Vote no on all referenda

Question 1. We have a serious drug problem in our state. Adding “grass” to the equation will not improve that situation, and it will more than likely make it worse. No.

Question 2. Why would Maine residents vote to increase taxes on another group of residents? Our representatives cowardly passed this question on to voters because they don’t want their names associated with an increase in taxes. What does “fair share” mean anyway? No.

Question 3. Bad people sell guns to bad people. Bad people do not concern themselves with what is legal. Bad people will continue selling guns to bad people. Question 3 affects only the good law-abiding citizen. No.

Question 4. Minimum wage jobs are entry-level jobs. Increasing wages at the level this question suggests will hurt small business and hurt people who have worked their way to a pay scale above the present minimum. No.

Question 5. Our system of voting has worked well for hundreds of years. There are always elections that require holding one’s nose in the voting booth. Why should we change our system? A big no on this one.

Leo Mazerall

Stockton Springs

Limit Holden council borrowing

How many residents of Holden have had the opportunity to see the changes made to the town’s fire station? I hope many of residents have, and they should be pleased with what was achieved with their tax dollars.

There is one problem with this accomplishment, however. The more than $400,000 used were obtained without following proper guidelines set in the Holden Town Charter, as the town attorney stated at the town council meeting on June 15, 2015. The town charter clearly states that the council could borrow up to $250,000 for any single capital improvement without voter approval. Not only did the council exceed the limit placed on them by the charter, voters weren’t involved in approving the expenditure as required by the charter, and the expenditure wasn’t even a budgeted item.

It became clear that the charter needed reviewing and a Charter Review Committee was established. Surprisingly, two of the members of this committee were town councilors. Over the course of several Charter Review Committee meetings, those on this committee made the decision to recommend that the $250,000 limit be increased to $500,000. So, in essence, if passed, the council could spend this amount without the approval of Holden voters.

Does putting these increased funds at the council’s disposal seem the right thing to do considering how they handled rebuilding the fire station? I think not. I urge Holden voters to vote no on local Question 4.

Richard Barclay

Holden

Rebuke Trump

It has been more than 60 years since the nation has had to deal with the kind of vile and loathsome demagoguery exhibited by Donald Trump. The last time it was Joseph McCarthy, a Republican senator from Wisconsin, who likewise specialized in playing upon people’s fears and spouting lies about his opponents. But McCarthy never made it as far as Trump. He was never considered presidential material. In the long run, even many of his fellow Republicans rejected him.

Trump has sneered at a Gold Star mother, dismissed the sacrifices of POWs, mocked the disability of a journalist and bragged about his sexuality. Now, without a shred of evidence, he has demeaned the integrity of the American voting process.

Is it time to recall the rebuke to McCarthy that came from a fellow Republican from Iowa, the attorney Joseph Welch. “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

With that, McCarthy’s career began its downward spiral. May history repeat itself.

Lynn Parsons

Castine

High schools need debate teams

After the third presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, weary viewers probably sighed in unison “enough already” and went to bed. In light of day, Americans may look back in chagrin and ask themselves, “How could we have been taken in so easily by the word ‘debate?’” Debate doesn’t camouflage verbal insult and human disrespect.

I may not have known all the Oxford Rules of Debate in high school, but I vaguely remember the importance of civil discourse and debate formalities. As a debate participant in my sophomore year, I soon appreciated its similarities to other competitive activities. We had a debate coach, we were a team of two, followed established rules, researched and rehearsed for preparation, but we had no bench warmers. Of lesser known value then, I later discovered that my debating experiences helped ease my way into college. College admission applications are known to welcome average-grade debaters without money.

I would think the Maine Principals’ Association would encourage high schools to offer debate as a competitive activity. Debate has little need of referees, uniforms, bleachers, locker rooms, equipment, buses, turf maintenance, night lights, or tournament awards. Whether rural or urban, Maine’s high schools should explore the benefits of debate competition, if only to address the opposing team members as “my worthy opponents.”

Elizabeth Jalbert Pecoraro

Fort Kent

Willey for Senate District 9

Another effort to legalize the odious practice of physician-assisted suicide will surely surface again in the next Legislature. This is just one step further in the slow decline of a culture once firmly rooted in the ancient moral values of western civilization. Abortion, epidemic abuse of addictive drugs, redefinition of marriage after thousands of years, and now we face this.

While we are told that the practice is now legal in a few states and foreign countries, it’s not inevitable here. The Maine Medical Association and the Maine branch of the American Nurses Association stand against it. Democratic Sen. Geoff Gratwick, a retired physician and former medical colleague who represents Bangor and Hermon in District 9, voted for its legalization in 2015. Larry Willey, Gratwick’s Republican opponent, stands against it.

Palliative care for the dying or incurable has advanced greatly in recent years. It’s now a recognized medical specialty. No patient should have to suffer greatly. The noble profession of medicine should not be seen as the enabler and assistant of the dark angel.

Willey will oppose this threat to the lives of the aged, infirm, or even simply depressed. Please join me in voting for Willey on Nov. 8.

Alan W. Boone

Bangor

Election notice

The BDN will stop accepting letters and OpEds related to the Nov. 8 election on Oct. 28. Not all submissions can be published.