Yield to public buses

As a rider of Bangor’s Community Connector, I’m aware of a safety concern that other Bangor residents may not know. When the bus picks up or lets off a passenger, it is very difficult for the driver to merge back into traffic. Drivers of private vehicles tend to try to get ahead of the bus. This causes a dangerous situation for everyone and delays the buses in completing their routes.

The Legislature is considering LD 591, which would allow municipalities to adopt ordinances to make drivers yield to a bus that is trying to merge back into traffic. I make no claim for knowledge of logistics or what city engineers need to do to keep traffic flowing like it should. But I have seen a similar policy work in Philadelphia, a city much larger than Bangor. In Philadelphia, it was against the law to pass a trolley car for any reason. This law was on the books in 1989, to my last knowledge. The law was strictly enforced, and from my perspective things ran smoothly.

Input from the people who drive the bus is important in this matter. At a recent legislative breakfast, Community Connector driver Dave Lister spoke passionately in favor of a yield-to-bus policy. Traffic laws aimed at keeping our community safe should be considered always, and even more so when our drivers tell us it is needed. I hope our legislators will consider safety and pass LD 591.

Ted Rippy


Implement ranked-choice voting

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court and the Legislature exist to serve the residents of Maine. Regardless of what then-Gov. Joshua Chamberlain may or may not have done concerning ranked-choice voting in the 19th century, in the 21st century it is incumbent upon Maine’s legislators to change the Maine Constitution to reflect the will of the residents of Maine and do whatever is necessary to comply with the mandate to institute ranked-choice voting for the 2018 election.

Michael P. Gleason


Consider Gattine’s Universal Family Care bill

When I was born, my mother couldn’t afford full-time child care, so my grandmother, who was already taking care of her mother, quit her job so she could offer free child care for my cousins and me while taking care of her own mother.

Those years my grandmother was out of the workforce were a struggle, and she’s still being penalized for those years out of work with depleted Social Security checks.

This is a problem that is growing quickly in the U.S. Because of lengthening lifespans, more and more families are taking care of their parents and their kids at the same time. Plus, unlike a generation ago, most homes no longer have a stay-at-home parent. Sixty percent of two-parent homes have both parents in the workforce, and there’s a growing number of single-parent homes.

All these things make it more and more difficult for families to get by, and we know that things are only going to get worse. As baby boomers retire, more and more people are going to drop out of the workforce to care for them.

I’m 21, and as I think about entering the workforce, knowing that I may have to take care of my elderly family members, on top of the rising costs of child care, scares me.

Rep. Drew Gattine’s universal family care bill offers a unique and one of a kind solution to these problems, and I commend him for his courage.

Lori Loftin


Trump budget hurts the poor

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget helps the rich and devastates the middle income and poor. Who does Rep. Bruce Poliquin represent? When I look around this district, I see more poor and middle income than rich. I hope Poliquin remembers this when he votes. I will.

Shelia Zahm


Help seniors age in place

My mother is 85, and my dad is 87. He’s starting to show early signs of dementia. It’s difficult for my mother to cope with the challenges, even though she’s in great health. Despite the fact they have three adult kids living in the area, the family struggles to provide adequate support. As things get worse, the reality is setting in for us to decide who may have to leave their jobs or relocate to help provide more support for them.

This is the struggle that an increasing number of families are being forced to contend with. A few decades ago, very few people lived into their 90s. But today, it’s pretty common. Lots of people are struggling to juggle the wellbeing of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents while raising kids and holding jobs. With the first baby boomers entering their 70s, these challenges are going to climax in the next 10 years to 40 years.

That’s why I was so excited about Sen. Shenna Bellows and Rep. Drew Gattine introduced ingenious and innovative legislation, LD 1612, to help seniors age in place, providing adequate support for families like mine. LD 1612 would help parents, children, workers, seniors and their families. It also would help the workers who take care of our loved ones.

I strongly urge all legislators to support LD 1612.

Deborah Johnson


Why conflict will persist

I have three quotes that should make people stop and think about them.

“If jealousy was a disease there would be a pandemic all over the world.”

“Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small-minded people are always talking about other people.”

“The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who in a time of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.” (“Neutrality” sounds like another word for “pro-choice.”)

Did you ever stop to think about why there is no end to wars? I think the breaking of the Eighth Commandment — Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor — is one of the reasons we will always end up with wars. People rush to judgment and believe what they hear.

Just look at the people who become suicide bombers and look at the people who protested Milo Yannopoulos in Berkeley, California, causing thousands of dollars in damage and many businesses had to close.

The mayor told the police not use violence against the protesters so long as they didn’t violently target people. And there were no arrests.

Joseph Riitano