Senate should protect voting rights

I have just written U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, regarding election integrity and voting rights. If you share my concern for these issues, I urge you to express yourself to her. If anyone wishes to use my words as their own, I so allow.

Dear Sen. Collins,

I respectfully request that you vote to standardize basic voting rights and non-partisan election standards for all citizens in all states, overriding any state laws that would discriminate against certain voting blocks be they defined by race, economics, or any other characteristic.

I further request that you support the concept of election workers being nonpartisan. MSNBC has been reporting that five states sent in “forged documents” purporting to be the official state electors and supporting Trump and Pence as the winners in their state. If you cannot support the two existing bills before the Senate, currently being promoted by the Democratic and independent senators, I respectfully request that you offer appropriate amendments that could unify both Republican and Democratic lawmakers behind these crucial values.

I believe that you possess the integrity and clout to bring important federal protections to voters across this great country. As a registered Democrat in Belfast, I have supported you and thank you for the PPP loan that my business received.

Finally, I am concerned that, in your office’s list of issues from which to choose when contacting you, neither election integrity nor voting rights were available as topics.

Every American citizen across the United States deserves an equal chance to vote and for that vote to count.

Peter Daley

Belfast

Time for ‘sweeping change’ regarding tribal rights

The fundamental question before the Legislature this January is as follows:

Do we believe that the Indigenous people of Maine should have the same rights, privileges, powers, duties and immunities as the other 570 federally recognized Indigenous communities in 49 states? The answer must be yes. We are Maine and we are also Washington.

During the Task Force that produced LD 1626, recommendations were developed by a team of tribal leadership, legislators, executive branch representatives, and expert consultants on federal Indian law. It is the state that has consistently failed to take much, if any, initiative with regard to investigating successful tribal-state models elsewhere in the U.S. The state’s attitude has been passive instead of pro-active in terms of resolving the errors of the Settlement Acts.

When Gov. Mills demurs about the “sweeping change” LD 1626 would bring to Maine, we must remember the Bangor Daily News poll showing over 81% in favor of tribal sovereignty. Such sweeping change is necessary because the state’s negotiating team overreached in 1980. It is now well known that clauses destructive to tribal interests were secreted into the Settlement Act documents at the 11th hour, in direct violation of the trust relationship between tribes and the federal government. Forty years ago Maine knowingly denied the tribes their legitimate sovereign rights and protections.

I daresay that poll number has only increased since 2020. Maine is ready and eager for this sweeping change and the moral corrective LD 1626 will bring.

Diane Oltarzewski

Belfast

Jason Trundy for sheriff

During most of my time in Waldo County (since 1982), Jason Trundy has been on duty as a Waldo County Sheriff’s Department member.

A careful and patient listener, a thoughtful and considerate professional, and a gentleman dedicated to peace-keeping in his community, Jason has on many occasions taken the time to really care about the issues affecting me and my family.

My deep, heartfelt thanks , Jason, for all the times that you have taken the time to listen and advise, often beyond the call of duty and your job description.

He has been one of the quiet and dedicated men who, day after day and year after year, have been willing to dedicate their lives to our safety and deep caring for all of us, even the ones who are struggling with damaged childhoods, drug and alcohol conditions and the need for mental health services. (It could be you or me next.)

As the second in command at WCSD, Jason has been the one who, for the last eight years, has had the primary responsibility for the difficult, dangerous and messy problems that we in society and government leave for someone else to deal with.

Jason is a man who I personally look up to as a role model, deeply trust and would trust to protect my life and my family’s life under any and all circumstances.

Come Election Day, there will be one vote I cast without any doubt.

Jason Trundy has volunteered for the hardest job in Waldo County, and we should all gratefully endorse and accept his offer of service.

Paul Bernacki

Belmont

Takes issue with Patten

I’m writing to address some things I have read in the Crossfire Hurricane column of late. While I realize the column is in the category of opinion — and I respect the right of all human beings to have theirs — I believe we readers deserve better analysis in a work product, including more by way of accuracy and facts, and less by way of smeary innuendo, sloppy conjecture and gossipy takes on deadly serious global matters.

Last week the column implied that career diplomat Wendy Sherman is ill-suited to the task of negotiating with authoritarian dictator Vladimir Putin’s mass murdering mafia state regime about Ukraine, because she is weak. Specifically, it is implied more than once, she is disastrously conciliatory in the manner of former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, whose policy of appeasement with Hitler produced a worthless document and a phrase that echoes shamefully down through history, “peace in our time.”

Really? The fact is that Wendy Sherman’s skill, experience and moral courage were central to producing a very not-worthless document called the JCPOA, commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. The deal, while imperfect — as are all things complicated and multifaceted and steeped in historical conflict — was effective. It was working, before being trashed by our very own aspiring autocrat, the twice-impeached, disgraced former POTUS.

Predictably, more Kremlin talking points are peppered throughout. We get the obligatory “Sleepy Joe” reference dropped in for good measure, and familiar insinuation involving his son. But then we turn to … what Putin is thinking and feeling and … smiling about? Now, somehow, we’re inside the mind of famously misogynistic, crude-talking manly man Vlad, who “sees” in Biden “a man who sends a woman … to tangle with” his minion. A woman. Weak, soft.

It doesn’t help that the column’s dirty window on the world is the only one opening onto national politics and international affairs in our local newspaper. If this newspaper were an important source for, say, high school students who were interested in dangerous geopolitical power dynamics, they would be ill-served by this column — except perhaps as a study in propaganda and disinformation, and how to spot it.

Victoria Olson

Waldo

Council should withdraw support for fish farm

A Jan. 6 Republican Journal headline read: “City (of Belfast) to work with AG’s Office to draft conservation easement for disputed property.” But the article gave no indication Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey’s office had agreed to this. On the contrary, last month Frey filed a court complaint against Nordic Aquafarms and the city of Belfast for allegedly violating Maine law by declaring eminent domain over a conservation easement without court approval. The city may want to work with Frey, but that doesn’t mean Frey has agreed to do so.

I emailed Nicole Sacre, Frey’s media liaison, and asked whether the AG’s Office had agreed to work with the city of Belfast. She declined to comment.

That’s odd. Doesn’t a Maine citizen have a right to know whether his local government is working with his state government to hijack a conservation easement for the sake of a profuse polluter — the very antithesis of a conservation easement? It’s sad to think the Attorney General’s Office might debase itself by essentially approving Effluent Park, the city’s laughable public-park scheme to protect Nordic’s right to spew 7.7 million gallons of effluent a day into Belfast Bay.

In the RJ article, Belfast City Councilor Mary Mortier said the land in question could “become the jewel of the necklace that is the Little River Trail,” but the Nordic project would build right next to the Little River Trail the biggest industrial infrastructure in the state, bigger than Bath Iron Works, in dollar terms. And to get to Mortier’s “jewel,” hikers would have to dodge cars and trucks on a dangerous semi-blind stretch of Route 1.

In the article, Councilor Mike Hurley said all City Council members are tree-huggers and conservationists, but for more than four years they have worked feverishly to ram through, in the face of considerable public opposition, a project that would destroy 56 acres of mature forest, wetlands and wildlife habitat.

Finally, Councilman Neal Harkness said: “Short of making it a national park, I don’t know how much more strongly we could place it in protection.”

Well, I know how. Leave it alone. Leave it as it is. Stop supporting a project that would pollute Belfast Bay, destroy the Little River Trail, destroy wetlands and wildlife habitat, and endanger would-be visitors to your sham park.

Under this City Council, the city of Belfast has already squandered untold thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees defending an environmentally ruinous project. Enough.

Lawrence Reichard

Belfast