Incomplete loon count

As a coordinator for the annual loon count in July for the past six years for Washington County, I was discouraged by the Nov. 30 article about the 2018 loon count results. The article said the numbers of adults and chicks were from counters in southern Maine. So does that mean all of us who work hard in Down East Maine to count here and send the results to Maine Audubon get no recognition?

So the totals the BDN published are not accurate for all the loon counts? Please ask Maine Audubon to share the entire count numbers.

Karen Holmes


Substance abuse failure

As a social worker who works as a substance use counselor, I have some concerns regarding some of the language in Jackie Farwell’s Nov. 26 article, “The for-profit company that turned around Maine’s failing addiction treatment initiative,” as it paints an inaccurate picture of substance use treatment. While Groups Recover Together has a great track record in helping their patients using medication assisted treatment with counseling components, this intervention is not new to treating addiction in Maine or in general. There have been many studies that have illustrated that combining these two elements have better and long-term efficacy than medication assisted treatment or counseling alone.

The article indicated that the state “lacks the capacity to provide … opioid addiction treatment,” which is simply untrue. The state of Maine certainly has the capacity to provide treatment for individuals in need of substance use treatment. What the state lacks is the resources or the desire to allocate the resources to meet that need, which may be why for-profit organizations are thriving as treatment centers. All opioid treatment programs must be accredited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration accrediting bodies.

Lisa Dezso


RCV works

In his Nov. 29 column, Matthew Gagnon makes a flawed argument against ranked-choice voting. He claims that with ranked-choice voting we cannot evaluate the top two candidates for round two of against one another because we do not know in advance who they will be. However, with ranked-choice voting, we have effectively evaluated the top two against one another for a possible second round, no matter who they are, precisely because we’ve already evaluated and ranked all the candidates, including the final top two, in round one.

In the Maine 2nd Congressional District election, we had four candidates. No matter who the top two would be after ranked-choice voting round one, it would have to be two of the four we had already evaluated before the election, presumably well enough to know who we prefer represent us in Congress.

In a “true runoff” election, there is little reason to believe we would change our order of preference, even if our third and fourth choices in the first election were the top two for the runoff election.

Ranked-choice voting was twice approved by a large majority of Maine voters. The results of its first use in an election should stand.

Joel Holcomb


RCV is rank

The fallacy of ranked-choice voting has reared its ugly head. The only way ranked-choice voting can be truly used is if 100 percent of legal aged voters vote. Then, and only then, will more than 50 percent of the citizens be shown to approve the chosen candidate. Until this happens, the only fair and legal way to elect a candidate is by the one that gets the most votes be the winner.

The outcome of the vote is being changed because of ranked-choice voting. I have been voting for many years and the system of “one person, one vote” has been the method of choosing the winner. Unnecessary money and time is being spent on delaying or preventing the legal winner his constitutional right in retaining his office.

Many people refuse to vote because they think their vote doesn’t count. Ranked-choice voting proves them right.

Timothy Smyth