Turn down volume on motorcycles

I applaud the Portland Press Herald’s stand against loud motorcycles (“Motorcycle noise annoys too many too much to ignore,” Feb. 24).

But it is not just a few who are bothered by excessive motorcycle noise. Countless Mainers throughout the state are acoustically assaulted by bikers operating with illegal loud pipe mufflers.

In my town of Kennebunk, 275 residents signed a petition asking local and state officials to address the problem of loud motorcycles.

As I collected signatures for this petition, I heard accounts of anxiety, elevated blood pressure, sleep deprivation and depression caused by exposure to the excessive noise.

Some people declined to sign the petition for fear of retaliation. Others admitted they were fed up with the noise but assumed there was nothing that could be done about it.

However, there are remedies. There are state and federal laws which prohibit the use of loud pipe mufflers. The challenge is to educate and motivate local and state police to enforce these laws.

To this end, I urge Maine state residents to contact local and state police, mayors, town managers, selectmen and state legislators and demand regulation of excessive motorcycle noise.

Bikers have had way too much power in this state. It’s time the residents of Maine question and confront this abuse of power; it’s time we take back our state and restore it to the way life should be — peaceful and quiet.

Claire Unsinn

Member, Maine Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles

Kennebunk

 

Thank for your editorial piece in support of L.D. 1675, which seeks to mitigate motorcycle noise. We are among those who, as you put it, are “really bothered by it” because we live on a straight stretch of road that bears a constant biker cavalcade from April through October.

To nurture the egos of those who wish to preserve that intrusive cacophony as “part of the biking experience” at the expense of residents who must hear it all day, every day, is not an acceptable proposition.

If I were to drive a muscle car sporting a pair of twin glass-packs, how far would I get on any thoroughfare in Maine? As for the argument that the noise is a safety factor for riders, consider the biker who T-boned a fire truck a while back because “I couldn’t hear the siren.”

Current law and technology enable reasonable limits on engine noise — regardless of whether a vehicle has two or four wheels — that are in the public interest.

Enforcing those limits for motorcycles (and, yes, a few hot rods) seems to present a regrettable extra challenge.

Thank you again.

Alex Severance

Brunswick

 

As an avid motorcyclist with 50 years’ riding experience over thousands of miles, I feel it is time to speak out against loud motorcycles.

Excessive noise from altered exhaust systems is not only annoying but very disruptive. The problem has grown to such proportions that I would now accept legislation such as requiring EPA labeling on mufflers be enforced.

Some decibel testing methods, such as the new SAE standards, might be a more fair approach. Legislation in this direction is past due.

It’s time more people speak up. Society seems to have accepted this obnoxious behavior. I’ve seen and heard riders who seem like normal everyday folks ride off on extremely loud bikes. Also, this is embarrassing to me and my fellow riders who maintain properly muffled motorcycles.

Let me add that motorcycles are not the only noise problem. Drivers of large trucks with engine brakes can be more discerning of their use in populated areas. Cars and pickup trucks with hot rod-style mufflers are becoming more popular and are as much of an annoyance on Main Street in Damariscotta as loud motorcycles are.

Alan McKinnon

Damariscotta

 

Congratulations to state and city officials for pushing important quality-of-life issues.

State Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, is leading an effort in the state Legislature to finally pass an enforceable law to reduce motorcycle noise (L.D. 1675).

Most motorcyclists are respectful of others’ right to live with some measure of quiet. A minority are determined to disturb the peace, and they’ve been allowed to do just that for too long.

I encourage those who have been negatively affected by excessive motorcycle noise to contact their state representative and senator to urge passage of L.D. 1675.

Also, kudos to the Portland City Council for appointing a task force to investigate ways to mitigate noise from bars and nightclubs.

The task force, which seems to represent all the interested parties, will report back to the council in June with recommendations.

There are a number of quality-of-life issues in Portland — including panhandling, graffiti, public urination and noise. Of those, I would put excessive noise at the top of the list; so it is gratifying to see state and local officials working to create a more livable city.

To those who say of these issues, “That’s life in the city,” I would respond that is doesn’t have to be that way.

Jim Prosser

Portland

 

 

Mortgage loan program very difficult to get into

 

Every morning I read the paper online and at the top of the page there is an advertising box that scrolls through various ads.

