Why not a national forest?

With all the talk about having or not having a national park or national monument in northern Maine, one has to wonder why the idea of a national forest has not been mentioned.

A national forest would be the logical compromise. Maybe that’s why it has not been considered.

Sue Shaw


Busby critique flawed

In his April 14 BDN column on mental health case management services, Chris Busby’s use of the word “flaw” really stuck with me, because his vilification of nonprofit mental health agencies is seriously flawed. Basing his critique on the experience of a single case manager working in southern Maine for 18 months is flawed as well.

Having worked in mental health services as a case manager, a supervisor and a manager for the past 35 years, I can state emphatically that the clinical supervision provided to case managers focuses directly on how to assist people to meet their recovery goals. Being vigilant about not fostering dependence is a hallmark of best practice in this profession.

Neither mental health agencies nor their case managers are getting rich, milking the system or padding their pockets at the expense of vulnerable people who request assistance to improve their lives.

The decision by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to slash costs by restricting diagnoses for Section 17 services will not achieve its goal. It will result in higher costs when the people with less serious mental illness seek crisis services at hospitals and emergency rooms.

Behavioral and physical health care systems would be improved by incentivizing providers for meeting outcomes that focus on people maintaining wellness. Mental health agencies and practitioners who practice with integrity and adhere to ethical standards welcome such a system.

Mary Ellen Quinn


Health care not a right

At a Fox News town hall meeting on March 7, Bernie Sanders said he believed health care is a right of all people. When Bret Baier asked him where that right came from, Sanders said it comes from “being a human being.”

Like Sanders, many Americans believe we have a right to health care. But health care isn’t something most of us possess. Health care is a service provided by doctors, nurses and medical professionals.

When we claim we have a right to something, it means we have the authority to claim it and take possession of it. Which means, of course, that if I have a right to health care, I have the right to force my doctor to take care of me whether or not I have the means to reimburse him. Or, I can, with the help of a central government, force my fellow citizens to pay for my health care. Either way, I have been given the power to enslave my fellow citizen.

Sanders is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, so this is not a problem for him. After all, “From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.” In a socialist society, everyone is a slave to their fellow citizens. They are obligated to fill each other’s needs.

The United States was founded on the principles of individual rights and freedom, not servitude to our fellow citizens. Who you choose to serve is a right, not an obligation.

David Smith


Support national monument

Fifty years ago, I moved to the Katahdin region. Children were born and raised there. We counted ourselves lucky to be able to “go up to Katahdin,” as we referred to it, whenever we wanted and to Baxter Park or the wilderness beyond Baxter. I can name the streams, falls, lakes and all of the best places where my family encountered wildlife.

Then I moved to Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park, another Maine treasure that exists today because wealthy people with foresight understood the need to conserve it over a century ago. Indeed, they had more foresight than the vocal minority who opposed them, as has happened in the case of every single national park in our history. Luckily, they prevailed, and then-President Woodrow Wilson created a national monument we today enjoy as Acadia National Park.

Imagine what it would look like and what we all would have lost if they had not seen the value of this place. I see those saved mountains and lakes out my windows every day as I drive in and out of the park to work. Quoting the first biography of George Dorr, known as the father of Acadia: “One hundred years after its founding, this national treasure is visited, enjoyed, and beloved by millions every year.” Visitors spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year, helping communities around Acadia thrive.

We can show foresight again, if Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins would support the president in creating a national monument in the Katahdin region.

Marjorie Monteleon

Southwest Harbor

Undocumented immigrants

The current presidential election underlines the polarized views regarding immigration and an ugly U.S. history of anti-immigrant sentiment. By focusing on undocumented people, we are ignoring our role and increasing the number of ineffective, negligent policies.

Sadly, Gov. Paul LePage had proposed LD 1652, An Act Regarding Municipal Immigration Policies, which died when the Legislature adjourned. LD 1652 would have denied state aid for public schools, General Assistance and revenue sharing funds for any municipality that formally or informally withholds information on a person’s immigration status. But in K-12 schools, it is illegal to inquire about a student’s legal status. In 1982, the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe entitled all children to a free and public education, regardless of legal status.

Caleb Kim of Loyola University and Roberto Gonzales of Harvard have highlighted in their research that undocumented students, when asked about their legal status, are prone to perceive the question as a threat and stop attending school. Denying undocumented students an education increases their chances of engaging in illegal activity. If we are enabling the undocumented to be here through employment, how can we then persecute them? We need a comprehensive solution. If anyone is sharing this country with me, I want them to be educated.

Sarah Dyer