Letters, Sept. 19
Ready to solve school budget problems
I am running for school board because I feel strongly that our children deserve much more than what they are now being offered. The current budget that eliminates many of the essential components of education is not in the long term interest of our children or our community. There are inevitable, highly unfavorable, consequences of following our current path.
I am running for school board because I want to be part of the solution. I want to be part of a dedicated group of people who can find answers. Answers to the problems that face Regional School Unit 20 will not be found by people who embrace controversy. They will not be found by leaders who obfuscate and threaten. They will not be found by people who claim that the “clear” solution is consolidation. Closing schools and stuffing children into already full, aging infrastructures are not the answers. Eliminating foreign language and art instruction, reducing athletic opportunities, and cutting school lunches are not the answer.
Given the current economic reality, there is no easy fix to our problems, but there are other ways of funding essential programs for our children. For example, I propose that RSU 20 identify a full time grant writer. This person will be tasked with identifying grant opportunities to benefit the schools and target specific areas such as art, athletics, and language instruction. I also propose that we reach out to our business community for help with sponsoring sports teams or providing funding for supplies.
I am committed to finding solutions in a creative, collaborative manner. Along with my skills as a lawyer, I bring consensus building tools to the table, and I am dedicated to the needs of the children in our community. By building excellence within our school system, we will improve the desirability of our region, encouraging families and businesses to move to our area. I hope for your support.
A lesson on school budgets
At school budget meetings we see neighbors arguing against neighbors. We hear "there is no money." We know that the state reneged on its revenue-sharing commitments to municipalities. We hear "the state has no money."
The state lost some of its source of revenue, by means of a tax cut, on the wealthiest levels of Maine residents. I did not get a big refund check from the state, did you? But this is actually the plan — to keep neighbor arguing with neighbor on the local level. Because if we are busy arguing with each other, then we are not arguing with the people who we need to not just argue, but fought against.
So who are those people? Well school is now in session. Let's learn something. There are folks in Washington, D.C., who work for organizations other than the U.S. Congress, maybe you voted for him, or her, or him? Despite the fact that you thought they worked for you.
There are folks in Augusta who work for organizations, other than the the state legislature. Some represent us from Waldo County, perhaps you voted for him, thinking he would work for you?
There may even be people on city councils, town select boards or the school board who have sworn allegiance to Mr. Grover Norquist (look him up) instead of the U.S. Constitution.
Here is your class homework. Look up A.L.E.C. — the American Legislative Exchange Council. They are one of many that keep repeating the lie that "there is no money." This is the richest country on the planet, and the richest in history. So where's the money, honey?
One example, just down the coast is the Iron Works in Bath, building billion dollar "destroyers." I would like to see us building billion dollar "constructors." Build us a school, BIW! There will be tests after this course, by the way. Comes around every November, on election day. Will you be voting for the same old crowd, again? Review session is next May, when school budgets next come around. Let's see if we have learned something new by then.
An open letter from Bay Area Ministers on Syria
As religious leaders within our respective faith communities, we are encouraged by the recent efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict through diplomatic means. While acknowledging fully the horrors surrounding Syria’s civil war — including the use of chemical weapons, the untold deaths, the multitudes of refugees pouring into surrounding countries — we contend that military action by our country could well exacerbate an already tragic situation.
We know all too well the truth that violence begets violence. But we are also well aware of the power of negotiation, mediation, and conflict-resolution through creative, innovative, nonviolent means.
“We must,” wrote Martin Luther King, Jr., “pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.”
We therefore call upon our government to use its resources to continue all diplomatic efforts, work with the United Nations and Russia, and help create a comprehensive, just, and humane peace settlement in Syria.
Rev. Jinwoo Chun, Belfast United Methodist Church
Rev. Martha Kirkpatrick, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Belfast
Rev. Joel Krueger, First Church in Belfast, UCC
Rev. Dr. Arlin Larson
Rev. Richard Malo, St. Francis of Assisi Church, Belfast
Rev. Dr. Deane Perkins, Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast
Rev. Alan Shumway, First Baptist Church Belfast
Rev. Dr. Kate Winters, First Church in Belfast, UCC