Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor, Oct. 11

Oct 11, 2018

Pluecker knows economic struggle

Bill Pluecker is the Independent candidate running for state representative in Appleton, Hope, east Union and Warren. He and his family are hardworking farmers. Their lives are a commitment to community, true grit and forward thinking.

There are many characteristics with the Plueckers that resonate with my own life. I am a full-time working mother with two small children without the means of having a safety net. It is so powerful that we have a political candidate who knows economic struggle, who can look me in my eye and share the same experience. Like the Plueckers, I, too, want a healthy and safe environment for my children. We need a representative in Augusta who will not negotiate clean water and air away for corporate interests.

I want better opportunities for Maine’s working families. Our children are our most important investment in the future. We need to make sure that the Maine we leave them is better than the Maine we were handed. Let’s elect a Legislature that will start planning for our children’s future. Bill Pluecker’s common sense, ingenuity and work ethic will work for all of our families in Augusta.

Keri Kaczor

Union

Pluecker will champion tax fairness

Many of us in our community are concerned about the ever-increasing burden of property taxes on homeowners and renters. For example, education funding makes up about 80 percent of each town’s property tax – a rising result of the state’s having cut its share of local education funding by more than $500 million since 2010. Statewide, this is $1.3 billion short of meeting the 55 percent school funding level approved by Maine voters 10 years ago! Local property taxes have increased as a result.

In addition, we need to bring back property-tax relief programs that have been eliminated. In 2013, the administration and Legislature eliminated the successful Circuit Breaker program that provided partial property-tax refunds to low-income families. It was replaced with a less generous Property Tax Fairness Credit. Getting back to the level of support provided by the Circuit Breaker would help us keep our homes, regardless of downturns in the economy, our personal circumstances, or retirement.

Bill Pluecker understands our property-tax concerns and is committed to finding ways – and allies – in the Maine Legislature to reduce the pressure on local taxes. Please join me in voting for Bill Pluecker for House District 95.

Elli Goldberg

Hope

Vote for Pluecker to expand Medicaid

Stumped by the confusing rollout of the Affordable Care Act, my mother, who lives in Vermont, was without health insurance for many years. When she was admitted to the hospital in 2017, it was a scary time — not only because of her health crisis and subsequent diagnosis with a chronic condition that would require ongoing care, but because of the worry about how to pay for it. Thankfully, the hospital’s navigator was amazing, and because Vermont had expanded Medicaid, Mom was able to get coverage. Today, she is doing well.

Unfortunately, if Mom lived in Maine her situation would have been entirely different. Her income level puts her squarely in that donut hole that should have been addressed by states expanding Medicaid — and in states like Maine, that have declined to do so, people are still falling through that gap. It infuriates me that so many Mainers are stuck either with neglected health or piles of medical bills -- or both. This fall, I am supporting Bill Pleuker for the Maine House for many reasons. Among them is Bill’s strong support of making health care accessible for Mainers, and his commitment to seeing the will of the voters through and expanding Medicaid here. No one should have the face the hardship that comes from not having health coverage, and Bill will work to make that vision come true.

Regina Rooney

Hope

Sutton responsive, will to listen

I am writing to express my support for Paula Sutton in her reelection bid for House District 95.

I first met Paula during her first campaign for public office. I was immediately impressed whith her direct, no-nonsense manner and her willingness to provide answers to my questions without the political doublespeak we have become acustomed to these days. Since that time, I have found Rep. Sutton to be responsive to questions and willing to listen to my concerns. While I am sure we won't agree on every subject, she has proven to do exactly what she promissed during her campaign. I believe Paula truly works for the people of Maine and look forward to her continuing to work for us in Augusta.

Jeffrey Blake

Appleton

Sutton a crusader for liberty

What’s more important than your family’s safety and security, and our fundamental rights?

“Nothing!”

As the former sheriff of Knox County, I know that protecting the people of Maine and guarding their freedoms are priorities of utmost importance.

When you elect someone to represent you in Augusta, their first obligation is to protect your rights and safety.

It is the responsibility of an elected official to use solid judgment and common sense to do what is in the best interest of the Maine people.

Unfortunately, far too many politicians are more concerned with appeasing special interest groups.

While the prevailing mentality in Augusta seems to be, “whatever helps me get reelected,” the candidate running to represent you has proven she votes with your freedom and security forefront in her mind.

Rep. Paula Sutton is a proven crusader for your liberty and for your well-being.

The liberal mainstream media branded anyone in favor of banning the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation as a racist bigot, but Paula was unfazed. She ignored the thought police, journalists, and instead fought to protect innocent, vulnerable girls in Maine.

