Offshore drilling bad for Maine

Offshore drilling rights can potentially open the door to environmental disasters that jeopardize the “natural haven” status that our state is known for all over the world. We cannot let our state motto, “The way life should be,” be trampled by oil companies that care less about Maine than they do profits.

Maine’s two largest economic engines, tourism and our iconic lobster fishery, could potentially be at the mercy of what happened in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

I am not a tree-hugging, sap-sucking environmental activist ready to spike trees or blow things up, but what’s right is right, and this is totally wrong for us and the country. Mainers do not want to be asked to volunteer or be part of a dish soap commercial showing us saving shore birds and beautiful indigenous wildlife covered in crude oil dying all over our coastline. We live in a peaceful place, far from the world’s turmoil and ugliness, and we treasure our natural resources.

My contention is that the ocean is way too delicate and, at the same time, powerful to be trifled with. What is proposed to be done offshore can be done on land in a more controllable environment. We already produce enough fossil fuel, as we export it worldwide. To say that we need independence from foreign oil is fair, but we need to weigh the cost in how we go about realizing this goal.

John Nicolai

Gouldsboro

Move to lower minimum wage shameful

I am a senior citizen living on a fixed income, and I am fed up with being used by Republican extremists as an excuse for every bad law they want to pass. I am especially disgusted with being used as an excuse to make life harder for struggling younger Mainers. Don’t try to set us against each other — we know we’re in this together.

Caring for the next generation is a biological and ethical imperative. And, selfishly, I depend on the jobs younger folk do, the money they spend to support local businesses, the taxes they pay, their insurance payments, and their contributions to Social Security. I want them well paid and well treated. The small minimum wage increase hardly makes up for decades of stagnant wages, rising costs and diminished government services championed by the same greedy individuals who now want to decrease minimum wages. Even at lower wages, my generation could afford a higher standard of living. Let’s be fair.

The majority of Mainers voted for a modest and reasonable increase in the minimum wage. As Maine has a high percentage of seniors and we vote at higher rates, it is clear that older Mainers understand the need for and the benefits of a higher minimum wage. In fact, in part because of bad public policy and vile business practices (such as stealing pensions), many seniors still must work — often for minimum wage.

So stop using me as an excuse. The Trump tax breaks for businesses are supposed to trickle down in increased wages and more jobs. Isn’t it a bit rich to pile on by demanding to pay lower minimum wages as well as paying lower taxes? Gov. Paul LePage and all should be ashamed of themselves. And I’ve earned the right to say so.

Annlinn Kruger

Bar Harbor

Don’t relax child care safety

I am writing in firm agreement with the recent OpEd, “Relaxing safety requirements is no way to address Maine’s shortage of child care.”

As this OpEd points out, many of the child care bills before the Legislature this year not only threaten the quality of the programs our children need to succeed, but also threaten the safety of our youngest citizens.

More than 70 percent of Maine children under age 6 have one or both parents in the workforce. That means many Maine families rely on child care providers to care for and support their kids in the most critical years of brain development, from ages zero to 3.

Removing safety requirements and high standards of care is not an effective way of addressing the child care shortage in our state. While these efforts might temporarily open up more spots for kids, the damage that could be done in those formative years by providers who lack proper training and oversight could have long-term effects on our kids. If we put kids in unsafe child care environments now, you can bet my officers and I will be responding to related calls down the line. By that time, any transgression is one too late.

Take it from your sheriff, when it comes to our kids, we need to invest in — not scrimp on — safety.

Troy Morton

Sheriff

Penobscot County

Bangor

Marching for democracy

I share Lance Duton’s concerns regarding Democrats’ and progressives’ abilities to translate passion into legislative wins, but he is mistaken in characterizing the recent women’s marches in Maine as “angry mob activism.”

He missed the Augusta march, where it’s estimated 4,000 to 5,000 Mainers gathered to hear awesome speakers, connect with fellow activists and march around Capitol Park, actions driven by a love of country. The day was marked by bright sunshine, smiling faces and pithy signs signaling a focus on the theme “Power to the Polls” and “Hear Our Vote.” No hint of violence.

The 40 to 50 resistance groups in Maine engaging thousands of activists daily in safeguarding our democracy understand marches are not “an end in themselves,” as Dutson supposes.

He goes on to denigrate individuals who “got themselves arrested in public spaces because they disagree with tax policy.” He’s opposed to civil disobedience? So the citizen whose deeply opposed to destructive policies and doesn’t feel heard should do what?

One could make a persuasive argument that the protests and arrests actually made the final tax policy less onerous for the middle class than it would have otherwise been.

Yes, the Republicans are in control, for now, but there’s evidence from recent Democratic wins in special elections that the tide might be changing. And with more than 25,000 Democratic women reaching out to Emily’s List last year with plans to run for office, I suggest Dutson hold onto his hat.

Maryann Larson

Portland