Letters, March 14, 2019

Mar 14, 2019

New perspective on conflict

The Belfast City Council and Paul Naron May want to consider the following as a they strive to resolve their conflict:

1. The strip of land in question may very well be awash in saltwater in 20 years.

2. All land in dispute is Indigenous Land.

Just sayin.

Joanne Moesswilde

Belfast

A dwindling treasure

I am saddened by the viciousness of Steve Hitchings’ attack in his recent letter to The Republican Journal on Rep. Jan Dodge for simply doing the job as our forebears envisioned in our founding documents: representing her constituents.

Rep. Dodge had no stake in the fish factory when she announced her run for the State House and began knocking on hundreds of doors throughout the district. She discovered and reported one overwhelming concern: Nordic Aquafarms' plan to build the second-largest industrial fish factory in our town, dumping vast amounts of nitrogen into our Penobscot Bay.

Unsurprisingly to many of us, once elected, Jan is doing her job of representing her constituents, leading to sponsorship of several bills simply reflecting good stewardship of our bay. These commonsense bills deal with considering cumulative impact of multiple industrial waste sources  on water quality when granting operating licenses; consistent and 'best practice' mercury testing; ensuring survival of young salmon as they move from fresh to salt water and resubmitting a resolution (championed by now Sen King way back in 1995) making Penobscot Bay part of the National Estuary Program.

I ask what is so controversial about these bills that they spark such venom from Mr. Hitchings and many of our city officials who continue to demean any and all concerns about NAF despite its lack of experience operating land based fish farm systems?

Rep. Dodge is certainly interested in developing desirable jobs for our youth; those offered to Belfast youth by NAF will be a few unskilled jobs dependent on an extractive industry with a huge carbon footprint, Mr. Hitchings and these city officials appear to be content with Belfast citizens and our home serving as industrial guinea pigs, all for the sake of thoroughly debunked and ever-changing promises of creating good jobs and lowering property taxes.

I proudly voted for Jan Dodge. Next time around I will actually work for her; an elected official who represents her constituents and provides active leadership is a dwindling treasure.

Ridgely Fuller

Belfast

Decision without senior input

I am writing this letter because I cannot attend the Belfast Co-op annual meeting this Sunday (March 10), having withdrawn my membership when I heard about the decision to drop our senior discount.

I have been with the Co-op since close to the beginning. The atmosphere has always been so kind and friendly. However, I no longer experience it that way because of this policy decision, made without senior input.

My income is slightly over the cap for your CORE program. Without the senior discount, I can no longer afford to shop at your very expensive store. I am sorry to put this so baldly, but your decision feels like LePage tactics to save money on the backs of the vulnerable.

I hope many seniors attend the meeting and that you can come up with a plan that is fair and sustainable. I am afraid that you will see a loss of business if you do not.

Betty Sue Easton

Belfast

Sen. Collins: Stand up to Trump

Susan Collins was the only Republican senator who voted against confirming Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Cynics will say her vote was merely symbolic — that she knew he would win anyway. She said she opposed his doing nothing about climate change and agreeing to scrap most of our existing environmental protections.

Collins needs to show genuine concern, not just political expedience. She must condemn Trump’s every message, every action, every plan that relates to increasing climate change pollution. She needs to publicly ask why Trump supports pollution — what do he and other Republican leaders stand to gain? Who funds their actions and why?

For decades many Republicans, Maine senators included, supported environmental protection. Even Nixon was warned about the dangers posed by climate change pollution and responded to those warnings. A recent poll from Yale University found that over 70 percent of Americans are concerned about this imminent threat. Collins needs to show courage, not expediency, and speak up for the majority of us.

The latest from the White House: Trump has now created a committee to examine whether the data and conclusions of the Fourth National Assessment on the Effects of Climate Change really do constitute a national emergency. This document, a two-year report created by 17 federal agencies (including the Department of Defense), concludes that we could have as few as 12 years before climate change’s effects spiral out of control.

Meanwhile, Trump’s committee chairman, William Happer (a physicist, not a climate scientist), made news in recent years by saying that carbon emissions should be considered assets, not pollutants. In 2014 he said “the demonization of CO2 is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler” and he compared “attacks” on carbon dioxide pollution to ISIL’s slaughter of infidels.

This is insane. It’s unconscionable, and it’s clearly the reason Trump appointed William Happer, hoping we’ll be appeased enough by the very existence of this committee to reelect him.

Sen. Collins can call him out, because Trump will only get worse if we let him. She has a bully pulpit, and she needs to use it.

