Letters, Oct. 8

Oct 08, 2020

Editor's note: The last week for election-related letters calling a candidate's record or behavior into question will be Oct. 22, so that there is time for rebuttal before the election. In our Oct. 29 issue, the only election-related letters we will run will be endorsements. Because of space constraints, we will accept only one election-related letter per sender before Nov. 3.

Paper should have asked about racism

I am curious why, given all that has happened in this country in the last six months — indeed, in the last 250 years — why TRJ editors did not see fit to ask the two white male candidates who are running for the second district U.S. House of Representative seat about their role as a national leader in addressing the systemic problem of racial injustice?

Molly Schauffler

Northport

What would Sen. Smith say?

Seventy years ago, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith presented her Declaration of Conscience to warn Republican colleagues about the fallout from the relentless attacks of the loud-mouthed bully Sen. Joseph McCarthy in his witch hunt to find socialist sympathizers hidden in government agencies.

Her June 1950 Senate speech included, “The nation sorely needs a Republican victory.  But I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny — Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.” (Calumny defined: a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something.)

“I doubt if the Republican Party could — simply because I don’t believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest.

“I don’t want to see the Republican Party win that way. While it might be a fleeting victory for the Republican Party, it would be a more lasting defeat for the American people.  Surely it would ultimately be suicide for the Republican Party and the two-party system that has protected our American liberties from the dictatorship of a one-party system.”

2020, the Four Horsemen ride again.

Patrick Walsh

Belfast

Why only two flavors?

Would any parent take their child to an ice cream shop that features a few dozen flavors on the menu and tell them they can only get vanilla or chocolate?

Surely not, unless they’re prepared to face a lot of protest about why they can’t have a different flavor, one they really want. Yet, that’s essentially what all too many political polls do when they limit respondents to only two choices.

The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,183 Maine voters, conducted Sept. 10-14, is one that clearly cast itself in the role of restrictive parent.

The poll script read: “If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Sara Gideon the Democrat and Susan Collins the Republican, for whom would you vote?" If undecided: "As of today, do you lean more toward Sara Gideon the Democrat or Susan Collins the Republican?”

In other words, you’re getting vanilla or chocolate.

On the Quinnipiac website titled, “Tips for Reporting on Poll Data,” reporters are condescendingly advised, “Good writers avoid repetitive or dry language to tell an engaging story.”

Allow me to reciprocate with a tip: Good political polling includes the names of all candidates who will appear on the ballot.

The Quinnipiac poll wasn’t the first to blatantly disregard candidates other than those of the ruling political class, and that needs to change.

If a conscientious journalist wants to write a truly engaging story on such polls about the Maine Senate race, their lead should address why Lisa Savage and Max Linn, both of whom will appear on the ballot as independents, could only be recorded by pollsters as, “Someone Else.”

While I can’t speak for the particulars of Mr. Linn’s campaign, I know Ms. Savage’s vibrant grassroots campaign has turned my head and earned my vote. And I didn’t need ranked-choice voting to enable me to make that decision.

So, I’ll have a scoop of mint chocolate chip in a cone with green sprinkles, please.

Aimee Moffitt-Mercer

Belfast

Responsive to constituents

I am supporting Stanley Paige Zeigler for House District 96 because he has proven himself to be extremely responsive to the concerns of his constituents.

During a time when our state is faced with unprecedented challenges and schools are forced to deliver education in new technologically advanced ways, expanded access to broadband internet in rural areas of Maine is more important than ever. I see this need firsthand in my role as a speech-language pathologist providing telepractice services.

I approached Rep. Zeigler and learned that he shares my concerns about the need for expanded internet access for all Maine students. He has been attending the broadband caucus since he joined the Legislature four years ago, and has excellent ideas about a joint private and public solution.

I, like many others, have grown tired of politicians who are all talk and no action. Rep. Zeigler has already proven to me time and time again that he is far more than just talk. Please join me in voting for Rep. Zeigler in November so that we have an advocate who knows how to get the job done!

Amy C. Reid

Belmont

Zeigler supports science

I strongly support the reelection of Rep. S. Paige Zeigler for Maine House District 96. He is the candidate in this race who believes in science and educating the next generation to meet the future with a solid foundation for critical thinking.

