I recently read the article concerning the “phonies” impersonating Navy SEALs, and as I did, I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s individuals like these, who attempt to cheat the system by taking credit that isn’t theirs to take, who are causing integrity issues in younger generations.

Over the past few years, academic integrity has been on the decline, with so many offenders (as I’ve witnessed firsthand in many classrooms — I’m a high school student). It’s a wonder when the trend even started.

Many have blamed lax security around schoolwork and testing, with teachers not caring enough to check for anomalies in papers, such as a student who consistently scored below average throughout much of the school year, but suddenly bumped up to an acceptable score without any extra effort.

Many have also blamed the lack of information brought to students’ attention about cheating, such as consequences for offenses.

But maybe there’s a larger, more dangerous underlying issue involving students’ integrity. Maybe today’s active generation simply isn’t setting a good example.

From the 35,000 or so exposed phonies claiming to be Navy SEALs, to citizens attempting tax evasions, to spouses who choose not to remain faithful to their significant others even at the cost of their children’s trust in them, maybe it’s not today’s younger generation that’s causing the problem, but today’s active generation.

Today’s offenders should consider the example they’re setting for the younger, easily influenced generation that is soon to step into the working world.

Should today’s assumed principles be applied to the average business or work environment (e.g. finding loopholes in every system available for nothing more than personal gain), such businesses would cease to work properly, because as the younger generation sees it, the others don’t matter.

Andrew Soucy

Biddeford 

It’s not who’s intellectual, it’s who’s being honest 

There has been much criticism over recent words used and statements made in discussing various political issues confronting Maine. ‘The “intellectual elite” are subject to criticism by those who are accused of using “anti-intellectual” rhetoric!

I suppose they’re talking about those who are college educated (especially from Ivy League and high-priced liberal arts colleges and law schools); pseudo-intellectuals who lack the requisite high academic credentials but claim to be so because of their positions of authority or influence; and undocumented intellectuals, who possess great wisdom, exceptional critical thinking skills and uncanny common sense.

It’s not difficult to imagine why some statements and opinions by persons in each of these diverse categories might be viewed with disdain and suspicion from the others.

But arguing over who does and does not have the intellectual upper hand misses the mark.

The frequent intellectually dishonest statements made by many of these “smart” people engaging in public discourse are breathtaking.

This dishonesty destroys any rational discussion of issues, distorts factual data and information, creates a false sense of alarm and panic, results in name calling and personal attacks, and triggers a rampage of constant hypocrisy. For example, some argue that “teacher tenure” doesn’t exist in Maine. Others say it’s called a “continuing contract.”

So who is correct? If it’s not a job protection measure, why is a public employee contract needed?

Maine’s economic and business growth and budgetary problems are too important and difficult to address without the distraction caused by some intellectually dishonest politicians, government and business leaders, commentators and pundits, and others blindly driven by political ideology and special interests.

Bill Underwood

Springvale 

Take local officials out of York County budgeting 

There is a proposal in Augusta to realign the York County Budget Committee as it is structured.

Our proposal is to allow more public input into the county budget. Currently the majority of the budget committee consists of municipal officials.

We would reduce the number of voting members to 10 rather than 15. Five members from the public would be appointed by the county commissioners, one from each of the five districts. The other five members would be selected at the caucus held by the municipal officials.

The committee elects its own chair, but that individual must be one of the public appointees.

This procedure is currently used by other counties and some do not allow any municipal participation.

This bill would change the current system of budget adoption by only allowing the budget committee’s recommendation to be overturned if there is a unanimous vote by the commissioners.

This allows the commissioners to protect adequate funding for county obligations (labor contracts, etc.) should the budget committee’s recommendation not do so.

It also requires the budget committee to provide a budget to the commissioners in the time frame according to the current statute.

The legislators who co-sponsored this legislation are deserving of thanks from the residents of York County for their willingness to take a look at the current legislation and to allow for a discussion about the process.

It is those folks who truly represent the public and not their own personal interests.

Sallie Chandler

York County Commissioners

Lebanon 

Good to see Freeport cafe get the notice it deserved 

Azure Cafe was reviewed in The Portland Press Herald on May 5. I enjoyed reading about one of the favorite special places of my wife and myself: great food, great drink and great people.

Your readers may not know that Azure’s Chef Kelly Patrick Farrin was selected as 2010 Maine Lobster chef of the year.

In addition, Azure and the owners are well known beyond their great food, for their outstanding public service to the community and beyond.

David Webster

Freeport