No man is an island

If you were to take a goldfish out of its fish bowl and place it on the table, if it survives the original shock, it may wonder what happened to the water. This goldfish had always assumed its environment until it discovered that its assumed view of the world was suddenly shattered. Is it so with humans? Is the view that humans are architects of their own lives of limited value and accuracy?

The view of the self-contained, atomistic view of the individual is cultivated in American life, particularly in the economic sphere where success and failure are viewed as individual in origin, where one’s place on the social and economic pyramid are traced to possessing or lacking the proper character traits, where individuals failed to take the opportunity to sculpture their own existence. But every so often, we are reminded that we are laced together into larger systems that reveal the “interrelatedness of things,” our wholesale dependence on others, and the limitations of an exaggerated view of individual free will and personal responsibility for what happens to us.

The recent coronavirus crisis serves as a powerful reminder that we are inextricably laced together and not the free floating, self-contained, self-governing atoms who are at the helm of our ship, navigating it to a harbor of our own choosing. Collective identity begins to surface. Does anyone seriously question the truth and universality of the phrase “no man is an island” today?

Charles Scontras

Cape Elizabeth

Where are the small government proponents now?

So where are all the small government, deregulate, and keep the state out of their life proponents now?

It seems to me that many are clamoring for more action and more benefits from the government agencies they’ve spent years trying to incapacitate.

Jerry Stelmok


The costs of a Maine consumer owned utility

Consumer owned utility advocates in Maine have premised their economic justification on the taking of investor owned utilities by eliminating profit and using tax-exempt debt. These two premises are seriously flawed and the advocates make the egregious omission of not adequately addressing the costs to acquire and finance the taking.

The London Economics Institute report correctly identifies a host of potential issues, including a high purchase price (fair market value could be between $7 and $9 billion) and the disqualification of tax-exempt status for interest on debt used to make the acquisition. Omitted from the report is the industry practice of debt holders requiring minimum cash and reserves, which would add another $1 billion to the acquisition cost.

There are several comparable tax-exempt entities whose audited financial statements show that they make profits to pay down debt and have composite interest rates all above 4 percent — the Maine Turnpike Authority; the Long Island Power Authority; San Antonio’s CSG Energy; and Kennebunk Light and Power. A Maine COU’s interest rates on acquisition financing grossed up for taxable interest would be above 5 percent.

Based on financial reports for fiscal year 2018, CMP and Emera Maine combined showed the following: Revenue of less than $1 billion; before-tax profits of less than $250 million; and interest expense of less than $100 million. If you deduct the profits and interest expense from revenue, leaving a base revenue of $650 million, and add back in a COU’s minimum $500 million in interest expense, the new revenue base becomes $1.15 billion. Therefore, the $150 million revenue increase translates into a rate increase and that doesn’t include minimum amounts of debt principal payback.

A COU in Maine would burden ratepayers for decades.

William Downes

Cape Elizabeth

Leave party affiliation out of it

It seems that every time any article in the Bangor Daily News mentions or quotes our governor, it always says something like “…Mills, a Democrat…”.

She is Maine’s governor. What difference, now that she’s in office, does her political affiliation make, especially in situations such as dealing with the coronavirus and/or states of emergency, situations which have nothing to do with politics?

Please! Leave her affiliation alone, and just let her be Maine Governor Janet Mills — period!

Michael P. Gleason