Beverage tax repeal

I got a kick out of Rep. John Brautigam’s Aug. 14 letter to the editor, “McKane’s numbers,” rebuking Rep. Jonathan McKane’s OpEd on Dirigo health, “Repealing soda taxes won’t kill Dirigo” (BDN, Aug. 1). Rep. McKane claims that no one will be “at risk” of losing health care if the people’s veto of the beer, wine, soda tax and new tax on health care succeeds. Why is it that every time the people of this state take a stand on an issue, as they have with the people’s veto, we get a “the sky is falling” response from people like Rep. Brautigam?

Along with insults to Rep. McKane, Rep. Brautigam claims to have another new, mysterious program within the Dirigo program that is going to save oodles of money, but we won’t be able to implement the new program if we can’t tax Maine people on all of the above. It would be laughable if it were not going to pick our pockets.

Frankly, I’ve had it with new programs that make grand promises and cost lots of taxpayer money yet do nothing to really help Maine’s uninsured. Dirigo has been a miserable, expensive failure. Haven’t we learned anything yet?

Earl W. Inman

Round Pond

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<bUnion free choice facts

Everyone has seen the attack ads that hold that the Employee Free Choice Act denies employees a secret ballot. This is not true. It merely allows them to choose to honor an open, 51 percent petition as decisive. They remain free to choose to hold a traditional election.

Under current law, an election is held if 30 percent of the work force petitions for a union. Historically, the time between certification of the petition and holding the election is used by employers to indoctrinate their workers against the union. Employers have all the power. Everyone knows this.

In fact, it’s worse than that. There’s the matter of illegal coercion. During union drives 46 percent of workers report being pressured by management; 49 percent of employers illegally threaten to close; 91 percent force employees to attend one-on-one meetings with their supervisors; 30 percent illegally fire pro-union workers.

The idea that union intimidation causes unwilling workers to sign one way in public but vote another in secret doesn’t come close to passing the smell test. There’s no evidence for it. What’s more, is it really likely that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has become an altruistic champion of workers, protecting them from the evil unions that want to take away their secret ballot, and which advocate positions the workers detest? The evidence is that the card-check method of petition, in conjunction with mutual pledges of neutrality, is good for workers and good for business.

Michael S. Moore


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Siding with developer

On Aug. 12, the Brewer City Council approved an 11-lot extension of the Chamberlain Woods subdivision, despite concerns voiced by neighborhood residents over the safety of their children, the reduction of property values, and whether this extension was legal under ill-defined Brewer ordinances.

Leading the charge against the residents’ concerns was Councilor Larry Doughty, followed by Councilors Manley DeBeck, Arthur Verrow and Joseph Ferris. Only Councilor Michael Celli stood up for the residents of Brewer, while the rest stood up for the developer, Randolph Spain Jr.

Councilman Doughty commented that if the development was legal in the eyes of the planning board, the council should not oppose it. However, his reasoning failed the test of consistency, as during the same meeting he supported a ban on a methadone clinic in Brewer, despite that clinic also being legal.

The planning board is not directly accountable to the people. It gathers data on a project and decides if it meets city codes. It does not ask what Brewer residents think or want. That is why we stood before the council, so we Brewer residents would be heard.

Instead, Councilman Doughty chastised some residents for not attending all planning board meetings. However, the developer himself attended only one board meeting and skipped the Aug. 12 meeting. Of course, why attend since he already had four councilors voting for him and against the residents of Brewer? I do hope my fellow neighbors return the favor in future council elections.

Shawn McPhee


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Donate, no plate

Regarding the letter from Virginia Burr Sucy in the Aug. 20 BDN about new Maine plates to help animal welfare: I am all for donating money to help spay and neuter our pets, as well as donating to the Bangor Animal Shelter.

As a matter of fact, our 9-year-old daughter volunteers there cleaning the cat cages as well as washing dog and cat dishes, folding blankets and sweeping floors. I am not, however, all for another Maine license plate. There are so many different Maine license plates you can’t even tell who is from Maine anymore when you are out driving. I can think of at least 19 different Maine plates. Enough is enough!

Since the FIX ME program, as well as the Animal Welfare Program, is so cash-strapped, why not take the $25 for the specialty plate and simply donate it to the Bangor Humane Society. Why do we need yet another Maine license plate to publicize the fact that one donates to animal welfare?

Sherry Williams


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TV should fact-check

It’s very disappointing to see certain Bangor TV stations airing misleading ads by Rep. Tom Allen’s opponents stating that he is against the right of employees to unionize using a secret ballot. Rep. Allen’s record indicates that this claim is absolutely false.

These attack ads are often run during the news, which could lead some to believe that they are true, bona fide news items. Don’t our local TV stations have a responsibility to check the accuracy of the political ads they are paid to run? Or is getting the ad revenue more important to them than the truth?

Steven Colburn


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Leave fear behind

I was struck by two political ads that appeared in the Aug. 20 BDN. One appealed to the voter with fear: “Skyrocketing Energy Costs,” and the other with hope: “Proud History of Doing What’s Right.” Even the visuals communicated fear and its antidote, hope. A fear-based perspective is a holdover from the Middle Ages. Time we moved on.

Mary Anne Royal