Stop grandstanding

This letter is in response to Rep. Evangelos who wrote a commentary called The Price of Life in Warren. I am a resident of Warren, a taxpayer, and was present at each of the last two select board meetings. Proudly I have voted for all five seated select board members and Rep. Evangelos I did not cast a ballot for you.

After hearing you speak on a few occasions I felt that you lacked a fundamental understanding of economics. After hearing you speak at the select board meeting April 4 on the state budget, the subject of the light that you commented about came up. You stated that you would research it and get back to the board. On April 18 you did just that; you stated that you stopped by MDOT that afternoon and they told you that it would cost $19,000 installed. No documentation, nothing in writing whatsoever was given to the select board, just your words. Jeffrey you stated more than once that it would cost the taxpayers of Warren nothing, the state would foot the bill.

In reading your commentary you stated the light would cost $10,000 and the state would foot the bill again. Please inform us, the taxpaying constituents, how this costs us nothing. We can't print dollar bills in Augusta! Then in your commentary you try to turn it political, calling it "nasty local politics."

In my opinion politicians like you who are very good at spending got us all into the mess that we are in now. The election is over, do what you were elected to do, stop grandstanding, and if you are going to research a proposal for a select board do it in a manner that is professional.

Kerin Resch

Warren

 

Disappointed

I am writing in response to the recent guest column that was written by Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos. Having been the significant other to the former state rep for the same district, through all four of his terms, I am surprised and disappointed to read that this man who was elected to represent his district would publicly chastise the local government for disagreeing with him and not doing his bidding.

When reading the article, I had to question why the Department of Transportation did not attend the meeting, and make the proposal for the traffic light. They would have been able to answer questions, and provide data and numbers to the selectmen that perhaps Rep. Evangelos did not have. In my opinion, the selectmen that did not vote in favor of this proposal were doing exactly as they have been elected to do. They were being fiscally responsible. I would be far more concerned if they had voted to put in a traffic light, which would become the property of the town, without knowing the financial impact down the road. For example, what if it was deemed later on that the intersection required a sensor signal? I would assume that, if the light was the property of the town, that the town would be financially responsible for installing and maintaining that?

For Rep. Evangelos to accuse the selectmen of rejecting his proposal because they had supported his opponent in the most recent election was ludicrous, irresponsible and completely paranoid. These men are adults who take their position seriously. They had valid concerns that were not answered at the meeting. Perhaps if the DOT had been there, the answers would have been provided and the concerns would have been laid to rest. Stating that four out of five of the Warren selectmen place little value on a loved one’s life is ridiculous. These men have families and friends. They are upstanding community members, who are working hard to improve the quality in the town of Warren. They are trying to rectify mistakes that were made by previous members. Rather than undermining the integrity of their town, as Rep. Evangelos has accused them, they are working hard to restore it.

Sadly, because of the way that Mr. Evangelos appears to think, I feel that I have to make it very clear that this letter was written by me, and only me. I was not asked to write this, on behalf of my life partner nor any of the selectmen. I felt compelled to write this after eight years of closely watching a state representative represent his district in a fair and logical manner. If a proposal did not go through, it wasn’t taken personally and accusations were not thrown. It was accepted that was the will of those in control. Rep. Evangelos would be wise to learn from this.

Catherine E. Trueman

Waldoboro

 

Stand with teachers

RSU 40 Board Chairman, Danny Jackson’s editorial titled Not about the money: about the students, instruction regarding the teacher’s contract dispute at RSU 40 offers little to defend what seems to be the board’s main sticking point, merit pay. RSU 40’s board proposed "Voluntary teaching incentives," as Jackson refers to them as, is essentially a performance or merit pay scheme that is not that dissimilar to piece work in a plant or factory. "Voluntary teaching incentives" is money set aside to seemingly reward teachers that are ‘making their numbers’ or meeting x,y, and z guidelines set forth by the board. Jackson’s does not specify if this incentive money is a fixed amount set aside by the board or, if in theory, all teachers if they met the guidelines could receive significant "bonuses." It is unclear from Jackson op-ed if RSU 40 board’s proposals essentially put teachers in competition with each other for wages?

Around the country school districts have been pushing aggressive merit pay scheme leading to a strike last fall by Chicago teachers that defeated a bid to institute an aggressive merit pay scheme. Requiring teachers to compete for a limited pool of money is foolish. This competition creates disincentives for teachers to share information and teaching techniques. Performance pay takes the main way that teachers hone and perfect their craft, learning from their colleagues and stifles it. Which begs the question: Are RSU 40 board’s proposals about improved instruction?

