Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette

Oct 02, 2014

Not a debate

I do not usually attend the candidate night debates. Now I know why. After attending the event, sponsored by The Courier-Gazette for representatives of the two local districts, I was disappointed in the fashion by which the so-called debates were designed and executed. By that, I do not call a question and answer event even close to a debate. Debates are the vehicle for which the parties should be allowed to banter with due courtesy and challenge each other's knowledge of the subject and their position regarding the concerns as put forth by the members of the public. I might mention that the turnout for this event was next to embarrassing. People complain, but fail to approach the opportunity when invited to do so. The opportunity for the two-way banter is crucial where the general public gets to perhaps learn something they did not think about or were curious about or too timid to ask about. I, for one, believe in asking questions that are thought-provoking, researched, and might be of interest to our taxes, cost of living, education, property rights, and those areas of major importance.

The Sept. 24 so-called debate was not a debate and should not be captioned as a debate. Although I believe Mr. Dunkle was earnest in his efforts, however, I believe he failed to allow the "opposing points" to be duly elaborated on. He appeared to have little control at times in debate and other times when it would have been nice to have an opportunity to clarify a point from either side of the conversation. A debate is not a hearing of one-sided opinions, but an opportunity by a candidate to provide a clear and concise position by which the voters can make a choice. "Debate is contention in argument, dispute, controversy, discussion, especially the discussion of questions of public interest in Parliament or in any assembly. Debate is a method of interactive and representational argument." (wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_debate)

Dale Hayward

Rockland

Responding to critics

My article in The Courier-Gazette a couple of weeks ago entitled “They Never Mention Democracy” caused a heated response from two contributors to The Courier-Gazette’s column, Another View. One was “I must have missed the facts” by Betty Ann Frederic and the other was “Democracy and rant” from Dale E. Landrith Sr. from Camden. Both critics strongly opposed my article as was to be expected, but what was not expected was to be informed emphatically by both that we do not live in a democracy. They both said we lived in a republic. And this is true with state and national government because the size of democracy at these levels necessitates elected representation. But it’s still basically a democracy (I hope anyway) as envisioned by our Founding Fathers, without which we could not have these republics.

Both Mrs. Frederic and Mr. Landrith regarded my article as being a bunch of baseless misinformation because it could not be authenticated. I suppose I could say the same thing about the articles from Another View. They seem to me like writings around political “talking points” that are being constantly fed to Another View by others with an agenda. Well, I can assure you that I do a great deal of research when writing and I write everything myself. The content of my articles are factual, but of course footnoting is impractical when writing letters to the editor.

Mr. Landrith also commented that I don’t feel that “an ordinary Midcoast citizen, who happens to be a conservative, has the intelligence or capability to write thoughtful and expressive articles." In regards to the articles I have been reading in Another View, that’s absolutely true.

Mr. Landrith also accused me of saying that the Tea Party is purposeful with attempts to possibly destroy our democracy. I hope, as Mr. Landrith does, that others will read and compare our articles because nowhere in my article did I mention the Tea Party. I mentioned The Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, Americans For Prosperity and Alec.

Now, that Mr. Landrith has mentioned the Tea Party, I will say this about it. The Tea Party on the national level, is a creation of Freedom Works, a conservative and libertarian lobbying group based in Washington D.C. Freedom Works and the Tea Party in particular was founded by Dick Armey, a former Republican U.S Representative from Texas. In my opinion most Tea Party members are basically good American citizens who happen to be ill informed on political issues, look for easy answers to complex problems, and are encouraged by savvy Tea Party recruiters to blame the countries ills on others in their own straights. Social and political engineering at the national level is responsible for the Tea Party phenomenon. Locals would never have formed the Tea Party by themselves.

