Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor, May 31

May 31, 2018

The Monument

visa nostrus brevis est*

Where do our dead go when they have gone to sleep?

What brings them back in memory year after blessed year?

Under the sun and under the moonlight their patriotic deeds

have granted them some special rest. We honor the ransom they paid.

 

Why do we honor the dead? What brings us to them now

to grieve their bones and celebrate their valorous deeds?

What sacred places have we reserved for them in sentiment,

that gives us cause to make their graves a monument?

 

What would we learn from these men who have gone before us,

marching no longer in war, nor luxuriating in the peace they won?

Their eyes looking now into bluer air than ours,

their deeds of patriotic ilk have caused them to bloom like flowers

 

on our landscape. They went to battle for our freedoms, from

the bottom of the Common on to the Charles, to horse or on foot

they went for Freedom brave and steadfast to the Ground where liberty

was in chains, where independence was to be won.

 

They went abroad, where hard-won liberty was again at risk

these young boys and old men, taking up our cause. The Great War

and wars beyond. No one wanted to fight, but fight they would

to keep our liberties. Now we stand at their monument,

 

tongues inadequate to find the better words to say for them.

Woe to our poor dictionary whose lexicon fails us. This we know:

Even as we struggle without words, we place our hands to stone

and gravely tend those whose deeds live well beyond their mortal end.

 

Visa nostrus brevis est. Our lives are so brief, but we have these lives

because the brave we honor here believed in liberty.

 

* visa nostrus brevis est our lives are so brief

Carol W. Bachofner

Dow clarifies his record on education

With the general election six months away, May seems a little early for political attacks. Nonetheless, my opponents are already at it, publicly distorting my voting record on education and other important matters.

It’s been said that in war, the first casualty is the truth, and I suppose the same could be said for politics. So I thought it would be a good idea to set the record straight on my voting record in the Maine Senate, representing the people of District 13.

When I was running for the Senate, I stated that one of my highest priorities would be education funding. There are several reasons for this, but most importantly, I believe that a vote for more public school funding is a vote for investment in our most precious resource, our young people. They are the doctors, teachers, bridge builders, scientists and farmers of tomorrow. They are Maine’s future.

As a former teacher, I understand how vital it is for educators across the state, in rural and urban areas, to have the necessary tools to give every student his or her best chance to succeed.

At the same time, I am also a business owner, and am keenly aware of the importance a strong economy has on our ability to adequately fund our schools. Simply put, the more money that is generated from a growing economy, the more we have for our schools.

That is why I was very concerned about an ill-conceived referendum that called for a significant tax increase in order to get more money for public schools.

While the intention may have been good, in practice it would have been devastating to Maine’s economy. The tax would have been especially harmful to Maine’s small businesses that employ so many of us, as well as to our efforts to attract professionals such as doctors and researchers. It would also have had the negative effect of discouraging investment in Maine and existing businesses would have been less likely to expand.

After hearing from so many of those who would be impacted during one of the longest public hearings I have seen at the State House, it became clear to me that we needed to find a balance between adequately funding our schools and protecting our economy.

That is precisely what I voted for. The Legislature was able to pass a budget that eliminated the surtax on Maine’s small, family-owned businesses while also approving the largest one-time increase in education funding in state history, and for the first time achieved the elusive goal of the state funding 55 percent of local education costs.

This was the best possible outcome, given the circumstances. We were able to give schools the funding that they need, thereby avoiding significant property tax increases in many communities, and, at the same time, avoid imposing a job-killing tax on our local businesses.

Again, we are in an election year, a time when facts often take a back seat to political rhetoric in the form of mailers, TV ads, radio ads and online ads. But I hope this clears up where I stand with regard to education funding.

If you come across one of these false attacks on my voting record, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss it with you. Contact the Senate Republican Office at 287-1505.

Dana Dow

Waldoboro

Favors ranked choice, Mark Dion

Mainers have a unique chance, in the coming gubernatorial primaries, to vote in a way that is both practical and idealistic. Ranked Choice Voting allows citizens to give their greatest support to those who will uphold their values, while ranking the remaining candidates in further order of preference. Even if you've already made your number 1 decision, RCV invites voters to learn more about all those running so that the outcome can reflect our vision for Maine.

