Letters, April 18, 2019

Apr 18, 2019

Respectfully disagree

I read Mr. Leo H. Mazerall Jr.'s Letter in last week's paper. I have to respectfully disagree with his opinion that bill LD 1313, aka The Death With Dignity Act, is a slip further down to the dark side.

Death With Dignity is not murder. The word suicide doesn't really fit, either. It is a medical decision allowing a patient to avoid months of unnecessary suffering. An avoidance of pain and suffering is what "First, do no harm" is about.

There is nothing to be gained by penalizing doctors for the very reasons they entered into the practice of medicine, compassion, a desire to alleviate sickness and pain. People are not going to be able to just call the doctor on a bad day and receive the medication to aid in their death. If the law passes, a patient will have to be at least 18 years old, a Maine resident, mentally capable of making and communicating health care decisions, and diagnosed with a terminal disease that will result in death within six months.

A patient who meets the qualifications will be prescribed the medication only if the patient makes two verbal requests to their doctor, at least 15 days apart; gives a written request to the doctor, signed in front of two qualified, adult witnesses (the law sets out the specific form that the patient must use); the prescribing doctor and one other doctor confirm the patient’s diagnosis and prognosis; the prescribing doctor determines that the patient is capable of making medical decisions; the patient has a psychological examination if the prescribing doctor feels the patient’s judgment is impaired; the prescribing doctor confirms that the patient is not being coerced or unduly influenced by others when making the request; the prescribing doctor informs the patient of any feasible alternatives to the medication, including care to relieve pain and keep the patient comfortable; the prescribing doctor asks the patient to notify their next of kin of the prescription request (the doctor cannot require the patient to notify anyone, however); the prescribing doctor offers the patient the opportunity to withdraw the request for aid-in-dying medication before granting the prescription; and patients will have to able to ingest the medications on their own.

All of Mr. Mazerall's points in his disapproval are religious in nature. While I appreciate and respect his right to believe as he chooses, not everyone belongs to his, or any faith. Everyone has the right to their beliefs, but no one should attempt to impose their religious ideology on others. Not in government, law or public schools, and certainly not in another's personal medical decisions and choices.

Even if I were able to see this as somehow killing, rather than a medical decision to avoid inevitable pain and suffering, I fail to see why someone else's religion and its commandments should apply to me or millions of other people.

Mr. Mazerall is free to make his own decisions about his end-of-life care, but he does not have the right to make mine. One person's right of religious freedom stops just before it touches someone else's rights.

Betty A. Miliano

Belfast

Retiring

After doing business as Garrold Company, Land Surveying, for the last 45 years in Searsport, Waldo County and surrounding areas, I have retired. All of the records from my office have been transferred to Allen Gordon, P.L.S., Land Surveyor in Frankfort, where they remain available.

My thanks to my clients and fellow professionals with whom it has been my privilege to work.

Donald W. Garrold, R.L.S.

Searsport

Important difference

In her otherwise informative article in the latest issue of the Republican Journal, Editor Stephanie Grinnell said: "(Paul) Naron installed signs along the Harbor walk where it crosses his properties, urging residents to turn out and support his negotiation efforts with the city."

In fact, the signs do not urge residents to support anyone's negotiations; they simply urge citizen involvement, not partisan citizen involvement. The difference is important.

Tim Hughes

Belfast

Nordic Year in Review

It has been a busy year since the Belfast City Council rezoned 40 residential acres on April 17, 2018, to accommodate Nordic Aquafarms’ industrial development. Local Citizens for SMART Growth formed almost immediately and got right to work. Its members shared concerns about the project, and the rezoning process that had been undertaken. We were a good cross section of Waldo County, including teachers, nurses, scientists, artists, activists, bus drivers, farmers, fishermen, retirees and business owners.

LCSG has accomplished many goals over the year and couldn’t have done so without the support of allied organizations. Early on, Organic Consumers Association provided valuable start-up support. Blocking developments like NAF aligns with their ongoing efforts to prevent CAFO developments in the South and Midwest. Food and Water Watch soon followed, offering consistent legal support over the past year.

LCSG has received organizational trainings from Toxics Action Center and the Belfast-based Possibility Alliance. We’ve been grateful for the insights into legislation and regulation of extractive water industries provided by Community Water Justice. Recently, we celebrated the announcement of the Sierra Club’s concerned stance about the Nordic project. We’ve also had dynamic support from Friends of Penobscot Bay, Downeast Salmon Federation, Slow Money Maine, and Maine Audubon, which organized events, traveled, and spoke about related issues to raise public awareness in Belfast and surrounding towns.

Rep. Jan Dodge has been in attendance at a handful of meetings. In her first term in Augusta, she has worked tirelessly in response to repeated concerns she heard during her campaign, sponsoring four bills focused on environmental protection, particularly affecting our beautiful and fragile Penobscot Bay. She is a true representative to a large number of her constituents.