Raymond Ludwig

Thomaston

Defeat pay-per-bag

On Nov. 4 you have the opportunity to defeat the pay-per-bag initiative by voting Yes to repeal and in doing so will send the Council the message that Rockland wants a better waste management plan. Currently there is a mandatory recycling program in Rockland, which is not enforced. If you recycle and under the impression you only pay for what you dispose of, then you are being misled. With an estimated 30 percent of the residents recycling and 70 percent of businesses/residents not recycling as they use commercial haulers, then how will the bills get paid to haul the trash to an incinerator? The cost to the haulers to bring it to Rockland is currently $115 per ton, yet the cost to take the trash to PERC is estimated by the city to cost $145 per ton maybe higher. The city currently uses PERC in Orrington, but that is scheduled to close in 2018 and the two new proposals for waste incinerators at Argyle and Greenbush just got denied. (bangordailynews.com/2014/09/25/news/penobscot/landfill-denial-a-step-backward-but-mrc-still-working-to-resolve-trash-problem-executive-director-says/)

The alternative to our current systems, which relies heavily on an incinerator to burn trash and then bury ash, is outdated and not environmentally sound. The run-off as expressed over the Greenbush and Argyle sites is toxic. For an incinerator program to work, they need tonnage. Tonnage from Rockland means less reliance on recycling. Less recycling means a higher cost for all residents.

The local town of St. George relies on recycling and each month reaches at least 45 percent to 50 percent recycled materials at their landfill, leaving less to go to incineration. It is a program that is working well to save the town money. Another larger example is the city of San Francisco with the best program in the U.S.. Their annual recycling tops out at 80 percent. Incineration and burying ash is not going to be the standard DEP method of waste handling for long.

Rockland residents need to send their Council back to the drawing board and spend our money on the best possible long-term recycling program. Involve the community. Do you want to pay for the businesses who are already getting great benefits from our tax dollars? Vote Yes on the referendum to defeat pay per bag.

Sandra Schramm

Rockland

Fact or fiction

Why do Another View columnists so often confuse fact and fiction when writing about American history? We have been told that the original colonists established religious freedom, the delegates at the Constitutional Convention practiced daily prayer, the United States Supreme Court has out outlawed prayer, Bible reading and religious speech in our public schools, that our Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence pledged to In God We Trust, a motto that arose nearly 100 years later, and that our 18th-century Founders include 15th-century Italian explorer Christopher Columbus and 19th-century President John Quincy Adams. None of those statements is true. When Mr. Landrith was informed that the signers of our Declaration could not have pledged to a motto they had never heard of, he responded that he had only used the motto in the title of his column, and that he "never stated that the phrase was used or invented by the Founders." Mr. Landrith denies writing statements that he published in the Courier. Does Mr. Landrith have a magic wand that he waves to make inked print and digital records disappear?

If the authors of Another View columns were writing letters to the editor as members of the general public we would not be alarmed by the occasional errors of fact. Authors of weekly columns in our newspaper are held to a higher standard. That we expect them to be honest and take responsibility for their statements goes without saying. We should be alarmed when we encounter multiple substitutions of fiction or fact within their columns, and in column after column. We should be even more alarmed that one of the Another View columnists is running for the Maine Senate. Given the opportunity to engage in public discourse in the Courier, Paula Sutton has chosen not to participate, other than writing about her decision to use a paring knife rather than a potato peeler to prepare dinner, resulting in a lot of wasted potato. Are we to conclude that though she makes unwise decisions in her kitchen, she wouldn't do so in Augusta?

Although Ms. Sutton declines to express her views in our newspaper, she does post frequent accolades of Another View columns on the Courier website. Does she think it's OK for her co-authors to support their opinions with false statements and fake history? Does Ms. Sutton agree with Mr. Landrith's Sept. 18 statement that, "the United States of America is not a democracy," and Ms. Frederic's view that if a person "lives in Maine, he does not live in a democracy," but a "representative republic"? That's bunk. A republic is a representative form of government. The phrase "representative republic" is double-talk and would mean a representative form of a representative form of government; i.e., gibberish. The United States is indeed a republic, but it is also a democracy. The Roman Republic and the USSR were republics, but not democracies, because only a fraction of their populations could vote. The United States is a democracy because all U.S. citizens are entitled to vote. We in Maine are doubly blessed to live in a state that is both a representative and direct democracy. We are all entitled to elect state and federal legislators to represent us, and we have town meetings and the process of initiative and referendum by which we govern ourselves directly. Is Paula Sutton's knowledge of American history and government as woefully lacking as that of her fellow Another View columnists? Does she, too, have a magic want that she waves at Democracy and... poof, it's gone?

