Letters, Sept. 17

Sep 17, 2020

Flying in a fact-free zone

In his Sept. 10 letter to the editor, Belfast City Councilman Mike Hurley states his journalistic credentials and then says, “I know journalism when I see it.” Well, I have been a journalist for 43 years, and I was a columnist for The Republican Journal for four-plus years. My first Republican Journal column was entitled “Flying in a Fact-free Zone” ― and that is exactly where Mike Hurley is flying.

Hurley says The Republican Journal favors the Nordic Aquafarms opposition, but he presents absolutely no evidence. That's not journalism ― it's whining.

Hurley says Nordic “would pay more taxes than the top 100 Belfast taxpayers.” But Nordic has ― in Norway, Maine and California ― availed itself of every tax break and sweetheart deal it can find. Indeed, Hurley's City Council paid hall rental for Nordic's propaganda shows, and agreed to pay half of Nordic's dechlorination costs for five years, something it never offered Marshall Wharf Brewing Co., a longstanding local business that actually employed local people ― unlike Nordic, which has hired very few locals.

Nordic even incorporated its U.S. operations in Delaware, an infamous haven for tax chiselers.

Hurley seems to suggest The Republican Journal has given short shrift to questions such as the adequacy of our aquifer, harm to Belfast Bay, and traffic. But all of these issues have in fact been covered in The Republican Journal, and all of them reflect poorly on Nordic Aquafarms.

Hurley accuses The Republican Journal of doing no investigative journalism, but when I went to Norway and Denmark and investigated Nordic's operations in those countries, Hurley denounced my findings, which were damaging to Nordic, and he later cheered when my column was terminated.

If The Republican Journal is guilty of disservice to the Nordic debate, Hurley and the Belfast City Council are at least as guilty. Before Nordic went public in February 2018, Nordic and the city were four months in a self-congratulatory echo chamber where they both drank heavily of each other's Kool-Aid. And in the 31 months since Nordic went public, Hurley and the City Council have refused to give any consideration to the legitimate and quite considerable doubts and concerns raised about Nordic's proposed project.

Hurley and the council have for 31 months kowtowed to Nordic Aquafarms while completely ignoring many of their own constituents. They rushed through Nordic's zoning change without any consideration of 70-plus public comments against such haste ― with no comments supporting it. In a land dispute between Nordic and longtime Belfast residents Jeffrey Mabee and Judith Grace, Hurley threw Mabee and Grace overboard and even ridiculed them.

When it comes to failing Belfast, Hurley should pocket his stones and take a look at his own glass house.

Lawrence Reichard

Belfast

Antidote called IQ alone

The current conspiracy craze involving something called QAnon has spread as pro Trump enthusiasts scrape the barrel in their quest to reelect their hero. This goofy group suggests that not only Democratic leaders but the Pope and the Dali Lama abuse young children and then, wait for it, eat them.

To them it is “mighty mouth” to the rescue. Trump is secretly coding messages to his devotees as he prepares to combat this unspeakable rabble. They look forward to an event called the “Storm” during which Trump will divulge the truth, which is an event that will truly be worth experiencing as Trump and the truth are seldom listed in the same sentence.

Here is one of the coded messages: “FISA brings down the house. When do birds sing.” As any fool can see, this is a clear warning of impending doom. Thank the stars for our hero bone spur president. There is an antidote for this illness it is called IQ alone. It relies on our God-given good sense and the willingness to use it.

We live in an era where political tribalism suffers American voters to substitute demonstrable competency and sufficient policy experience with demagoguery and mere presence on the ballot.

Ron Jarvella

Belfast

Anti-racists wanted

The disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infection, incarceration, home ownership and distribution of wealth between white Americans, and Native Americans and people of color bring into focus the systemic advantages that white people have long had in this country. This runs directly counter to the belief that America is a place of equal opportunity for all.

While protesting through overt actions to bring attention to injustice is critical, it is not enough. We must also engage in a genuine examination of our prejudices and of our local and national laws and policies. We need to examine the history that is taught to our children in our homes and in our schools.