Beverly Roxby

Belfast

Facts contradict gerrymandering claim

This week’s Point-Counterpoint articles by Paula Sutton and Reade Brower were interesting; I was pleased with their agreement that the national popular vote is not in Maine’s best interest.

I was, however, very displeased to see Mr. Brower veering off topic to take potshots attacking all Republicans and blaming gerrymandering on one political party. Perhaps Brower does not realize that the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part First, Section 3 requires that Maine’s legislative districts be resized every 10 years.

Mr. Brower stated, “For years, gerrymandering redistricting has been a Republican mission in our state and throughout the country. Figuring where to draw the lines has been a political exercise; common sense taking a back seat to politics. Lines should be drawn pragmatically, but that’s not how it’s been done.”

Mainers including Reade Brower may not realize that the last time the House and Senate district lines were redrawn and voted on in 2013, Republican former Congressman David Emery spearheaded the effort, and when the Legislature voted on LD 1557, the outcome was overwhelmingly bipartisan (mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP1126&item=1&snum=126).

The Maine Senate voted unanimously in favor and the Maine House’s final roll call was strongly bipartisan, 133-11 (http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/rollcall.asp?ID=280049568&chamber=House&serialnumber=207).

Facts contradict Reade’s claim that gerrymandering is occurring here in Maine.

Surely there must be at least one fact-checker in Reade’s massive Maine media empire; therefore, common sense tells me Reade’s personal bias against Republicans is clouding his vision.

Statements such as “Voter suppression has been seen as part of the Republican agenda; using fear tactics and gerrymandering have been successful and remain part of the playbook" are strong accusations, slanderous, and should only be made when backed up by credible facts.

The Maine people deserve far better from the man owning nearly every newspaper in Maine. Common sense tells me that Mr. Brower’s words are fertilizer for hate. Reade’s views also undermine his own integrity and feed into the growing mistrust of news organizations. Fake news flourishes in the absence of truth.

Jonathan Tardiff

Rockland

No Independent party

There are so many inaccurate  claims made by the media I felt it was important to set the record straight. In his column last week, Reade Brower stated that "the Independent party undermined Democratic candidates." The problem is, there is no such thing as an Independent party.

If a person wants to register to vote, they can enroll in either the Republican, Green or Democrat party. If you do not choose a party, then you are considered unenrolled or U.

When running for office as an unenrolled person, you are allowed to choose three words as descriptors, which is called a political party designation; for example, “Common Sense Independent."

For a man owning multiple newspapers, one would think he could use at least one fact checker on staff, unless they don't have any, which could certainly be the case given all the false and inaccurate statements being made.

Linda Bodnar

Spruce Head

My vote should count same as anyone else

Paula Sutton’s column got me to stop and think about how much the electoral vote devalues the power of the individual vote. In its original form, the Electoral College was to be a deliberative body that was to assure that a suitable candidate was to become president. So we were to vote for a guy who then would decide who to vote for president.

Early in the history of the Electoral College, it was common for the legislature to determine the membership of it. It was not until the mid 1800s that the membership of the College would be determined by a majority vote within each state. If we just want the Electoral College to pass on the vote of the majority, who needs them?

We also had the problem of all those slaves. The South wanted the slaves to count in determining the number of electoral votes their state got, since slaves were 40 percent of the population, but they didn’t want them to vote. So they came up with the great compromise that each slave will only count 3/5 of a person. This is the logic that our present system is based on!

The number of electoral votes each state gets is determined by the census of the number of people in the state, not the number of voters. So voters in states that restrict voter rights or have a young population give more weight to their vote.

Another important factor of the Electoral College is that it is a winner-take-all system. So in all but two states, Maine being one, if one candidate gets one more vote than the other that means that they get all the electoral votes. So how does your vote count in a national election if your candidate looses by one vote in your state? It does not. In Maine this is still true but it is winner takes all in each separate congressional district level.

Then there is the old argument that the Electoral College gives small states more importance in the presidential election. Have you noticed that in the election of president the predominant theme in the news is about swing states. Those are the states that the outcome of the popular vote is not a sure thing. So in the Obama/Romney election, 25 percent of the population got 95 percent of the money and effort and this was not determined by the size of the state.

So for me I believe that my vote should count the same as anyone else, no matter what state you live in. Are we not, after all, one country and should each legal voter not get one equal vote?

Steven Fein

Northport

Let's do our part

Reseach has shown us, that early in life the brain is developing at a dramatic rate. According to Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child, our early experiences create a foundation for intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and behavioral development. Caregivers, including early childhood educators, are listed as key adults in children's environments, contributing to early brain development.