Springer Lowell

Rockland

Support for Sutton

This letter is in support of Paula Sutton, Maine State Senate candidate for District 12. Paula Sutton is a local businesswoman who has been active in many civic activities and has a strong passion for doing what she can to make her home state of Maine a better place to live.

I met Paula in the last election cycle at the Republican headquarters in Rockland and watched her interact easily with others as the co-chairman of the Knox County Republican Party. She worked really hard making calls, putting up signs, speaking at rallies and generally caring about the process and caring about her neighbors.

Please consider voting for Paula Sutton this November. She will be thoughtful with your tax dollar and help those who really need help, the elderly, the veteran's and the truly disabled.

Catherine Cooper

Rockland

A new sheriff

Why I'm going to vote for Mike Phillips for sheriff. I see Phillips as a real go-getter who sees the larger picture in dealing with the problems Knox County faces. With a high amount of drug-related crime in the area I feel that Phillips will focus in on this problem and actively fight against violent crime. I thought I supported the current sheriff, but with seeing the latest two incidents in the paper involving the Knox County Jail I don't know if I can say that anymore. I have met Phillips and I know that he understands the peoples rights given to us by the Constitution, as well as realizes that the sheriff is the most powerful form of law enforcement in the county. I feel that under Phillips watch the jail would be managed better, as well as an active approach to fight crime. I stand behind his belief that the majority of people are not the problem for the community and that law enforcement should focus in on the 1 percent who are the major concern for public safety. With the rise of law enforcement militarization I feel that Philips will oppose having our tax dollars spent on buying military weapons for what is to be an agency for protecting and serving. Phillips is a real patriot who served in the Armed Forces and he understands that he'd be working for the people, which I know he'd proudly do if given the opportunity. Does anyone else feel that the current sheriff has had enough time in office? I think Phillips deserves the chance to prove that he can and will make a change Knox County for the better

Richard Ward Jr.

Rockland

RWGA thanks

The Rockland Women's Golf Association (RWGA) wishes to thank all the local businesses, individuals and more than 80 people who joined us for the fourth annual Midcoast Breast Cancer Golf Classic tournament held Friday, Aug. 16 at the Rockland Golf Club. The RWGA hosts this event with monies going directly to the Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation which in turn provides financial support services to midcoast breast cancer patients. The success of the tournament is a compliment to the support from local businesses, individuals, volunteers and dedicated players.

Special thanks to Keenan Flanagan, pro and manager of the Rockland Golf Course and to Sandbaggers Cafe for a delicious lunch. A big thank you goes to all the players and congratulations to all of the winners. RWGA's organizing committee: Bobbie Andrus/Chair, Martha Bouchard, Jean Brown, Joni Hall, Helen Plourd, Kathy Sprowl, Jan Staples, Connie Welt and Sue Wootton worked diligently throughout the year to make this event enjoyable for all. The days event would not go smoothly without the help from our volunteers, Carl and Pat Griffith, Dave Andrus, Mary Benner, Mary Ellen Dilger, Neil Welt, Nancy Eugley, Pam Tibbetts, Gail Robishaw and Artie Sprowl.

We are most grateful to our $100 tee, $250 chip-in and $500 bogie sponsors enabling us to experience our best year ever, raising over $19,000. Bogie sponsors include: Frost and Bryant, Prock Marine Co., The First and Hamilton, Heidemann & Associates, Inc. Chip-in sponsors include: Mount Pleasant Dental Care, Needful Things and Services and Pen Bay Women's Imaging Specialists. Tee sponsors include: Athena Point Lookout, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Brass Compass, Bruce Gamage Antiques, Caroline Morong at HAV11, Coastal Communications, Inc., Crandall, Hanscom & Collins, PA, Dead River Co., Eastern Tire & Auto Services, Ruth Farrell, George C. Hall & Sons, Inc., Glen Cove Dental, Goose River Women's Golf Assoc., Grasshopper Shop of Rockland, D.C. Hamlin & Son, Inc., Hannafords, Dr. Phillip Higgins, JoEllen Designs, Kennebec Pharmacy and Home Care, Lauren Kenniston, Esq., Kenniston Machine Co., Maritime Energy, Norton & Masters, CPA/PA, Off Shore Restaurant, Pen Bay Women's Imaging, Plants Unlimited, Rockland Savings Bank, Val Rohrer, Thomaston Grocery, Wal-Mart- Thomaston, and Phyllis York. A special thanks for our media sponsor, The Free Press; our Hole-in-one sponsor; Fuller Chevrolet and our web site design sponsor; Camden National Bank.