Because I will be voting in the Democratic primary, I'd like to share my thoughts on one candidate in particular. Maine Sen. Mark Dion came to my house in Rockland May 12 to meet voters, express his positions on major issues, and listen to our concerns. I have been observing Mark Dion's career for almost 20 years, since he was serving as Cumberland County sheriff. At that time, he used his position to help the county court and jail systems focus on restorative justice and mental health services. He administered a large department and wasn't afraid to speak in favor of medical cannabis, against the rest of Maine's law enforcement establishment. Later, Mark Dion became a state representative and then a senator, representing his district's progressive values while proving himself a collaborative leader.

This year, he risked his reputation as a liberal by working with Senate Republicans to minimize the damage being done in that body's rewrite of the referendum we voters passed in November 2016. He brings professional credibility to the gun control discussion, and supports the protection of citizens' digital communications from unreasonable searches.

Mark Dion is a soft-spoken man who listens before he speaks. His platform, available at dionforgovernor.com, outlines carefully considered positions on the major issues facing our state. Rather than repeat that information here, I'd like to tell you what I saw when he visited us in Rockland. There were about a dozen of us in my living room. The candidate was direct in seeking our opinions and thoughful in his responses. It was clear he was considering our ideas and concerns, and answering us with deep honesty, patient in spite of having already spent half the day at a candidate forum in Damariscotta.

The 21st century presents Maine, the U.S. and the world with serious challenges, not the least of which is the bickering and name-calling that dominate newpapers, television and the internet. We need to be served by leaders with compassion and humility, leaders who are willing to meet and work with those of differing perspectives.

I hope Mark Dion will be number 1 on your Ranked Choice ballot. If not, please rank him high among your alternatives. Let's rebuild Maine together.

Shlomit Auciello

Rockland

Ranked choice won't work

Last week Maine 's secretary of state released a video to explain how ranked choice voting works. In the short presentation it uses a 30-ballot sampling to show how a voter may rank or select more than one candidate according to their level of preference. The winner is declared after receiving only 14 votes. Promoters of this drastic change in our voting process spent millions claiming Ranked Choice Voting would guarantee a majority winner. Simple math can tell you 14 is not a majority of 30. Sixteen voters did not want candidate A.

If you look at the funding levels of more than $2.7 million and climbing, including from Texas billionaire and Enron trader John Arnold's Action Now Initiative, you will see that this is rich special interest groups from away trying to impose their progressive ideas on Maine. Over a million dollars was raised by schedule A and in-kind contributions. It will cost our state more than $1.3 million to implement this method. RCV is unconstitutional, costly and complicated.

Please vote no on Question 1 on June 12.

Linda Post

Owls Head

Ed. note: In its interpretation of the video on the secretary of state's website, this letter omits the fact that the video assumes four voters do not rank all candidates, expressing only a first and second choice. Therefore, by the final round, in which the winner is determined, there are only 26 votes left to be counted. In citing funding of $2.7 million in support of Ranked Choice Voting, the letter conflates the amount spent in support of 2016's Question 5 with the amount spent on this year's Question 1.

Sweet for governors

I am writing to express my support of Betsy Sweet in the upcoming Democratic primary for governor. Betsy Sweet is the only Democratic candidate running clean. This means Betsy has gathered more than 4,800 $5 contributions to qualify for public financing. In other words, the only special interest group Betsy will answer to is ordinary Mainers, just like you and me.

As a legislator in Augusta, I see daily the corrupting influence of money in Maine’s politics. Until we decide to get money out of politics, we won’t see the progress that we all crave, including: health care for all, clean, renewable energy, and a healthy, sustainable environment. Betsy Sweet has been a progressive activist and advocate in Maine for more than 35 years, I will be proud to cast my vote for her in the Democratic primary election on June 12. I hope that you will join me.

Pinny Beebe-Center

Rockland

City shouldn't cut funds for Rockland Main Street

I am writing to you today to show my support for Rockland City Council to keep the funding for Rockland Main Street intact.