According to the 2017 Maine Kids Count, in 2015, approximately 58 percent of children in Waldo County had all parents in the workforce. Maine has a quality rating and improvement system which provides a framework of quality standards and ratings for Maine's licensed childcare programs and can be accessed online. Knowing the importance of early brain development and the need of childcare for working families, it is our responsibility to ensure that our community's early care and education programs are supported.

As town meeting dates approach, local citizens will vote on how community resources will be allocated. Voting is an opportunity to make a difference at the local level, investing in the future of our community, its families, and our youngest children. I implore you, the citizens of Waldo County, to explore information about your local early care and education programs, attend your local town meeting, and vote in favor of articles that supplement funding for these programs.

Let's do our part to give your youngest children a strong foundation.

Dawn Byron

Master's Student in Special Education

Troy

Great suffering behind a glass of milk

Mother Nature has an excellent system in place for animals to feed their young. For mammals, the female of the species produces nutrient-rich breast milk when she becomes a mother, which is the perfect food for growing babies. Human breast milk is perfect for human babies, elephant breast milk for baby elephants, wolf breast milk for wolf pups, and cow breast milk for calves.

Once babies are weaned from their mother’s milk, they start getting their nutrients from solid food. Humans are mammals and are no different in this regard, yet we have adopted unnatural practices that make us the only species on the planet that not only consumes breast milk into adulthood, but also consumes the breast milk of another species.

We’ve been tricked into thinking we need breast milk from cows to be healthy, but this simply isn’t true, as we are not baby cows. Roughly 65 percent of the global population is lactose intolerant, because we stop producing lactase enzymes after weaning. Those who can digest lactose into adulthood owe this ability to a genetic mutation.

In addition to being unnecessary, the dairy industry is inherently cruel. The majority of dairy cows are kept in confined, filthy conditions, and are forcibly and continuously impregnated throughout their dramatically shortened life spans (those who can’t get pregnant are slaughtered).

Their babies are typically taken from them within 24 hours of birth, severing the strong bond between mother and baby. Baby girls suffer the same fate as their mothers. Baby boys are considered a waste product of the dairy industry, and are slaughtered shortly after birth, or kept isolated in crates so small they can’t walk or even turn around (to keep their muscles weak and supple) for the few short months of their lives before becoming veal.

When the mother is “spent,” she is slaughtered, too, as she is no longer profitable and therefore of no value to the farmer. The natural lifespan for a cow is 15-20 years, but due to neglect, poor nutrition and constant breeding, cows on modern dairy farms can expect to only live about five years.

In addition to the cruelty, the dairy industry is wreaking havoc on our environment. Industrial-scale dairy farms occupy a tremendous amount of land, and are a huge contributing factor to habitat loss, soil degradation, water and air pollution, and global warming.

Please consider these points the next time you go to the market or sit down to a meal. There’s a heartbreaking story of great suffering behind that glass of milk, that bowl of ice cream, that container of yogurt, that stick of butter, that slice of cheese. We must not become so disconnected that we forget where, or more importantly who, our food comes from.

We are better than this. If we truly want a more peaceful, compassionate and sustainable world, we must begin with ourselves. To quote Anne Frank, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Rebecca Tripp

Searsport

Truth?

My latest Republican Journal (Feb. 21) creates a big splash about domestic abuse and violence, but, it's all about women (females) as "victims." Unfortunately, such violence goes both ways, or is two-way. The male sex is usually blamed, and female violence usually ignored, or even concealed. Totally unfair.

Yes, there are reliable scientific studies that prove this.

Talk is horribly cheap, especially across the "media" and with forensic evidence sometimes faked or concealed. I've seen how the media, police and courts handle such cases. A bunch of idiots with too much power and lacking accountability.

A decade ago, one man told me his dark tale about his girlfriend hitting his face with a heavy ashtray, then scratching him before she called police to file a domestic violence claim. He was indeed arrested on such a charge and spent the weekend in jail, during which time his broken nose (never documented by police) swelled, them bloomed into massive black eyes. He had told the truth, and police covered up the evidence. For real.

Talk is cheap and police are unreliable at best. But domestic violence is a real problem, and not just one-sided. The time will come, soon, where medical science can pick out likely abusers when young, and treat them. Maybe even cure them, or treat the base issues.

But, the First Amendment doesn't protect slander, defamation, or libel, especially when liberty is at risk, and financial gain or harm is the intent. Every liar needs to be "outed" and harshly punished.

Randall Hofland

Maine State Prison

Warren

_________________

Editor's note: The following letters appear online only and are not included in the March 14 issue of The Republican Journal.

