Jennifer Crittenden’s March 3 OpEd, “Maine’s older adults need affordable housing options,” uses the terms “affordable” or “affordability” eight times. People should be careful about how they bandy those words around.
In Augusta, the old Cony High School is being converted into senior “affordable” apartments. The rents will be $780 to $950 a month. For someone living on the average Social Security payment of under $1,100 a month, those rents represent 65 percent to 75 percent of total monthly income, leaving only $150 to $320 a month for all other possible expenses.
Clearly, those “affordable” apartments are affordable only to the more affluent senior citizens. “Affordable” senior housing, even if it were available, would be financially out of reach for a significant number of seniors.
LePage’s moral failings
I recently read the Feb. 27 column by Alex Steed about “being a good person.” That got me to thinking about our governor. Is he a good person? Well, not according to Steed’s criteria.
Does he adopt a moral compass? When he wants to cut off funding to the poor, disabled and immigrants like the person from the Congo that would be killed if he stayed in the Congo, I think not. When you try to push through your budget and threaten anyone that disagrees by saying, “I will spend the rest of my days going after those people,” that’s not a good person.
His normal approach seems to be “my way or I’ll get even.” Does he listen to the people? I think not. Does he seem to have a good heart? I don’t think so. He is abusive, arrogant, pompous and mean — not my definition of a good person and a terrible example to our children and young people.
Election funding reform
Maine people want to reduce the influence of big money in politics, including limits on the amount of special interest money being raised by our lawmakers. Leadership PACs circumvent important contribution limits that apply to candidate campaigns.
The problems raised when candidates and legislators raise unlimited money through PACs that they control apply equally to publicly funded and privately funded candidates. Reducing the influence of moneyed interests on our elected officials requires lessening the opportunities for special interest money to flow through the hands of legislators and candidates for office.
Maine Citizens for Clean Elections supports constitutional, effective measures that lessen the influence of big money. Testifying on MCCE’s behalf last week, John Brautigam said, “You can’t solve the problem by eliminating half of the leadership PACs any more than you can fix a sinking boat by patching up half of the holes.”
It is time for the Maine Legislature to buckle down and craft real solutions that reduce the opportunity for moneyed interests to wield undue influence in Augusta. MCCE pledges to lend our nonpartisan voice and expertise to the effort. Our dog in the fight is Maine people. Not one party. Not particular legislators. Not one type of candidate. Our aim is to help get the government of, by, and for Maine people that we all deserve.
Maine Citizens for Clean Elections
Where is the outcry?
After hearing John Kerry’s statement on Feb. 26 that we’re safer now in America than we have been for years, following the latest report on the ISIS threat, I can’t help but conclude the Obama White House thinks the public is made up of a bunch of ninnies.
To add to that whopper, the White House says our economy is making all sorts of strides, and why fuss over adding several million illegal immigrants to compete with our meager job supply that has forced untold numbers to give up the search.
What puzzles me most is the lack of outcry from the Republicans, who, it seems, are resting on their laurels from ousting their rivals last November. Where are the alternative policies to counter those that have plunged our economy into a downward spiral, from the most successful and generous system in all of human history, with jobs created by any individual who had the moxie and wherewithal to start a business, and where competition was the final arbiter on which were the best products and service?
Sadly, there are no Patrick Henrys or Daniel Websters to stir the blood, but hopefully, someone will come along to shake us out of our present detachment. I fear, however, only something rather unpleasant can have that effect.
Pinny Beebe-Center knows what her community needs. She has firsthand experience with the people in her community because she has been right there helping them. She knows how to pull people together to solve problems. She’s an innovator, creating programs and services that make a difference.
She also knows when to take chances. I say this because she took them for me. In the middle of my bachelor of sciences program, she took a chance on me for an internship when she was regional manager of Penquis in Knox County. Most interns do their internship at the end, but I wanted a different experience. Pinny had faith in me right away, and took me on. She guided me, connected me in the community and has been a mentor to me for nearly three years now. She enriched my college experience tenfold. In return, I have been able to implement the skills I learned from her, working in our community.
Pinny is the perfect candidate to represent Rockland and Owls Head. I am confident that she will not lose sight of the needs of those she serves.
Mentally ill in jail
Regarding the Bangor Daily News March 2 editorial on cutting jail spending, perhaps we should remember how some 40 years ago, many mental hospitals were closed in an effort to save money. The theory was that new drugs like Thorazine, plus the establishment of neighborhood centers for mentally ill people, would provide a cost-effective and humanitarian way to deal with mental illness.
Patients were given prescriptions and released from hospitals. Many hospitals were closed. However, few neighborhood centers were established. Very vulnerable people were on the streets and on their own. As a result, jail became the institution of choice to serve many of those suffering from mental illness.
It now seems this solution of incarcerating people is also quite costly. It certainly is not humanitarian.