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Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012: USPS, corporate voting and Paul Violette


Bishop no help

After reading the article “Maine Catholic bishop starts ministry to support people attracted to the same sex,” one can only wonder what rock the Roman Catholic bishop of Portland has been living under for the past 32 years if he still thinks that homosexuality is somehow an illness that can be treated by some make-believe 12-step program. His comments were extremely patronizing and condescending, but alas, shouldn’t we expect as much from this pompous man?

I would also suggest that the 1,500 members who are obviously having difficulty dealing with their own sexuality retain the services a a good psychotherapist to help them through the process, not the bishop of Portland.

Brian MacFarland


Postal fix possible

A Feb. 3 BDN article (“Postal system’s financial woes spark debate in Maine”) quotes Sen. Susan Collins: “The funding of the liability for future retiree health benefits is not the reason why the postal service is in a financial crisis.”

That statement is misleading. In 2006 Sen. Collins co-authored legislation requiring the U.S. Postal Service to pay forward $5.5 billion every year for 10 years to cover USPS retiree health benefit expenses for 75 years. This mandate did not correct a deficiency; USPS’s future liabilities were already on solid ground, and the fund currently holds $45 billion.

No other public or private institution in America has had to meet such a dire obligation. Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia notes, “Most state agencies pre-fund 80 percent of anticipated retirement expenses, and the industry average in the private sector, for Fortune 1,000 companies, is closer to 30 percent.” The $21 billion diverted to this fund from USPS income since 2006 accounts for 84 percent of current USPS debt.

Several bills have been introduced to address this crisis. A bill co-sponsored by Sen. Collins, S. 1789, postpones cutbacks but fails to adequately relieve the 75-year mandate. Other bills recognize prefunding as the problem’s root cause. H.R. 1351 would reconfigure the prefunding requirement and apply retirement-fund overpayments to other USPS obligations — at no cost to taxpayers and with no severe cuts in services or jobs. Maine’s Reps. Michaud and Pingree are among its 228 bipartisan cosponsors.

John Curtis


Prayer is right choice

Unlike the writer of the letter to the editor “Off Your Knees, Please,” I view the recent signing of the document “A Call to Prayer for Maine” by Gov. LePage, Attorney General Schneider and more than two-dozen legislators as a long overdue commitment and commend those who signed the document.

By showing they believe in the motto “In God We Trust” and we are willing to act upon it, they give me great hope for our wonderful state. We need to elect more of those who “vote the Bible” and are not ashamed of their beliefs.

The proper place for prayer (including church) is anywhere one desires. Jesus himself prayed in the wilderness. Those who signed the document have shown they can think for themselves and not playing the repulsive politically correct game. Not one bit of “doing the people’s work” suffered during the time these officials took to attend.

My hope is that each day they seek guidance from “above,” God directs them and they act upon his words. I’m sure Jesus would pray with our legislators anywhere, even in the State House. Now, if only Washington, D.C., would follow.

Edward Verbeke

Cary Plantation

Corporate voting rights

Now that the Supreme Court has assured us (in Citizens United) that corporations are citizens, and Gov. Romney has told us that corporations are people, I wonder how soon corporations will ask to vote (in addition to the votes they buy).

John McCarty


A clear choice

Chris Johnson, the Democratic candidate for the special election on Feb. 14 in Senate District 20, has made his top campaign priority very clear. He is focused on people and problem solving, not forwarding a political agenda to re-elect an individual.

He knows tough decisions await him immediately upon arriving in Augusta. He is ready for those challenges and he will bring a strong understanding of the underlying economic and social issues. He genuinely cares about the people he will represent.

As reported by Village Soup, in his speech to win the Republican nomination for the special election, Dana Dow listed his three main campaign issues, one of which was to get Gov. LePage re-elected. This is February 2012. We will not hold an election for governor until November 2014, which over 2½ years from now.

In general, candidates dedicated to representing the people of their district do not make getting other individuals elected as one of their primary goals of service to their constituency.

Dana Dow has made the choice between the two candidates quite clear. A vote for him forwards Gov. LePage’s political agenda, regardless of whether it makes sense for the people of Senate District 20. Alternatively, a vote for Chris Johnson supports someone who puts people and the economy ahead of politics. Chris is experienced, knowledgeable and well-received by constituents. He listens to what residents say. These attributes will enable him to be a true representative of Senate District 20.

Consequently, I will vote for Mr. Chris Johnson.

Mick Devin


Stupid justice

Paul Violette pleaded guilty to theft of an obscene amount of money taken over the course of his being in charge of our Turnpike Authority. He is to make restitution of about one third of that illicit total; bonding companies are to spring for one third each of the remainder. A bit of jail time and then Paul will be good to go, case closed, happily ever after, a crescendo of Bach, fade out. Right?

Now hold on, not so quick. Paul’s to be allowed to collect his pension of how much?

In other words, we the tax and toll payers are going to pay him a pension of $155,000 a year for having stolen from us for 20 some-odd years? Plus, the bonding companies have the honor of picking up two-thirds of what he stole, which will cause an uptick in their rates-to-bond, which will cause a toll price increase, all so Paul will be warm and well fed for a few years and then come out to live on an unearned princely income which we, the stolen from, pay.

What has happened to justice? She’s meant to be just blind, not stupid.

Rick Fayen


Correction: The letter “Stupid justice” was written by Rick Fayen, whose name was misspelled in an earlier version of this list.

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