Missed sweepstakes opportunity

When Governor Janet Mills announced her “Don’t Miss Your Shot: Vacationland Sweepstakes” on June 16, I initially thought, “What a great idea – a way to encourage unvaccinated Mainers to get their shots.” The concept of the sweepstakes was excellent but the more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with the payout portion.

Here is why: there were 350,256 entries but only one winner – just one. Not to take anything away from Kay Spofford of Winslow, the eventual winner. She was the lucky entry chosen for the prize of $896,809. After all, that was how the sweepstakes rules were written.

But, could the sweepstakes have had a greater impact for more Mainers? I believe so. One needs only look towards Missouri and their vaccine incentive program. Missouri’s sweepstakes has $900,000 in their coffer (similar to Maine’s coffer), but Missouri is awarding $10,000 to 900 different winners. There will be 900 happy winners in Missouri as compared to Maine’s one winner. Maybe Augusta should have considered doing the same?

Brian Ashe


The public already has access in Belfast

I’m writing to correct a misleading statement by the Belfast City Council, and a related omission in the BDN article published on July 10 about Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed “gift” to the City of Belfast.

The city council is quoted as saying that the area will be for the “public benefit of all the people of Belfast,” and Mayor Eric Sanders said that “the council and I are thrilled to receive an area that will make a tremendous oceanfront park for the citizens of Belfast.”

The  Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area is already open to the public. People are welcome to come and enjoy the intertidal zone.

We do not need another city park for which Belfast residents would be paying taxes. And of course there is the issue all area residents and visitors must consider: Would a city park right near an outflow effluent pipe be conducive to rest, ease and relaxation?

Deborah Capwell


Gagnon’s billionaire defense

I wonder where Matthew Gagnon thinks money comes from?

In his most recent column on billionaires going into space, he claims of Jeff Bezos that “[b]illions of dollars have been injected into the economy that would not have otherwise been there.” He couldn’t have the story more backwards. Are we really supposed to believe that Bezos simultaneously “injects” money into our economy and his massive bank account?

At least Bezos understands where his money comes from. He said in a recent press conference, “I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this,” regarding his launch.

Gagnon overreaches in his billionaire apologetics and takes a position even the billionaire doesn’t take. In his quick perusal of social media opinions he misses the accounts of Amazon workers urinating in bottles because of lack of breaks, or more recently that Bezos and his billions pay a 0.98 percent  true  tax rate or that full-time minimum-wage workers can’t afford market rate rent anywhere in the country.

It is a far cry from expecting billionaires to give away their riches for the betterment of society and expecting them to pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else.

I hope Gagnon can take some of his own advice from the previous week’s column and see where he is wrong — that for billionaires like Bezos one way that money is made is from hard-working and underpaid Americans.

Dan Keltonic