Give workers paid sick leave

While Sen. Rebecca Millett’s bill — LD 1159 — requiring employers to provide paid sick days to their employees failed to pass in the Legislature, she helped to jumpstart a conversation throughout the state about the importance of providing the benefit to working people. In Portland, city councilors are considering an earned paid sick leave ordinance in Maine’s largest city.

The proposal — brought forward by the Southern Maine Workers’ Center and Maine Women’s Lobby — has already gained the support of Mayor Ethan Strimling and several councilors.

The ordinance would allow workers to earn at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked up to six days per year. Employers would not be required to pay employees for their unused time when they leave their jobs.

Nearly 200,000 Maine workers are unable to take a paid sick day, according the National Partnership for Women & Families, and they are forced to choose between coming to work sick or losing their pay — something that many of them simply can’t afford to do. For the rest of us, paid sick days are a public health issue, as we’re exposed to the germs of workers in restaurants and other workplaces who are forced to come to work sick.

Earned paid sick leave is already the law in three New England states and more than 20 cities around the country. Portland should be next, leading the way for the rest of Maine to follow.

Matthew Beck

South Portland

Smears used to silence debate

In 1966, when President Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Vietnam War enjoyed overwhelming public support, I read Bernard Falls book “ Street Without Joy: Indochina at War.” Overnight, I became an anti-war activist. My father, a college professor, insisted I had swallowed communist propaganda.

In his autobiography, Colin Powell writes: “I recently reread Bernard Fall’s book, ‘Street Without Joy’ … I cannot help thinking that if President Kennedy or President Johnson had spent a quiet weekend at Camp David reading that perceptive book, they would have returned to the White House Monday morning and immediately started to figure out a way to extricate ourselves from the quicksand of Vietnam.”

Temporarily ignoring headlines that agitate us, and immersing ourselves in a transforming book, is like dunking your head in a barrel of ice water: it clarifies thoughts and calms emotions.

Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think-tank focused on fiscal and economic analysis of immigration policy, has written an equally profound book, “ The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal.” It’s not a white nationalist rant, and it doesn’t provoke animus. It’s a thoughtful book that left me stunned by the information missing in our news, not unlike Vietnam.

Trigger warning: The Southern Poverty Law Center, a self-appointed authority on racism, recently smeared the center as a “hate” group. In the 1950s and 1960s, the words “commie” and “pinko” would silence your political opponent without any debate. Today, it’s the word “hate.”

Don’t be deterred. Read the book. And make up your own mind.

Jonette Christian

Founder

Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy

Holden

Time to organize aid for Puerto Rico

It is my view that the U.S. government should activate every Air Force and National Guard unit on the mainland, while states may be prompted to organize drives of food, potable water and medicine to be taken to air bases in their states.

The donations could be organized by FEMA. The needed supplies could easily be airlifted to Puerto Rico and parachuted into every inaccessible region of the island. This must be done now while there is still time and hope.

We did this during the Berlin airlift of 1948-1949, and today’s aircraft are far better than what we then dispatched. Also, we have fleets of KC-135s to refuel these aircraft over open water. What is the delay? The need is imminent and clear. May God bless Puerto Rico and its suffering people.

James Kenny

Bangor

Put aside politics

Politics is a game the U.S. cannot afford to play, whatever the issues on that particular game board may be (health care, the North Korean nuclear program, immigration, education, employment, and so on). It doesn’t matter the issues because just too much is at stake, with the bottom line in all these issues being people, the human element whose value cannot be quantified.

So, senators and representatives, let’s get out of the game playing and start rolling up your sleeves to work together, regardless of who is on your team, what label they may bring to the table, or on which side of the table they may be. We need you to work as one team to tackle and come up with some real solutions to the very real problems we all are facing.

That’s why we the people elected you and put our faith in you.

Jane Eagles

Northport

Stop sabotaging Obamacare

President Donald Trump and the GOP are playing politics with people’s health care. By shutting down the enrollment website 12 hours a week during open enrollment, cutting back the advertising budget and reducing the enrollment period, they are making an effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

As a veteran and a nurse, I find this to be shameful. Mainers shouldn’t have to suffer because the GOP’s mission is to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

There is always a political side to what is going on, but when you’re deployed into a combat zone, you’re not thinking about politics, you’re trying to do your job and stay alive. I need Rep. Bruce Poliquin to do his job in Washington, D.C., representing Maine veterans like me.

When I joined the military, I swore to protect my fellow Americans. Poliquin took an oath of office to ensure the general welfare of those he represents. That’s why I’m demanding that Poliquin represent Maine people and and make bipartisan efforts to stabilize rather than sabotage the Affordable Care Act. These are fixable problems.

If you aren’t coming up with a solution you are a part of the problem. Right now, Poliquin is a part of the problem.

Richard Bissell

Bangor