Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013: Bullying, clean elections and UMaine hockey

Posted Feb. 11, 2013, at 11:12 a.m.

Thanks for facts

Congratulations to the BDN for the State of the State fact check concerning Gov. Paul LePage’s Feb. 5 address. I found it extremely helpful. The paper’s commitment to providing the readers with facts is commendable.

Anne Smallidge

Blue Hill

Catholic values intact

According to a Feb. 6 BDN article, “ Portland church to be sold, demolished as diocese continues downsizing,” the Catholic population of Maine has declined from 234,000 to 187,000 today.

Needing money, the diocese of Maine bought a shopping plaza in Portland where the anchor store, Rite Aid, sells contraceptives and the morning-after pill. Church teaching condemns these items, but a spokesman for the diocese, Dan Guthro, said that the profitable potential of the plaza “outweighed any unintended consequences of its investment.”

Money trumps morals, you might say. Or is it moral relativism?

For decades, Catholic leaders thought that protecting the image of the Church and their jobs outweighed any unintentional consequences.

Good Catholics who feed the hungry and shelter the homeless need not justify their actions. Their moral values are intact.

Peg Cruikshank

Corea

Bullied aftermath

I would like to make a comment about the Feb. 6 article, “Parents, educators, police address bullying at Dover-Foxcroft School” about bullying in Dover-Foxcroft. I am the grandmother of the 5th grader who is being bullied. I will admit I wasn’t at school when he was threatened, but I saw the aftermath.

My grandson was visibly upset and didn’t want to return to school. It broke my heart to see him this way because he always loved school.

In addition, it hasn’t gotten any better. First quarter, he was an honor student. Now he is failing two classes. Shouldn’t this have raised a red flag to the teachers?

Macy Larrabee

Dover-Foxcroft

Act on clean elections

The role of money in politics has long loomed like a dark cloud over our democracy, but never exceedingly. Large private contributions from anonymous donors overwhelmed races large and small throughout the country to the tune of $6 billion.

Maine has a long and proud tradition of rejecting the influence of outside moneyed interests in our politics, and in 1996, Maine citizens spoke, and the nation’s first Clean Elections Act became law.

However, the Citizens United ruling dismantled many of its key features.

What’s more, Gov. Paul LePage’s outrageous new budget would cripple the program by raiding the Clean Election fund of $4 million, virtually ensuring the interests of big money will win the day in the next election cycle.

Recent demonstrations in Augusta showed us that, thankfully, a major bipartisan effort is underway to reject the governor’s budget. They will also strengthen our Clean Elections Act and send a resolution to Washington that demands a constitutional amendment to limit the influence of anonymous special interests with billions to spend.

As Mainers, we should put our backs into supporting these efforts and demand that our government is beholden to the people, not sold to the highest bidder.

Lucas Desmond

Maine League of Young Voters

Portland

Empty seats?

As I watched the State of the State on Feb. 5, I noticed a few empty seats on the floor. Who is missing from this address by Gov. Paul LePage? I believe this is a question that the BDN could report on.

Katherine Fernald

Mt. Desert

Invest in ourselves

As stewards of our state’s public works, we are proud of the infrastructure legacy that has been entrusted to us. Gov. Paul LePage did not formally discuss infrastructure investment in his recent annual State of the State address.

Like the governor, we are ready to write a new chapter of opportunity in Maine’s history. But let’s not just write the chapter – let’s literally build this new chapter for Maine’s future by adequately investing in and rebuilding our vital infrastructure.

While failing to mention infrastructure by name, the governor did discuss the need for economic growth and competitiveness. As we all well know, our state cannot connect to the growing global marketplace without needed infrastructure.

If, as the governor says, we want to grow and become more prosperous, then our state must make a commitment to building and maintaining the infrastructure to allow businesses and consumers to excel in the 21st century economy.

Two months ago, we released the 2012 Report Card for Maine’s Infrastructure, which awarded Maine’s infrastructure a “C-” grade. We found that the conditions of our state’s infrastructure are inadequate to meet our growing needs.

The Maine Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers exists to bring attention to our state’s infrastructure needs and encourage leaders from all parties to invest in Maine.

Simply put, we must invest in ourselves if we are to meet the governor’s vision for continued economic growth and to remain competitive in a global economy.

William Haskell

President, Maine Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers

Gray

Whitehead performance

I’m 17 years old, and since I was 6 months old, I’ve attended Maine hockey games. I grew to understand that Maine hockey was a dominant college hockey program. However, I’m sad to say that day has passed.

It is time to cut ties with coach Tim Whitehead. If we don’t do it soon, we may permanently face the repercussions. Those who claim he did well a few years ago must understand he was coaching Shawn Walsh’s recruits and living off Walsh’s legacy. That legacy has passed.

Walsh coached 17 years and won two national championships as well as four Hockey East championships. Whitehead has coached 12 years and has no national championships and one Hockey East title.

Walsh led Maine to 10 national tournaments and seven Frozen Fours, while Whitehead has led Maine to eight national tournaments and four Frozen Fours. This sounds good until one realizes that Maine has only made the national tournament once in the last five years.

I’m not saying Whitehead didn’t have a good run, but it’s over.

The quality of recruits has begun to decrease, the coaching strategy is far too passive and I think a new voice of leadership is required.

Not only is Whitehead not getting the job done, but hockey is far too important for Maine athletics for it to be underachieving this much.

Todd Rogers Jr.

Brewer

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