Ever since I was in first grade, I have always loved science. In the decades since, I have seen how theories evolve as we gain more knowledge and circumstances change. These studies are not part of a political agenda, but areas of science that must be taught in our schools so the next generation has the tools to successfully move forward.

Zeigler has worked aboard research vessels in his 35-year career in the Merchant Marine and as a teacher, among other jobs. He also served as chairman of the Regional School Unit 3 School Board.

As Maine's lead legislator for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, he has networked with people across the country, working toward a sustainable path ahead amidst new challenges. Additionally, serving four years on the Environment & Natural Resources Committee has given him an active role in passing legislation to protect our beautiful state.

Currently, he is excited about a “Green Bank” bill he's been working on that would help provide low-interest loans for installing renewable energy sources. Send him back to Augusta to continue this good work! If you are concerned about future generations, vote Zeigler for facts, not ideology.

Bernice Nadler

Montville

Represents all the people

For his first two election cycles, my late husband drove our representative, S. Paige Zeigler, to meet his constituents. When my husband complained that Paige wasn't liberal enough, Zeigler said, “Remember, I represent all the people of my district.” He also must see how our district (Belmont, Liberty, Lincolnville, Montville, Morrill, Palermo and Searsmont) best fits into the state of Maine's needs.

Rep. Zeigler is particularly passionate about two subjects he knows well — climate and education — and sits on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Our region is strongly affected by climate change as warming and more acidic oceans damage lobster fishing and clamming. As a former professional logger, Paige knows that trees are affected by warmer air and the violent winds that now accompany normal storms. Our new farms face more unpredictable seasons.

Environmental issues are based in science and help lead to Rep. Zeigler's strong interest in education. Science is not a social agenda but critical to community college. Food service, medicine and nursing, electricity, plumbing and my husband's love, welding, are all based on science. These are the careers we need to grow our economy besides those through the University of Maine.

I always love conversations with Paige because of his decades on ships, logging, as a teacher and chairman of the Regional School Unit 3 school board. When he delivered campaign postcards to my house, he wore a mask. Sadly, when his opponent, Mrs. Smith, came to my home, she did not wear a mask, putting my health as an older voter at risk. Where Mrs. Smith has stated her goals for education, I saw no mention of science. Sliding backward to an uneducated time will not move Maine forward.

Especially following the senseless spread of the coronavirus pandemic, our region needs strong, experienced leadership to grow our economy. That means we need Rep. Zeigler to effectively use our tax dollars in educating our kids. Vote to reelect the one person with the experience and knowledge to lead our district into the future, Rep. Stanley Paige Zeigler.

Leslie Woods

Montville

Gideon for U.S. Senate

We are writing to urge readers to vote to make Sara Gideon our next U.S. senator. Gideon is the daughter of an immigrant and has been described as a smart and down-to-earth woman with a track record of getting things done.

We attended a recent online event for Gideon and were very impressed by what she said. Twelve years ago, when she first ran for the Freeport Town Council, Gideon said her goal was to overcome preconceived ideas by imagining solutions and hammering them out together. We could surely use someone with that attitude in Washington today!

Gideon’s years in Augusta, working under both Republican and Democratic administrations, certainly taught her how to succeed. She believes that we just need to ask more of ourselves, see each other as human beings, take on the challenges facing us, and use government positively to invest in ourselves. How great it is to support someone with such a positive attitude!

We believe that Susan Collins has tied herself to a failed administration in Washington and a national political party that only works for a small minority of Americans. We urge you to join us in voting for Sara Gideon to be our next U.S. senator.

Corliss and Rick Davis

Belfast

Dedicated to education

As a university professor for the past 35 years, the last 17 of which have been in my home state of Maine, I understand the importance of producing bright and educated young adults.

There is no political candidate in Maine who is more dedicated to education than Chip Curry. That's one of the many reasons I'll be casting my vote for Chip Curry. He's the real deal, and we need him now more than ever.

Charles L. Dufour

Belfast

Understands our issues

I have known and worked with Chip Curry for over 20 years and I support his election as our next senator to represent Waldo County.

Chip has the experience from working with and around government in many capacities to step seamlessly into the position as our state senator. His experience gives him a solid understanding of the unique issues facing all of us who make Waldo County their home.

