Letters, Oct. 13, 2016

Oct 13, 2016

Defeat high school bond

I urge the citizens of Regional School Unit 71 to defeat the $7.3 bond for the Belfast Area High School in November until a comprehensive plan is in place for the elementary students of Searsmont-Belmont-Morrill.

The Weymouth School in Morrill has been outdated for over 20 years and deserves priority. There is only so much tax dollars to go around in Waldo County and I am most certain the citizens in this district will only be able to support one bond issue and the elementary needs must be met first.

Another consideration is that the high school has been improved over recent years with projects which last for a few years then another request comes in, while the student population continues to decline. For instance, the pool was built in 1965 for $50,000 and we keep pouring money every few years while a wonderful pool exists at the YMCA. A 1965 pool will always swallow up money and space much better used for educational concerns.

This $7.3 million bond for the high school, in my opinion, is poorly drawn up to pull resources from our elementary. Another factor is the new Montessori School being built on Congress Street. Parents will continue to place their students into a new school and draw money resources from our taxpayers, unless we realize the elementary need must be met first.

Alan Wood

Belfast

The story of heroin

Three weeks ago, The Republican Journal reported on page one the arrest in Belfast of a Connecticut man with 1,800 bags of heroin in his possession. Two weeks ago, The Republican Journal reported on page one Ethan Andrew’s heartbreaking account of Danny Beeton Jr.’s death from heroin. And last week, in a must-read editorial in the Oct. 6 issue, The Republican Journal called for local action on addiction.

As the parent of a child who died as a result of his heroin addiction, I beg everyone to read all three.

Addiction has reached an alarming rate in Maine, nowhere more so than in Belfast. It is not someone else’s problem; it is ours. I am concerned that I see little action or even understanding of drug addiction in our community.

Please read the stories and editorial. I implore the people and leaders of Belfast and Waldo County to take addiction as seriously as The Republican Journal has and to act.

David Dancy

Belfast

Ban the Bag in Belfast

Though they have been around since the late 19th century, the prolific use of plastics did not begin until after the 1940s. In the 70 years since then, worldwide plastic consumption has skyrocketed, and we have come to accept its prevalence in our lives without a second thought. These petroleum- or natural gas-based wonders are found in much of our clothing, footwear, children’s toys, carpeting, furniture, cookware, electronics, food and beverage containers, cars, and packaging, as well as the ubiquitous single-use shopping bags that come primarily from supermarket and chain store checkouts. Maine residents alone use 600 million of these single-use bags each year, only 1 percent of which get recycled.

The idea that we are somehow helping the environment by reusing these bags for trash and dog waste, as many of us do, overlooks the fact that they may eventually end up in a landfill where, if it is properly run, they will never degrade. And others that find their way to our bay will become unsightly litter, a threat to marine animals, or degrade into microplastics, likely to be consumed by marine life, thus working their way up the food chain to humans.

Inconveniently, the answer is not in biodegradable bags. True biodegradables will either turn into microplastics at sea or will break down only in a commercial composting facility, few of which exist. The heat generated in a home composter would not be sufficient, so your biodegradables which go to a landfill will degrade no more than the polyethylene bags, which for all intents and purposes means never.

The answer is in eliminating all these bags. It’s a small step, but since 42 billion bags are used worldwide per year, it’s a step in the right direction. As a member of Ban the Bag in Belfast, I hope that Belfast will soon join the six communities in Maine that have already enacted ordinances to limit or prohibit their use. I am the first to admit that though I do recycle, there is much more that I personally can do in reducing plastics in my life. My hope is that this small step may increase awareness in others of our profligate use of plastics and begin the conversation about how to limit it.

Eden Buron

Belfast

Ward has backbone

I am a lifelong union-label, paper-making Democrat, going back to Kennedy. But like a lot of Mainers of every party, I "vote the person." I'm looking for someone who will be reasonable, will compromise and will represent our area and not just stick to party line. Well, my town and our District 131 (Prospect, Verona Island, Stockton Springs, Orland, Penobscot, Dedham and Otis) have just such a man representing us in the State House — State Rep. Karl Ward.

Not only does he do extraordinary things for our town, like patch our Community Center roof leak before it was completely replaced, or donate his representative's salary so two of our Prospect students can get a scholarship; but he listens and votes the way his constituents want.

When the governor held up the Land for Maine's Future monies, Karl voted to override and release the money the way people voted. When there was a typo "and" in the energy bill, Karl voted to override and not play games, but just fix it. And he spoke out against shutting down state government last year and voted to approve a compromise budget.

And when the governor went on his latest tirade, he spoke out against it in a local paper. Karl co-authored the Cod Case Homicide Squad Bill and helped override 10 votes against it — and it is now law of the land. In fact, Rep. Ward has voted 160 times to override unreasonable vetoes.

When he first ran, he said he would do this no matter the cost. He has backbone. He understands his role. He is precisely the kind of person we need to representing our seven towns. This Nov. 8, I will be voting for Karl Ward. You should too!

Barbara Tilley

Prospect

Will fight for school funding

This November I am supporting a candidate for state Senate who I respect for his integrity, knowledge, and temperament.

