that educators, active and retired, are up in arms over this unfairness while being asked to make “shared sacrifice?”
Special interest deference
Let me get this straight — an anonymous letter from a right-wing crackpot carries more weight with Gov. LePage than a mural honoring tens of thousands of Maine workers? So much for representing all of Maine’s citizens and not some special interest.
I don’t get the connection between the mural and the communist government of North Korea, and I certainly don’t know how and when the state and public workers of Maine became the enemy. There is one thing I do know for sure, however; the communist government of North Korea most definitely censors artwork that does not agree with its narrow political view.
Bangor has done some amazing things in the last 15 years. Our public library has been restored and expanded, beautiful recreation facilities have been developed, the downtown and waterfront are undergoing revitalization, the school system has been lauded for its excellence, and the American Folk Festival and other events have made the city increasingly vibrant.
But one element is missing — a venue for indoor activities that expands what can be done and that will shape the next decades of our area’s community strength and economic development.
Let’s face it, the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center are aged and do not have the equipment and look of facilities that can attract a wider scope of events and audiences. Even the Augusta Civic Center, which is not a particularly nice facility, is better able to host conferences. If Bangor can attract more and other sorts of events, it will make this area an even more interesting place to live and will attract and retain businesses and growing families.
With the building of a new arena and conference center, Bangor residents can continue to direct our city’s future. I urge you to vote yes on the referendum, whether in person on Wednesday, May 4, or by absentee ballot. This is a moment of opportunity that should not be missed.
I don’t care one way or the other about the Department of Labor union murals staying or going. I am very upset that the mural cost $60,000 from hardworking taxpayers.
It sounds like a huge waste of money to me. They’re nice pictures, but $60,000 worth?
Priorities, please. I thought times were hard.
Fund cancer programs
Imagine for a moment being told you have a stage four blood cancer and then hearing, with clinical timbre, how much time you may have left. I can verify it’s a chilling moment.
One of the more effective methods of fighting blood cancer is to educate oneself about its characteristics and to seek professional guidance for treatment. Funding from the Centers for Disease Control’s blood cancer education program allows organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to assist in treatments and care of those minority, rural and mainstream patients living with blood cancers while assisting Maine’s underserved populations.
Without this funding, patient organizations such as LLS no longer will be able to offer education and assistance for many patients. Current budget deliberations have the effective Geraldine Ferraro Blood Cancer Education Program on our administration’s chopping block. Please consider:
Many cancers can be prevented. But cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma have no preventatives, no early detection. Patients need education to deal with their difficult diagnoses. These deadly blood diseases may need specialized treatments, may require clinical trial entry, and may necessitate navigation and-or psychosocial assistance.
For almost a decade, the Geraldine Ferraro Program has allowed not-for-profits to extend life-improving services to the underserved. To improve a life or to improve the budget is the bottom line. Please err on the side of Maine’s underserved blood cancer patients.
Arena not city’s mission
Part of the Bangor City Council’s new vision for Bangor is building a new arena, with a 30-year bond obligation at a cost of $110 million we think not!
This is a continuum of Bangor’s municipal burden placed on its residents and businesses since the 1950s, when it built the original Tarbell arena. The old arena, as well as the newly proposed arena, will be a nonprofitable adventure into the future as it has been in the past.
This is not a function of Bangor’s city government to provide such a facility. Look at what the city of Portland just has decided to do with its Cumberland County Civic Center in downtown Portland; better to repair than build anew. Moreover, the city of Bangor is competing with the private sector, which it is not a function of government.
There are so many vacant industrial-retail large buildings in the Bangor area, e.g., the former Home Depot building next to Target, which could be purchased by a private party and used for boat-home-garden-RV shows throughout the year with ample parking and easy access.
We do not wish to see our city again obligate residents financially for the next 30 years into one golden calf that loses money annually. Rather, we should invest in our city’s infrastructure to encourage businesses to come here so our residents will have better jobs, a healthy community for living, education and quality of life.
Please vote no on May 4.