He has always worked to make Waldo County a better place for kids and their families. I cannot imagine a better candidate to represent all of us in the Maine Senate.

Ray Estabrook

Belfast

A great advocate

In these uncertain times I get up each morning and ask in what way can I have a positive impact for my community, for my family, and for the planet. I am not interested in wasting time on unimportant efforts. One critical issue is climate change. Our success in meeting the challenges we face because of climate change will require action and leadership at every level of society, from personal, local, state, national to international.

I support Chip Curry for state senator because I know he understands the importance of addressing climate change and that he will support the actions needed to be effective. He is also committed to making sure that Waldo County, as well as all of Maine, benefit from the good-paying jobs that will be created as we tackle this threat.

To continue the work being done right now by the Maine Climate Council will require legislators who are committed to reducing greenhouse gases. This is essential to having a sustainable and prosperous future for everyone.

Chip’s skill in listening to all ideas and perspectives as he determines what is the best action to take is a valuable quality to have in coming up with solutions to any problem. This skill will be needed in order to find a path through the complex balancing of interests and priorities surrounding climate change. This will make him a great advocate for Waldo County and the state of Maine.

Jonathan Fulford

Belfast

Ensure a healthy future

I hope you will support Chip Curry as the next Waldo County senator for the Maine Senate. I have served as mayor or city councilor in Belfast for 20 years, and when it comes to Maine state senators and representatives and Maine government, I only think of how their actions will affect the people of Belfast.

Waldo County Republicans are running under the banner of “Make Maine Great Again.” They want to take us back. Every property owner, schoolchild, parent, educator and taxpayer has suffered from the cuts in local education and state revenue-sharing that resulted in shifting the burden to the towns and school districts, causing higher taxes for all.

The harm the LePage administration and the Republican Party did to small towns and cities such as Belfast is enormous and continues to drive high property taxes today. They gutted support for affordable housing, which the Mills administration and Maine Legislature immediately made a priority. Same with solar and wind power. Until Maine senators and representatives had a working majority, Maine was stuck in the dark ages.

Chip Curry has spent the last three decades working and raising a family in Waldo County. He knows Waldo County and he knows Maine. He understands the real issues that affect us all in our homes, schools, businesses. We don’t have to wonder about Chip Curry trying to take us back to a broken past. Maine is recovering from a failed agenda. Please join me in making certain we ensure a healthy future by voting for Chip Curry for Maine Senate.

Mike Hurley

Belfast

Reelect Dodge

I am writing to urge others to vote for Jan Dodge to represent Belfast, Northport and Waldo in House District 97.

I spoke with Jan in Augusta a number of times during the 2019 legislative session when I was a citizen lobbyist for progressive legislation. In all cases her responses were positive, genuine and transparent. She leads with empathy and understanding rather than political calculation. I think this is exactly what we need in our Legislature.

I know Jan has special interests in education, workers rights, and the opioid crisis, but I trust her in general to act with integrity, humanity and judgment. I would vote for her in any case because she is a Democrat, which means she understands that the role of our government is to serve and protect all of us; however my support for her goes well beyond partisanship.

If you are in House District 97, I hope you will join me in voting for Jan Dodge.

Trudy Miller

Northport

First peoples deserve justice

On Oct.12 we will again commemorate Indigenous People's Day here in Belfast, and in the entire state of Maine. I am proud that this day is commemorated, but also well aware of how arrogant it must seem to offer one day of recognition to peoples who have been here for over 10,000 years — and to whom we owe a debt we can never repay for their care, leadership and guardianship of the lands and waters stolen from them, this beautiful place we all call home.

And still the state of Maine continues not to recognize the inherent sovereignty of Maine's first peoples, a recognition that all other tribes in the nation have. Since 1980, when the federal Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the corresponding state implementing act were passed, the tribes have been under state law, rather than federal Indian law.

This essentially means the state retains the power to deny treaty rights to the tribes, and act as if the tribes are not sovereign at all, but rather municipal subdivisions of the state, subject to state oversight without representation.

Sovereignty is an inherent right; it is not something that can be granted. The Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe, and Houlton Band of Maliseets have once again been put on hold, despite 16 months of work by a government Task Force made up of both legislative representatives and Native representatives working out a framework that would finally grant the tribes their status under federal Indian law and thus reassert their inherent sovereignty.