I first saw Jonathan Fulford in a school auditorium during a tense school budget meeting in 2012. Jonathan sat quietly observing, though he wasn’t from our school district. Sen. Thibodeau did not attend, though he should have, because his party’s policies precipitated the local crisis and we were in his district. The legacy of Thibodeau’s votes against state funding for local education was on ugly display that evening. Residents from our district testified about elderly fixed-income people losing their property because of the increase in property taxes. As a parent, and a teacher, I watched with dismay as students lost art, sports, and foreign languages.

These cuts translated into friends who lost jobs and moved away, older friends who gave up basics, and my own property tax bill growing to 8 percent of my income. I want the state to properly fund local education because property taxes are making up a disproportionate share of this cost.

I know Jonathan Fulford understands this and is ready to go to Augusta and fight for the funding of our schools. When tax policy at the state level cynically pits the elderly against the children of our districts, we face a no-win situation. Our education system has been robbed to the detriment of local property taxpayers for too long.

Join me in voting for Jonathan Fulford to begin a new era in Augusta.

Martha Conway-Cole

Belfast

Qualities of a good legislator

If you want to know the leadership qualities of a person, you need to see how they respond to a sudden crisis, where the stakes are high and the pressure is great. Are they clear-headed and calm? Do they analyze the situation correctly and arrive at a workable, long-term solution? Are they collaborative and team-oriented?

Well, running for state representative in District 131 (Orland, Stockton Springs, Dedham, Penobscot, Verona Island, Prospect and Otis) is someone who has these qualities — and I got to see it first-hand. His name? Karl Ward.

During February break, 2015, John Bapst High School suffered a significant fire. A major portion of the auditorium roof had collapsed and water damage was widespread. Karl, who is also president of Nickerson & O’Day and a trustee at the school, arrived to the still-smoldering building, just after an injured Bangor firefighter was carried out and taken to EMMC. He calmly walked up to the fire chief, asked about the firefighter’s condition and if anyone else was injured and if the blaze was knocked down. Satisfied, he put on his hardhat and then said to the chief, “Well, let’s go in and have a look around.”

Thirty minutes later, they emerged and Karl walked up to the headmaster of the school and confidently said, “We have a 12” blizzard hitting here in 10 to 15 hours. And we will have a new roof on this school before it snows one flake and we will re-open Bapst on time after the break next Monday.” After a few seconds of stunned silence, he shook everyone’s hands and walked over to a small group of construction supervisors that had quietly arrived.

What happened next was incredible. Within two hours, teams of workmen, lighting towers, delivery trucks and even a crane arrived. Power was cut to the building, design engineers, code enforcement, insurance and fire inspectors came and went and work continued through the night, all under Karl’s watchful eye. True to his word, the roof structure was rebuilt before the storm hit the next morning. Dozens more arrived the next day and every day thereafter and classes did, indeed, resume on time. The heavily damaged Sekera Auditorium became a forest of scaffolding and was re-opened in all its original splendor in time for graduation.

When asked how it all happened, Karl simply replied, “This ain’t my first rodeo.”

This man has the ability to size up a problem, come up with a plan and see it through. He knows how to get the right people on board, define the objective and adjust as needed to achieve the goal. These are also the qualities of a good legislator. And for this, I urge you to vote for Karl Ward on Nov. 8.

Lee Bryant

Clifton

Insuring a future for Maine

I was born and raised in Waldo County.  At the age of 20, I joined the Monroe Volunteer Fire Department and have served for 10 years. I have seen many fires and have great respect for all firefighters who serve their communities.  When we see families lose their homes it’s a real challenge, but between good neighbors and good insurance they usually make it through difficult times. Insurance is an important part of recovering from such loss.

In a state that requires insurance on vehicles and encourages insurance on buildings, we are neglecting to insure the single most important thing: a stable climate. Even if there was only a 50-50 chance that climate disruption was caused by humans burning fossil fuels, wouldn’t you think that our government would be doing everything to make sure we were on the winning side of those odds? In fact, the numbers are even worse than that. Ninety-eight percent of climate scientists agree that humans are changing our climate, and fast. I believe that climate disruption is the greatest threat facing our state. And yet, our current politicians won’t even acknowledge the urgency of climate disruption. The fact is, we need to stop burning fossil fuels and build an economy powered by the sun.

There is only one person that will prioritize this issue — one person who dares to acknowledge its importance — and that person is Jonathan Fulford. Let’s insure a future for all Mainers. Let’s elect Jonathan Fulford to State Senate.

Father, farmer, firefighter,

Seth Yentes

Monroe

Consistent statesmanship

Since 2014, Mainers have benefited from the statesmanship of Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau. Most of us have been busy earning a living, raising our kids, tending our gardens and doing other routine chores. We may not be aware of the differences he has made on our behalf.

Thibodeau has been consistently civil in his public discourse and behavior, even when his critics have behaved uncivilly toward him. He distanced himself from uncivil behavior and comments by others, regardless of party affiliation. He has declined to defend those whose behaviors and words have been inappropriate. Thibodeau has stood against incivility when he saw it.