LCSG appreciates the critical work of Belfast’s Planning Board. The board has been open to citizen input, researched industry-specific issues, and used their expertise to advise City Council on zoning specifics. This work to ensure due diligence and citizen inclusion has been encouraged by Mayor Paradis, working exhaustively in her first term in office.

It has been amazing to witness the financial contributions LCSG has seen from our community this past year. We thank the Grassroots Environmental Fund for their grant award and the Waterwheel Foundation for their exceedingly generous contribution. Most especially, we thank those many individuals who have made financial gifts. Your generosity has supported legal work, environmental consulting, and educational outreach, and strengthens our passion for the work we do. Economic growth and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. We strive to support a healthy thriving Belfast that exemplifies the wishes of its citizens.

As LCSG moves into its second year of work, we are buoyed by the goals we have met, the challenge of the work ahead, and the deepening relationships in our community. We look forward to sharing in more LCSG strategy sessions, potlucks, humor, and irreverent songs. Thank you to all.

Donna Broderick

Belfast

Next best thing

If you put my friend Paul Naron into a box he will immediately begin thinking outside of it. With the success of the United Farmers Market he demonstrated what few people in Belfast could have imagined at the site of the former Mathews Brothers Building. Now people flock there weekly and make it seem it has always been like that. Paul has been called a developer but that large wagon he has pulled (along with skilled managers) is filled with farmers, artists, chefs, musicians and countless others.

I have no doubt that if he is to proceed with a restaurant near the water it would be a great success. But a walkway goes through it and we have to ask, does this impede Paul and his grand plan? He has offered the city a 20-year lease at $1 a year so it doesn’t seem to be about the money.

Another large-scale success on the Belfast waterfront has been Front Street Shipyard. Two seemingly divergent parties were able to find common ground and make it a win for private business and the community. If Paul really wants to move forward and the city of Belfast wants to make a deal, I have no doubt it could happen in an exciting civil manner.

Somehow community rolls on, rebuilds a bridge, creates a rail trail and people come. Paul’s waterfront vision may be the next best big thing to come to Belfast. Come on, you makers and shakers, make it happen. When I go to the American Folk Festival in Bangor and walk along the water, I always notice that the Sea Dog restaurant, with its outdoor deck and seating, is always busy and bustling.

Dave Hurley

Swanville

The real national emergency

If your entire income comes from farming, imagine having to abandon it because of severe and persistent drought, pests, and weather disasters. Imagine neighbors desperate enough to put you and your family in danger and a government so corrupt it endangers your lives and livelihoods even further. What in the world do you do? Leave your home, your village, your country? Now you’re a migrant.

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s forced people to move west, and those of us with Irish roots probably have ancestors who escaped the potato famine in the mid 1800s. Coastal areas in the U.S. are starting to put pressure on inhabitants to move inland — environmental crises, past, present, future.

Environmental degradation makes Guatemala and Honduras increasingly unsustainable. People must escape their homes, often leaving vulnerable family members behind. Most of us wouldn’t tolerate a day, let alone a lifetime in some of these places, water often unavailable, soaring crime rates and heat waves, along with collapsing infrastructure. President Trump has a word for these kinds of countries but it’s unprintable.

These refugees are labels, not people. They’re illegals, and rapists, terrorists, drug lords, so it’s not a crime to cage them, to separate children from families, to tell the military to build more detention centers, and now to ship these refugees to "blue" sanctuary cities — thinly disguised blackmail and punishment for places where Democrats tend to dominate. He doesn’t have to look into reasons why they walk hundreds of miles from their homelands. Mr. Trump is commander in chief (and he won the election).

Imagine if he were to forego his ego and listen to those who know about these things, if he were to accept the reality of climate change, its effects worldwide and its link with the current border crisis. (Imagine the impossible.)

There’s no real border crisis with Canada. Its government is stable, its environment mostly livable. Not so in Central American countries. Our real national emergency is a global one and Donald Trump is a major contributor.

Beverly Roxby

Belfast

A scary argument

The left has taken the victim rhetoric to a new level. It is pure Orwellian-ism complete with correct speak and correct think. And if you don't agree with them, then you are the terrorist, you are the criminal.

We see this very dynamic playing itself out even at the Belfast City Council Meetings. Nobody likes to be criticized. But would you feel physically threatened by that President Trump tweet referencing Omar's "someone did something" comment? Not unless you believed that disagreement is the same as violence.

As it happens, the left does believe that, or claims to. All of a sudden, everyone on TV was telling us that Trump is trying to hurt Ilhan Omar, trying to "incite violence" against her. If we let them redefine speech as violence, the First Amendment has no meaning. They can tell you what to say and when to say it. They can use any force necessary to make you be quiet. Your opinions are violence. Disagreeing with me is assault. For my safety you must not be allowed to speak; you must obey.

They can tell you what to say and when to say it. They can use any force necessary to make you be quiet. Just as you would do whatever you needed to do and whatever force was necessary to stop a terrorist attack. They are saying your opinions and a terror attack are the same thing.

This is a scary argument, and we should be afraid of it.

Ben Eversage

Northport

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