Thank you to the generous donors: Admiral's Buttons, Andy's Brew Pub, Applebee's, Athena Pizza, Augusta Country Club, Beauty Mark Spa, Becky Gamage, Bixby Bars, Bobbie Andrus, Cafe Miranda, Camden Hills Realty, Connie Welt, Dick Carver, Ellis Cohn, Fisher Engineering, Floor Magic, Fresh Off The Farm, Golf & Ski Warehouse, Good Tern Co-op, Goose River Golf Course, The Green Thumb, Helen Plourd, Home Kitchen Cafe, Jan Splaine, Jan Staples, Jean Brown, John Paul & Co., Joni Hall, Kathy Sprowl, Lakeview Veterinary Hospital, The Lobster Pound, Lowe's Home Center, Martha Bouchard, Martha Jones, Megunticook Golf Course, Mt. Battie Car Wash, Nancy Eugley, Natanis Golf Course, Pen Bay YMCA, Planet Toys, Primo, Princes, Inc., Quilt Divas, Reny's, Rockland Golf Course, Rock Harbor Restaurant, Rockport Lobster, Samoset Resort, Sister's Two Hair Salon, Small Wonder Gallery, Smiling Cow, Sue Wootton, The Chowder House, The Home Depot, The Landings, The Meadows Golf Course, The Pearl, The Waterfront, Theo B. Camisole, Trade Winds Health Club, Tropical Nails, Val Halla Golf Course, Waterville Golf Course, Wawenock Golf Course, and Whale's Tooth Pub.

The RWGA is proud to host this event to raise monies for the Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation which in turn is used to help breast cancer patients in the Midcoast region. Patients do not have to be treated for breast cancer at Pen Bay, they just have to be a patient somewhere under the Pen Bay Healthcare system. Patients can request financial assistance once a year for breast cancer related issues. To learn more about the Midcoast Breast Cancer Support Fund, or to apply for assistance, call Virginia Vaitones at 596-8977.

Midcoast Breast Cancer Golf Classic Committee

RWGA

Too much

During the City Council meeting of May 18, 2014, the Rockland City Council spent about one hour discussing the means to be used to fund the Transfer Station for FY 2015. Ultimately the Council, nearly unanimous at that point, decided to implement a pay-per-bag system for those residents who deliver their own trash to the dump. While the City Council spent some time discussing the impact of costs on commercial haulers, they did not spend a single minute discussing the financial impact on Rockland families who haul their own trash in order to save money. This raises the question “How much will pay-per-bag cost Rockland families?”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) each individual generates, on average, 4.38 pounds of solid waste per day. However, much of this material is recycled, meaning that it doesn’t have to be dumped in the hopper at the dump. The national average for recycling in 34 percent, but it is only 20 percent for the Rockland dump, chiefly because commercial haulers don’t have to recycle. We will use the higher number, meaning that 34 percent is recycled and 66 percent is dumped in the hopper.

According to a case study by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, based on the town of Duxbury, an average 32-gallon bag of trash weighs 25 pounds. Obviously, it depends on the bag. Another source estimates that a cubic yard of trash weighs from 125-225 pounds, with 175 pounds being the average. This means a 32-gallon bag would weigh, on average, 27.8 pounds. We have chosen the higher figure in our calculation (27.8 lbs).

So, each individual generates 4.38 pounds per day times seven days per week time 52 weeks per year. Thirty-four percent is recycled and the rest is put in 32-gallon bags weighing 27.8 pounds each at a cost of $2.25 per bag yielding the following costs:

For a family of one: $85.47/year; for two: $170.94; for three: $256.42; for four: $341.89; for five: $427.36; for six: $512.83.

