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Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012: Saving Belfast, airline bias, Occupy Wall Street

Saving Belfast

What should residents do when the city of Belfast is robbing and destroying our properties?

Do we hold back our taxes and demand sewers and roadside drainage?

Belfast is robbing Northport Avenue District tax increment financing money. Without stormwater sewers, Seaview Terrace will be history. Save us at the Sept. 18 city hall meeting at 7 p.m.

More than $275,000 in studies, unreadable signs, thousands in this stormwater cover-up. Council feigned ignorance. In 2009 the stream overflowed, flooding Seaview, taking a car and home. In 2010, roaring rapids, sweeping away more than 600 feet of my property.

Captain Albert Stevens Elementary School’s huge stormwater holding tanks are the overload of many, forced to our private property. The city owns the road of Seaview Terrace but has no right of ways or easements to the stream. The city has moved the stream at least two times for their

illegal use.

Brad Pitt said of the flooded homeless in New Orleans that nothing makes him angrier than officials’ claims that the flooding is an act of nature, when it is, sickly, the failure of man.

Laurie Allen


Know about the people you elect

Most of us are well aware of the miserable job our Congress is doing in Washington. It would be overly simplistic to suggest any single cause of this situation, but one factor seems hugely important.

It is the fact that most voters know very little about the people they elect. They may recognize a picture and be aware of a public image, but they most likely have only the fuzziest idea of the potential office seeker’s character, values, intelligence, knowledge and important personal relationships.

The result is a major gap between what most voters really need to know and what they actually understand. This gap is entirely incompatible with the election of effective leaders. It is potentially the fatal flaw in our system of government.

The result is that all too often the well-intentioned, qualified and hardworking person is beaten out by someone with influence, money, a compelling desire to get elected and the willingness to make the self-serving compromises needed to win. Unfortunately, this is a problem much easier to recognize than to fix.

The bottom line is that we the people have sent and keep sending the duds to Washington, and it is we the people who must be held fully and ultimately accountable for making the system work or fail.

David Spaulding


Airline discrimination

Recently, a 16-year-old boy with Down syndrome was not allowed to board an American Airlines flight from Newark to Los Angeles. The American Airlines explanation was that he was “agitated” and running around. His parents deny that the boy was running or causing any distraction warranting a negative reaction.

The airline decided to have the family booked on a later flight (being booked on a later flight does not usually help “agitated” people to calm down!). Furthermore “agitated” is a vague term, often applied to passengers awaiting a flight. Having chosen a United Airlines flight, the family was booked in the last row on the plane with two empty rows separating them from other passengers!

Being parents of a son with Down syndrome, we have had no problems with negative reactions from the many airlines we have flown with. The situations described above are, at worst, blatant discrimination. At best, they demonstrate a need for educating airline personnel to reduce fear and ignorance toward people with Down syndrome.

The facts of this incident are not yet known. Any of us might be a bit excited looking forward to flying in first class, just as this family had chosen to do. Perhaps the airline was concerned about the reaction of other first-class passengers. What a shame that they missed out on the joy and wonder this young man may have brought them!

Tom and Jean Beale


Going to Wall Street

I am going to New York City to gather with people from Maine, and all over the country, to mark the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.

It’s been one year since Liberty Plaza was occupied by folks who were ready to make a strong, nonviolent statement concerning income inequality, moral decay, military and corporate control and environmental degradation. This encampment opened people’s eyes to the fact that, as more money rises to the top of the system, we are losing our democracy.

Occupy Wall Street said two things that ring true for me. One was, “We are the 99 percent,” which represents the terrible income inequality that exists in our country. The top 0.01 percent make an average of about $23,000,000, while 90 percent of us make an average of $30,000.

The second statement was, “Another world is possible.” We have an obligation to create a world that makes us proud, where our wealth is shared and our environment is protected. As a retired public school teacher, I have recited the pledge of allegiance with my students for the past 25 years. The last line always gets my attention: “liberty and justice for all.”

In New York, three days of gatherings are planned. The first two days involve educating ourselves as we talk about the issues and look at solutions. Nonviolent civil disobedience will take place in lower Manhattan.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I say to myself, “Get involved. Don’t be afraid to talk about important issues and to join others to take action.”

David Smith


50th Labor Day Road Race

I watched with great joy as more than 150 men and women ran through the intersection of Hammond and West Broadway in the 50th anniversary of the Bangor Labor Day Road Race.

My father, the late Pete Furrow, along with others at the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department were the founding fathers during the summer of 1962. About seven runners took part in that first run. Happy anniversary.

Tim Furrow


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