The scary truth is, Maine has more than 1,600 women identified as at risk of this heinous form of ritual child abuse -- including several hundred minor girls!

While others cowered in fear of special-interest groups and identity politics, Paula voted to hold all persons responsible for the heinous crime accountable. Not one girl should ever be subjected to female genital mutilation.

And while your First and Second Amendment rights have been under constant attack from radical leftists, Paula has defended your freedom of speech and right to bear arms.

Gun-grabbers in Augusta tried to violate your rights by passing a so-called, “red flag” bill, allowing judges broad authority to confiscate your guns with only a minimal evidentiary standard.

But Paula voted to support your safety, security and right to bear arms.

As your former sheriff, I know firsthand that your rights and safety are threatened almost every day.

I’m grateful to have a fighter like Paula in Augusta protecting our God-given rights. It is a blessing to have a woman like Paula in the Maine House of Representatives fighting for policies that keep our families safe.

I ask you to vote for Paula as your state representative, because her actions in Augusta haven’t been about winning reelection. She is a watchdog guarding our freedoms and security.

Dan Davey

Warren

Impressed with Sutton's ideas

Last week I went to the candidates’ forum in Union to hear the local candidates answer questions sponsored by the Union Chamber of Commerce. I was impressed by Rep. Paula Sutton of Warren, who is currently seeking her first reelection Nov. 6. She had some common-sense solutions for health care and favors giving people options in insurance like we used to have. It would be good if we could choose insurance that would cover the big stuff we would not be able to pay for, but allow us to shop around for regular care. She compared the options to car insurance, which does not cover oil changes and tires, making these more competitive and therefore less costly.

Paula would also like to see more health savings accounts and would like them to be less complex, again giving people choice and options that would further reduce costs. She thinks that people could get a “certificate of health” after a biannual physical examination, which would allow them to receive certain discounts similar to a safe driving discount. That way people have more of a vested interest in the own health.

Paula was poised, articulate and offered positive solutions. This was in direct contrast to many of the other members, who seemed only to want to bash and criticize and were stuck in the past. Her opponent, a former labor organizer, is running as an “independent,” but was a registered Democrat until recently. Although supposedly new to politics, he seems to have mastered the art of talking but not really answering a question. Paula, in contrast, took each question head-on and admitted she did not have all the answers, but thinks the people of Maine do and she is listening. Please join me in voting for Paula Sutton Nov. 6.

Victoria Bucklin

Appleton

Sutton working to rebuild Maine

Last Saturday my wife came home from working on a local Habitat for Humanity project here in Warren. After a shower to wash off the rock wool insulation they had been installing, she checked her Facebook page and discovered that some group called "ReBuild Maine" was targeting her in some very lopsided, misleading negative ads.

This was so hurtful to her, and the worst part is that she was actually out there, working with her own hands to literally “ReBuild Maine.” If you look up who funds this self-admitted progressive group, it's the typical liberal donors, the same hypocrites who preach tolerance and diversity.

I am so proud of my wife and the work she does and some people have no idea how tough of a job it is being a legislator. Balancing the needs and wants of 1.3 million people is complicated when you factor in a $7.1 billion budget. Everybody has a story  everybody has a plan to spend money somebody else earned. When she makes decisions, she has to keep everybody in mind. We don’t want a punitive tax environment, MaineBiz just released a report citing Maine as the third-highest-taxed state in the country.

Workforce development is important, but unless we have conditions that entice employers to move here and set up shop, having well trained workers isn’t that useful. Some have accused her of walking the party line, but if they had bothered to review her voting history they would know that it is not true. It is a Republican who is more likely to cross a party line than a Democrat, and if you spent any time in Augusta at all, you would know this.

At one point she was called in to Gov. LePage's office because he wanted to discuss a vote she took that he was concerned with. They met in person to review the details and when the bill came up again, she held her position .Paula Sutton supported a food- sovereignty bill even though many other Republicans did not, because she knew it was important to her district, as two of the four towns have local food laws on the books.

She is strong but sensible and flexible in her voting . She gets calls all the time and spends countless hours working for her constituents. Please join me in helping to reelect my wife, Paula Sutton, to House District 95 Nov. 6.

Kerin Resch

Warren

Evangelos is 'experienced, trusted, effective'

This letter is written to give my strongest support to Jeff Evangelos, who is running for election to Maine Legislative District 91, including Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington and part of Union.