Despite his consistent and blatant statesmanship, Thibodeau is in an extremely competitive race for re-election in Senate District 11. This is not to fault his opponent. In a democratic republic, voters should always have a choice on the ballot. But Thibodeau’s race is being targeted by special interests from California that are investing heavily to defeat him because his margin of victory in 2014 was slim.

These deep pockets “from away” are blind to Thibodeau’s contributions to civility and collaborative government. His leadership does not matter to them. If we want to encourage statesmanship in the Legislature, it must matter to us.

My politics often conflict with Thibodeau’s. But he can be trusted to maintain a level playing field for discussion and debate. If those with a different opinion are adequately persuasive, they can prevail. Your vote in this race can help make this the norm in the Legislature.

Terry Hayes, Treasurer

State of Maine

Create change we need

Do you have children/grandchildren in Waldo County schools or friends and neighbors with school-age children? Do you think the state of Maine should honor its legislative decision to fund education at 55 percent? (Now they pay 46.6 percent of local costs). Do you think that the minimum wage should be raised so people make a living wage? Are you concerned about protecting the environment for future generations? Do you support affordable healthcare for all? Would you like to get corporations out of politics? Do you want to keep energy dollars in the state of Maine?

If your answer is “yes” to these questions, please vote for Jonathan Fulford for Maine State Senate from Waldo County. He is a champion of public schools, raising the minimum wage to a livable wage, affordable healthcare, environmental protection, and clean elections.

Your vote counts on Nov. 8! Join me in creating the change we need in the Maine Senate.

Linda Garson Smith

Belfast

Will represent all of us

Driving around Waldo County, I am constantly told how to vote and who to vote for. So much information is available I worry that reading all this advice might make me a hazard to other people on the road. However, I’ve not seen any signs asking for my opinion.

In November, I want to vote for someone who will represent me! After all, aren’t some of them even called representatives? To represent a group of people, a person needs to listen, I mean really listen, to what everyone is saying — whether they agree with them or not. Are they concerned about refugees, or the price of milk? Do they want the roads paved and decreased taxes or are they OK with just paving the roads? Then take all this information to Augusta and work for the good of the greatest number of us. That’s representation!

I’ve known Jonathan Fulford a long time in a number of different ways; a neighbor always willing to help, the father of that child on my team, a professional I’ve hired to work on my house, a friend. When you see a person in different situations, you really get to know who they are.

Jonathan is someone who cares deeply about his children and your children and the place where they will live and work and raise their families. When I talk with him, he asks what I’m thinking and I can tell he is really listening.

I am voting for Jonathan because I know he will represent all of us, whether he agrees with us or not. In the words of former Sen. Olympia Snowe, “You can never solve a problem without talking to people with whom you disagree.”

Jonathan will work hard to solve problems.

Michael Schaab

Monroe

Build a better Maine

Maine homeowners spend a lot of money staying warm each winter. A combination of old housing stock, high latitudes, and the wicked winter Nor'easter storms make home heating an expensive challenge. Even when Mainers can afford to buy an older home, they can't always afford to retrofit that home with modern materials that can significantly reduce their heating costs. Therefore they end up paying 21st century heating costs to stay warm in 19th century architecture that assumed a burning fireplace in every occupied room.

Thankfully, the state of Maine has created a solution: offering homeowners low-interest loans to pay for an energy audit to identify where the biggest improvements can be affordably made, hiring qualified contractors to follow the prescriptions of that energy audit, and then re-testing the home to verify that the work was done completely and successfully.

This benefits the owner (a warmer house is comfortable and costs less to heat), the Maine economy (contractors employ lots of people to do this work), and contributes directly to Maine's energy independent future. Back when it was called a "H.E.L.P. Loan" (it's now called an "Energy Loan" — efficiencymaine.com/at-home/energy-loans), I took advantage of this and went from burning six cord of wood and a full tank of oil to burning two to three cord of wood and a quarter tank of oil. The loan has already paid for itself over the last seven years, while at the same time my house is so much warmer!

The only problem is that no one knows about these programs through Efficiency Maine. Because it’s a hidden program, Mainers still pay too much to barely heat their homes, contractors can't hire more workers, and Maine efforts at energy independence are made much tougher. 

I support Jonathan Fulford in his bid for Waldo County's state Senate seat because his first priority is to build a better Maine, literally. He will make sure that every homeowner knows about sensible and cost-effective opportunities like this, and every homeowner who needs this help will get the help.

Too often the best parts of government are hidden under a bushel because state government won’t market good ideas to its citizens. Jonathan Fulford understands that Mainers need to hear about this and other important issues that can improve the lives of all Mainers.

Eric Rector

Monroe

Big money targets Thibodeau

I am a registered Republican in Searsport. I've always been a Republican, and so has my family through generations. I am finding that with more extremism, I'm what is called today a "moderate" Republican because I still follow and believe in the old idea about being compassionate and taking care of those people who can not do it for themselves. And that is the Christian belief that Jesus Christ also taught us. I do not like swearing, tirades, bullying, or vulgarity. I believe in treating people with respect and dignity.