For a family of four, the financial impact of $340 annually, together with already outrageous property tax bills, just seems like a bit too much. If you agree, vote to repeal pay-per-bag in November.

Michael Lane

Rockland

Things that work

To my reading, Reade Brower made a profound observation in his piece last week. That we failed Robby is as obvious to me as it is unacceptable. That we fail many others is equally obvious. As an engineer I learned that failure analysis is a necessary part of the process, but as a program manager I also learned that there is a time to dispense with analysis. In particular, when computer hardware cost tens of millions it made sense to spend hundreds of thousands doing a trade study to select the machine that just satisfied the need. Today, the cost difference between the biggest, meanest machine available and "barely good enough" isn’t sales tax on a trade study.

If anyone knew why our broken systems didn’t work, they’d already be fixed. What we do know is that we’re not getting it right in treating our mentally ill, our substance abusers, our economically displaced, or even our kids when it comes to giving them the skills, knowledge, and values that they’ll need in the global economy. It may be that spending a little more is part of the solution, but I’d hope that’s nobody’s first reaction.

Professionals have a role in "engineering" working solutions but so does the common sense God gave each of us. One disadvantage professionals have is not seeing that the failure of their solution to work may mean it won’t. (I can assure you that’s true of Engineers!) Common sense leads us common folks (who don’t consider ourselves infallible geniuses) to just try something else until we find something that works. The good news is that we’ve already tried lots of stuff on small scales and it’s likely that somewhere among us is someone who has a solution that works. If we can get past the small stuff then perhaps we can work together figure out what we can solve and what we can’t, what we’re willing to afford and what we aren’t and tell, rather than ask, our representatives and their experts what’s good for us.

At the very least, getting those conversations started in our groups and around our tables or anywhere outside the partisan halls of Augusta can’t be anything but good.

Ken Frederic

Bristol

Disappointed

As a spectator at last week’s debate of legislative candidates in Rockland, I was both disappointed and frustrated with the answers from our current representatives, Elizabeth Dickerson and Chuck Kruger. In my opinion, when an individual who has served in the last several sessions of the Legislature responds to a straightforward question with the response that your question is rather complicated, I find this troubling. Does that mean they are unprepared to answer or is it they simply do not know how to respond? Makes you wonder what they have been doing while allegedly representing us. This was the case several times when asked their opinion to basic questions.

Also a pair of extremely troubling statements were voiced by both of these current representatives. Both expressed strong support for a single-payer health care system and for a raise in the minimum wage to $10-plus per hour. This past year we were exposed to the fallacies of the “Accordable Care Act” and now these folks want to go still further. Without question, a single-payer system would negatively alter the quality of health care available. Does not the evidence from Canada, the United Kingdom, and our own VA show how woefully inadequate this system is to ours before the ACA.

Their enthusiastic support of the considered increase in the minimum wage system would most likely have a negative effect on many small businesses in Knox County. It should be understood that most, but not all minimum wage jobs, are held by entry-level unskilled workers. Generally, the vast majority of minimum wage jobholders are teenagers or senior citizen looking for some additional income. I strongly believe this proposed increase, if enacted, would generate an increase in unemployment in Knox County.

For the most part, all of the participants conducted themselves properly, although it was evident that one of the parties could not deal with hard questions well and as a result showed an abrasive manner. I thank The Courier-Gazette and Dan Dunkle for hosting this venue, and encourage the public to come and participate as a well-informed potential voter when future debates are held.