One very disturbing is the one promoting an Obama refinancing program that nobody is taking advantage of. I for one know lots of people who are trying to take advantage of it, but it seems to be a farce and nobody is getting any good from it.

I have been trying to do the program since last March and am not even any closer to getting a new refinance. A close friend of mine has also been trying since last April, and every time we think we are going to hear something, they always need more paperwork, or they do not send you the proper paperwork.

The program is one big headache and I think that is what they want so you get frustrated and stop following through with it. I have sent in my package to three different mortgage companies because every time I think I am getting close, my mortgage gets sold.

And when calling the mortgage company, they will not even speak to you until they have all documents. I heard on TV last week there are more than 70 million people trying to do the program.

We need a better program out there that will help struggling people trying to save their homes.

Kim Carll

North Waterboro

 

Support for Jewish neighbors heartening to see

It is taught in my religion, and I am certain in others, that the act is everything. A wonderful act of both brotherhood and contrition was expressed in a remarkable letter to the editor on Feb. 23 from the Rev. Dr. William M. Barter and his parishioners at St. Ansgar Evangelical Lutheran Church in Portland.

Barter’s words were open, honest and courageous. In response to the desecration of Jewish burial plots in Mount Carmel Cemetery, he wrote: “Far beyond mischievous vandalism, Nazi symbols became an ugly reminder of the horrors of the past, as well as the hate that is still woven into the fabric of today.”

He said further that “it is impossible to believe that if millions of Christians rose up to end the genocide, it could still have happened. By Christian silence, the Holocaust become our own crime against humanity.”

Barter and his flock obviously realize that it is important always to speak out and act against racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of cowardly human behavior that seek to divide us one against the other, and replace love, justice and brotherhood with mindless hatred.

Thank you, Barter, for reminding all of us that we must not remain silent in the face of the rage and hatred that currently divides this nation. You say that silence in the face of evil is “perfect complicity If we are silent, we are accomplices. If we love God, we cannot ignore our neighbor.”

You tell us that you and your church “hold the Jewish community in prayerful support and love.” Thank you, all my brothers and sisters, at St. Ansgar. I honor you all as teachers and true Christians. As it is said in Judaism: May you continue to go from strength to strength.

Norman Abelson

Moody

The Rev. William Barter wrote an eloquent and substantive response to the events of the Holocaust and the cemetery desecration. But I think Barter should let himself and his fellow Christians off the hook as regards the inaction of non-Jews during the terrible Holocaust events.

I am Jewish, and I volunteered in the research department of the Washington Holocaust Museum, but I’m not a Holocaust scholar.

However, I learned about the Holocaust. Jews were targeted, but so were homosexuals, Gypsies, the disabled. and anyone who was caught aiding Jews. Many non-Jews took incredible risks to hide, feed and care for Jews. Hitler’s machine was terrible and there was no escaping its efficiency.

I more than appreciated Barter’s concern regarding the desecration of Mount Carmel Cemetery. It seems that there have been increasing acts of anti-semitism, as well as growing admiration of the Nazis. This must be stopped, and all people should rally against such horrendous acts.

It’s not only the acts themselves, but also the subtext that we should fear. History repeats. We find ourselves in very insecure times, with joblessness, price increases and a general feeling of insecurity. Throughout history, Jews have been the traditional scapegoats when social unrest occurs.

I believe that the community as a whole can play a part in stopping these events and hopefully educating both the perpetrators as well as the community at large. I agree that indeed we must learn to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”

Rachel Schwartz

South Portland

 

Bruce Poliquin stands out as candidate for governor

Of the almost two dozen people running for the office, Bruce Poliquin’s background, experience, and character makes him stand out from the pack.

He has spent his entire life in the private sector successfully starting, managing, and investing in businesses. He’s created jobs in Maine and built companies that have contributed to our economy. He’s the only candidate with experience handling and managing a budget as large our state budget.

Bruce is also an incredibly hard worker. Anyone who’s had a chance to meet Bruce knows how much energy he has and how passionate he is about solving the problems in our state.

Bruce is direct, honest and straightforward. He doesn’t sugarcoat the economic difficulties Maine will face in the next few years. Most importantly, Bruce is the only candidate with the right qualifications and financial experience to tackle the tough economic choices that face the next governor.

Personally, I am tired of the career politicians running our state. We need someone who actually understands the problems we have and has the right solutions. Bruce Poliquin is the only candidate who fits that description.