I do not know Mike Thibodeau from sitting with him in the Legislature. Nor have I had the pleasure of watching him grow up as a young man to the person he has become today. Some of the people in Waldo County know me, and many do not. Therefore I would like to make some personal observations about Mike.

Mike didn't want to impeach LePage as he said it would be a three-ring circus. He's right, it already is a three-ring circus and the Legislature needed to take measured steps before impeachment. Furthermore, Mike has already reached across the aisle to the Democrats and also with his Republican Party to make sure things got done in Augusta in spite of the conduct and temperament of our governor.

Mike is cool-headed, thinks things through, and then acts. He is decisive and does not alienate people. Every time I have met him, or have seen him in action, or read about the deep love he has for his Waldo County and family, I am amazed at his strong leadership and the example he sets for all of us.

Having said that, we’ve all heard about Jonathan Fulford running as a Clean Elections candidate. Yes, and I also understand that Jon is a good person, too. But, I would like to know how does it happen that Jonathan Fulford is receiving the attention of and $50,000 from a group in Oakland, California? Progressive Maine located at 1904 Franklin St., Suite 725, in Oakland, California, is supporting Fulford in the race to defeat Sen. Mike Thibodeau, and the group is specifically targeting the communities of Belfast and Winterport in my Waldo County.

The reality is that big-time money is sweeping into Maine to influence our races. Maine! I can understand it targeting the the big northern states, but now they have discovered Maine!

Maine candidates have traditionally produced their own advertising campaigns, but in recent years outside issue groups have been getting in on the action. These advocacy groups frequently have ties to big business and super-wealthy individuals and their identity is not disclosed in the reports required by political candidates. Unlike political committees, they can accept unlimited contributions from just about anyone, and they spend that money in various ways to influence elections. All that out-of-state money coming into our county makes me wonder why! So there seems to be a dark horse in the race for the Waldo County Senate seat, and it isn’t Sen. Thibodeau.

I will be voting for Mike Thibodeau, our local politician this November. Why? You already know why. He is a leader, he heads our Senate in Augusta as president of the Senate. He has a great family and a new grandson! He deeply cares for our veterans and for so many people in Maine. He supports our Waldo County Habitat for Humanity, the Waldo County YMCA, our Searsport Historical Society, the Katahdin Area Council Scouting programs and activities, and businesses both large and small. That's only a very small sample of groups and organizations that Mike is a part of or has joined, or supports.

No, I'm the little "guy" here in the papers. I support Mike because he is also kind and decent and does things the right way. That gets my vote every time. I vote for the individual; I vote for good character. It doesn't get any better than that.

Dorothy Alling

Searsport

For healthcare, vote Fulford

Why is Maine refusing $3 million in federal grant dollars to help young people who need mental health counseling and support services? Why won’t the state accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid (MaineCare) so that many more Mainers can have access to health care when the federal government will pay the overwhelming majority of the costs?

This makes no sense. We send our tax dollars to Washington. We should benefit from the federal taxes we pay.

Gov. LePage has instructed executive departments not to talk with the press (unless a part of the press that he selects), so we don’t have any answers to those questions. The Legislature needs to step in. The Legislature has the power of the purse. The Legislature creates laws. We deserve legislators who will get answers for us. We need legislators who will not only vote for Medicaid expansion but will also vote to override Gov. LePage’s vetoes as well.

In short, we need people like Jonathan Fulford in the state Senate. He has made it clear that he supports healthcare for all of us in Maine. Jonathan will support his constituents’ right to healthcare all the way through the legislative process, including voting to override Gov. LePage’s vetoes if necessary.

I’m voting for Jonathan Fulford for state Senate. If you believe everyone in Maine deserves access to healthcare, I urge you to do the same.

Joan Federman

Stockton Springs

We deserve better

A lot of letters to the editor are talking about Sen. Mike Thibodeau’s character. I’d rather talk about his record.

Thibodeau holds himself up as a supporter for veterans. But he voted four times in the last four years to turn down federal money to expand healthcare in Maine, which would have benefited 2,700 Maine veterans, and which the VFW testified in favor of.

He says he’s concerned about the opiate crisis in Maine. But he voted against a “good Samaritan” bill supported by the Maine Medical Association that would have provided immunity from drug possession charges to people who seek medical assistance in drug overdose situations, a strategy that has worked well in other states.

Thibodeau says he supports the hardworking people of Maine, but he opposed every serious legislative bill in his 12 years in office to raise the minimum wage to a level that would pay those hardworking people enough to cover their rent.

We deserve better. I encourage you to join me in supporting Jonathan Fulford on Nov. 8. Fulford will stand with the working people and veterans of Waldo County and Maine, not say one thing and do another.

Heather Selin

Jackson

Solar vote

The Legislature voted for more solar power because they know the public is right in thinking it's good for Maine.

Gov. LePage vetoed it with the help of Rep. Kinney and Sen. Thibodeau. Solar will be coming up again in the Legislature. Vote.

