Is it defensible for condo associations to preclude the installation of solar panels due to aesthetic concerns? My father-in-law wants to offset his high energy bills, and dependence on fossil energy, through the installation of a solar energy system.

The flat panels resemble large skylights, yet the association has voted against the project. Due to a lack of national and state leadership on progressive energy policies over the past 30 years, Maine is the most oil-dependent state in the nation, with the highest per capita CO2 emissions in New England.

As long as we continue to prioritize manicured lawns and rooftops without solar to alleviate eyestrain, we will continue to be a civilization in decline.

One does not have to believe in global warming to grasp the reality that the extraction and combustion of fossil energy is one of the most unsustainable human activities in terms of pollution and geopolitical conflict.

There is still time to extract our heads from the sand, but apparently this will take significantly more resolve and, I hate to say it, governmental intervention because people continue to demonstrate an incredible lack of individual responsibility on behalf of present and future generations.

And finally, is it patriotic to support our continued over-reliance on fossil-fuel energy when so many alternatives exist?

Phil Coupe
Cape Elizabeth

Was an ulterior motive behind general’s faux pas? 

It seems odd that a man who voted for President Obama became the commanding general of allied forces in Afghanistan, and now been ousted for making political remark against the president.

I feel like there is something much bigger behind the story of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation. A well-disciplined officer doesn’t just make dumb mistakes like that, knowing full well that he could be demoted, removed or even court-martialed.

I have a theory. What if McCrystal believes that the biggest threat to Obama in 2012 is Gen. David Petraeus being on the ticket with Mitt Romney? After all, the political landscape has totally changed since the previous election.

The GOP barely has any minority members — well, party chairman Michael Steele is probably the most visible.

An Obama and Biden ticket is a true representation of America today, unlike Romney with another white politician. It would have looked much better with Mitt Romney with a war hero.

The businessman who could bring job experience and the general knows the art of war. In recent months we have seen what the White House is capable of by offering candidates official posts in order not to run against their favorite candidate.

I think Gen. McCrystal might have approached the president and said that he would say something stupid to bring Petraeus to Afghanistan so that Obama could be worry-free for 2012.

James W. Edouard
Westbrook

 Arizona’s law needed because feds failed to act 

Any discussion of the new law in Arizona must begin with awareness of the federal government’s deficiencies. The U.S. Constitution clearly assigns the federal government the responsibility to protect the states “against invasion.” (See Article IV, Section 4.)

If that duty were faithfully being carried out, there would be no need for the recently passed law in Arizona.

Note that the Constitution didn’t say “military invasion,” just invasion. And the millions who have broken our laws and inundated our country constitute an invasion.

A large percentage of Arizona’s crime wave, welfare and medical costs, narcotics problem, etc., is traceable to the border-crossers. How else to deal with the situation when practically no help comes from those assigned to cope with the problem?

The John Birch Society reports on a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq who said that his unit was given the responsibility of sealing the border between Syria and Iraq.

He added, “We did it, and if we could do that at the Syria-Iraq border, it can be done at our nation’s southern border.”

What’s missing is the will to do the job. This missing will should be a topic for discussion.

Oklahoma enacted tough laws against hiring illegal immigrants, when it became obvious that a federal law enacted to target this problem wasn’t being enforced. Many of the illegal immigrants fled the state.

Critics will insist that Arizona has gone too far. Why don’t they criticize the federal government for not going far enough?

Robert Bruce Acheson
Dixfield

Superfund site in Plymouth went to highest cleanup bid? 

Much information has been publicized about the How’s Corner superfund site in the Penobscot town of Plymouth over the years. Here is a tidbit I’m sure won’t get coverage.

The How’s Corner site group recently solicited bids for the construction of a groundwater treatment system as remedial action at the site. Detailed plans and contract specifications were provided by an engineering firm. Bonding was required to ensure contractor performance.

The group received three bids, all from qualified, reputable and competent local contractors. All three bidding companies are general contractors whose primary expertise is earthwork.

For no apparent reason, other than name recognition or lack thereof, the group has selected the highest bidder to perform the work.

The claim has been made that project funding is private; therefore, the group can choose whoever its members want to do the work, regardless of price. But many of the responsible parties who have paid for cleaning up the site are public entities, including cities, towns, government agencies, and schools. Doesn’t that fact alone make it publicly funded?

It is comforting to know that in these times of economic belt-tightening, all of the dozens of responsible parties for the site cleanup have an extra $170,000 to spend on the project (the amount the highest bid exceeds the lowest one).

Maybe they are doling out the extra cash as reparations for the environmental damage caused by the mishandling of waste oil. Rather than give the excess money to a contractor, they could just give it to the people of Plymouth.

Rick Whitmore
Eddington