The demand for incentive or "performance pay" by the RSU 40 board does not stand alone. The governor has touted it and states such as Texas have diverted millions from traditional teacher’s pay schedules to merit pay schemes and have seen little change in their students’ performance. (nytimes.com/2011/02/17/opinion/17gailcollins.html?_r=0). Far from raising student achievement, performance pay schemes are more successful in achieving their political aims: to peddle a myth that unmotivated teachers are to blame for poor test scores or "failing schools."

So it is no wonder the RSU Board 40 chairman offered little evidence to why it is important to divert money from traditional wage schedules to incentive pay. Perhaps, because there is little evidence that exists to support the board’s case that teachers should participate in various incentive programs to improve student achievement. There is however, substantial evidence that class size and student support can help improve student achievement and instruction, Jackson does not mention those concerns when he suggests the board has struck a "balance."

I would suggest those who truly care about the future of education would be far better off standing with our teachers and students and against the myth peddlers. I applaud the Medomak Valley Education Association for taking such a stand.

James A. York

Camden

 

This is democracy

The public hearing on the siting of the 190-foot cellphone tower in Union in the traditional neighborhood of Wottons Mill Road and Mt. Pleasant Road, will be held Thursday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at the town office, downstairs.

This project is moving along very quickly; this may be the only public hearing and which to express your opinions and to inspect the maps, profile of the tower facility, cellphone coverage overlays, visual impact mitigation plan and other required schematics and information from Bay Communications.

This large corporation, which will realize big profits from this project, which will have multiple transmitter capabilities, says that our neighborhood is the only possible site which will provide the desired cellphone coverage. Their profits are our loss! We maintain that the negative effects of this tower on our property values, loss of scenic values, growing health concerns about RF radiation (especially on children), and the forever-changed character of our neighborhood require that they find a more appropriate location with less community impact.

Please show up at the hearing, be prepared to speak, to show support, or just be there because it is the public's right to be informed. There are petitions circulating against this siting; call 785-6330 if you wish to sign but haven't seen one yet. This is democracy: it's a messy process, but it's our process: Thank you.

Sharon Osborne

Union

 

 

Evil is at war

The two individuals who committed the bombing of the marathon run and ended up one being shot to death and the other now lives and has three lawyers defending him while he sits in a cell awaiting the day he goes to trial.

In the meantime there are three people dead and even more who have had to go through surgery to have either above or below the knee removed to end up with a fake leg to walk with. Excuse the way I say this.

So here we go with the Constitution of the United States and the human laws that says we have the right to not say anything that will put us behind bars for life when we have committed the worst crime we can think of and that is taking another human life.

I will say this and I will say it this way; when it comes to evil it does not care about anything that the law says is wrong because in the end it does not care.

And when it comes to human law it will use it against us every time and in the end it will cost us every time in how we think, how we feel, what we would like in the end and the amount it costs us.

Yes, we want our freedom to live our lives and pursue our dreams if we have any and hopefully we live to a ripe old age. The sad part here is that it is becoming apparent that in this day and age of the 21st century evil has stepped up its attack process to do everything in its power to bring us down to our knees and hopefully in the end get us to curse the very ground we are standing on while we ask why this is happening. And the sad part to this whole picture is there seems to be no answers that we can accept or understand.

The problem here is there is an answer, but I will not try and answer that question no matter what because in the end it is up to each one in our own way to seek and find the answer to the very question we are asking and maybe then we will find the peace we are seeking.

Please do not take me wrong here. I could try and give an answer to this question. The problem is it would really require me to sit down and write it out in a way that it would not offend anyone and since I too am a human being I will not try and answer the question of why is this happening because in the end I do not wan to hurt anyone's feeling by what I would say.

I will, in the end, leave that question to someone far more intelligent than I am and who knows how to write the answer in ways that I cannot begin to express in words.

The bottom line to all of this is evil is at war with us and like it or not it has just begun and in the end its ultimate goal is to get this world to go to war around the entire planet as we know it.

But as always, I can only hope I am wrong.