Together, we are stronger than any drug

. . . and Together, we are healthier as a community.

Together, our community can make huge strides in combating so many of our problems, not just addiction.

In our community, there are amazing people of all ages and circumstances who’ve made some decisions they later regretted.  Who amongst us can say that they never made a regrettable decision? I’ve made plenty of them but have, for the most part, been able to set most things right afterwards.

Unfortunately, some people who have made some unwise decisions experience what Jimmy Buffett refers to as “a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling” – meaning their decision to use a drug to deal with their life’s problems created a bigger problem than they ever had before.

The Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition exists to help people who’ve made regrettable decisions to use a drug to deal with life. MCRC exists to help people make their lives “right” again, for themselves, for their families and for their community.

The single most powerful thing that MCRC can do is to bring us all together because, without everyone being onboard, solutions to helping people with addiction set their lives right is very, very hard.

As much as some people with addiction need “treatment”, all need the love and support of everyone in their community.  They need to feel accepted, welcomed and even loved.  They need good places to live, good jobs to pay their bills, transportation to get to work, to the store and to get around town.

They need you!

What can you do?

It does not need to be anything big, expensive or difficult. You can just offer words of support and to lend a sympathetic ear. You can play a hand of cards or share a cup of coffee. MCRC needs your help in any way you can support people in recovery.

We need people to:

Join our board of directors

Help keep our website up to date

Help run events like the Pancake Breakfast we had on March 2nd

We need people to:

Cut the grass

Greet visitors at our Main Street Rockland office

Have bake sales

Help apply for grants

Help with fundraisers and “friend raisers”

Whatever you can do, we need!

Please visit our website (midcoastrecovery.org) and look for "Support Our Programs" and let us know if you might be interested in becoming a volunteer.  If you wish, please send us an email to info@midcoastrecovery.orgor call us at 701-11182.  Please let us know how you could help!

Thank you,

Ira Mandel, MD

President

Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition

Biggest scam

Soo...

Mr. Brower is all for RCV (ranked-choice voting) because he is against Republicans (conservatives, Libertarians, Trump supporters) suppressing peoples' votes? RCV is the biggest scam to hit U.S. politics in history! It suppresses everyone's vote across the board! No doubt he is all for "ballot harvesting" if the vote doesn't go his way!

True, there have been instances where person(s) of a conservative "outlook" have been caught enabling procedures/processes to suppress a particular group's vote for a candidate/referendum. However for any caught, one can find at least five instances of a Democrat (liberal, left wing, socialist, Marxist, whatever) getting caught doing the same thing, in any general election! For some reason the "legacy media" only reports on those conservatives who were caught. (Perhaps Mr. Brower can do something about that!)

"Ballot harvesting," to those first hearing this term, refers to a "third party" contracted by a vetted political party to make sure there are no "missing" or "misplaced" ballots by a city, county or state election commission during the day of voting. Example: In the 2018 race for governor of  Georgia, Stacy Abrams (D) lost her race by a narrow margin. A day or two later some boxes of ballots had been "found" by unknown person(s) and brought to the attention of Georgia's Election Commission.

The final vote had already been counted. Ergo there was a legal conundrum. Should these "found" votes be counted or not? Long story short, they were not. Again this was 2018. Two weeks ago I came across a story, on the net, where, recently, the ballots were counted from one of those boxes by a curious reporter. All of them were marked for Stacy Abrams as governor. Take it for what you will.

The other issue, not mentioned, in Mr. Brower's counterpoint is U.S. citizens voting more than once! And illegal aliens voting at all!

The Electoral Collage was set up by learned men and put into the Constitution. No matter how many states get rid of their EC, they by law, have to use it! Only a vote by both houses of Congress can change how the president is picked.

As far as the popular vote, for any election (other than president), one person, one vote!                                                                                                                                                Roger V. Tranfaglia

Rockland

What exactly is the counterpoint?

I am confused. I thought the concept of “point / counterpoint” was to present two sides of an argument, but the so-labeled set of articles in the March 7 edition does not meet that criteria. Ms. Sutton’s article presents the pros of the Electoral College, along with a suggestion of how to make it more fair, and the cons of the national popular vote.

Mr. Brower opens his article by agreeing with Ms. Sutton’s assessment of the Electoral College and the national popular vote, then moves into a rant about Republicans and conservatives which seems to assume that all Republicans are conservative and all conservatives are Republicans.

He next moves on to pushing ranked-choice voting, which has nothing to do with presidential elections, the Electoral College, or the national popular vote. So what exactly is Mr. Brower’s counterpoint to Ms. Sutton?

Helen A. Shaw

Rockport

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