We are a small group in Monroe who began meeting weekly in early June to begin this process. We are looking for more people to be part of this conversation and are interested in meeting with other groups who have similar ambitions and aspirations. We don’t envision that anti-racism will come quickly or easily, but there is momentum moving in this direction. We need to use that energy to begin this work. Please contact us (ruralantiracist@gmail.com) if you’d like to join with us.

Michael Schaab

Monroe

Common sense

On Aug. 17, 28 cases of COVID infection were reported in people who had attended the East Millinocket wedding just 10 days earlier. As the science tells us, COVID can show up within two weeks of exposure even if there are no symptoms.

Now, 12 days after that report, the number of infected people has jumped to 123, including those in a nursing home and a jail 200 miles away. Millinocket school openings are delayed because of new cases in people who were in contact with wedding goers.

This is what contagious diseases do. They spread between people exponentially, rising at a steady and rapid rate with each exposed person likely to pass the disease along to two or three others that they come into contact with.

COVID-19 is real. It’s not a hoax or exaggerated or going away anytime soon. No amount of denial or squelching the numbers or ignorance is going to stop it, despite what the White House says. COVID does not discriminate by race, age, social status, or political affiliation. Trump supporters are as likely to get it as Biden ones, especially if they follow the president’s lead.

COVID is a germ spread by human behavior. Unfortunately, a small group of self-centered people are messing things up for all of us. The economy is not going to improve until the disease is under control, and we can’t get it under control until people are able to control their own behavior.

It will be months, possibly years, before at least 80% to 95% of the population is immunized after a vaccination is approved for “herd immunity” to take effect. The only thing that can slow the spread of COVID-19 down in the meantime is changing human behavior. We can do this, folks. It’s just not that hard. Wearing a mask and maintaining social distance is not a political statement; it’s common sense.

Linda Buckmaster

Belfast

Editorial untrue as regards city of Belfast

"We work hard to give thorough, balanced coverage to the important stories in our community, always remembering that it is the readers we serve." (— Journal editorial, Sept. 3.)

I wish this statement were true as it relates to the Belfast councilors/mayor and the city administration. Anyone who is paying the least bit of attention to what goes on in the city would have a plethora of material to generate stories about the day to day operations of the city.

Just ask any taxpayer if a millage rate of $23.3 per thousand of value, the highest of any comparable city from Kittery to Bar Harbor, is acceptable, given that we're in the middle of a 100-year pandemic and somehow the taxes actually go up. In the multi-month shutdown, there was not one employee furloughed or even considered for a job elimination. Managing a city is a business, not a charity.

Ask the city administration about the Camoin & Associates contract that was signed last fall to provide a comprehensive housing study inside the By-pass, including the Old Public Works site. The city, who knew they were going to redevelop the property, dragged their feet and didn't issue a “Request for Proposal” a year ago to ensure that the city obtained the best deal for the residents. Now they're saying they don't have the time.

Everybody knows that it takes 10 years for anything good to happen in Belfast.

Whatever happened to the study that they paid a Bangor consultant to perform a "highest and best use" analysis of the valuable one-acre site called Belfast Yards next to the Front Street Pub. A very valuable asset that has been a dormant for years, along with the underutilized Boathouse.

Ask Wayne Marshall why he claimed to have been aggressively pursuing Penobscot McCrum, LLC to remove the eight abandoned tractor trailers, in clear violation of the city charter, for nearly a decade. They surrounded McCrum's refrigeration building on Front Street, affectionately called "The Blue Monster" only to provide no evidence that any violation letters were sent in all of 2019 and most likely, prior years. This fact was uncovered only after a Freedom of Access Act request was forced upon him. Nothing like transparency in city affairs.

Ask the general assistance administrator, Jodie Stout, about the suspected city funding of monthly rent for an able-bodied individual, using our hard-earned tax dollars, but refusing to simply acknowledge or deny this practice. When a FOAA request was submitted to the city, it was slow walked, then stonewalled by the city.. Why is it that the city can't be transparent about issues and not require a FOAA request to pry information out of them?

