Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette
I read the article "Governor's budget shifts $1.1 million onto local taxpayers" and more recently "Governor enraged during meeting with local legislators" and feel you have not been helpful in this situation. Your headlines are a little inflammatory and do not really address the issues facing us as taxpayers. Instead of pointing out that local government services will suffer and that schools will lose staff, more time and energy should be spent on searching for or discussing ways to save on expenses and determining which services can be cut. Trust me people know there is no money, because they don't have as much as they did, or they are out of work and prices for just about everything are going up. Rent, utilities, food and clothing, the really basic needs, are beyond the means of a lot more people now. This is more important than the library being kept open. The reality is that there are less federal dollars, and less state income due to a bad economy and at the same time 8 percent unemployment and budget cuts have to be made. I support the governor when he says he will veto revenue raising bills and so do a lot of people I know.
How about operating with the premise that the budget has to be cut, maybe then you can write articles on what to expect and how best to cope. How about an article on how volunteering is a good way for citizens to become involved? How about finding information on cheaper ways to do business? Does the road have to be plowed or salted when there is only two inches of snow? Can municipal offices go to part-time hours? How about pay cuts, it is happening in the private sector why should the public sector be immune? Ask for public ideas/comments on ways to cut expenses. There are a million different ways to handle this and counterproductive commentary is not one of them.
In spite of the very cold evening I believe the fundraiser at the Elks Club this past Friday was successful. Our attendance was down significantly from last year, however, the final results produced total revenue less expense of $1,926.75. This compares quite favorably with the revenue from last year, which was approximately $2,500 with more than twice as many attendees. In talking with John Ludwig, manager of the Elks, that all fundraisers are down in participation this year as compared to previous years.
I wish to thank all of our folks that helped. Rep. Deb Sanderson and Rep. Jethro Pease and his wife did a great job serving along with Linda Bodnar and John Fochtman and Paula Sutton. Wayne Gray, Katherine Alley and Gene Graves worked the sign-in desk. Steve Powell also was most helpful. Cynthia Rosen's daughter and a friend and Deb Sanderson's young lady collected tickets for the 50/50 raffle.
There is no way this event could have possibly been successful without the support of the Emblem Club Ladies and their outstanding gift baskets for the raffle as well as their desserts. Without question the "Brownie Lady," alias Linda Bodnar, made a huge selection of her goodies. Last but not least, John Ludwig and his staff were exceptionally helpful and understanding of our needs and requests.
Doug Maple and his Sea-Train group provided us with good music and a significant number of dancers enjoyed the opportunity to swing and sway.
Overall I believe that our Knox County Republican Committee has again stepped forward to help those in need within our community and provided fellowship and a good time as well.
The following addresses the guest column in the Jan. 24 issue of The Camden Herald. "Virtual Schools" by Ms. Kathreen Harrison. It is in no way intended to comment on Ms. Harrison’s views of Gov. LePage. Rather it goes directly to the lady’s statements on education.
First off, I admire the lady’s earnestness and dedication to our profession. I shall remain her steadfast partner in her attempts and aspiration to improve the profession, but there are points on which we differ.
I taught my first physics class in 1949 as a junior in college. Though I didn’t know it at the time, the profession was already in decline, so much so that I’d resolved to switch professions to engineering. As if by karma a relocation of the work place induced my return to the classroom. Since then I’ve taught all the physical and earth sciences as well as some of the maths and other odd programs. I’ve taught all grades from first to college, including teachers (Who I need add don’t always make the best students). I shudder to think of the many lecture halls, laboratories and classrooms that have felt my footprints. Despite the negative trend of the profession, I enjoyed all my classes and miss them even now in retirement (though I still teach the Coast Guard course for the Captain’s license).
Before pointing to any one individual or item in education, I think Ms. Harrison needs look at the overall picture. Having won World War II and saved the planet, we Americans had assumed a thumbs in the vest chesty attitude that we were preeminent in all things including, if not especially, education. That’s when I came to the profession. Then Sputnik happened and our educational bubble burst. Having to face abysmal statistics our profession found itself in need of a defense. As anyone knows, the best defense is an offense, so it was that in those early years, the profession ascribed our poor production to a lack of funds to purchase much needed equipment. In effect putting a guilt trip on the taxpayer. The tactic worked admirably. The guilt ridden public dug deep and sat back for improvements — which never came. Since it worked so well the first time the guilt thing was used again. This time for more teachers to use all that new equipment. Again, the taxpayers dug deep, and again sat back waiting for improvements which never came. Then the guilt trip routine was used to buy new and larger schools and still no improvements. In fact things worsened. Lastly came the seemingly never ending guilt trip for higher salaries. Yet while the money curve flowed upward the production curve flowed downward. So where are we now? Of the 34 industrialized nations on the planet, the USA stands near second from the top in per pupil spending, yet at last count, we were about 22 or 23 in math and science. In effect we are giving the public about a quarters worth for each dollar paid.
If we were a patient in a hospital, paying increasing fees while our condition worsened our first move would, and indeed should be to change hospitals. I submit to my good colleague that the public is not at all out of order in seeking changes, hence the activity of our governor despite his being somewhat abrasive. Not necessarily in defense of Governor LePage, but he is amongst an increasing number of forward looking governors to do so.
The painful facts are that in clinging to the exclusive monopoly granted our profession we have failed and are continuing to fail the public that is paying dearly not only in dollars but in the futures of the young entrust to us. We are failing because, we have disdained and precluded change that might induce competition, which in turn induces quality. I submit that its time to change pedagogical doctors or hospitals be the agent for that change a governor or anyone else capable of bringing it about.
Where are the candy stripers?
Yes, there are some of us that live in Knox County that remember Knox County Hospital on White Street in Rockland, which is now known as Knox Center for Long Term Care.
Years ago, at Knox hospital, they had young girls known as candy stripers who were in still school. They would help the nurses with main and flower delivery in patient's rooms in the late afternoon. This was good training for the young ladies if in the future, after of of school, they wanted to train to become a nurse. What happen to this program? They do not use this serve at Pen Bay hospital.
The United States of America has reached a point of being divided based on a portion of the Constitution of the United States known as the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms and in kicks politicians on the issue.
And place in the picture of the National Rifle Association screaming, if you will, at the top of its lungs about the same issue and threatening any politician who comes out and steps on a portion of the Second Amendment.
At the same time AR-15s are being bought up so fast at $2,000 a pop due to the possible bar against them. I will inject this into the picture and say this woe unto the human race for this area of creed or desire for a weapon that its only design is to kill, period.
There is coming a day when the very weapon you have, be it a high-powered rifle or pistol, will not do you a bit of good in the end because on that day the weapon you have will not save from the judgement to come, and yes people I am referring to the Bible.
I have asked this question before, where will it end and I will that it will not end any time soon and the reason I say this is because there are those who will stop at nothing to own whatever is for sale and if they could buy one, they would buy a tank just to say "I have min."
Now to change direction and say this to anyone who owns a weapon I would like him or her to take and do the following: Pick up one pistol of any type and one rifle of any type and then at the same time fire both of them at the same time at the same target and hit the same target in the same spot with both. No exceptions.
If you can do this I will shut up and say no more on this issue.
I am not against owning a gun, I but I say that it is high time to change what type of guns we should have and I say any high-powered assault weapon should not be for sale period. It is high time to remove these from the system.
Robert J. Robinson