Leave it to the eyes of a 9-year-old Girl Scout to see what most adults do not: the blight caused by littering (Voice of the People, “Help pick up 100 pieces of litter,” Nov. 6). Good luck to Cati Gaffen and her fellow Scouts in keeping their beautiful town of Casco clean. One person can make a difference, and we should all take a lesson from these children.

In Portland, possibly due to $1.50 blue bags, the streets have become the public’s wastebasket. My friend Jim picks up bottles and cans on his morning walk and treats himself to a Bruins or Celtics game, train included, with the proceeds.

To see how tossing just one coffee cup a day impacts our environment, take Exit 4 from 295 south to Cash Corner. Between the fences you’ll see a pile of hundreds of cups, growing at the rate of one a day, for years. Once cleaned, the pile begins growing the next day.

If other Scouts would like to match Cati’s goal of 100 pieces of litter, start there. If these children care this much about their future, shouldn’t we also?

L.B. Babin

Portland

 

Snowe and Collins urged to keep opposing dirty air

Several bills now working their way through Congress threaten to delay, undermine and scrap important health protections that prevent the air we breathe from being polluted with dangerous toxins. These bills give the polluters, mostly Midwestern power plants, a pass, while Maine citizens pay the price with our health.

Fortunately, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins helped defeat one such measure. The defeated measure would have put an end to the Cross-State Air Pollution rule, a rule that is critical to protecting downwind states such as Maine from pollution generated in other states.

Unfortunately, the fight for clean, healthy air for Mainers has just begun. Polluters are trying to kill off or suspend important healthy air protections under the Clean Air Act. We know unhealthy air hurts all of us. The most vulnerable are children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases like asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

It is not fair to ask Maine families to keep breathing polluted air while polluters seek to buy time, while dumping toxins in our air.

It will be equally important in the coming weeks that Sens. Snowe and Collins stand for the health of Maine families and oppose all measures that seek to hold up or impede the important health protections of the Clean Air Act.

Julie Osgood

Portland

 

We all have responsibility in reducing need for oil

Allan Brockman’s Another View column Nov. 13 (“Pipeline protesters don’t offer realistic energy alternatives”) exemplifies the bias about our need for oil and other fossil energy sources.

Ever since Reagan removed the solar panels from the White House, we have been bombarded with falsehoods which are the mantra of big corporations who benefit from our ignorance.

We could end our “dependence on foreign oil” with simple practical conservation initiatives. We still build huge inefficient houses, offices and motor vehicles that maximize profit but minimize efficiency.

We could eliminate much of our driving by rebuilding the local stores and zoning out big boxes, shopping malls and remote shopping centers. We could maximize the use of teleconferencing, home computers and other communication devices and get most people out of their offices. Who needs to sit in a bank, law office or real estate office to obtain information? The phone or a videoconference would do in almost every case.

We need to force our governments to look to the independent scientists for guidance, not the corporate shills, lobbyists and wholly owned politicians. Pat Buchanan suggested that anybody off the street could do a better job than the Congress. I am struggling to find a way to disagree with him.

John S. Wood

Hollis Center

 

Mitchell appears to forget his partisanship as leader

I disagree with (former Senate Majority Leader) George Mitchell’s contention that partisanship in Washington wasn’t as bad when he was in the Senate as it is now (Portland Press Herald, Nov. 17). But he certainly is correct when he says that he tends to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses.

When he was Senate majority leader, Mitchell was one of the most partisan leaders in the history of that body. No reasonable Republican legislation was able to pass the Senate at that time, due to his disinclination to work across the aisle.

Mr. Mitchell, since he left the Senate, has successfully (in my opinion) redeemed himself, particularly with his mediation work in Northern Ireland and in the baseball steroid investigation, but those of us who do not possess rose-colored glasses cannot forget the past!

Gerald S. Gordon

Portland

 

Drug tests a valid invasion of privacy for aid receivers

Apparently, the ACLU and like-thinking people are opposed to the governor’s proposal to require drug testing for welfare recipients. Their reason is “invasion of privacy.” Nonsense!

The screening to take an air flight is an invasion of privacy The establishment of creditworthiness is an invasion of privacy. Likewise, to qualify for welfare one has already allowed an invasion of privacy. Sometimes the invasion of privacy is needed for the public good.

The only added privacy invasion for welfare recipients, now proposed, would be to determine whether they are drug addicts. Anyone who isn’t has nothing to be concerned about. Anyone who is should be seeking help from an agency equipped to deal with addicts.

How many people want their precious tax dollars utilized to support a drug habit?

John Parker

Falmouth