Letters, June 20, 2019

Jun 20, 2019

Money talks; Mainers walk

Gov. Mills just sided with CMP and Hydro-Quebec over the wishes of the Maine people.

She Just vetoed two bills that the House Senate and over 70% of Maine people approved.

The bills, LD 1363 and LD 1383, would have allowed Mainers to have a voice on the CMP corridor.

Hydro-Quebec stands to make nearly $500 million in its first year. Maine will be the pathway from Canada to Massachusetts, doing irreversible damage to the boreal forest, lakes, ponds, even the Appalachian Trail.

She is not listening to the Maine people. This is our state and we need to stand strong!

Gov. Mills is on her way to being a one-term governor, but will leave a lasting legacy. It will be Maine the Way Life Used to Be!

We need to be heard ! Get involved before it's too late.

Gloria Howard

Northport

Nordic Aquafarms: What’s in it for us?

On July 28 there will be a public forum at the Hutchinson Center focused on the economic effects of the proposed Nordic Aquafarms RAS facility in Belfast. The forum is being organized by an ad hoc grassroots group of local residents called the School of Fish. Our purpose is to educate the community about the ways in which this relatively large new business will affect our economic lives. Nordic Aquafarms will be involved only to the extent that there is some information that they alone can provide.

Presenters will be experts who range from those can speak to the state or regional economic effects of an enterprise such as this, to those who can directly address local effects on our tax base, jobs and related industries. We will ask speakers to also highlight economic downsides if they know of any.

We are fully aware that the opponents of the Nordic facility will claim the the forum is biased no matter what we do. Nonetheless, we invite them, or anyone else interested, to propose speaker(s). The ground rules for presentation are that we are making the assumption that the facility will be built substantially as proposed in the permitting documents. This forum is not about the environmental discussion. Presenters should be expert in their topic and have evidence to substantiate their observations.

Speakers are being identified and vetted based on expertise, appropriateness, and how their information would fit in the overall panel, which is limited in size.

If you want to propose a panel member, please contact Trudy Miller at tmiller@impulse.net.

Trudy Miller, for School of Fish

Northport

Bring back the draft

Our president seems determined to start a major war with Iran to protect American interests (money and power) with the sacrifice of more American soldiers and countless Iranian military personnel and particularly civilians. To lower the burden on U.S. military personnel who have served so bravely for so long in recent years, I am suggesting a return of the draft.

Without the draft, it is too easy to ignore the sacrifices made by others on behalf of us all. Unless we are personally involved through the service of a husband, wife, son, daughter or other family members or friends, we don’t really pay enough attention to the horrors being experienced by thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of people, military and civilians, in other nations of the world. (Somebody else’s kid just doesn’t matter all that much.)

Suggested rules for the New Draft:

1. Universal military service for everyone, men and women, of the appropriate age (18 to 21 or older?) for two years. Combat training for all.

2. As everyone would be serving, and not all would be required for combat, everyone else would be assigned to other public service, at least temporarily. These position decisions would be made by lottery, not by influence.

3. No exemptions. No college deferments, employment deferments or medical deferments unless incapacitated. Those who object to killing would be assigned to medic duties in combat units or other medical needs, such as veterans’ hospitals.

4. Nobody buys cushy desk jobs for their favored children or friends. Admittedly, this would be hard to enforce. Money always rules.

5. To prove their true belief in the war, the president and his cabinet, and all of our congressional representatives and senators would be required to have a family member in the service if they are voting for the war (the child of a close friend would do, if they have no one in their own family). Of course, if they would prefer to serve themselves, if they are young enough for combat, fine. Veterans would be excluded from this rule, of course.

These ideas are a fantasy, of course. But they might be worth a try.

As an alternative to the above, how about hosting a war right here? That would give hawkish Americans the opportunity to experience the glories of war firsthand. How about watching your family suffer and die, or starve, or see your home destroyed while you’re hiding from the bombs, the way countless innocent civilians in other countries have done over many wars and many years? No? Then how about giving up wars and trying something else, like getting along with each other and working together?