Andrew Hoglund

Thorndike

Ideal representative

Having served in the Maine Legislature, I’ve often thought that if I could create the ideal person to serve my House District 131 (Penobscot, Orland, Dedham, Verona Island, Otis, Prospect and Stockton Springs) in Augusta, what would that person be like?

He’d be a common person and value education by coming from a hard-working Maine family — where his mother was born in a log cabin during the Depression, and his father quit school at 17 to get into WWII. He’d be the first in his family to go to college, working to pay for it himself and graduating first in his class. He’d marry his college sweetheart and over the next 30 years (and counting), grow a family of three successful kids in the only house they’ve ever lived in.

He’d have leadership, vision and financial experience, by advancing through his company’s ranks to become president and CEO and growing it to the largest of its kind in Maine through his core values of frugality, quality and service. He’d hone these skills by graduating from the Bangor Region Leadership Institute and Leadership Maine.

He’d value community by serving on the boards of the Boy Scouts, the local YMCA, the local community college, the regional hospital and the largest insurer in Maine. Along the way, he’d win numerous awards and be inducted into UMaine’s “Engineering Hall of Fame.”

He’d have compassion and humility by overcoming his own personal loss, using his own success to create academic scholarships, help families in need, coach and mentor young people and even donate his entire legislative pay to help his district’s youth through gifts to schools, scholarships and clubs. He’d also make it a point to visit any family in his district who also lost a loved one — so they knew they mattered.

And lastly, he’d possess boundless creativity, energy, confidence and optimism by seeing how change can be envisioned, planned, collaborated and implemented.

Luckily, I don’t have to look far to find someone with all of these qualities. His name? State Rep. Karl Ward. And I’ll be voting Nov. 8 to keep him representing us in Augusta.

Hon. Sherman Hutchins

Penobscot

Let Zeigler captain our boat

A few years ago I was campaigning, working very hard to win the seat for District 96 in Waldo County (Belmont, Lincolnville, Liberty, Montville, Morrill, Palermo and Searsmont). Now, two candidates that are running for my seat are wandering throughout our towns, knocking on doors and meeting you, the voters of our district.

From my experience and my research into both candidates running for this seat, there is clearly only one person that has the qualities, intelligence and experience to for our votes. That is Stanley Paige Zeigler.

Paige has the education, experience, knowledge and honesty that we want in a representative.

He is retired, but retired from 30 years of being a captain in the Merchant Marine. He has made tough decisions and had to stand by them. He is a father and a husband. He has worked in the logging industry and as a licensed ambulance attendant. He has shown community service by being on the School Board for Regional School Unit 3 and on town committees. He has shown that he works for the people and cares about the people in his district by his actions and not just words.

Mr. Zeigler can represent both women and men and their concerns in Augusta.

I know Ryan Harmon will never represent my interests in Augusta from his association with ALEC (a very right wing national organization that pushes right wing legislation from out of state to our State House), because of his past votes that show he has very little environmental concerns, and especially because of his disgusting comments that he has posted on Facebook about all women that aren’t “conservative.” A very disgusting comment.

Mr. Zeigler will represent all of us, with an open mind and with vast life experience that will bring maturity and intelligence to the State House.

Let Mr. Zeigler to be the captain of our boat in District 96.

Rep. Christine Burstein

D-Lincolnville

For green candidates

Unfortunately, some legislators in Waldo County have often put the interests of out-of-state corporations and big business above people and a healthy planet. As Jonathan Fulford is taking on Mike Thibodeau in the Senate, it is important to realize that Paige Zeigler is taking on Ryan Harmon in the House.

Electing people such as Harmon that had a dismal 27-percent rating by Maine Conservation Voters for environment and energy, contributes to the burden for our next generation. Membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is also of concern as this group has been repeatedly reported for attempts to subvert democratic institutions to further the aims of its out-of-state corporate benefactors, often at the expense of the environment.

As we go to the ballot boxes, realize that this is our opportunity to register our desires for a greener economy with green jobs, renewable energy, energy efficiency, good government, a healthy lifestyle and clean environment. I have known Paige Zeigler for many years and I believe that he understands that a healthy environment and a good economy can go hand in hand.

John Krueger

Northport

Re-elect Ward

It’s that time of year again — campaign signs line the roads, mailboxes are stuffed with campaign brochures, and campaign promises are hung like holiday stockings waiting to be filled. In six months the signs will be gone, mailboxes will be empty, and campaign promises will be just that — mere promises; that is, unless you vote to re-elect Karl Ward.

He has served the residents of House District 131 as a representative who continues to know his constituents by name, continues to attend memorial services for lost loved ones; continues to be present at town meetings, bridge projects, steeple raisings; continues to note special birthdays; continues to step across Augusta’s political aisle to support legislative bills that have positive effects on our town regardless of which political party wrote them; and eagerly works with town officials to address concerns.

Not being shy on digging in to get a job done, Karl Ward rolls up his sleeves to work alongside us to complete what, at times, appears to be unattainable. He is not the usual political candidate; he actually walks the talk! He accomplishes tasks by example. He gives eye contact when you speak. He hears you when you voice concerns and, most importantly, he keeps his promises. He earns your support by giving you his.

