April 04, 2020
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Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020: Support drug sentencing reform, primaries and caucuses, are the ‘smart meters’ that smart?

Support drug sentencing reform

I am writing in support of LD 1492, An Act to Reform Drug Sentencing Laws. This bill calls for a shift in our drugs laws from a focus on incarceration to acknowledging drug use as a public health issue.

Under current laws, any person carrying a certain amount of drugs may receive felonies on their record, which makes finding safe housing and employment difficult. Certain people and communities are disproportionately affected by criminalization, such as women, low-income Mainers and Mainers of color.

Unemployment and a lack of safe and affordable housing for people with felony records increase the likelihood of relapse and continued drug abuse. In addition, the children of people who are incarcerated are more likely to be incarcerated themselves, meaning that future generations will continue to be impacted.

Public health initiatives have demonstrated significant decreases in overdose deaths and infectious diseases associated with drug use. We must change the focus of our drug laws to address drug use as the public health issue it is in order to actually solve the problem.

In 2018, nearly one Mainer died in an opioid-related death each day. Those deaths were preventable.

I urge constituents to contact their local members of the Maine Legislature to urge them to support this bill.

Rebecca Scarborough

Camden

Vote yes on Question 1

When I took my son to the pediatrician for his 15-month vaccinations, I thought I was protecting him. I had no idea that this combination of pharmaceuticals would cause his body to attack itself, his brain to swell and that he would convulse and be forever brain-damaged.

My son is now 17 and will forever have the mental capacity of a toddler. He can’t speak anymore, hurts himself daily and each time my son collapses and convulses violently, I’m perplexed as to how what did this to him can be labeled “safe and effective.”

Voting no on Question 1 will endanger children like mine who have underlying conditions that haven’t yet been identified. Yes on 1 allows parents time to test for these underlying conditions and investigate family histories prior to inoculations. Yes on 1 allows medical decisions to be based on the individual, rather than a generalized group.

I have found Maine physicians to be reluctant about writing medical exemptions, perhaps because they have seen the backlash in California, so I use the philosophical exemption to protect my children. Even though the CDC lists contraindications to vaccination for someone who: “Has a weakened immune system, or has a parent, brother, or sister with a history of hereditary or congenital immune system problems.”

I can’t protect my other children. For a moment, imagine the worst trauma of your life. Then imagine someone telling you that a law has been passed forcing you and your family to relive that same trauma. Vote yes on 1 protects us.

Rachel Ortiz

Bangor

Primaries and caucuses

No matter who we support for president, we can all agree this year’s election is important. It’s an especially exciting election for Democrats. We are voting Tuesday, March 3, (Super Tuesday) in the first presidential primary held in Maine in many years. We are also holding our traditional local caucuses a few days later on Sunday, March 8. Why both? The answer is because voting in the primary is not enough.

The presidential primary results determine how many of Maine’s delegates to the National Democratic Convention will represent each candidate for president. But the primary does not determine who will fill those national delegate slots.

In our town caucuses, we vote on who will represent our town at the party’s state convention. They in turn will elect the people who fill the national delegate slots that each presidential candidate received based on the primary. In short, the presidential primary determines how many delegates a candidate receives, while the caucuses start the process to determine who those delegates will be.

But the town caucuses do more than that. We meet local candidates and legislators, elect local party leaders, talk about the issues most important to us, and learn ways to be involved in this year’s elections.

So be sure to vote on March 3, and plan on attending your local caucus on March 8. To find out the time and location of your town’s caucus, visit your town office or the Maine Democratic Party website.

Sara Salley

Chair

Waldo County Democratic Committee

Liberty

Are the ‘smart meters’ that smart?

I always read with interest all of the articles on Central Maine Power’s billing issues because my kilowatt usage has increased quite substantially since the addition of the “smart meter.”

The Maine Public Utility Commission’s investigation showed software defects and problems with how it interfaces with the billing system, and on and on — with nothing resolved.

I say why not go to the complaining parties and put in a parallel meter on the inside of the house or business, and not another smart meter but an old fashioned “not-so-smart meter” and see if the smart meter is just smart for the seller.

I checked on Home Depot’s website and found devices that measure kilowatt hours for as little as $340. They are quite sophisticated, in fact, they can gather data from each breaker and give breakdowns on each appliance.

I’m sure with a little more digging, one could find something for less money to measure right from the two hotwires and the ground that go into the main breaker.

Have the state buy 10 or 12 devices, and hire some local electricians to hook them up so that we don’t end up with a department of meter checking that we’ll have to pay into perpetuity.

Within a week, I think you would have enough data to tell us if we should go back to the “dumb meters.”

If it’s true the old meters were really under reading usage, why the need for rate increases? Has anyone from PUC looked at total dollars billed by CMP per annum before smart meters, and after them?

Kevin Davis

Plymouth

 


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