How did an Oxford casino make it on the ballot again — hasn’t it been voted down enough? Well, no. I’m writing today to ask folks that have had doubts in the past to listen to the facts, I truly think this proposal is fairer to the people of Maine than previous.

A report by the University of Maine claims that the casino could create 2,784 jobs in western Maine, an area that has lost a thousand jobs in a decade. Closures of Robinson Manufacturing Co., Burlington Homes, Oxford Homes and countless others have created a depressed local economy. The state put unemployment rates in Oxford County at 10.6 percent in July, nearly three points higher than the rest of the state.

As opposed to the 2008 Olympia Gaming proposal, this initiative is backed by Maine business owners, including the founders of Grover Gundrilling, Inc., in Norway, community activists, the co-owner of Mt. Abram Family Ski Resort in Greenwood, the former owner of Oxford Plains Speedway and successful businessmen from southern Maine. All of these investors have deep ties to my community and have incentive to bring jobs home.

Furthermore, the chief of police in Bangor has found no correlation between Hollywood Slots and an increase in crime. A casino will hurt Maine’s image? I ask how this proposal could be less representative of Maine than “Hollywood” Slots? It ain’t Hollywood.

And finally, when I am told that people will develop gambling problems, I simply remind them that we already have drinking problems and drug problems, but more importantly we have job problems. Casinos No! is just a coalition of gambling entities worried about losing revenue to competition, full of empty rhetoric.

Without work we have nothing, and this is an opportunity to give us a chance. All we are asking for is a day’s work for a day’s pay. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the Maine thing to do. Vote “yes” on Question 1 Nov. 2.

Colin Delaney O’Neill
Oxford 

Wind will not displace other forms of power 

To justify the destruction of Maine’s landscapes with his wind turbines, Angus King repeats the familiar claim that “there would be a 1-to-1 reduction in greenhouse gases because existing plants would be throttled back whenever the turbines are in operation.”

This is simply not true. To understand why, consider that the grid is like the generator many of us have for emergency or camping use. If you plug a 1,500-watt space heater into a 1,000-watt generator, you have overloaded it by 500 watts and the circuit breaker will trip. Plug the same heater into a 2,000-watt generator and you have 500 watts of unused capacity. Unused capacity in the electrical grid is known as “spinning reserve.”

The grid operator maintains enough spinning reserve at all times to ensure that if one of the largest generators suddenly fails, or demand increases unexpectedly, there will be no tripped circuit breakers. The grid operator therefore does not have to precisely balance supply and demand as the wind industry claims.

It is not necessary for some generator to “throttle back” when a wind turbine “throttles up.”

The grid does not react to every flick of a light switch, it simply provides more than enough generation at all times. The grid operator is not required by any rules to reduce fossil fuel generation when the wind blows.

His primary job is to provide us with reliable electricity. The regional power agency ISO-New England has been studying the problems of integrating uncontrollable wind power for several years and has not found a successful fossil fuel reduction program that works.

Wind power, when available, simply adds to the safety buffer known as spinning reserve. In grid terms it is “spilled,” as in spilled milk.

Steve Thurston
co-chair, Citizens Task Force on Wind Power
Oquossoc
 

Care for lowest earners mark of truly just society 

Will we be judged by the amount of money we saved? The amount of toys we have? Will our maker judge us by our credit score? Or when we face the creator, will we be judged by the care we have given our families, ourselves and others?

I deeply believe it’s by how well we deal with others, the 69 percent of workers who are paid less then the cost of living. The real cost of living should be the new poverty level. Let us not wait another 50 years to correct our mistakes.

All, including the mentally ill, workers and mothers on welfare need a livable wage. If we are only as free as we allow others a decent wage, then everyone needs to cover all the costs of basics.

We do not need golden toilets. We need safe, operational ones. It is those who keep clean toilets, provide healthy food and offer to construct or repair a roof over our heads who are lacking here on Earth. Let’s pray that they might find the way to prosperity.

Love and care for others will protect us from a bad economy.

Jan Lightfoot Lane
Fairfield 

Term limits hurt state? Yes, as do other things 

Tony Payne raises some provocative points in his column Sept. 5, “The costs of term limits could be cut.” I applaud his mention of Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford, and the expiration of his legislative term as a cautionary note about losing legislative experience and expertise.

Maine has had few if any more effective public servants; Rep. Millett has served very ably and responsibly in both the legislative and executive branches for many years, and likely knows the budget process better than anyone in the state ever has.

And I agree with Payne that Maine’s term limit law was misguidedly aimed at John Martin’s seemingly endless reign as speaker of the House. Martin has also been an effective public servant for a long time.

The point at which I differ from Mr. Payne is on what to do about term limits. In response to his signature conclusion to his column, “What do you think and what are you going to do about it?,” I suggest that Maine should limit tenure of leadership rather than of legislative seats.

When his time comes, if the people of Eagle Lake should want to elect John Martin to the House posthumously, that should be their business. We would all be better off, however, if neither he nor anyone were to run for either house of the Legislature for 20 years.

Alexander Severance
Brunswick 

When Tony Payne is wrong, he goes full bore and damn the torpedoes.

Term limits are not the problem. It is the constant compromise from promising the teachers’ pension plan a zillion dollars to settle on only half a zillion dollars, when in fact we can’t afford to pay anywhere near what all the compromises total.

“Institutional knowledge” has produced a $4.4 billion shortfall in the pension plan. It has transferred money from the highway tax fund to the general fund. It has added increased benefits to the pension system without an actuary to cost it out.

It has assumed interest rates to keep the “cost” down that are moronic. It has assumed a retirement age that is three years higher than anyone who can do simple arithmetic would choose for themselves.

Augusta is filled by incredibly unqualified hacks that are there to get their 30 years of “service” so they can get that pension increase for themselves that they voted for last year.

To explain it in terms that Payne can relate to, the Legislature is filled with people like those on the Falmouth Town Council, stumbling from one accidental screwing of the taxpayers to the next.

Let’s pick a number of tax filers in the state, say there are 440,000. Each one of them needs to first pay an extra $10,000 to bring the pension plan current and then an extra $3,000 per year to maintain full funding.

People like Payne cannot imagine that at some point people are going to say “enough.” When that happens, the new term limits will be “one term and out” with no pensions for anybody because the institutional knowledge forgot that you have to have a tax base before you collect any taxes. Kill the goose that lays the golden egg? We’re almost there.

Michael Doyle
Falmouth