As a lifelong Rockland resident, I remember the days of a sad, depressed downtown. Rockland has worked hard to make downtown a vibrant, welcoming destination for both locals and tourists alike, and Rockland Main Sreet has played a major role in that accomplishment.

Speaking as a business/building owner on Main Street, the Rockland Main Street organization has been critical to our growth and success. It was because of them that we found our new space. Over the next couple of years, we hope to start work on renovating the upper floors of our building, and I know that Gordon [Page] and RMS will be instrumental in helping us locate tenants for the office space we hope to create.

RMS is more than just Summer Solstice and Festival of Lights (both of which are huge events for our business).. RMS holds monthly, well attended meetings, that keep all of downtown working together for the betterment of us all, and it keeps us informed of things that will affect us, both positive and negative, that we might not otherwise know about.

As a Rockland resident, I do hope our council will continue to support the crucial work that Gordon and the RMS volunteers do so well.

Heidi V. Neal

Loyal Biscuit Co.

Rockland

Applauds RSU 13 budget meeting

Last night, I attended the annual RSU 13 budget hearing to decide the warrants for next year. This meeting, the presentations, the questions and the discussion expressed a very, very high level of quality, in every way.

True, previous meetings have improved in the very recent past. The quality from years ago has, on occasion, been abysmal. But last night's presented superbly, and not just in comparison.

I congratulate Superintendent MacDonald, Business Manager Orne, Board Chair Andrews, every member of the board, and the attending public (including those few who opposed several motions), for their contributions to an excellent meeting. And, of course, Moderator Mayo contributed his comfortable direction to its process.

Even more significantly, I congratulate every person -- and you number many, officially and unofficially, who has brought our public school system to achievements many thought unattainable, even just recently.

Well done! Our future has greatly improved though your diligence.

George B. Terrien

Rockland

City needs Complete Streets ordinance

Do you walk or bike around Rockland? Then you might have noticed some of the same challenges that we have: sidewalks that end without notice, crosswalks to nowhere, crumbling shoulders, a lack of bike lanes, and in general: a streetscape that is unsafe.

How can we address these issues?

A wonderful plan exists called “Complete Streets.” This plan is designed to help guide towns and municipalities on how to better plan their streets so that they may safely accommodate all users: drivers, cyclists, wheelchair users, motorcyclists, pedestrians and more.

This plan has been adopted at the state level and we believe that it is time for Rockland to adopt a Complete Streets ordinance here in our city. Passing a Complete Streets plan would help to provide a more comprehensive guide for council and staff when they are presented with new roadwork, for how to improve our streets.. Many communities in Maine have adopted Complete Streets policies, including Portland, Lewiston, Auburn, Windham, Fort Kent, Bath, Yarmouth and Scarborough. The state Department of Transportation has itself adopted a Complete Streets policy as of 2014, and we believe it is time that Rockland follow this DOT guidance and join these communities.

The fact is that many of our streets are incomplete. That is, they have been designed primarily for cars, with little regard for the safety or convenience of other users. A Complete Streets policy guides community decisions about planning, maintenance, construction and funding. It could lead to — for example — the planning and execution of safe cross-town pedestrian or bicycle routes, safer routes to schools, or better wheelchair accessibility along transportation corridors. And typically, when we make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, they become safer for cars as well, we also address speed issues, which are a common complaint for anyone in our city who lives on a “cut through” street.

There are many reasons to implement Complete Streets in Rockland, including: improving safety and convenience for those living here already; attracting new residents who value multimodal transportation options (especially young people); encouraging healthier and more environmentally-friendly lifestyles; reducing parking problems; and providing a framework for interacting with the state Department of Transportation.

We call on the Rockland City Council to explore a Complete Streets ordinance, hold public workshops on the topic, and speak with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and other experts.

We walk or bike to work. We also own cars, but there are plenty of people who don’t or can’t.

We feel it’s important for residents to have access to a diversity of transportation options that are safe, keeping an eye towards a future that we believe will value this diversity.

Nathan Davis, Matthew Ondra, and Joel Cooke

Rockland Rolls

Rockland

 

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