So much material, so little time!

Eric Schrader

Belfast

Semper fi

Semper fidelis: The motto of the United States Marines! Always faithful, always willing to go in harm’s way. Always serving. Col. Duncan Milne exemplifies this tradition and ideal. Col. Milne is here in Maine not because he seeks personal gain. He is here because this is his home! He grew up in Maine, He left to serve our nation. He has returned.

He is not running for the Maine State Senate because it is easy, he is running for the Maine State Senate because it is the right thing to do. To quote President Kennedy: he chooses to run because it is the hard thing to do! He chooses to run because it is the right thing to do. He chooses to continue to serve.

As a U.S. Navy veteran of the Gulf War and a Vietnam Era USMC veteran, I know what it is like to leave your family, to leave your home and serve our nation. Those tasks end, and then it is time for new tasks.

Maine is fortunate to have patriots like Col. Milne still willing to serve in any capacity in which they can be useful. Col. Milne will represent the 11th Maine Senate district with the same distinction with which he served this nation as a U.S. Marine!

Christopher J. Morin

Frankfort

New, balanced leadership needed

It’s time for new, fresh, and innovative ideas in Augusta to support the future of Maine, especially for our hard-working families. Enter Katrina Smith, District 96 candidate for the Maine House of Representatives.

Amidst too much partisanship and uncertainty, we need a leader who will preserve our ways of life and restore peace of mind about the way in which our great state is headed. Katrina knows the people she will serve. She is a Maine native, was raised in Appleton/Camden, and now lives in Palermo; thus her own experiences here have shaped her views for keeping our freedoms, decreasing our tax burdens, and attracting diverse businesses.

New, balanced leadership is needed in Augusta. Vote for Katrina Smith.

Mary Hyland

Searsmont

'Dismayed'

I am dismayed that Sen. Collins refuses to comment on Trump’s documented disrespect to America’s fallen heroes and his admitted lying to the American people about the dangers of the coronavirus.

Tim Hughes

Belfast

Such a noble man

People are talking. I found out from "The Donald" that I am a "loser and sucker" for getting drafted in the U.S. Army as a lad.

"The Donald" on the other hand was able to evade the Selective Service draft by being deferred with a 4F classification; he said he had bone spurs in his feet and was declared unfit for duty and banished from the Army. Why didn't I think of that!

I was evidently a "loser and sucker" with a pea brain for getting drafted. "The Donald" is right because the Army sucks something out of each soldier, something that is good and trusting. The Army teaches young mellow minds how to incinerate things and to serial kill and many soldiers believe that this is good, OK. For the good of the cause and all.

"The Donald" may be correct when he said: "What do they get out of it?"

People are talking. "The Donald" may have an enlistment motto: "Join the Army just for the disability...you chump!"

When I see a political sign for "The Donald" on the lawn of a veteran I become saddened as these veterans are so accustomed to being treated like disposable rubbish that they would willfully accept such an attitude from a president and blatantly declare it to be good. They seem to believe that "The Donald" will save their guns because he said so and is such a noble man.

People are talking. "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! It's Showtime!"

Patrick Quinn

Winterport

The voice we need

I attended Chip Curry’s campaign announcement on a blustery day in Belfast on March 7. It was freezing cold outside, but the energy in the room was running high with his spirited, genuine platform.

He talked specifically about meeting the needs of our education system and working families — two issues close to my heart. I’ve been an educator for over 20 years, and in this COVID world we need strong, passionate, motivated leaders like Chip more than ever.

Students and families are going to need all the support and stability we can give as a community, and I firmly believe Chip is the voice we need in Legislature to help guide the process.

Cheryl Morin

Belfast

Listens and understands

I am writing to support Katrina Smith for House District 96 (Belmont, Liberty, Lincolnville, Montville, Morrill, Palermo, Searsmont). Katrina has been a positive inspiration to Waldo County because she listens to parents and understands the complex problems of addiction.