Julie Moss

Yarmouth

 

Refugees who come here need to abide by U.S. rules

I would like to respond to the letters on Jan. 1 in regards to taking care of refugees being an obligation for all of us.

First: Earl Harnden is right on and Sally Connolly is way off base.

Second: We do need to help one another, but we need to start with our own country and clean up our own messes. When will other countries start standing up to their dictators and cleaning up their own messes so they can have better lives?

It’s not up to the United States to fight for their countries and support them; they need to do it themselves. If I go over to their countries, I would need to abide by their social code and their laws, so I feel if they come to our country, they need to abide by our ways of life.

Sandra L. Grondin

Yarmouth

 

Big financial firms clearly have influential friends

Once upon a time, you could put money aside for retirement in an IRA CD, and earn enough on the interest to make it worthwhile.

Now the most you can get on a one-year CD is approximately 1 percent, and the cost of living increase has been over 4 percent until recently.

In the meantime, the CEOs of the largest banks are giving themselves million-dollar bonuses. We the people bailed out these same banks. They wouldn’t exist if we didn’t put our tax dollars on the line.

With the mortgage mess they created, they don’t deserve to exist. It has been shown that the so-called bank, Goldman Sachs, trades ahead of its so-called investors. That is, if you want to buy futures, and give Goldman Sachs a million dollars, they buy a million dollars worth with their own money seconds before they buy your share.

They buy at a lower price for themselves, knowing the buy they will make for you will drive the value of their own investment up, through supply and artificially created demand.

After making your buy, they then sell their own shares for a profit. They buy low, sell high for themselves, and buy high, and sell low for the suckers, I mean investors.

It’s called “high frequency” trading. I call it cheating. Isn’t insider trading still illegal? The game is rigged. So who do Goldman Sachs, and similar companies bribe, I mean make contributions to?

Whoever looks like the winner, that’s who, Republicans and Democrats alike. The Republican mantra was deregulate. It looks like deregulate really meant make immoral illegal actions, quasi-legal in exchange for political contributions.

If capitalism is not dead, it sure smells funny. The Supreme Court now says money is speech. If so, how much can you afford? Goldman Sachs can afford plenty!

John Dow

Windham

 

If sentence is too severe, reduce it so it will work

The recent acquittals of lobstermen, by less-than-honest jury conclusions when evidence of interference with other lobstermen’s traps appears clearly supportive of the guilt of the accused, was laid at the feet of an overly severe penalty: the loss of one’s livelihood for three years.

Though a culprit may deserve that harsh penalty, would justice not be better served were the penalty changed to one week in prison, three days of which to be spent in solitary confinement?

The prisoner would have no reading material, to better contemplate the wrong he has done in particular and about his life in general, with the added punishments of a daily diet of one quart of water (not tea, coffee or milk) and only one balanced meal a day, composed of not more or no less than 1 pound of solid food — and no dessert.

Further, on release, one-third of his daily profits would be banked in the name of the aggrieved until damages have been paid in full. A sincere public apology should be required as well.

And maybe we should go further inland for unbiased jury members?

Loretta MacKinnon

Yarmouth

 

Postal patron discovers ‘tracking’ not effective

One may be under the impression that, when an individual purchases extra services from the U.S. Postal Service, there are guarantees of delivery.

In fact the only guarantee is that the post office is going to make extra money. I found this out the hard way recently when I mailed a book worth $27 and had tracking applied.

After a month, the recipient had not received the book and the tracking indicated that the only thing that had happened was that the local post office had accepted it. After that it vanished.

It was suggested to me that I was out of luck figuratively and financially, and that if I had wanted to guarantee its delivery, I should have insured it.

On that basis, they were unable to give me a logical explanation for the purchasing of tracking as a way of insuring that mail arrived at its final destination.

It was also suggested to me that perhaps I had not packed it correctly or that it might have been stolen. I was given a Web site to contact postal inspectors, but they would contact me only if the book had been found.

In all fairness to the post office, 99.6 percent of all items are delivered and I am still using tracking. I don’t have much choice.

I also trust the members of my local post office impeccably; however, a package that is tracked without insurance creates an incentive for a dishonest employee to walk off with something. I think that the public should be aware of what the extra services represent.

Tom DiPasqua

Scarborough