Jan Dolcater

Rockport

Wake up

With yet another election looming on the not too distant horizon, we are being swamped with many voices clamoring for our vote. One such vote seeking a place on the ballot would seek to overturn Citizens United, a decision handed down by the Supreme Court and loudly denounced by the president in his embarrassing comment at his State of the Union speech a several years ago. On the face of it, this petition drive would seem to imply that Mainers are sensible and being so they certainly don't want "big money" steering our elections. If, as they imply, we are sensible, we will look closer at those who provide money. The proposal is that "rich Republicans," whoever they are, are swaying elections for their own good. George Soros, a billionaire, has supported perhaps more Progressive action committees than anyone else, but his influence is not acknowledged or even hinted at. For those of you who care, go online and Google his name and his involvements, it will stagger you. If Google goes nowhere, try dogpile.com, one of the best search engines online. One of the groups he sponsors is the Texans for Justice, none of them Texans, who recently attacked Rick Perry, for doing his job under the Texas State Constitution. If Marxist Fascisim is what you want in Maine, where only one voice is allowed, go ahead, vote to support this onerous bill, should it make it to the ballot. Hopefully enough Mainers already see it for what it is. Our current governor is one who has been repeatedly attacked by the same people who would bring this fascism to Maine, people who would silence any criticism with calls of racisim, sexisim or homophobia, which would be the cry from some should the election go that way. Our First Amendment allows us freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion, not freedom from religion as some would have it. Wake up Maine, don't be swayed by the loudest voice, but take time to walk away from the "Low information Voter" label and educate yourself. Our state and our country need you to know what you are voting for, not just the emotionally charged ploy of the snake oil salesmen.

Richard Harding

Waldoboro

Be specific

I am writing in response to some of the solutions that Ms. Sutton proposed in her recent interview. My experience with government budgets tells me that the bulk of our costs and taxes are consumed by three major areas, health, education, and public safety, as well as defense at the national level. So, when I hear the clarion call to rein in high taxes, guess what’s going to be cut? That’s the conundrum to which Ms. Sutton speaks but doesn’t offer real specifics beyond the usual platitudes proffered by most politicians.

Let her be specific about what she considers waste. Her creative approach, while appreciated, isn’t going to generate much in savings. Show us her proposed cuts since she signed a pledge not to increase taxes unless we tell her to do so. People don’t want higher taxes, yet they don’t want reduced services if it directly affects them. All cuts eventually affect everyone. Reality tells us that increases are inevitable, even painful if we desire services. If her budget pie is going to remain the same or be lowered, and she’s going to shift priorities or reduce categories, what are they?

Unfunded mandates are another smoke screen to cut essential services, not the mandates. Those mandates probably also fall into familiar categories like special education, environment, health, social services, etc. Usually, the people most eager to reform the mandates don’t require them. As before, tell us what those mandates are and why we don’t need them if government isn’t going to fund them.

Her ideas for education are quite novel. I think that her work in rural Belize had to be a wonderful learning experience. I really like her creative approach. We have a lot of pine trees in Maine. Perhaps we can give each teacher a sap bucket to collect a year’s worth of glue for projects? Better yet, we have tons of corn. Who needs computers to compete with other states and the world? After our kids count, they can pop! It would also reduce those children needing free or reduced lunch by consuming their math lesson.

I want small business to have less of a burden so that they can prosper and hire more people who will prosper and pay taxes and feed their families. When President Obama took office, the stock market was around 6500. It’s over 17,000 today. Regulations haven’t prevented business from hiring; they’re keeping more profits for themselves and their stockholders at the expense of the workers and unemployed. How much more do they want? How about a pledge from the business community that says, “If you cut my taxes by X, I promise to hire Y number of people.” Now that’s a pledge I could live with.

Edward P. Mavragis

Camden

Short of help

It's a busy place on a Saturday afternoon at Dunkin'n Donuts on the Thomaston/Rockland line on Route 1.

The question is: where is the manager? There is a young man on the cash register and three girls working at the window. Inside there is a line of customers waiting to be served way to the front door. Are you people short of help? Saturday is not the day for the manager to be off. How about Monday or when it is not so busy? I've noticed people leaving, tired of waiting for his or her turn. You have a good following there, it's too bad to see it disappear into the sunset.

Gordon Wotton

Thomaston

Comments (1)
Posted by: Dale E. Landrith Sr. | Oct 02, 2014 14:15

Mr. Lowell Springer

Please read the articles instead of listening to others.  You accuse us of fake quotes and fake history and yet claim that Christopher Columbus was included as a founding father.  His name was not even in the article.  We are stand by our facts, you should better research yours.



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