Letters, Nov. 15

Nov 15, 2012

Longley thanks Waldo County

I write to say thank you to the families of Waldo County who welcomed me into their towns and homes these past nine months. I learned a lot about your interests and your concerns. I also appreciated your interest in probate matters — not a subject that usually excites a whole lot of folks, but a subject that you seemed to know was important nonetheless. And whether you voted for me as judge of probate or not, I am honored to have the opportunity and responsibility to continue to serve you.

Susan W. Longley

Liberty

Pease thanks voters

Well, it's over. The elections of 2012, that is. We are all tired of the advertising, signs and after-the-vote analysis. Now it is time roll up our sleeves and get to work.

I wish to thank all who took the time to do their duty and vote on Nov. 6, whether for myself or not. Your involvement is important to this process which we, as Americans are able to have. I thank all that supported me through letters to the editor, phone calls, signs on their lawns, driving me on my door knocks and giving me verbal encouragement constantly.

It would be impossible to thank each of you personally in this letter, but I do need to single out Sarah Martin, my treasurer, and, of course, my wife, Diana, for all the work they did.

I will do my best to listen to arguments of both sides of the issues. Then my decisions will be based on my personal values, whether the subject is addressed by the Constitution of the state of Maine, your input, and fiscal responsibility today and in the future. As I was campaigning I made no commitments to any person or groups, as it seems that too many in the past made promises without knowing all the facts and implications of their decisions on our children and grandchildren.

I am sure the folks of the Morrill General Store Caffeine Club and the Drakes Corner Store table gang in Lincolnville will do their part to humble me and keep me grounded.

Jethro D. Pease

Representative-elect

House District 44

Sympathy for vandalized church

The Searsport District Middle/High School Civil Rights Team is shocked and saddened to learn that the Stockton Springs Community Church has been vandalized. A large swastika was painted on their double doors. The swastika is a Nazi symbol that was used in World War II and represents the Holocaust and the killing of 6 million Jewish people, as well as other targeted groups. The Searsport District Middle and High School Civil Rights Team is here to raise awareness about bias-based discrimination and prejudice. We send our best wishes to the Stockton Community Church, and hope that this kind of vandalism, which could also be a potential civil rights violation, is resolved soon.

Judy Cohen

Civil Rights Team Adviser

Northport voters' patience appreciated

As the town clerk in Northport, I would like to express my appreciation to our residents for their patience on Election Day, as we took part in the use of a new ballot tabulating machine that the secretary of state provided us. I, like many of our voters, was surprised at how particular the machine is when it comes to feeding the ballot. I saw the frustration in a lot of your faces, yet you still rose to the challenge. For that I thank you!

We did expect long lines, being the presidential election, but the temperament of the machine made them even longer. I do not believe this influenced anyone’s decision to vote or not vote, as our turnout was an amazing 959 voters! I had only been sent 750 regular ballots for Election Day and ended up calling the state for permission to use the unused absentee ballots I still had on hand.

I did take the delay and aggravation very seriously. I was in contact with both the Secretary of State's Office, as well as the manufacturer of the machine. The manufacturer gave me some trouble-shooting tips, however there weren't any defects or technical flaws with the unit.

The intent behind the tabulator is to streamline the process — yes the machine process is supposed to be as fast as the ballot box process — with the real benefit coming after the close of polls when your election clerks have to tally the votes.

These folks are dedicated to the process and have spent many elections counting your ballots well past 3 a.m.(with town clerks by their side). This machine is supposed to get these folks home at a reasonable time for a change, and it did. For the first time ever in a big election, your poll workers were done by 10 p.m.

Do I think a machine is necessary for every election? No. Would I choose to repeat [Nov. 6], knowing it would produce the same results? Yes, absolutely. The truth is, I asked the state for this machine. If the technology to be more proficient exits, we are fools not to utilize it.

I believe much of the difficulties we faced on Election Day were based on the fact that voters wanted to get that ballot cast as soon as possible so they weren't adding to the delay, and that this was a new process requiring a learning curve.

I had anticipated receipt of the machine back in June for the primary election, so that you could have had a chance to familiarize yourselves with the change. At that time the state was still in the process of bid proposals and a machine was not available.

I understand and relate to each of you when it comes to your frustration experienced at the polls. I also understand and have to relate to the work involved in the ballot-counting process. Thank you for your understanding as well. I do take all of the responsibilities and obligations bestowed upon me with a great deal of seriousness and pride. I appreciate your patience more than you will ever know.

Jeanine Tucker

Town Clerk

Northport

Remember the cost of war

My father, Dr. John R. Mabee, was a World War II veteran. He was a combat physician who had to make frequent decisions about who should live and who should die. He saw men ripped apart and was wounded and captured himself. He did not talk to me about the horrors of war. I believe the war broke my father's heart. How could it not? He dedicated his life to healing, and there he was, watching men tear each other apart. I don't believe my father ever got over this horrifying experience. He died, literally, of a broken heart when he was just 53.

Another Veterans' Day and another opportunity to suggest that it is a very bad idea to create more combat veterans. What is the true cost of having a mother or father who has been traumatized by war? I know my own price was very high. After the war my father spent the rest of his short life attempting to medicate his psychic and emotional pain. I wish he had talked to me about it. His unspoken feelings drove me to watch every World War II movie and documentary I could, trying to understand what happened for him. It is not hard for me to imagine how horrible it was. I thought about it all the time when I was 18 in 1968. “Old enough to kill, but not for votin'.”

My father was horrified at the prospect of my going off to war. Blessedly, I pulled a high number in the first lottery. I am grateful every day that I was spared the horror of Vietnam. But many were not spared, many died and many suffered from their experience. Since that time, many more have died by suicide while many more sons and daughters, parents, siblings and many other friends and family members have suffered through living with anger, depression, substance abuse and suicide.

I am grateful that my father did his part to contain the spread of Nazism. I thank all those who have made such great sacrifices to guard and protect. But let's remember on Veterans' Day the enormous cost of war. I have never seen a figure that even approaches the true costs. We're smart enough to figure out an alternative to war. Had we done so, perhaps my father would still be alive.

Jeffrey Mabee

Belfast

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