Make your voice heard
Now that the elections are over, it is my hope that our newly elected and re-elected state and federal representatives will waste no time in focusing on the issues of concern to older Mainers and their families.
Issues such as financial and health security are of paramount importance to many of our older residents. The next Congress will be making decisions about the future of Social Security and Medicare.
There are many options likely to be considered in 2013 that will affect the long-term solvency of both of these programs. Now the work truly begins, and I am looking forward to hearing how campaign promises will turn into meaningful action.
Here in Maine, the 126th Legislature will need to find ways to balance the state budget without cutting programs that are so important to some of our most at-risk residents. As we head into the coldest months of the year, the challenges for older Mainers will undoubtedly grow. We need to protect our long-term care services and supports and strengthen consumer protections, so Mainers can stay in their own homes and communities as they age.
I hope our representatives will reach across the aisle and work together to find solutions that make sense now and for the future. I encourage all Mainers to play an active role in watching how things unfold in the months and years ahead and making sure their voices are heard throughout.
AARP Executive Council
I lost count of the number of calls I either didn’t answer (thank you, caller ID) or hung up on if there wasn’t a voice in my ear in one second. Maine has some laws in effect for robocalls, but they obviously don’t go far enough.
I urge (and you should urge) our Maine Legislature to take a bold, nonpartisan step, by joining the growing number of states that require automated calls to be initiated by a live operator who must obtain your permission before starting the recorded message. This will make robocall campaigns much more expensive but not get in the way of “free speech” concerns. And if your argument against such a move is that “well then, only super-PACs will be able to afford robocalls,” let me introduce you to movetoamend.org. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision can be reversed. It’s time to move on this, don’t you think?
New state law
I was surprised at the start of the school year when our superintendent instructed the entire staff on the new state law LD 1838, which was designed to insure safe restraint and seclusion procedures for children with severe behavioral disabilities. The rule change to Chapter 33 expands the law beyond the special education population to include all students. The law specifically states that school personnel are not allowed to lay a hand on a student if their actions are verbal in nature or if they are destroying school property.
I am offended as a school employee, a parent and a taxpayer. This law is undermining civility in our schools and is causing the erosion of authority of school personnel to keep our schools safe. Students can now engage in inappropriate outbursts. Students do not have to listen to authority figures and use basic forms of courtesy. Students can destroy any school property for any amount of money, and school personnel are not to interfere. The only recourse to any of the above is to call the police.
This appalling situation arises as an unintended consequence of bad legislation. When the majority of the student body is placed in fear for personal safety, school property is subject to destruction, the education process is disrupted and personnel are subjected to abuse, constitutional rights are grossly infringed upon.
LD 1838 may be the law, but that does not make it right.
Charlotte E. Violette
In light of several recent tragic deaths in Hancock County, it saddens me to see the obituaries omitted from local newspapers, due to the expense involved with putting an obituary in print. For several years I have wondered why this is not offered through the newspapers or funeral homes as a community service. An obituary is a person’s last tribute, a memorial to the person’s life. I feel it would be appropriate for our local papers to give back to the community that supports them. The last thing a loved one left behind needs to worry about is whether they can afford to post an obituary.
For some of the population, we are fortunate that news travels quickly through cyberspace. However a large population still relies for information exclusively through newspapers. I would like to see this issue in a reader survey or opinion poll.
Perhaps the BDN’s decision to place Doonesbury on the editorial page is a good one; it is certainly no longer a comic strip. I have read Doonesbury since Gary Trudeau drew it for the Yale Daily News. While I am generally 180 degrees out of phase with Trudeau politically, I have always found him funny, even when we disagree. No more.
Over the last few months, his blatant bias against Republican Mitt Romney and conservatives in general has been disgusting. His inaccurate posturing and attribution of racial bias to efforts by states to control voter fraud, his mean-spirited and insulting caricatures of Romney’s religion and his generally snarky treatment of anyone who does not worship President Barack Obama disqualifies him as a comic strip artist.
It is a shame that a talent such as his has gone off the deep end in this way. I will no longer read him, and I hope others who recognize his deviation from good taste will also boycott the strip and will so inform the newspapers that carry it.
Sen.-elect Angus King now says he’s affiliated with the Democrats in the Senate. Talk about changing canoes in mid stream. Independent, is there more than one meaning for the same word? Tell me you couldn’t see this coming.