Robert J. Robinson

Thomaston

 

First class

Being a retired journalist from a large newspaper chain (Gannett), I know that editorials are never signed, since they are meant to be the expression of the newspaper as a whole rather than just one individual, as it would be in a column. Generally, I think that is a good idea, but still I wished your editorial about bullying in the April 24 edition had been signed, since it was the best thing that I have ever read on that subject, and I think it ought to be reprinted in every newspaper in America.

I work occasionally as a substitute teacher at the Belfast High School, and I really like the job. The students for the most part are well-mannered and intelligent, and it is a pleasure to work with them. The school has a most excellent "Resource Officer," otherwise known as a “cop," on the property during the school day, and I would certainly trust my life to him, as would most of the students, I think.

Also, I think the school does an excellent job of keeping bullying under control. I have seen very little evidence of it, and Belfast is fortunate in having such a high school environment. Let’s hope it stays that way.

But back to the original statement: Your editorial was a first-class piece of work.

Stephen Allen

Belfast

 

A thank you

There are now more than 100 cards and letters hanging in our home.

I can't thank you all who sent them enough for the prayers, condolences and so much support offered along with the many phone calls and visits before and after Pete's passing.

There have been flowers to feed my soul and food to nourish me for which I am so thankful.

I have yet to feel one minute of aloneness in knowing I'm surrounded by the love and care of so many. I think you all from deep in my heart for thinking of us.

Deanna Z. Smith

Tenants Harbor

 

Happy memories made

The April Vacation Asian Art Celebration sponsored by Philbrook and Associates Bookkeeping, The County Inn at Camden /Rockport, Midcoast Federal Credit Union and FMC Biopolymer was a spring time success!  We had three fabulous workshops on Tuesday with artist Frederica Marshall where the children blew us away at their patience and creativity as they printed T-shirts and painted. On Wednesday we celebrated National Haiku Poetry day with Feel the Beat, where little ones explored rhythms; and Haiku Hour with Liga Jahnke where haikus were written and illustrated. Thursday was a treat with lunch provided by the Good Tern Co-Op in Rockland and our junior volunteer Miles Swanson led touch tank demonstrations in the afternoon to everyone’s delight.

We want to thank everyone who supported this week of programming: Our sponsors: P&A Bookkeeping, The Country Inn at Camden/Rockport, Midcoast Federal Credit Union, and FMC Biopolymer, and our supporters: Suzuki’s Sushi Bar, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, The Good Tern Co-Op, The Captain Lindsay House and the innkeepers of the Historic Inns of Rockland.  We would also like to thank our presenters and volunteers Frederica Marshall, BJ Kopishke, Liga Jahnke and Miles Swanson. All of you contributed to making some great art, sweet treats and happy memories.

Megan Rogers

Outreach and Program Coordinator

The Coastal Children's Museum

Rockland

 

 

Reduced footprint

I am the captain (Master) of a Military Sealift Command combined stores ship. We carry fuel, food and ammunition for the U.S. Armed Forces in the Pacific and Middle Eastern theater of operations.

I just returned to Maine three weeks ago. Sequestration is having a major impact on the U.S. Armed Forces deployed around the world. I am pleased something is being done.

In the past two weeks in my own area of operations two MSC ships have gone to reduced operations status two, the USNS Drew and USNS Guadalupe. I am sure more are on the block as I write. Both ships are tied up at the pier and phasing to 30 people. My last underway replenishment with a Navy ship was four weeks ago with the USS Shoup. Its deployment to the western Pacific was canceled overnight and she was headed home.

Two Carrier Battle groups will not deploy and I am sure more are up for either major reduction or cancellation all together. When Carrier battle groups tie up, my ship has about an 80 percent reduction in mission.

I am currently awaiting implementation of a 20 percent reduction in days worked and associated 20 percent pay reduction.

We can have a controlled reduction in our expenditure or an uncontrolled as we had in my father's time. There are numerous ideas among those in my field on how to save money and maintain our logistics for the Armed Forces. An example would be to use logistics ships to haul military cargo around the Pacific thus saving shipping costs. Uncle Sam owns us but currently hires commercial ships to haul cargo. Rest assured the companies and unions associated with the ships that haul cargo for the Department of Defense would scream if the idea got legs. However that would be money saved, big money. This is just an example of what choices await us as we as a nation scale back to live within our means.

I am not losing sleep on this. We still have a very significant quick response presence to protect the country, but that presence will have a much reduced footprint.

Mike Flanagan

Master U.S. Merchant Marine

Thomaston