As a town official, I am proud to work with Karl Ward and I am proud to say he truly represents the residents of Stockton Springs. I want the best for my residents, so I will be casting my vote for the re-election of Karl Ward on Nov. 8.

Lesley M. Cosmano

Stockton Springs

Dutch citizen for Fulford

My husband and I feel very fortunate to call Maine our home, and to raise our children in this beautiful area.

Unfortunately, I do often get questioned on why I am staying here. I am a Dutch citizen living here with a green card. When I was 40 weeks pregnant and working, people asked me, “If you were in the Netherlands, wouldn’t you be on maternity leave by now? Do you ever think of moving back?” They asked me when my parents came over, who are retired in their early 60s and have good pensions, “Why are you staying here, where many people cannot retire till they are 70?” They asked me when we discuss health insurance, “You mean you would pay about 40 euros for health insurance and have no deductible?” This list goes on and on.

But I stay here because there are people like Jonathan Fulford, who show such a passion to change things for the good. Jonathan wants a society where everyone has healthcare and access to good education. He cares about the environment, a stable climate, fair wages, thriving small businesses and healthy farms.

I am not allowed to vote here, but I want to ask everyone to please consider Jonathan Fulford for Maine Senate on Election Day. Hopefully one day I will not have to answer those questions anymore because more of this vision will be the reality here!

Jacomijn Gardei

Belfast

Mirrors Maine values

We are writing in support of Jonathan Fulford for Maine state Senate representing Waldo County. If you look at Jonathan’s statements and work history you’ll see that he represents Maine values and he has the energy and determination to work for the citizens of Waldo County.

Now, more than ever, it’s important that we have individuals such as Jonathan who are willing to listen to their constituents and to take their issues to the Legislature where he’ll work with both parties to develop and pass legislation that will help Maine businesses, workers, and families. We need a positive perspective in Augusta; one that brings pride to the people of Maine and gets the job done.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — Barack Obama.

Join us in voting for Jonathan Fulford for state Senate. We believe that Jonathan will be a true statesmen not just a self-interested politician.

Lauren Bruce

Marcy Congdon

Linda K. Gillies

Craig & Melissa Olson

Yvette Reid

Tom Tutor & Sue Hatch

Charles Verrill

Jennifer West

Islesboro

Right person for Senate

After a party at my house on Oct. 1, where we all sat down with state Senate candidate Jonathan Fulford and discussed our concerns for ourselves and the generations to come, I am more convinced than ever that he is the right person for the job.

What I took from our discussion was a deeper understanding of his motivations. He took two years of his own time to go to Augusta and study the issues to get a better understanding of just what has been going on there. He wants Maine to be a place where his and our children and their children can live and thrive.

I’ve known Jonathan for years and I can you tell you this — he’s a bright and honest man. Fulford is running as a Clean Elections candidate for the Maine Senate. The politics of greed have taken over our state, and Jonathan has the character and the fortitude to do something about changing it.

Marshall Rolerson

Waldo

Fulford = integrity

There seems to be some confusion about campaign financing by supporters of Michael Thibodeau for state Senate. Whether it is deliberate political misinformation or just confusion, I can’t say.

For the record, Jonathan Fulford is a Clean Elections candidate and adheres to the stricter laws that create a firewall between his campaign and outside, independent expenditures. He has no coordination with or control over outside corporations, groups or individuals spending money on his election. That’s the law.

In contrast, Michael Thibodeau controls three political funds with contributions and expenditures totaling nearly $400K in this election cycle. Two of these funds are leadership PACs, whose purpose is to support other Republicans running for office. It is a classic political insider game where large, often outside interests weigh in on Maine elections. Big pharmaceuticals like Eli Lilly and Merck, gambling interests like Churchill Downs, big tobacco like Altria/Phillip Morris, and Big Energy all have a stake in his political future. These interests have something to gain or lose in Augusta, and so do ordinary voters when Big Cash outweighs our voice.

The sad part is that this is legal in our political system. The 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United made the flow of money into politics by special interests exponentially worse by lifting all limits on spending in elections. In 2013 the Maine state Legislature passed a bi-partisan resolution with both Republicans and Democrats calling for a constitutional amendment to repeal the decision. Michael Thibodeau did not support it.

Jonathan Fulford wants to get Big Money out of politics. He is running Clean, has nothing to do with outside funders, and will work to overturn laws like Citizens United that have opened the floodgates to corporate money into our political system. Michael Thibodeau welcomes outside corporate money with open arms and pulls the puppet strings of where it goes. What political favors does he get in return?

Some voters may be confused by the partisan hype but this voter sees a clear choice on Nov. 8. I will be voting for Jonathan Fulford for state Senate for Waldo County. He is the candidate with integrity who will work for the people of Maine — the actual people, not corporations pretending to be "people."

Laura Seaton Donnelly

Searsport

For tax fairness

I've known Stan Zeigler of Montville for a long time. He is running for the Maine House in District 96.

When I first met him he was working in the woods of Northern Maine as a professional logger. He then worked for several years with handicapped and abused teenagers. He often took the young people on supervised trips to broaden their horizons. One of his traits is to do more for others than is expected, without being showy about it.

