Increase bus service in Bangor

Bangor is a beautiful city with a daytime population of about 100,000 people. We have several schools, shopping and medical centers where people work or visit daily.

Transportation should be available to all. It is a public service such as police, fire and ambulance, and it should serve the entire city.

I have lived in several metropolitan areas in other states. When I first moved to Bangor, I thought I would take the bus to work. Sadly, I found out that the bus would take me to work, but it wouldn’t take me home. It stops running too early.

Visitors to the city are really left in the lurch. If they take a Greyhound bus, it leaves them in Hermon with a hefty taxi ride to get to town. Once they get here, the bus service is of little help because the routes are too infrequent and don’t go far enough. It gives a very bad impression of our city.

The new call center will bring 450 new jobs to Bangor. Better bus service will enable more people to work and improve the tax base.

As people age, they will be giving up their cars and need even more bus service. If there were longer routes and longer hours, ridership would greatly increase. The routes would have to go out to the town line to serve the entire population.

Barbara Alexander


Clinton not a ‘progressive’

I read with interest Amy Fried’s Feb. 10 Bangor Daily News column on progressivism and the 2016 election. Her columns are generally excellent, however, I take some exception to the characterization of the term “progressive.”

First, progressive as presently used has no direct relationship to the Progressive Movement of 1900 to 1920. Today, “progressive” is considered an approximate synonym for “liberal.” It became the alternative term of choice for center-left politicians because after the upheavals of the 1960s, the political right succeeded in unfairly associating the term liberal with cultural deviance and radicalism.

The historical Progressives of a century ago were certainly reformers, but they were not homogeneous in their beliefs. There were left-leaning, populist Progressives such as Wisconsin’s Robert M. La Follette and more mainstream, good-government Progressives such as Teddy Roosevelt (in his pre-Bull Moose phase) and Woodrow Wilson. La Follette and Roosevelt fought constantly over who was the true Progressive.

In today’s context, Bernie Sanders, who despite his democratic-socialist label is really a traditional New Dealer, can legitimately call himself the true 2016 progressive in the FDR sense of the word, while Hillary Clinton is more of a centrist in the New Democrat or Third-Way mode of her husband, who famously declared in the 1990s that “ the era of big government is over.”

The difference is mainly one of a large programmatic response to intractable national problems (Sanders) versus technical fixes and modest incrementalism (Clinton).

Wayne M. O’Leary


Pacific trade pact a bad deal for America

The North American Free Trade Agreement cost us at least 845,000 jobs as of 2014, according to the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. But Trade Adjustment Assistance covers only a subset of jobs lost at manufacturing facilities, so it significantly undercounts job losses.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a similar trade pact with 11 Pacific Rim countries, has been negotiated in secret for six years. It will allow corporations to outsource more jobs overseas, raise prescription drug prices by extending drug patents, and threaten food safety standards and “buy-American” laws.

If Congress passes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, there will be five more countries (the U.S. already has free-trade agreements with six of these nations) whose corporations and governments can sue the U.S. for any law they feel harms their industries. If they win in a tribunal, the U.S. will be assessed a fine and Congress will be pressured into changing U.S. law, just as it did in the case involving country-of-origin labeling on meat from Canada and Mexico.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is likely to be voted upon by Congress this year. Despite the North American Free Trade Agreement’s failures, President Barack Obama’s administration has made passage of the pact one of its highest priorities. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin have not yet decided on how they will vote. We know they are hearing a lot from the corporate side. Now is the time to let them know what you think about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Bob Lodato