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Letters, Saturday, July 13, 2013: LePage, wind power and bicyclists

Liberal broadside

Another tired liberal broadside aimed at Gov. Paul LePage from the July 9 BDN, authored by Rep. Joe Brooks. Maine is at the bottom of the list of business-friendly states. We know what LePage is trying to do to raise Maine up from the bottom. It’s really a simple recipe: Make Maine a right-to-work state, balance the budget, lower taxes, ease certain regulations, streamline government operations and try to find a way to lower energy costs without more government spending.

Except for castigating LePage, I have yet to hear from the Democrats and the left how they propose to make Maine more competitive so as to encourage new businesses to locate here. More government regulations, more spending and higher taxes only make matters worse. Meanwhile we get older and watch our best and brightest leave the state.

Richard de Grasse


Longo, LePage comments

Does anyone else see irony in the fact that the Bangor City Council censured Councilor Charlie Longo for saying Gov. Paul LePage frequented bars when LePage himself said a state legislator commits sexual acts against voters, and the state Legislature takes no action against our “leader”?

LePage continually denigrates and cheapens the office to which he was elected. Longo’s conduct drew censure from the council for remarks considered “inappropriate, offensive, and disrespectful” that have “no place in the deliberations of this body.” Sound familiar? Yet the Legislature never censures or reprimands LePage.

Is conduct by LePage subject to a lower standard than a city council? Not according to the Maine Constitution. The Legislature may seek support from the secretary of state and attorney general to determine whether the governor is mentally competent under Article V, Section 14. In Article IX, Section 5, the Legislature may decide LePage has committed a misdemeanor such as assault (his last conduct fits the definition) and impeach him. The Legislature “may punish any person, not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly behavior” under Article IV, Section 6.

Even though a governor may apparently postpone bonds approved by voters, the Constitution says, “The veto power of the Governor shall not extend to any measure approved by vote of the people.” The Legislature needs to address LePage’s misconduct; otherwise, our-governor-by-default (elected when Democrats went after Cutler) will continue to commit dangerous, illicit and illegal buffoonery that permanently damages Maine’s culture and economy.

Mac Herrling


Experience contradicts story

Patricia Aho, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, wrote a July 3 BDN OpEd entitled, “What the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is doing right”.

Our experience on Vinalhaven, as neighbors of industrial wind turbines, contradicts important parts of Aho’s story.

Noise from the wind turbines upset nearby residents as soon as the turbines started in November 2009. By spring neighbors appealed to DEP for involvement establishing noise violations by the Fox Islands Wind. Aho avers, “The public has a right to be part of the difficult and complex questions surrounding environmental concerns.” On Vinalhaven, we had to do it ourselves.

Proving wind turbine noise violations was complicated and costly. Some neighbors chased sound data in the woods in the middle of cold nights because the wind turbine owner refused to cooperate.

Once we proved violations had occurred, the DEP was then willing to enforce and would have if Aho had not stepped in. When Aho directly intervened, she overturned years of careful work, leading to litigation that is slowly unwinding in Maine Superior Court.

In her OpEd, Aho chides the press and affirms her support for staff “who have my utmost respect,” but Aho’s involvement on Vinalhaven seems to have been a principal reason for the resignation of at least one top regulatory official.

On July 15, our complaint will finally be heard in Maine Superior Court after nearly four years of expense and effort on our part. The petition in Maine Superior Court is publicly available at the website: http://fiwn.wordpress.com.

Alan Farago


Bike safety and apology

On July 7, a 50-year-old bicyclist, visiting from Florida, was hauled off her bike and maliciously assaulted. I want to express my shock and apologies to our visitor for the treatment she received in our state. We cannot know what motivated this unprovoked attack but, as a 52-year-old female bicyclist, I have to consider the overt hostility I have sometimes encountered while on the road, including taunts, name-calling and threats. I know that my experiences are not unique.

Road bicyclists are popularly perceived to be arrogant and superior, and I don’t think we work hard enough to dispel that impression. The vast majority of us obey the rules of the road; but we can call each other out when we witness inappropriate behavior. This season I have found that when I smile or wave to another rider on the road I often receive no response at all, not even a nod of recognition. This almost always feels like a slap in the face. Frankly, I want to know that we’re all looking out for one another.

So, fellow cyclists, please make eye contact and smile at me. While we are at it, we could try smiling and waving at runners and people walking their dogs or mowing their lawns, and drivers who are appropriately sharing the road. Let’s show our community that we are accountable, polite and worthy of respect.

Susan Hamlett


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