In light of recent celebrations commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day, I wonder how different the United Kingdom would be today if, during the Blitz of 1940-41, the population decided, in the middle of it, that they no longer wanted to sleep in stuffy, airless, smelly tube stops, no longer wanted to shelter in over crowded, underground bomb shelters, no longer wanted to hang blankets in their windows and no longer wanted to stay away from the markets, the pubs and all those other things that make London what it is.
David A. Zelz
Continue climate work
COVID-19 hasn’t shut down climate change, and it’s good to know the Maine Climate Council moves forward.
Established by Gov. Janet Mills in 2019, the council’s primary goal is to create a new Climate Action Plan by December 2020, which will provide policy recommendations and other steps for reducing carbon pollution by at least 80 percent before 2050.
While still responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as a top priority, Climate Council Working Group members are continuing to meet and develop recommended strategies for the Climate Action Plan. We are already feeling the effects of the climate crisis here in Maine from more severe storms, warmer winters, warming ocean waters and rising sea levels. Climate action can’t wait.
To reduce Maine greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, we need decisive action. Since emission from our cars and trucks accounts for more than 50 percent of Maine’s emissions, ensuring that all Maine people have access to clean transportation including public transit, electric vehicles, passenger rail, biking and walking trails will be critical.
I urge the Maine Climate Council Working Groups to propose — and members to adopt — a strong and effective Climate Action Plan with concrete steps that will grow Maine’s economy, reduce air pollution, and build healthy, resilient and equitable communities. My thanks go out to the more than 200 members of the Maine Climate Council and it’s six working groups.
Costs versus benefits
An unintended consequence of our lockdowns: the halting of elective surgeries. I used to think “elective” meant minor or trivial surgeries. Things that weren’t medically necessary such as plastic surgeries.
But as someone who works at an insurance company in Greater Portland, I interact with people who must have “elective” surgeries. A back operation, a knee replacement, a hip replacement. A slip down the steps that calls for an ankle repair. What happens when someone needs a corrective surgery to be able to walk properly or to be able to use an arm again, but he or she cannot have that operation for months?
We likely won’t know the health outcomes of delayed elective surgeries for years to come, probably. But at this point in our pandemic struggle, is it OK yet to start talking about a costs versus benefits analysis of our shutdowns?
Time for recurring direct payments
Given the nature of the coronavirus, it seems reasonable for the government to require that many of us not work. But given those restrictions, it doesn’t seem reasonable for the government not to implement a basic income.
This inaction of our government not only seems inhumane, but I also wonder if it is unconstitutional. How can it be OK for the government to tell us not to work yet not implement direct recurring payments to the people? And why don’t we call it socialism or a hand out when money goes to big corporations, but then many spin it that way when we talk of money going directly to the people?
We’re all in this together — however we lean politically. People on the left and those on the right all across this state and country are going to lose their homes and businesses. Just as the virus doesn’t care how we lean politically, the economic effects of millions out of work will also not discriminate.
We’re all facing the same economic challenge initiated by the government’s understandable restrictions on work, yet inaction to provide a way for us to pay our bills. So why don’t we unite our voice for the solution of recurring payments directly to the people? It’s time.
Refocusing jail story
I find it very disturbing that the article in the May 9 edition of the BDN regarding jails recording phone conversations between inmates and their attorneys seems to imply some gross miscarriage of justice committed by corrections and prosecutors when in fact both entities conducted themselves exactly as they should have.
To focus on this issue, the article should have highlighted inmates who failed to protect themselves when failing to give the jail the phone numbers of their attorneys and, more importantly, attorneys who have been appointed to represent someone incarcerated who don’t take the additional step of contacting the jail to inform them of their status.
This seems to be a case of a reporter investigating what seemed to be a problem, and when they found out it wasn’t, still publishing something because of all the time they spent on the matter. At a time when the public is suspicious of the press, journalists need to do better.
Relief for the Postal Service
In an effort to save the U.S. Postal Services, Sen. Susan Collins should fight to rescind the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which she sponsored in 2005 and 2006. The act required the Postal Service to come up with enough money to prepay years of postal workers health and retirement and maintain it. The Postal Service complied by running deficits now enhanced by 50 percent loss in mail revenue from massive closed businesses.
In addition to rescinding that unreasonable act, Collins and other elected officials should urge President Donald Trump to approve the $25 billion stimulus requested by the Postal Service amidst the billions awarded to for-profit corporations.
The postal service has served us well since 1775, it has been there for us through “ snow, rain, heat and the gloom of night” while protecting our privacy, something which cannot always be said about social media.