Jeff was hired as the first business manager in MSAD 40 in the 1980s. His work was outstanding. He was a team player in a highly complex five-town school organization, where I served as superintendent of schools from 1978 to 1996. Jeff's contributions as the business manager throughout the five towns in MSAD 40 are well documented. Jeff is highly regarded throughout the district for his years of exemplary service.

More recently, Jeff served in the state Legislature and was very successful. His work in the Legislature provided him a solid reputation as a formidable, serious-minded and respected representative.

Your vote to send Jeff to the Maine House will provide District 91 an experienced, trusted and effective representative. Jeff's decisions will be well thought out and acted upon with his constituents' needs always in mind.

Be assured that District 91 will be well served with Jeff as your representative. Jeff Evangelos is an exceptional candidate. Vote for him with the utmost confidence.

David R. Gaul

Damariscotta

Miramant works to protect Maine's natural resources

Over the past year, my husband and I have explored the country as full-time travelers, visiting the beautiful landmarks of our incredible nation. Although we’ve been gone from Maine for a few years, when asked where we’re from, the answer is always Maine. This is undoubtedly met with one of two reactions, either people who have been here and remark on its beauty or people who have not yet been here who have heard of its beauty and plan to come to see it. There is no middle ground.

Maine lives in the ranks of notably beautiful places that everyone wants to visit and appreciate. While living in Maine, it was often easy to take it for granted but after a year of traveling the rest of the country, it’s easy to see that what we have in this incredible state is special. Because of this, I know that protecting our home and the natural environment of Maine is of increasing importance.

My dad, Maine State Sen. Dave Miramant, knows that to protect our quality of life and our health, we must keep our land, air and water clean and productive. This matters not only for tourism, but for all aspects of the Maine economy, from the fishing industry, food production, and a sense of place and beyond. Our environment is our way of life.

Ocean warming and acidification have changed the Gulf of Maine. My dad is working to mitigate the effects of decreased fish populations and lobster migration Downeast. He is calling for action to reduce pollution that causes these larger impacts and affects our way of life. Based on his voting record, my dad received a 100 percent rating from the Maine Conservation Voters. That is something to be proud of and celebrate.

My dad has always appreciated Maine’s natural beauty and resources. Continuing as state senator, he will always work to advocate for the community, which necessitates protecting our natural resources. Please vote to reelect my dad, Sen. Dave Miramant,  Nov. 6, so he can continue to do this important work.

Ashley Miramant Ridley

Rockland

Impressed with Fortman

Although I'm not a registered anything, other than a voter, I like to help out during election season, and I offered to chauffeur Laura Fortman around while she met and spoke with folks in Lincoln County in her bid to be our state senator for District 13.

Two things about her resonated strongly with me. One, she has been endorsed by the Sierra Club. I joined the Sierra Club back in 1993 when I was living in Antwerp, Belgium, a place that has the largest assembly of petrochemical tanks in the world, second only to Houston. And after that hurricane down there, maybe Antwerp’s number 1 now. I’m still a member and anxious to help protect Maine’s most precious asset, our environment.

Second, she has led a sexual assault crisis center. Currently I am a hotline volunteer for New Hope for Women. It’s not an easy task. But I remind myself that if my daughter ever needed to make such a call, there has to be someone on the other end of that line.

Her myriad other accomplishments are way too many to list in this brief letter. If you are not already aware of them, I urge you to check them out on her website: https://fortman.mainecandidate.com/ And if also impressed, then I urge you to join me in voting for Laura on Nov. 6.

Susan van Alsenoy

Wiscasset

Fortman will make Maine work for all

It’s time for change in Augusta.

Laura Fortman will deliver on her promise to “Make Maine work for all of us.” Her lifelong commitment to Maine values: hard work, thrift, innovative thinking and caring for neighbors is evident in both her resume and her campaign themes:

It’s time to deliver broadband access throughout Maine to spur innovation and connect all Maine’s businesses to the rest of the world in a seamless, interconnected web of commerce that will keep Maine’s workforce in-state while it attracts young people from away.

It’s time to restore revenue-sharing so that all Mainers will have access to a quality educational experience – from their local elementary school to our flagship university. And invest in current technical and vocational training to build opportunities for lifelong learning.

It’s past time that affordable health care for all Maine residents, men and women and children alike, be implemented, per the popular referendum.

It’s time for change in Augusta – vote Laura Fortman for state senator, District 13.

Geoffrey Bates

South Bristol

Don't repeal Rockland's Air BnB regulations

Rockland City Councilor Adam Ackor has proposed repealing the cap on short-term non-owner-occupied rentals in Rockland. While I understand it's a good idea to revisit the issue and see if it's working as intended, or if it could be improved, I am opposed to repealing the cap.