Three bills have come out of this collaborative effort, the central one being LD 2094. The Task Force and the majority of the Judiciary Committee have agreed on the bill, and now the Mills administration is equivocating, indicating that it may not be open to considering amendments to the Maine Implementing Act.

The vote on LD 2094 has been put on hold because of the Legislature's adjournment in mid-March in response to the coronavirus. Don't let this travesty continue. Our representatives need to hear from us.

As Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis stated, "For 40 years, we've been unable to have a meaningful voice in effecting change to address real conditions in Indian territory in Maine."

Make this a meaningful Indigenous People's Day. Act: write, call, demand change in the implementing act, and passage of LD 2094. First vote. Then demand full recognition of sovereignty for the first peoples of Maine. We want a vote in 2020. Support the Wabanaki Alliance.

Meredith Bruskin

Swanville

Don't kick science out of the classroom

Some Christian conservatives want to curtail science teaching in public schools, claiming that violates their freedom of religion. Some are running for office, in Maine and elsewhere. They say that educating children about things like climate change, different cultures, bigotry, social justice, the history of the Earth, the human body, gender, and their own mental and physical potential amounts to indoctrination in some sort of “atheist leftist agenda,” even though many others find that scientific knowledge only deepens their faith in an underlying power.

People have developed several professions whose job it is to separate truth from fiction. History tells us what happened, journalism tells us what is happening, and science tells us what always happens. All three are imperfect, because humans are imperfect, and because their fields of study are complex. However, they are also self-correcting. When someone proves a new fact, the whole system adjusts to incorporate it. The word "science" means “knowledge,” and passing along humanity’s current knowledge is the true goal of education, which means “leading outward.”

Dozens of religions have called themselves “the one true faith” and tried to destroy all others. That’s why the framers of the Constitution forbade the establishment of a state religion. They were inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment, the 18th-century movement for religious and scientific freedom that arose in response to the Inquisition and many centuries of religious warfare. Its ideals gave us the Industrial Revolution and all modern technology, and they remain the only way to a livable future.

Before you vote, find out the candidates’ positions on teaching straightforward science and history, then vote for those who favor it. Let’s keep church and state separate. Any attempt to outlaw the teaching of science or other fact-based disciplines is part of an authoritarian religious agenda.

Some will reply that “science itself is a godless religion,” but they’re confusing faith with fact, and they’d scream bloody hell if someone tried to put that shoe on the other foot. No one is going into a church and making the pastor preach evolution. Why make kids face their future with an education from the Middle Ages?

Gary Stimeling

Freedom

Responsible gun ownership

First off let me make clear that I am a strong supporter of the second amendment to our great Constitution also a life member of the NRA. That said, there is a level of responsibility required for firearms use. Last Saturday was the first day of the archery season on deer here in Maine. It is a day that I look forward to every year. I spend an inordinate amount of time preparing my stands and equipment, as well as practicing, to keep my shooting ability up-to-speed.

The reasons I look forward to the archery season are multiple. Although I enjoy hunting anytime, I especially enjoy the month of October when the woods and the weather are beautiful; also few people are in the woods, so I get to Zen out in my tree stands.

On Saturday my morning hunt was as advertised: beautiful. The afternoon hunt is the reason for my letter. After observing a number of deer, none of which I cared to shoot, I settled down to wait for that time around sunset when the deer usually show up. Having observed a nice buck on my pre-season scouting, I was hoping I would get a look at him.

That’s when the shooting began, at least 78 rounds, most with a heavy caliber and a small number from what I would guess was a .22. The direction of fire appeared to be completely random. I experienced the same level of shooting last year, also during the beginning of the archery season. Maybe someone is breaking out their deer rifle for next month’s season, I don’t know.

What I do know is there are people who hate hunting and go out of their way to disrupt legal hunting. If that is the reason for the multiple discharges, it is a criminal act. If the shooting is as random as I perceived it to be, it is dangerous not only to hunters, but to anyone who enjoys the woods during this time of year.

It also gives ammunition to the anti-gun people. There are towns where the discharge of a firearm is illegal. As a responsible gun owner and a hunter, I don’t ever want to see that happen here in Stockton. One accident is all it would take for those who are opposed to hunting and gun ownership to move our community in that direction.

