Vote no on bonds

The November 2014 ballot has $42 million in new bonds. Bonds increase taxes or reduce spending on other state services because bonds must be repaid, including interest, either by increasing state taxes or cutting other state spending.

Maine state debt, spending and tax burdens are already far above justifiable levels in spite of declines since 2007. Maine taxpayers and income levels are not ready for higher tax burdens or more state debt.

Vote no on all bond questions at the polls on Election Day.

Hadley Smith

Palmyra

Vote fair for bear

Maine is the last state in the country to still allow the unnecessarily cruel practices of trapping, hounding and baiting bears. Bear hunting in Maine is big business, never known for its morality. There is no excuse for cruelty.

As for fear of public safety, in 40 years of living in the Maine woods, I have seen black bears exactly three times, all of them running away from me. Yet we kill them by the thousands. So one has to wonder why there is such fervor to hunt these shy and intelligent beings other than “fun and money.”

Killing a female bear means that her cubs are most likely going to die of starvation as they cannot as yet fully care for themselves. We draw them to us by baiting practices, and then complain that they can be a nuisance when searching for food. If we insist on killing them, then the very least we owe is a humane manner of doing so.

For bear facts instead of myths, you can go to the organization that has actually studied bears for many years: www.bear.org. I urge those of you who care about our black bears to get out and vote in favor of the fair bear law.

Gail Rein

Bryant Pond

Danby > 500 words

Danby’s Sept. 25 BDN cartoon, Debategate, is right on the money, as usual. He can convey more in one sketch than a 500-word column.

Pat Ayers

Camden

Voting for Ward

As past president of Holbrook Little League, I first met state representative candidate Karl Ward a decade ago, giving up a hot July 4th weekend to lead his donated Nickerson & O’Day construction crew in framing our new concessions building. He said something I’ll never forget: “We will leave it better than we found it.”

Ward has since also donated a lighted scoreboard, signage, landscaping and groundwork for our batting cages and a new fenced-in bullpen. As a longtime coach, his ability to inspire, motivate and teach heartfelt life lessons from a simple game is a joy to watch. His teams are among our best ever and three-quarters of his players make JV/varsity. Several will be found on college diamonds next spring.

Seeing our finances in trouble, Karl single-handedly undertook a huge fundraising effort and put us back in the black — and sponsor signs now cover our field. All to provide the best experience possible for all children — and leave the League and our kids better than he found them.

Ward is running for state representative in Orland, Penobscot, Stockton Springs, Prospect, Verona Island, Otis and Dedham. If elected, he will donate his legislative pay to youth organizations and schools in his towns. I’m not one bit surprised.

Like most, I don’t vote party lines. I vote the person that will do the best for my state. Folks, that person is Ward. Because while I may not know everything, the one thing I do know is Ward will “leave it better than he found it.”

Darrell Pluard

Dedham

Burstein for House

Peter Weston is running against Christine Burstein in the race for Maine state representative, 96th District. It is a standard race: two individuals looking to bring their different backgrounds and beliefs to Augusta. Their differences are stark and important. Weston was raised on a farm, took a position in the school system and is riding the coattails of his wife, a former state senator. Burstein has dedicated her life to volunteering her time to the community and wants to make a difference. She has lived the issues that are being discussed. Burstein has been on the school board, making decisions in the best interest of the children without the bias introduced through employment by that school. Weston cannot say the same. Yes, he’s been a teacher and a principal, but since he was being paid by the school and must answer to its budget, Weston was not making unbiased decisions solely with the best interest of the students in mind.

Burstein has given tirelessly to the community by volunteering on a number of committees, chairing events and raising environmental issues. Burstein will work hard for the health and welfare of the people in Maine. We don’t need the principal sitting behind his desk peddling speeches about freedom with little experience of the hard work it takes to make them a reality. We need someone to speak her mind, take the lead and listen to people so she can fairly and honestly represent them. That’s Burstein.

Bonnie Johnson

Lincolnville

Collins lost my vote

For years I’ve admired Sen. Susan Collins’ pragmatism, independence and tone of civility. We Mainers should be thankful that she’s avoided the mean-spirited rhetoric of some of her more extreme colleagues. Decency matters, both to our state’s reputation and to the quality of our political discourse overall.

What also matters, however, is our elected officials’ actual votes. And here I’ve noticed a disappointing trend in Collins’ recent record: She voted against raising the minimum wage for hard-working Americans. She voted to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, another measure that would give working Americans a fair shot. Most alarming, she recently joined the entire Republican caucus to block debate on a bill to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision, which has polluted our political process with vast amounts of special interest money. What’s happened to the independent-minded senator I used to support?

Could it be that Collins, who once so admirably worked for campaign finance reform and transparency, has fallen in with the very forces of big-money special interests that she used to decry? Has she become more interested in preserving the status quo and maintaining congressional gridlock than in promoting debate and passing forward-thinking legislation? Have her voting priorities shifted toward party orthodoxy and away from the interests of everyday Americans like me? Who knows? But I do know I’ve seen enough, and I’m afraid she’s lost my vote.

Peter Gordon

Yarmouth