In the late 1970s, Stan went back to school in marine technology at the University of Southern Maine. He got a job on oceangoing vessels as a seaman and proceeded to work his way up the ladder to third mate, then second mate, first officer, and, in his last service, as captain of the research vessel Marcus Langseth. He has seen a lot more of the world than most of us, but his anchor is here in Montville, where he built his house with his own hands and lives with his wife Bernice.

About 20 years ago, part of the aluminum roof on my barn blew off in a January storm. There was a crop of hay inside and animals to feed. The roof had to be repaired before the next storm. Stan was home from sea and came every day up a ladder in the cold wind until that roof was nailed down again. He never asked for anything, and he has been equally generous with his time with many others.

Stan's main policy concern is with rising local property taxes. Most Mainers have been squeezed by increasing property taxes in recent years. The statistics show that middle and lower income Americans now typically pay a larger percentage of their incomes in taxes — when you include all taxes: federal, state and local — than do the wealthiest Americans. It's no secret that the after-tax income of the top 1 percent has skyrocketed.

The candidate at the top of the Republican ticket this year has pronounced himself smart for paying little or no federal income taxes, even though he is one of the wealthiest men in the country. His and Gov. LePage's solution to our economic problems is more tax cuts for upper-income people. Please vote for someone who will work hard for real tax fairness, Stanley Paige Zeigler.

Eugene Bryant

Palermo

Yes on 3 for our children

As the grandmother of 16 and the great-grandmother of three, I’ll be voting yes on Question 3. I believe that the most important purpose of making laws is to protect our families from violence, and the passage of Question 3 will help prevent dangerous people from buying and using guns.

My heart breaks for the grandparents who have lost beloved children to shootings, and any arguments against limiting the irresponsible use of weapons pale against the image of a dead child.

Charlotte Herbold

Belfast

Unanimously for ranked choice

The mayor and all Belfast City Council members express our unanimous support for Ranked Choice Voting referendum Question 5, a commonsense reform that will empower voters and restore majority rule. It would eliminate the need for strategic voting and prevent concerns regarding the “spoiler” effect. Places that have already implemented ranked choice voting have reported less negativity in their elections.

Our current system hasn’t been working for voters. In nine of the last 11 races for Maine’s governor, candidates were elected by less than half of voters. In five of those races, candidates were elected by less than 40 percent of voters. Races with more than two candidates are common in Maine, but the ballot we use now was only designed for two choices. As a result, winners are elected without a majority in races defined by "spoiler candidates." Winners can also be opposed by a majority of voters.

That's not the case with ranked choice voting, which captures truer voter preferences and results in winners who are clearly supported by a majority of voters. The voices of the people should be heard loud and clear. The will of the people should be known. Ranked choice voting is a better ballot. It is time for a change.

Seventy-three thousand Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Greens, and Libertarians came together, by signing petitions, to place this nonpartisan initiative on the November ballot. How often does that happen? We encourage voters to join us in supporting Question 5 and vote yes for ranked choice voting.

Mayor Walter Ash

Councilor Mary Mortier

Councilor Neal Harkness

Councilor Eric Sanders

Councilor Mike Hurley

Councilor John Arrison

Maine sheriffs oppose Question 3

Oct. 5, the undersigned sheriffs in the state of Maine announce our formal opposition to Question 3, a ballot initiative expanding firearm background checks that will appear on the ballot this fall.

We strongly believe the people of Maine should know that the chief law enforcement officers from 12 of the 16 counties who are elected to protect your families and homes do not support the Question 3 ballot initiative. This measure will do nothing to stop evil people from getting their hands on guns. In fact all relevant data indicates that criminals acquire firearms through theft and the black market. This initiative will not stop the reoccurring pattern.

We live in one of the safest states in the country and strongly believe no provisions in this legislation would reduce gun violence or crime in Maine. In fact, Question 3 is unenforceable, confusing, poorly written and threatens to make law-abiding gun owners into criminals for simply loaning a firearm to a friend. By and large, the people who commit crimes with firearms are not concerned with good citizenship [or] compliance with existing law and are repeat offenders. It’s the law-abiding citizens who comply with gun laws that are the most affected by arbitrary gun laws and will be most affected by Question 3.

As anyone who has gone through the process to legally obtain a firearm in Maine knows, there is no dearth of existing laws that regulate the sale, purchase, and transfer of firearms. As members of the law enforcement community, we support public policy that targets criminals and lends to the full prosecution of those individuals under the law. We will continue to develop and promote worthwhile crime-fighting proposals and effective firearm laws at all levels of government. We cannot, however, support Question 3.

Androscoggin County Sheriff Eric Samson

Aroostook County Sheriff Darrell O. Crandall

Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane

Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols

Oxford County Sheriff Wayne J. Gallant

Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton

Piscataquis County Sheriff John J. Goggin

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster

Waldo County Sheriff Jeffrey C. Trafton

Washington County Sheriff Barry Curtis

York County Sheriff William King

You are right, Mr. Trump

You are absolutely correct. The system is, indeed, rigged. And to some degree, it's always been rigged. Rigged by those folks who couldn’t care less about the common good, but who are driven to have more and more power and wealth for themselves. You 1 percent have been fantastically successful at amassing your billions by making sure that tax laws were written to benefit you. The loopholes are large enough to drive your chauffeured limousines, yachts and private jets through.