Cities all over are being drastically altered by the proliferation of airbnb's, and I was thrilled that Rockland was taking a proactive step to slow down this tide by putting a cap on non-owner-occupied short-term rentals. If more and more of these very short-term spaces pop up, especially with no owner there, the neighborhood quality of an area is altered, and people lose access to longer-term housing, whether they wanted to rent or buy.

Rockland should continue to sensibly regulate non-owner-occupied short-term rental houses. We do need to look into how the regulations are working. One question: How many of these permits already given out are to singular entities - -that is, is there one owner who owns multiple houses who might be taking up five of these permits, for instance? If so, perhaps that should be regulated - -so that no one landlord can have more than, say, three properties which they use for short-term non-owner-occupied rentals.

Ultimately, a lot more has to be done to make rents lower and life more affordable in this city. Regulating airbnbs will only do part of it. We need higher wages, and we also need to make sure there is enough long-term housing available, but it has to be made affordable - -through things like rent control and/or grants for low-income/affordable/mixed-income housing units, and making sure the local rental agencies aren't being unfair (I am aware that some of their practices are slimy and even illegal).

Some of this needs to be done on the bigger level - -with the state hogging municipal money, and the federal government cutting down on creative social safety nets, and with plenty of rich people who can afford to zoom up here and buy up properties to not rent at all, even short-term, and only use a few weeks out of the year for themselves -- we have limited options. But we can at least try our best on the local level.

Becca Shaw Glaser

Rockland

Rockland Heart & Soul invites ideas

Rockland Heart & Soul needs your help — your thoughts and ideas about the future of our city. After more than 300 interviews with members of our community, we have lots of information, but we couldn’t talk to everyone. We’ve drafted a number of statements that, we hope, reflect what our community would like to see for the future. We need you to tell us what’s right, what’s wrong and how to make these statements better.

Please join us at one (or more) of the three events being held this month. We’ll have plenty of refreshments and no speeches. Drop in when it’s convenient; bring your family and your neighbors.

Oct. 23, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Sail, Power and Steam Museum, 75 Mechanic  St.
Oct. 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Littlefield Memorial Church, 1 Waldo Ave.
Oct. 29, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 345 Broadway.

We’ll also be at the polls Nov. 6 at the Community Center — ready and willing to hear your thoughts and ideas after you vote.

Rockland Heart & Soul has been working with the city’s Comprehensive Planning Commission and the information that you share at these events will be used to help rewrite the city’s new comprehensive plan, the guide to the future development of our community.

Be a part of the conversation. Share your thoughts and ideas. The more we hear from our residents, the better our new comprehensive plan will be.

Callie Black,
Lead Coordinator
Rockland Heart & Soul

Democrats 'soulless'

I’m certain that the Democratic Party has demonstrated for all to see just how soulless it has become. The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee disgraced themselves yesterday. What I saw was the Judiciary Committee Democrats mercilessly abusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was justifiably enraged and fought hard against his abusers. He did a magnificent job.

So did Sen. Lindsey Graham in defense of Kavanaugh. Any senator who votes against Kavanaugh now is betraying his/her own inability to see the truth when it is sitting right in front of him. The testimony of Ford was not believable, with many holes in her memory. Blasey Ford said she cannot remember incidents from the past few months, but is sure that Kavanaugh attacked her 36 years ago.

Any senator who votes against this man now is signaling his/her approval of wholesale character assassination for sordid political purposes. The Democrats in the Senate might consider that as a red wave begins. A no vote is a vote for more of the horrific circus I saw yesterday. I see no reason to vote for any Democrat when they shed their veneer and show their narcissism to win power at all costs.

Beverly J. Cowan

Rockland

Energy Advisory Committee seeks input

The Rockland Energy Advisory Committee is in the early stages of developing an energy policy for the city of Rockland. To that end, on Sept. 26, the committee hosted a community energy forum at City Hall at which a panel of experts discussed local energy policies in Maine and elsewhere. The panel included Sharon Klein of the University of Maine, Kathleen Meil of the Acadia Center, Tyler Kidder of GrowSmart Maine and Lucy Brennan of the city of South Portland. We thank our panelists, who generously donated their time, as well as the enthusiastic and engaged audience. If you're curious about the forum but couldn't attend, you can watch it at https://tinyurl.com/rockland-energy-forum.

Among other topics, the forum covered energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, the limits imposed by current state law and regulations, and the policies and goals that other municipalities have set. Brennan, for example, shared how South Portland has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, as well as some of the steps it has taken and will take to achieve that goal.

