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Friday, Sept. 6, 2013: Congress money, Syria and veterans


Navy costs

The question is how much the Navy’s planned electrification of the Cutler Naval Base Towers will cost people of Washington County.

“Flashovers” — dangerously high voltage surges generated in the 3,000 acres of radio towers — are frequent. The Navy engineer said they have just developed a circuit breaker to prevent them from knocking out the Bangor Hydro Electric substation in Bucks Harbor or residents’ appliances. The engineer said they tested it at Cutler, and it worked.

The man standing beside me, who works on the diesel engines that currently power the towers, disagreed. Navy spokesperson Tom Kreidel said that the Navy “has not determined” if they would pay for damages caused to Bangor Hydro Electric or to refrigerators. The electric company could only pass such cost on to consumers.

No permanent or temporary local jobs would result and some of the few still employed might be let go.

The four diesel engines are currently being rebuilt and could run economically on natural gas (to reduce emissions) for 40 more years. All four engines will be maintained as back up any way. The building housing them is already being rebuilt for $10 million.

The $30 million — I estimate taxpayers are paying for all of this (not counting possible damages) — would buy a lot of diesel or natural gas.

Celeste Sherman



Between K Street and Congress

There are 535 members of Congress, many more than are needed, many more than are effective. The annual salary for these folks totals $95.8 million, per the Senate website. Members’ representational allowances add another $574 million and includes payments for staff, travel, etc. That’s $669.7 million, plus whatever medical benefits each one of these pols qualifies for.

If we reduce the number of representatives to 100 and senators to 50, we could save roughly $446.9 million. Then, if we rent the vacated space to lobbyists, the fired politicians can stay where they were, work full-time instead of part-time for the lobbies, and make more money. This would also save the traipsing back and forth of lobbyists between K Street and Congress.

Charles Cameron


Repeating the past?

I write as one who helped lead the opposition to the Vietnam war and opposed the attack on Iraq and some other wars, but I am convinced that if the U.S. fails to attack Syrian facilities, it will send a message that will imperil much of the world for decades to come.

Western powers are reacting today the way they did when Adolph Hitler took Sudetenland 75 years ago. The Munich Conference granted the Nazis the right to take that part of the Czech Republic and the appeasement was soon followed by German attacks and occupations in most of Europe.

Failure to act now means poison gas will become a standard part of future wars and of a means by which dictators will be able to suppress their people. Those who favor democracy should support aggression against the Syrian regime. Failure to heed lessons from history means we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. But that appears to be where we are headed.

Clyde MacDonald


No Strike

In response to talk of striking Syria over chemical weapons use: If military action consists of destroying caches of chemicals (gas), where do those chemicals go after being hit by missiles? In the air I assume. I figure Bangor is about 5,000 miles or so, dead east of Damascus. I urge our level headed Sen. Susan Collins to urge Congress and President Barack Obama to wait until hurricane season is over before proceeding with action. How do you contain that stuff especially once it’s in the air? Nasty stuff. A family member of mine was mustard gassed during World War I. It’s inhumane.

Johnny Friedman


Fairness to veterans

This is in regard to John Evans’ BDN letter of Aug. 31 as to why the Department of Veterans Affairs isn’t being fair to African-Americans. First thing, he shouldn’t bring race into the issue. Everyone is equal no matter what their color. My grandson is a disabled veteran. He has had a hard time finding a job for many months. He is white. It is tough for returning veterans, who have fought to protect our country, to get a job. Don’t blame it on race or color.

Carl N. Ripley



Correction: In the letter "Between K Street and Congress," it was listed that there were 451 members of Congress. There are 535.

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