Watching her in action on the campaign trail, it’s obvious she is a hard worker and is willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

In my conversations with her it is obvious that she will vigorously uphold total equality for everyone, no special favors. We are all equal under our laws and Katrina wants everyone to feel safe in their homes.

Katrina will support commonsense legislation and realizes that taxpayers in Maine are amongst some of the most highly taxed in the nation already. We can ill afford to have more politicians wasting our hard-earned tax dollars. So much money is spent in Augusta and I just know she will remember that cash does not just grow on trees!

Katrina believes that schools need to focus on the basics, such as reading, writing and math, so our children can be competitive in today’s job market. Children deserve good educations so they can be free and prosperous.

Please join me in voting for Katrina Smith on Nov. 3 or request an absentee ballot be sent to you in the mail by your town clerk.

Kristen Redman

Searsmont

Legislator we need

I had the honor of working with Rep. Stanley Paige Zeigler last session and am writing in support of his candidacy for a third term. Paige is smart and thoughtful, and cares deeply about the people in the towns he represents: Belmont, Liberty, Lincolnville, Montville, Morrill, Palermo, and Searsmont. He's strong on the issues I also care about: lowering property taxes, increasing health care, fighting climate change, and supporting small business, and does not hesitate to stand up and advocate for his district.

I was particularly impressed with Paige's work on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, as well as his sponsorship of bills to further the development of clean energy.

He is just the kind of legislator we need as we address the challenges brought on by the pandemic and climate change, and I urge you to cast your ballot to re-elect Rep. Stanley Paige Zeigler in November.

Rep. Vicki Doudera

D-District 94

As if we needed more proof

In the first couple of years after 9/11, more people died from its polluting aftereffects than those who died on that day. Donald Trump may even have shown up to voice his support for rescue efforts.

As this letter goes to print, many people are still unaccounted for as a result of the western wildfires, and towns throughout Oregon, California and Washington have been incinerated, not to mention forest habitats that include thousand-year-old trees. For days Portland, known as the Rose City, has been the world’s most polluted city, and aftereffects from extreme air pollution will increase risks of heart, pulmonary, pneumonia and asthma rates.

Picture nearly half the people in Maine having to abandon homes and communities. Picture COVID-isolated Mainers warned not to go outside. Picture one sixth of our state on fire and nearly one half of our population having to evacuate. Picture losing places like Baxter, Sebago, Acadia.

This past week, when a maskless Trump addressed thousands of maskless supporters In Nevada, he dismissed the causes of these fires, offering his typical simplistic answers. It was the first time since the fires began that he had publicly mentioned them at all.

Then he flew to California and argued with Gov. Newsom. Poor forest management, which he said repeatedly, was the only cause, and he blamed environmentalists for trying to "divert" rivers to the Pacific Ocean instead of building more dams near fire-prone areas. Trump laughed when Newsom said that in California “the hots are getting hotter, the dries getting drier.” The president said that it’s really getting cooler, and that scientists don’t know if climate change is even a factor.

Since taking office, Trump has reversed or revoked over 70 environmental laws, many of which would address the rising temperatures and massive droughts that fuel these fires. Scientists have been been ignored, mocked, threatened and fired, though most agree that their predictions are coming true much faster than expected. This is Trump’s inconvenient truth, and he refuses to accept it.

Wildfire smoke has now drifted over our drought-stricken state. The dramatically orange sunsets will amaze us, though millions of people in the West see this Martian—like orange all day long. Western wildfires may be a crisis for those 3,000 miles away, but they’re a tragedy for all of us and the president clearly doesn’t care.

Beverly Roxby

Belfast

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Sep 18, 2020 19:02

Hurley is one of these overstayed politicos who never realize they are the problem. If Hurley hadn't overstayed his welcome after a few terms, Belfast may not have found itself in the financial condition it is today. Susan Collins same.



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