LePage’s outspokenness not admirable

Regarding his most recent racist comments, Gov. Paul LePage keeps getting credit for speaking his mind. Speaking one’s mind is not admirable when it’s a narrow, bigoted, bullying mind, just like that of, according to LePage, his alcoholic, abusive father, whom, again according to him, as an adolescent he managed to escape.

If only we Mainers could escape from him. (I have deliberately avoided referring to him here as governor, let alone our governor, because I gag on that sad truth.)

I’m just speaking my mind.

Tom Rusk

Dresden

Time for Belfast to look at housing

Fifty years ago, no one driving on the bridge across the Belfast Bay batted an eye at the feathers littering the road or the chicken guts in the water. Belfast was a gritty, hard-working factory town where anyone could find work, as long as they weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Today, the same bridge is a pedestrian passageway connecting to a handsome, new harborwalk (a point of pride for the city and its people). Downtown is walkable and filled with active storefronts and greenspaces. Life in town is great, if people can afford it.

Today, there are more higher-paying, white-collar jobs here and yet many middle-income people can’t find housing or afford the area. Our city plan prioritizes maintaining low-density standards for neighborhoods close to downtown. These neighborhoods are full of big homes once belonging to the area’s most prominent families and intended originally for multi-generational use. These buildings are clearly unrealistic for efficient use as modern single- or two-family homes, yet zoning won’t allow for their conversion into multi-unit dwellings.

It’s time for Belfast to take a hard look at housing and consider who is being pushed out today by zoning laws created over half a century ago. The post-recession middle-class relies on quality rental housing. The tech industry in Belfast is attracting a valuable creative class. These people desire walkable neighborhoods close to shopping and amenities. Places that looks a lot like in-town Belfast.

Allison Harrell

Belfast

National park a unique opportunity

For more than 20 years, I have been traveling from my home in Bangor into the North Woods to watch moose and to enjoy the many other types of wildlife that call this vast forestland home. I have captured black bear, bobcat, moose and all sorts of birds, from black-capped chickadees to barred owls and bald eagles — all with my camera.

A national park and recreation area east of Baxter State Park would conserve for all time a small piece of habitat for the wildlife I continue to enjoy. And what magnificent habitat it is. Old growth forests, more than 30 miles of free flowing streams and rivers, and countless wetlands that support countless types of warblers and other birds that I would love to photograph.

I am hopeful that Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins will recognize the opportunity to accept a gift of land and $100 million in funding to support that land may only come once in their lifetimes, if not much longer. The time has come to seize this unique opportunity. What are they waiting for?

Sharon Fiedler

Bangor

Climate change threatens fishing

I enjoyed reading about the quality of Maine’s brook trout in Charles Gauvin’s Nov. 13 BDN OpEd. Fishing for salmon and trout in Maine has been a passion of mine, yet I am concerned about the long-term viability of our cold water fishery.

Temperature does certainly affect the fishing. Although temperatures do fluctuate from year to year, we have witnessed a warming trend. We have gained an extra month of summer. This September was particularly bad, the water never cooled and all the major fishing rivers around Moosehead Lake, including the West Branch of the Penobscot River, failed to get a good run of fish. My concern is for future generations. Will there be a cold water fishery in Maine in 2050?

Some predictions are for Maine’s climate to resemble that in Washington, D.C., by 2050 if our greenhouse gas emissions are not drastically reduced. What will happen to businesses that depend on cold water angler tourism? And how do we replace the spiritual and therapeutic benefits of a day on a clear, cool river or pond?

There is no substitute, but there is a solution. The first step is admitting we have a problem and resolving to correct it. U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-New York, did just that with the Republican resolution on climate change. It is time for Maine to get on board and not only support that resolution but follow up and lead the nation by introducing a nonpartisan solution that works. A revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend does just that, while stimulating the economy and creating jobs.

Paul Potvin

Hampden