Leo Mazerall

Stockton Springs

Don't forget to register to vote

In this extraordinary year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may not have thought about making sure our young adults and other family members are registered to vote. Many students who typically register at school voter registration drives have not had this opportunity due to school closures and restrictions on who can enter schools now that they're open.

You can register to vote by mail, but it’s easier if you go in person to your town office. You must be a U.S. Citizen and a Maine resident. You must be 18 by Nov. 3. Bring your Maine driver’s license or state ID.

If these show your current address, that’s all you will need. Otherwise, bring proof of residency with you too. This can be an official envelope you have received in the mail with your name and address on it or a paycheck stub.

You can find a full list of documents that you can use to register at the Secretary of State’s website, maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voter-info/voterguide.html. You will fill out and sign a Maine Voter Registration Application card, and you’re done.

Newly registered voters are advised to bring their ID the first time they go to the polls. If there’s any problem, you can fix it by registering on Election Day. Even if you have trouble on Election Day, if you are a qualified voter, you can still vote on a challenged ballot and it will count when the ballots are tallied.

This year many people are voting absentee due to health and safety concerns. In Maine, you don’t need an excuse to vote absentee. You may go to or call your town office to request an absentee ballot application. If you go in person, you can get your absentee ballot and vote early at the town office. You can also go online and fill out the ballot request form at https://maineballot.org/vote/.

After your ballot is mailed to you, complete and return it as soon as possible. You can return a completed ballot by mail, in person to your town office, or at a drop box if your town has one. Don’t forget to sign the envelope flap. You can also vote in person on Election Day. Polls will open between 6 and 10 a.m., depending on where you live, and close at 8 p.m.

Linda Zeigler

League of Women Voters, Midcoast

Waldo County Bounty says thanks

Thank you if you were one of the many, many generous gardeners who donated your homegrown produce as part of the Waldo County Bounty Grow a Row campaign.

If you drove anywhere in Waldo County this summer you likely saw one of our 11 Give and Take Tables. From Islesboro to Palermo, the tables were stationed at schools and churches, town offices and post offices. Amazing volunteers kept the tables stocked and made sure they were clean and tidy.

Volunteers at Waterfall Arts in Belfast designed and hand-painted the signage with love. This was truly a community effort, and it was so deeply gratifying that, in this time of division and challenge, Waldo County rose together to meet the needs of our neighbors.

The tables were set up to provide folks with food who had, perhaps, never needed a little extra help before. I think the tables served their purpose well. I don’t often see the people who come to take or leave produce, and I think that’s what works about these tables: They are completely anonymous. Because of that anonymity, we don’t know who most of the gardeners are, but, as a gardener myself, I know the love, time and labor that went into each and every tomato, bean and cucumber left on a table.

Our team thanks you for taking the time to bring your hard-won crops to a Waldo County Bounty Give & Take Table.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this project for me has been how quickly produce has come and gone from the tables. It’s unusual for anything to remain on the table for more than 24 hours. (OK, OK, maybe a couple of massive zucchinis had longer stays than other items.) On the whole, there was clearly a need, and that need was helped by the efforts of gardeners all across Waldo County. Thank you!

If you want to learn more about Waldo County Bounty’s many projects to combat food insecurity in Waldo County in response to COVID-19, please visit https://unitybarnraisers.org/waldocountybounty/.

Viña Lindley

Waldo County Bounty Volunteer

Lincolnville

Donations help make up for loss of Pop Up Shop

New Hope for Women recently made the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Pop Up Shop due to the pandemic. This event, a sale of women’s quality new and gently used clothing and accessories held in Rockland, raised $36,000 last year. With the difficult choice to cancel came the knowledge that New Hope for Women would experience a loss in revenue.

The Pop Up Shop Committee reached out to many to ask for donations to help lessen the impact of this loss. Over $9,500 was raised to assist victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. We are grateful for these donations and for the community commitment to our advocacy, prevention and education work.

The Pop Up Shop will return in 2021. Our committee is actively collecting donations of new and gently used quality clothing and accessories. Contact jlemole@newhopeforwomen.org or call 594-2128 to arrange for pickup or drop-off.

Joan LeMole

Development Director

New Hope for Women

Rockland


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