We want to gather as much feedback from Rockland residents and businesses as possible about what you would like to see in an energy policy for Rockland. We invite you to take a short, simple online survey to share your thoughts at https://tinyurl.com/rockland-energy-survey.

The process of developing an energy policy for Rockland will take months, and you will have many opportunities to offer your input. We invite you to follow the process, make your voice heard, and help Rockland remain a leader in the world of Maine energy policy!

The Rockland Energy Advisory Committee

 

AIO Weekend Backpack Program is needed

I was living hand-to-mouth in my early 20s, as many in that age bracket do. I had a car payment, car insurance, rent, utilities, gas and food that were my responsibility to cover. I was working in retail at LL Bean: a better-than-minimum-wage job that had great health insurance, but still by no means a job that I felt I was secure in financially.

I had just taken out money from my savings account at my bank to make a car payment when the teller looked at me and said, “You do realize that leaves you with seven dollars and 35 cents in your account?” The shame associated with that statement cut me to the core. Did she announce it on the intercom? No, but she might as well have in the way I heard it. I was solvent. Maybe just barely, but I was paying monthly bills and “just” getting by.

One thing I don’t ever remember during that time is being hungry. I know now, many years later, that this is not the case for many Mainers. Hunger affects working people, as well as the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly and, of course, their families. As adults, it’s bad enough to be hungry. But for children, being insecure about their next meal has devastating collateral results. Hungry children can’t concentrate, and so don’t learn well. They’re often ill or absent, fall asleep or act out in class. The federally-funded breakfast and lunch programs at schools help. But what happens for children after school for supper? What happens during the weekend?

My husband and I recently became involved with AIO’s Weekend Backpack Program. This is run by volunteers and every Friday sends food home for more than 300 school-aged children in 18 schools across Knox County. Nutritious breakfasts and lunches for the child, plus ingredients for a family meal, are packed by an assembly line of volunteers on Thursday mornings. Then some of the volunteers deliver the filled bags to the schools, where teachers, office staff, or volunteers discretely insert the bags of food into the children’s backpacks when no one is there to see.

AIO’s weekend backpack program buys the food for the three rotating menus from Good Shepherd Food Bank in Lewiston-Auburn. The cost is $225 per child per school year. The program receives no government money, but is entirely funded by donations from individuals, businesses, civic groups and grants. It arrives on an 18-wheeler on the first Tuesday of every month, along with the food ordered by all the Knox County food pantries. The backpack food is transported on volunteers’ trucks to Nativity Lutheran Church on Old County Road, Rockport, to await the Thursday assembly lines. This is not field-ration food, but high quality, nutritious fare -- whole grain, low sugar, low sodium, high protein, like turkey chili, spaghetti sauce and pasta, apple sauce, oatmeal bars, canned vegetables, milk.

It is not a cure for hunger. Until adult hunger is cured, there will always be children in need. But this is an important supplement to lessen children’s food insecurity. It’s local and much needed. I am so grateful that an organization such as AIO’s Weekend Backpack Program exists, and I am proud to be associated with it as a volunteer.

My financial situation in my early 20s was challenging and a concern to me at the time. But over my life, the experiences I’ve had and the observations I’ve made have provided me a very different perspective on what it can mean to “go without.”

Heidi Getchell Perkins
Lincolnville

PETA: lobsters are 'smart, sentient'

Lobsters are smart, sentient animals, so it’s understandable that Maine restaurateur Charlotte Gill — who has made headlines for giving lobsters marijuana before boiling them alive — wants to minimize their suffering. (State officials have asked her to stop the practice.)

Research has shown that lobsters use complicated signals to explore their surroundings, establish social relationships, recognize individual lobsters, and remember past acquaintances. They also feel pain. Dr. Robert W. Elwood, a leading authority on the subject of pain in crustaceans, says, “With vertebrates we are asked to err on the side of caution, and I believe this is the approach to take with these crustaceans.”

But it’s highly unlikely that getting a lobster high would make a lick of difference when it comes to the full-blown agony of being boiled or steamed alive. There is a well-established, foolproof way to prevent crustaceans from suffering, though, and that’s by not eating them. Many restaurants across the country dish up vegan lobster “taste-alikes,” and Ms. Gill could certainly do the same. In fact, PETA recently released a list of the top 10 vegan seafood dishes in the U.S.— featuring vegan crab cakes, artichoke oysters, hearts of palm lobster rolls, and more — which proves that no sensitive sea animal needs to die for dinner. Find out more at www.PETA.org.

Paula Moore

PETA Foundation

Norfolk, Va.

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