Believe it or not, there are many values we can embrace as a nation besides the lust for money and world power. We can do a lot of good for our own citizens, and for people all over the world, with all of our money and power if that’s what we decide to do.

War is very expensive. There are better places to put that money, and better lives for our kids than sending them off to get wounded or killed.

The greatness of America, past and future, lies in the hearts and minds of our people, not in anything else. Let’s remember that and act on it.

Ann Mullen

Belfast

The soul of a town

Once all New England villages had souls, often steeped in centuries of tradition shared by succeeding generations and often only acknowledge when they were lost.

Norman Rockwell understood what the soul of a town was; he painted it constantly. His paintings were of characters and they always seem to include older folks and younger ones, the cop holding the hand of a youngster, an old decorated veteran next to a young Boy Scout, meetings at town hall or the Grange, church socials or heroes like young Lincoln.

His scenes seemed to have both humor and a story and were peopled by folks we could all identify with. Coaches and teachers, scout leaders and veterans, people that were givers. Rockwell’s definition of a town always seemed to highlight our neighbors as caregivers, leaders and quiet examples to following generations.

Those of us that are older have seen towns lose their soul, become temporary havens and stops for people to spend a few years of their lives. Others come to enjoy what took generations to build and don’t understand that to keep and maintain what they like also involves commitment and sacrifice. What they are attracted to was forged by others and sustained by generation after generation.

The soul of a town is both the young and the old and how others take care of them. Living in that town requires a debt that oftentimes newcomers do not know or understand. The debt is to others and it is usually paid not just through involvement but in understanding what others like the young, in particular, need.

It is not about your view out the window or your opinion of global affairs; it is not about you at all or what affects your small world. It is about the town and its citizens, young and old, and what they need. It is indeed a collective and a continued gift to others.

That is why I object so much to the naysayers and anti's of Belfast; their protests are always about them, about their view, about their latest “cause.” It is never about others; no mention is ever made of the next generations or how we can provide for them. It is never about how older folks can afford to stay here and pay taxes or how the younger ones are able to gain a foothold and become the next givers.

No, it is always about them and making sure their little world that they are happy with doesn’t change. The paradox is that change is needed for Our Town to maintain its soul. Our Town’s soul grows when we talk about tomorrow and not today. It’s easy. Our Town’s painting would be about kids holding the hands of their grandparents as they look out at the bay, at a boat they all share, and a life they have together.

Steve Hutchings

Belfast

Mueller Book Club

It is time for responsible citizens to read the Mueller Report. Our government has been hijacked by a pathologically narcissistic scofflaw, who is making himself the capo of a crime syndicate dedicated to enriching itself and impoverishing the rest of our citizens.

His xenophobia is particularly contemptible, considering that he cannot claim even one grandparent born on this side of the Atlantic. His father's second cousins were Germans, and his father spent WWII cowering in New York, building a racist real estate empire while your father, grandfather, or great-grandfather interrupted their lives to defend freedom and common decency in WWII. It's time for Trump to be transferred from the White House to a federal penitentiary.

Join the Mueller Book Club to join a community of thousands who are all reading the Mueller report at https://muellerbookclub.com.

William Leavenworth, PhD

Searsmont

Locking out working class

Belfast has a very severe shortage of affordable homes and affordable rents. My opinion is that our town has rapidly risen in both home prices and rental prices, which is starting to lock out both the middle and working class from our town.

How can the City Council address these issues if they do not understand those changing demographics?

For example, there are currently only 15 homes for sale inside the bypass. Of those, only four are currently priced under $300,000. In the rental market, $1,000 to $1,200 may provide a one-bedroom place to live. Yet the City Council is having a limited study of mostly the downtown area, which may show that the affluent will purchase goods from the downtown area and that we have become a tourist destination.

