Droves to polls will be Blue

In commentary to your Conservative to the Core columnist in his April 19 screed, “False hope buoys Democrats," the only falsity is Tom Seymour's forecast of the 2018 midterm elections. Here's why he's wrong, dead wrong and Red.

Contrary to his assertion "conservatives and the Republican Party are not on way out," are the facts. Unprecedented numbers of Republican incumbents, local and national, are not running for re-election, despite majorities in both legislative and executive branches. Independent and Democratic voters do not support his conservative Republican policy and platforms, and new voters are registering to vote as Democrats in record numbers. Where's the Red wave he's foretelling, given these facts?

Sorry Tom, your '70s “silent majority” is extinct, no one's silent anymore in our social media 24/7 news-driven world. Sadly, millions stay home when less than 50 percent of the electorate vote. Given conservative Republicans’ share, 30 percent of the electorate, that's only 15-percent turnout. Your Red wave is a ripple and barely pink!

Republican gains? One conservative on Supreme Court, several on lower federal courts, one tax bill predominantly favoring the rich, adding $1 trillion to national debt, EPA’s Pruitt ending "war on coal" and other environmental setbacks. Most call these losses rather than gains, including many Republicans.

Where is your "vocal minority" lauding the most unpopular (32 percent to 42 percent) Republican administration in modern history? I only hear you, obviously part of Trump's declining and increasingly silent base.

The only "droves to the polls" on June 12 and Nov. 6 in Maine and the nation will be audacity Blue!

Jeff Smith

Swanville

Food for thought

About the fish farm, we need to wait until we have a concrete proposal in hand before making a judgment. It is going to take time for that proposal to be developed. We need real numbers, not pessimistic speculation. Meanwhile, here is some food for thought.

How much of our distaste is because the facility produces animal protein by slaughtering cold slimy fish? If a facility with the same location, physical footprint, and same discharge permits were producing specialty seaweeds for health care and medicine, I am wondering if people would feel differently about it? Would people’s views change if the fish farm were a worker cooperative?

Nowadays it is only on the oceans that we think we can carry on as hunter/gatherers. That mode of food production is long gone from most of the land for obvious reasons. To know that we have fished out the Gulf Maine, despite warnings dating from the 1940s, deeply distresses me.

There are good environmental reasons for being vegetarian, but short of that, we all need to take responsibility for the effects implied in our food system. Sometimes, we do so with our buying habits.

Here in Belfast we have a chance to do our share in producing animal protein for human consumption. If it can be done in a prudent way, I would be proud to have Belfast contribute to the worldwide supply of food. How in good conscience can we consume and contribute nothing back?

The Little River is indeed beautiful. And it has been through multiple, dramatic changes since we colonized the region. Logging and building dams come to mind and in their time they surely involved felled trees, mountains of brush, and swathes of mud. The area is pretty but far from “pristine.”

When we know what changes might be necessary to accommodate the fish farm, then we can decide if these latest changes are worth it and whether they are for the better or worse. Not all change is bad, though in the early stages it is often worrying. It is far easier to picture the loss of something familiar and concrete than it is to picture a possible gain in the future which is neither familiar nor concrete.

We do have time to wait until we have real detailed information about Nordic Farms’ proposal. Then we can judge whether the gain is likely to be worth the loss. And let us imagine Belfast as having both a diverse year-round economy and a vibrant cultural scene. One supports the other.

Mary Bigelow

Belfast

Council vote disappointing

On April 17, the Belfast City Council approved a zoning change, thereby allowing a Norwegian-based business to progress to its next step toward building one of the world's largest land-based salmon factory farms in Belfast.

This occurred shortly after the last of 24 mostly Belfast residents either requested significantly more time to learn about this potentially huge project or expressed disapproval of it. Four spoke in favor and approximately 100 people attended this hearing.

The requests to please slow down resulted from the public's desire for time to learn more and acquire scientific data about potential ramifications such as the capacity of the aquifer, discharge into the bay especially if a virus were to leak out and harm the native salmon population, or any of the other conditions that could hurt marine vegetation that provide habitat for fish and invertebrates, etc. (The City Council became involved with this project about three months before the public was informed.)

And what about the destruction of the majority of 40 acres of trees, wildlife and habitat, and reverence for nature and creation?

The president of the International Salmon Farmers Association has acknowledged that there are no examples of successful land-based salmon farms yet and that they are 10 or more years off in the future.

What if this project were to become a reality and then fail? Belfast would be stuck with a very large complex of specialized buildings, unlike the offices MBNA left behind that were appropriate for other businesses.

The City Council is the voters' only representative body. The vast majority of those who either spoke at or attended the hearing or wrote letters to the council and newspapers were either in favor of a significant delay in the City Council's vote or were against the project. It is surprising and disappointing that at the very least the vote was not delayed.

Natalie Charles

Belfast

Trust Hills to read, question, work for solutions

I’m a teacher so I like people who do their homework. Caitlin Hills does her homework. Caitlin combines hard work, legislative experience, and heart in her candidacy.

Since 2010, Caitlin has been a member of the Waldo County Democrats. A vice chair from 2016, and a get-out-the-vote canvasser in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. That work was needed for my values to be promoted in Maine.

