Put workers and banks on equal footing

It seems so completely wrongheaded that under the law the workers from the bankrupt Great Northern Paper Co. in Millinocket face poverty while other creditors are paid off.

Why on earth should workers be considered unsecured creditors when banks have the advantage of being first in line as secured creditors?

We should revisit the law books and at least put workers and banks on equal footing.

Michael Grunko

Chebeague Island

Reviving Maine traditions

It was heartening to read the recent BDN article on the restoration of the Rockville Community Chapel.

Many Maine villages and towns have significant historical treasures that would not survive without the efforts of groups such as the Rockville Community Chapel Committee.

The value of these remaining examples of early community customs and traditions in Maine needs to be appreciated and preserved.

Ruth Shook


Tax bill enriches Congress

In the wee morning hours of Dec. 20, Sen. Susan Collins voted along party lines in favor of the Republican tax bill. Rep. Bruce Poliquin followed with an affirmative vote later in the day.

The vote to approve the 2017 tax bill is a slap in the face to Mainers who elected to represent and protect the interests of our state and nation. There is nothing conservative about adding $1.5 trillion to the debt during an improving economy — especially without tangible benefits like improvements to infrastructure, education and health care.

Republicans in Congress showed their hands when filling the bill with amendments that will ultimately result in their personal enrichment. From real estate to fossil-fuel holdings, the rich in Congress made themselves richer.

In 2015, Collins was ranked 42nd in in the Senate, with a net worth of more than $3.7 million. That’s quite a jump from her 2011 ranking of 90th, with a net worth of $204,000. Poliquin, ranked 17th in the House, is firmly ensconced in the 1 percent with a net worth of more than $12.1 million.

My emailed questions to both on the day of this vote: How will your vote positively affect your net worth? How do you justify your benefit?

I’ve asked both Collins and Poliquin for a real answer to these questions, not a form letter telling me how trickle-down economics will work for Maine. I eagerly await their responses.

Gail Leiser

Bar Harbor

Abolish death penalty

I was a fan of David Farmer’s Dec. 14 BDN column on the death penalty. He made very solid points about the barbarism and inhumanity of the death penalty and how there really is very little to no evidence supporting the effectiveness of the death penalty in reducing crime.

The claim that the death penalty is successful in deterring criminals from committing crimes is barely more reasonable than claiming that global warming is a hoax. Aside from the fact that states with the death penalty do not have significantly lower homicide rates, the idea that someone could be wrongly executed is absurd. With a death penalty in place, there is a chance that someone who was wrongly convicted could be executed before new evidence that could free them is found, as opposed to them being alive in a prison and being released back into society when evidence that proves their innocence arises.

In addition, there is a chance with every execution that it fails. We as a society should not have a form of punishment in place that has any chance of failing to punish. With the removal of capital punishment altogether, this problem would vanish along with it.

In a society where we are supposed to be advancing both technologically and morally, keeping the death penalty is becoming more and more outdated and unnecessary.

James Butler