Retrograde Maine

Disclaimer: I’ m only a taxpayer, not a developer. I left Maine in 1953 to earn a living and retired here in 1991. Returning, I find the anti-progress mind set here (and in most of the Northeast) puzzling, noting prosperity in other parts of the country that are pro-business. Maine reflects a retrograde attitude sweeping parts of the country placing off limits the means of prosperity essential to a viable modern society.

What is “saving the pristine environment for future generations”? If our young have to leave for jobs, who are we saving it for? Outsiders? What is so pristine anyway? Maine is not uniquely blessed with natural beauty when I recall visits to the Rockies or the Grand Canyon. I still care for my birth state, but it’ s the politics and insular biases I object to.

Consider, for example, the opposition to Plum Creek. Curious, I Googled their credentials to see why their plan to improve some backwoods property that Sappi gave up on was so troubling. I found an impressive record of land development including certification as Sustainable Forest Initiative practitioners that doesn’ t seem to square with criticism of and opposition to them.

I wonder why with their success and growth potential elsewhere they even bother with Maine. Ironically, Plum Creek’ s recent phenomenal growth seems based partly on acquiring prime timberland at fire sale prices (not as predators) due to the devaluation by green advocacy blocking commercial productive use.

Orin Lowe

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Level the playing field

As I watched the evening news, pictures of air pollution in Beijing, China, were shown. The air was so polluted it was brown, and the massive Olympic Stadium could not be seen.

Only a day earlier, The Great Barack proclaimed to the Germans and all the world that cars in Boston, Mass., were melting the polar ice caps. Once again, America is bad, bad, bad. Yet there is no brown air in Boston.

When will we connect the obvious dots and promote a trade policy that will level the playing field, punish polluters in all countries, and return jobs to our shores? The good old U.S.A. (land of the vanishing middle class) is where huge strides in pollution control and prevention have been and continue to be made.

Al Dunham

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Scrap and sell

Every time I go over the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, this way or that, I wonder why the old bridge is still standing well over a year after the gates first opened on the new bridge.

The only reason I can think of that the old bridge is still standing is that it’ s there for back-up for the new bridge. With the price of scrap metal being what it is these days, as evidenced by the fact that resourceful souls wherever they can be found are ripping off scrap metal with passion and gay abandon, why else is it that the old bridge has not yet commenced to come down?

Phil Tobin

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Missing: welfare cost

It’ s more than just marginally interesting that whenever welfare is the topic of discussion, the true costs to the non-welfare society are never discussed. The Bangor Daily News series “Welfare in Maine” is no exception.

When the modern concept of “aid” was introduced back in the 1930s, fully 25 percent of the population of the U.S. was unable to find work. “Mother’ s aid” (as it was called then) was a necessary lifeline for families to hold while the government towed the economy back on the highway. It is no secret that along with truly concerned folks, welfare got a big push from grocers and landlords who were ultimate beneficiaries of these programs.

Now welfare moves billions of dollars from hand to hand. These programs affect every person in this country. Food prices, housing costs and heating expenses are all higher because of the large governmental infusions of cash through welfare to grocers, landlords and fuel distributors. Can’ t afford my product? Just go down to the state and fill out a form. Does anyone see the landslide effect?

There is another issue that must be addressed: personal responsibility. Is it responsible to have another child when unable to afford the ones you have? We are heading into a serious downturn in national fortune. There will be more people chasing fewer welfare dollars.

Harry H. Synder III

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Lobster and turkey

I am dismayed to read AP reporter Clarke Canfield’ s specious reasoning emblazoned above the fold on the BDN’ s July 31 front page: Lobster costs the same as sliced turkey or honey ham at the deli counter? So we’ re comparing a live, soft shell lobster with shell on and water retained to slaughtered, cooked, de-boned, processed, 100 percent ready-to-eat turkey or pork?

If you cook that 11/4-pound lobster you purchased for about $7.50 and remove all the meat (many folks only bother with the large claws and the tail), you’ ll be lucky, very lucky, to see a half pound of edible lobster sitting on your plate. That easily puts the price at $15 a pound or more.

Pretty pricey deli, if you ask me.

Yes, lobster prices are depressed and that is a serious concern for the entire industry and for Maine as a whole. But sensationalized, incorrect information does nothing to address this troubling situation.

Marjory Russakoff
Southwest Harbor

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Union right to vote

In his op-ed “Reject smears against Free Choice Act,” (BDN, July 25) Edward Gorham claims that workers will still have a private vote if “card check” legislation takes effect. He’ s wrong.

In fact, this legislation will take away the right every worker has to make an informed, private decision in a voting booth when confronted with a vote to unionize.

If you read the proposed law, it would be illegal to have a traditional private election once the union organizers convinced enough workers (a simple majority) to sign a public card. The union bosses are the ones who will decide if there is a private ballot. Workers’ votes will be made public to their employer, union organizers and co-workers.

That’ s not fair.

No one, employers and union organizers alike, should fear an election conducted by private ballot. The only way to protect an individual’ s freedom to choose without subtle or overt coercion and guarantee worker protection is through the continued use of a federally supervised private ballot so that personal decisions about whether to join a union remain private. Sen. Susan Collins understands that — apparently Congressman Tom Allen doesn’ t.

Stacey L. Morrison
CEO and owner,
Construction Corp.