I appreciate her skill working on the RSU 20 and RSU 71 school boards. Caitlin comes prepared and as chairwoman, she ensures the board runs effectively and meets their obligations to the students, teachers and community.

I am heartened that as controversies come up in this community Caitlin investigates different points of view and does not make snap judgments about issues that will affect our community for decades.

I have taught in this area since 1994. Our community has lost many of the jobs that used to keep Waldo County prosperous. While I have struggled to support my sons on my teacher pay, the mil rate in town has skyrocketed. State funding has dropped and the number of children in our community is shrinking.

I hope to see positive changes on the state and local levels. As this town’s population ages, we must not thoughtlessly shut out opportunities to attract younger generations and keep our youth in Maine. I trust Caitlin to read, question critically and work for solutions.

This is why I am voting Hills for House!

Martha Conway-Cole

Belfast

Dodge: Longtime advocate for students, seniors, single-payer health care

I've known Janice Dodge for eight years, and can unequivocally say that she is a person of integrity, intelligence and humor. I support her candidacy for Maine House District 97, where she's running to represent Belfast, Northport and Waldo.

Jan has been testifying in the Augusta Legislature for years, speaking on behalf of students on education issues, for seniors on wellness and housing, and for single-payer health care for all Mainers. Jan's motives are pure — having witnessed the divisiveness between the parties, their lack of transparency and disrespect for voters' rights in implementing referenda, Jan felt compelled to seek an elected position that would offer her greater opportunity to make a difference.

What sets Janice Dodge apart from other candidates? It may sound elementary, but I believe Jan’s lifetime experience as a musician taught her to work collaboratively, to create harmony where there might be discord. Whether as a young woman in the choir and marching band both at Belfast High and in college, and later as a music educator Downeast for 30 years, Jan fine-tuned deep listening skills that she then, as now, employs to bring people of different abilities and opinions together to create "community." She will bring this expertise to Augusta in full-measure.

Jan's roots run deep here, as far back as the 1600s. Why does this matter? Jan is deeply passionate about her neighborhood, beloved Belfast, county and state. You will not find a more honest and authentic candidate anywhere, I guarantee. Janice Dodge will put on her running shoes and stand up for us from Day 1 in Augusta. Please join me in voting for Janice S. Dodge in the Democratic primary on June 12. You won’t regret it!

Mj Crowe

Belfast

Hills: Supporter of voter initiatives

This past year, the people watched as the Legislature rejected four referendums voted in by the people of Maine. I didn’t agree with all those referendums, but it doesn’t matter — that’s what most people wanted.

In casting my vote on June 12, I am only voting for candidates who promise to respect our constitutional right to direct democracy through citizen initiatives and the People's Veto.

I'm supporting Caitlin Hills for the House first of all because she is a strong supporter of ranked-choice voting. I'm also backing her campaign because she is not one of these politicians who thinks she is smarter than the rest of us, trying to save us from the things we voted for.

Referendums are not suggestions.  Once they are voted on by a majority of us, they are laws that should be followed by all of us.

Cara McCormick, Treasurer

Committee for Ranked Choice Voting

Pruitt actions contradict EPA mission

The American People and Mainers deserve better than Scott Pruitt. His tenure as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator has been an unmitigated disaster for the public.

He’s spent over $150,000 of taxpayer dollars on luxury travel, exploited the Safe Drinking Water Act to give personal friends extraordinary raises, and secured a sweetheart deal to stay in a luxury D.C. condo co-owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 per night.

His priorities are very clearly not those of environmental conservation and public health, and has demonstrated that he is only beholden to the special interest of fossil fuel producers. He even went so far as to install a soundproof booth in his own office likely for the purposes of corresponding with lobbyists from his days as Oklahoma’s attorney general, a position he himself exceeded the budget of by $27.7 million.

As though this isn’t bad enough, Pruitt’s been rolling back lifesaving regulations to benefit his dirty energy benefactors. And while his political defenders may boast about his “effectiveness,” the reality is that our courts have handed him several embarrassing defeats and restrained his efforts to allow more pollution in our air and water.

The push-back from the judiciary is demonstrative evidence that his actions are often contradictory to the mission of the EPA, and it is all the more disturbing that the most effective means of safeguarding America’s natural resources and environmental quality is through judicial activism.

For a party based on their belief in fiscal conservancy such as the Republicans, this cannot go unnoticed or unpunished. Pruitt’s actions are in direct contradiction with what the EPA stands for. Exporting the long-term costs of unmitigated climate change onto the backs of future and current generations of young people is not only bad public policy, it is wholly unethical. The American public deserves better, as does the world.

The United States stands alongside countries such as China, Russia, Indonesia, the UK, and Canada as the largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the production and improper disposal of millions of tons of waste on an annual basis.

Scott Pruitt is not the man to effect positive change for this country, and his policy platform on the expansion of oil and natural gas prospecting, as well as other mineral extractive industries, could prove detrimental to Maine’s future as its largely untapped landscape has been eyed by the mining industry for decades.

Who is to say that Scott Pruitt’s agenda would not extend to Maine’s beautiful landscape and precious natural resources? Mainers cannot afford to take the Trump agenda lying down unless they are willing to compromise the very physical identity of the state itself.

Robert Turner

Unity College student

Barrington, R.I.