Maine-tribe relations

Bravo to the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy chiefs for their joint declaration on May 26 to withdraw their delegates from the state Legislature. They’ve demonstrated their resilience and self-respect in calling out the state for its patronizing and disrespectful behavior. In the process, they’ve issued us a wake-up call. We owe them our full support.

Maine needs to move forward and bring its approach to the tribes in line with federal tribal policy and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Habitually misinterpreting the 1980 Land Claims Settlement Act in the state’s favor (instead of the tribes’, as is required by the Settlement Act and settled federal tribal policy) has resulted in this unproductive estrangement. I’m saddened by the temporary closing of doors but hope it will usher in a new era of tribal-state relations — one that honors, in practice, the tribal right of self-determination.

Celebrating and enabling the emergence of native communities into healthy self-reliance is to be on the right side of history. We each have a choice to make and actions to take. Learn the history. Become an ally.

Diane Oltarzewski


LePage’s threats

I am one of the 1.3 million Maine people in whose name Gov. Paul LePage repeatedly purports to speak, and I wish he would stop. No, the Legislature’s refusal to hold a referendum on his rejected proposal to eliminate the state income tax does not make me feel disenfranchised, as he claims.

What disenfranchises me is his threat to leave Maine without a budget in three weeks time if Senate Republicans don’t buckle to his demands. What disenfranchises me is his threat to veto any future bill sponsored by a Democrat, regardless of its merit.

It is his retaliatory tantrums that deprive me of a government that does the people’s business. Conflating a bruised ego with the indignation he imagines Mainers must feel when our elected representatives disagree with him may be his affliction, but it has become our collective problem.

Dennis Chinoy


Deja Bush

Likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked if he thinks his brother’s legacy could become a problem.

“No I don’t,” he said. “My brother’s not going to be a problem at all. I seek out his advice. I love him dearly. I’ve learned from his successes.”

The truth is that Bush not only seeks his brother’s advice but is planning to continue in his footsteps, listing many of George W. Bush’s staff and advisers among his own. Paul Wolfowitz, the leading architect for the 2003 Iraq war, has acted as Jeb Bush’s foreign policy advisor.

Had President George W. Bush’s administration not invaded Iraq and had Saddam Hussein remained in power, we would have no Islamic State today.

So, with a President Jeb Bush, we would have, as Yogi Berra said, “deja vu all over again.”

Eliot Chandler


Concealed carry

Is it true that if LD 652 becomes law it will allow guns purchased at gun shows (no background check) to be carried concealed without a permit? If so, I hope the bad guys don’t read this letter.

Karl Austin


Serve all Mainers

Titles command respect, yet I find that I lack the respect to call Paul LePage by his given title. His recent behavior toward the people of Maine is absurd, infantile and inexcusable.

Yes, there are those who share in his beliefs and rejoice at having a voice at the executive level, and I do not belittle that. There is, however, a large majority of Maine that he still represents who don’t necessarily share his beliefs. His title is the governor of Maine and that means all of Maine, not just his loyal followers.

LePage’s attitude toward Maine’s native tribes and Democrats shows a lack of professionalism and decorum unbecoming a leader of any kind, let alone one who represents the state of Maine. He does not seek collaboration, but all-encompassing power to have his will be done. It is unfortunate that his outbursts are expected by his colleagues and constituency, while less and less is getting done for the people of Maine.

LePage may not be the governor I wanted in office for either term, but I still expected him to act with professional courtesy and respect the opinions of others, even if he did not share them. He is failing the state of Maine with his behavior, political roadblocks and divisive tactics. LePage is many things, but he is not the governor Maine deserves.

Kerry Hafford


Climate change facts

2015 is starting off with all kinds of weather records being broken — snow in the East, drought in California, global heat, floods in Texas and Oklahoma. What do these things have in common? The changes in our global climate are bringing on significant economic costs.

We all know about the endless snow in our area this past winter. Not only did we have to plow, shovel and roof rake, but the wintry weather was at least partially responsible for the national gross domestic product falling by 0.7 percent in the first three months of 2015.

As of May 26, much of California is still in the “exceptional drought” category in the state’s food production areas. Costs are starting to appear in higher food prices nationally, as well as thousands of job losses. An early estimate of the cost of this drought is $2.2 billion, but the costs are growing daily.

Globally, NASA reported that the first three months of 2015 set new records for temperatures.

May 2015 has seen record, deadly flooding in Texas and Oklahoma. Very early estimates are that insured claims will be at least $1 billion. But, regular insurance does not cover floods. State and local infrastructure losses will cost taxpayers.

Federal legislators need to support a carbon tax and the implementation of the Clean Power Plan and state legislators need to fully fund Efficiency Maine to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change facts are facts.

Pamela W. Person