It will not show that fewer people working here cannot buy or rent here. That study will not give us a road map of how to prevent an affordable housing shortage. We need a comprehensive survey to understand who owns property in Belfast year round, who are using their homes for AirBnB, and how many owners are very part-time or summer-only residents.

Further, if we do not know the usage of such a growing industry (as AirBnB), we will not know the effects on our future population, how to properly tax them, or to establish safety regulations.

We know our school population is diminishing and we know that the middle class has a severe struggle to afford the property taxes, can rarely afford to rent in our town, and can not afford, under any circumstances, a home of over $300,000. We are rapidly locking out the mixture of working class people and will rapidly be identified as another Camden destination for wealthy home buyers and renters.

We can only prevent these changes with a comprehensive survey and then develop a plan for addressing our very present housing needs. My main purpose in this letter is for Belfast to please open your minds to reaching out more thoroughly to constructive solutions and approaches to serve all the people who live here, instead of only those who have the most money. We have to contact our council and plead for this survey and plan. Email ward(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)councilor@cityofbelfast.org.

Alan Wood

Belfast

Comments (2)
Posted by: Eric Schrader | Jun 22, 2019 06:41

Hey Leavenworth, I'll take a "pathologically narcissistic scofflaw, who is making himself the capo of a crime syndicate" any day of the week over the 8 wasted years of Obama. Can anyone name one positive accomplishment from his 8 year reign, but remember, his administration never had a "smidgeon" of corruption. Trump is already a billionaire who donates his salary to worthy charities unlike Obama who liked to rack up frequent flyer miles for his many overseas "fact finding" trips, along with Moooochelle, who loved to take a boat load of an entourage on far flung trips. It is true whether you want to admit it or not that nearly all socio-economic groups are benefiting from his 1st two and 1/2 years in office. Unemployment at historic lows for all groups and the stock market hitting all time highs helping everyone's 401K. What was Obama doing about criminal justice reform, unlike Trump who pulled it off. When Obama spouted, "You didn't build that", that was all I needed to hear as he insulted millions of business owners who "did build that". BTW, PhD! Is that supposed to add credibility to your posting? Leavenworth will be a good place for all the Deep Staters to spend some time.



Posted by: Eric Schrader | Jun 20, 2019 11:08

To Alan Wood: The survey is already in the works. There was money allocated from a grant that will be doing a comprehensive survey, but the question really is why did it take the City so long to pull the trigger. There are several dilapidated apartment buildings currently along High Street, one of which is abandoned probably for code violations. Drive up and down Main and High streets at night and look up at the upper floors of most of the buildings downtown and you'll see dark windows. What are the possibilities of converting some of those spaces to affordable residences. I'm sure there is plenty of money available thru grants from HUD to fund the work.  How about the 200,000 empty square feet of the old MBNA space that will never be filled in our lifetime with commercial space because of the lack of affordable housing. Then, there is the old Public Works land that could be available, but it will take big bucks to clean up that site after 50 years of dumping "stuff" on the ground. Oh, remember the Belfast Yards project? The one acre site next to Front Street Pub. The City hired a consultant to do a "highest and best use" analysis and I'm still waiting to see that study. More retail won't work because of the empty storefronts that are already piling up. Let's face it. The City does not have the expertise to pull off a project of any size that will put a dent in the housing crisis. Maybe if City personnel had the requisite backgrounds and education like being a civil engineer or someone that knows something about real estate with a degree in economics that might make a difference. If you want to know what the future looks like for development in Belfast look no further than how the City Council and City Manager/Attorney is dealing with Paul Naron on his Phase II project. There is a “win-win” solution to their dilemma but it's going to take some “outside the box” thinking. Unfortunately, it will be more like let's “re-invent the wheel” to get things done. Remember, we only have 12 more years to live if you believe the progressives so time's a wasting. Quiz question: Does anyone know was a CDD is?



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