You are also absolutely correct that many who consider themselves "smart" business people have strategized from the ground up to avoid paying taxes. Instead of giving back to the society whose infrastructure has made it possible for them to amass great wealth, they employ deceit, propaganda and intense, under-the-radar manipulation of our political process to milk the system of every penny they can.

It should be obvious to all of us by now that we did not arrive at the obscene income disparity between the 1 percent and the rest of us by accident. What is probably just as harmful to our society is that when hard-working Americans fully realize that the fat cats don’t pay their fair share — or any share — it breaks down any remaining faith that citizens have in the system. We end up feeling like suckers when we pay our taxes.

And, you are correct that Americans are outraged at the inability of our government to get anything done. And we have every reason to be. On the very same day that our 44th president was being inaugurated — having inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and two ongoing wars — a powerful and extremely dedicated group of politicians was hard at work at their stated task of preventing our nation’s new president from succeeding in his job. “Just say no,” was their slogan.

One of the president’s responsibilities is to recommend qualified people to serve on the nation’s highest court. This is what presidents are supposed to do, and have always done. This time around, the obstructionists "just say no."

While the anger and outrage is clearly understandable, I would ask you: When was the last time that making important decisions in your life, according to how angry you were, actually led to a good result? We are right to be angry, but let’s not be hoodwinked by a 1-percent guy who definitely knows how to push our buttons but has consistently shown he cares about no one but himself.

Chris Wright

Belfast

Can O'Worms

I am certain that neither The New York Times nor the Hillary Clinton campaign have realized the murky "Can O'Worms" they set loose with the revelation that Donald Trump's decades-old billion-dollar deferred tax deductions have likely allowed the Donald to reduce his federal (and likely also state) income taxes for many years.

After all, who were the presidents during those years? Who controlled Congress then, and passed new tax laws? Stupid is as stupid does. Year after year, administration after administration, Congress after Congress, America got what it deserved with each election.

Both the Democrats and Republicans — plus Bernie Sanders too — have had a year or more to address the CTRA (Comprehensive Tax Reform Amendment), but mum's their word.

Not a peep except to criticize the more modest defects in our generations-old tax system which is far more deeply corrupted by hidden and very secret tax loopholes known only to the few and very well-compensated tax lawyers and law firms formulating them, and lobbying Congress to protect them. All for a very few wealthy taxpayers.

The CTRA is scary stuff for politicians, lobbyists, tax attorneys and even accountants because it totally eviscerates the current tax code so easily manipulated by politicians, and replaces its backbone with a very carefully structured constitutional amendment that permanently eliminates serious flaws. No more annual gerrymandering of tax regulations and tax rates with simple majority votes.

The CTRA has a single fixed flat rate which Congress can only alter — for a single tax year — by a supermajority vote in both houses. It provides large personal deductions strictly tied to America's "poverty income" settings so lower-income Americans pay no income taxes at all. But it also will not cripple or impair investments by punishing investors. A single, low, flat tax applies to all income sources.

The CTRA establishes a very tiny "GRT" (Gross Receipts Tax) on each and every financial transaction of any kind by any and all persons. No exceptions. No exemptions. Very tiny, yet still will generate huge revenues due to the huge total economic engine within America. Far more than the GDP.

Nobody and nothing escapes that minuscule GRT, but all U.S. citizens directly benefit from the per-capita distributions to all citizens. Some for personal retirement accounts, some for personal healthcare savings accounts, some for a very modest universal health care program, some to fund our states' National Guard units, some for a national university dedicated to essential sciences, technologies, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

The GRT and CTRA eliminate the doomed Social Security system by creating and automatically funding personal retirement savings accounts for all U.S. citizens, both young and old. It doesn't eliminate existing Social Security Administration liabilities but does prevent new liabilities. And it eliminates the very regressive and job-killing "payroll" taxes, money that will — most likely — never be seen by future retirees.

Every year, many thousands of American taxpayers of all income levels have used the same deductions Donald Trump appears to have use after his almost-billion-dollar paper tax loss. Like Trump, these taxpayers still pay many other taxes, often "consumption" style taxes, which are based on actual spending, not paper profits and losses. The GRT is one of those taxes.

Such taxes need a strong economy to feed that spending. High income taxes impair investments and economic growth. The CRTA's low flat tax encourages a strong economy while also preventing tax evasion. The GRT fixes many of Washington's more dangerous schemes which severely damage the economy and burden Americans both rich and poor outside the reach of corrupt politics.

So thank you, New York Times, for opening up this can o'worms! Now, how about talking about the CTRA so Americans have an honest chance to get real and permanent tax reform in place, and fix the very broken American economy.

Imagine what this could do for the global economy, and citizens everywhere, if they forced their governments to emulate America.

Randall B. Hofland

Maine State Prison

Warren

 

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