Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Maine law mandates that all motorcycles (with few exceptions) on public roads must have quiet factory-installed exhaust systems or systems not louder than the original factory version.
Police checkpoints on sunny summer weekends could take riders who violate motorcycle noise laws off the roads, a reader says.
2003 file photo/The Associated Press
Operating motorcycles heard from 200-plus feet away and/or above moving traffic are illegal. Removing Environmental Protection Agency-approved mufflers or installing loud exhausts is a Class E crime in Maine and automatically disqualifies motorcycles from receiving a safety inspection sticker-which disqualifies them from obtaining a lawful registration and insurance policy.
Today, illegally loud motorbikes are a scourge in all Maine communities. Why do these flagrant, unhealthy and illegal noise assaults perpetrated by scofflaw bikers on our children, our elderly and communities continue to occur?
Scofflaw bikers know they can get away with it; an inexplicable, outrageous lack of enforcement from most law officers in Maine; and a badly flawed motorcycle inspection system.
A valid sticker given to an illegal motorcycle allows unlawful registration and insurance. Many thousands of unlawful, technically uninsured motorcycles evidently then are on Maine roads today. Yet most police do little or nothing about this!
State police (local police within their jurisdictions) should initiate motorcycle checkpoints on roadsides one or two sunny weekend days a month during motorcycle season. Truck inspection areas on the highways could be used. Lawful riders would not be there long. Scofflaws would be taken off our roads.
Incompetent or negligent inspection station mechanics would be identified. News media reporting and broadcasting the operation would send a positive public message -- officers doing their job -- scofflaws getting the point!
Illegally loud motorcycles and lack of law enforcement about it are national issues. It's guaranteed the operation would create positive national headlines for Maine.
Maine citizens are lawfully entitled to quiet days and peaceful nights and safety. Maine authorities must eradicate these scofflaws from all public roads -- now!
Those wanting to get illegal motorcycles off public roads can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paper's coverage downplays beach plan's risk of failure
I think the article by North Cairn ("Camp Ellis fix moving forward on a wave of uncertainty," Aug. 11) is a bit thin on detail and one-sided in its slant to how beneficial the proposed Army Corps of Engineers project will be in Saco/Camp Ellis.
This is an exceptionally costly proposal that has serious risk of failure or even worse, collateral damage, as all other Army Corps efforts in the area have historically been.
I am sure that any sampling of Maine citizens would oppose a $20 million expenditure to save properties worth far less and bought by owners who knew in advance that the land was eroding. (Anyone who bought after 1900 was aware of the erosion.)
One can only hope that Gov. LePage, known for his frugality with public money, will see through this attempt to put Maine taxpayers at risk of bailing out this project when it fails!
Dr. Joseph T. Kelley
Charter schools benefit kids; virtual ones won't do the job
Just as George W. Bush hoped to privatize Social Security, his brother Jeb Bush hopes to privatize education. Billions of dollars are spent on public education by towns, states and the federal government, and people like Jeb Bush see the possibility of windfall profits for private, for-profit companies if they can siphon off that money.
Jeb Bush continues to support Gov. LePage in the hopes that the money we spend in Maine for our children's education can be diverted out of state by for-profit charter schools. Some of the applications the Maine Charter School Commission has rejected were for such virtual charter schools.
I have long been a proponent of alternative public charter schools, as our present system of educating the youth does not meet the needs of all our children.
Many of our districts are too small to offer Advanced Placement classes in the sciences and math. Other schools cut music and the arts to meet budget demands. A charter school in the visual and performing arts would find eager students.
However, the virtual charter schools whose proposals were denied by the Charter School Commission are not what we generally mean when we use the word "school." Is a teenager at home with his computer when parents are off to work a school?
A virtual school is cheap to run. It requires no teachers or coaches or music and drama teachers. It requires no principals or guidance teachers. It requires no school buildings, expensive to construct and maintain.
All of this makes the private companies drool with greed, as they expect their virtual charter schools to siphon off the public dollars that presently go to the more expensive model to follow the student to the for-profit company.
Society that values workers will have thriving economy
While American economics is floundering in a loss for direction, Australia has a minimum wage of $16.85 per hour. The Australian dollar is at $1.10 U.S. and expected to become $1.70 U.S. by 2014.
Unemployment in Australia is at 5.5 percent. The Australian universal health care system is completely funded by a 1.5 percent income tax.
These structural changes are working for Australia because of some basic economic factors. When workers make a livable wage, they purchase goods and services that grow the economy. When labor has no value, the greatest commodity of a society has no value.
Minimum wage in developing countries is below 25 cents U.S. per hour. These developing economies draw capital investment from developed economies, producing a reduction in the developed economies and producing no benefit to the host economies. This is my deduction about the decline in the world economy.
Trickle-down economics is clearly a failure. China is shifting to a consumer-based economy. Its minimum wage standard is only $2.65 U.S. but is steadily growing.
As labor becomes valuable in China, its economy will grow and become less dependent on exports. I am sure we need structural changes that make labor more valuable and structural changes to provide incentives that prevent capital investments that exploit world labor markets.
Deinstitutionalization puts unstable people on the street
In the Aug. 11 Maine Sunday Telegram, a front-page article ("Maine's safety net for mentally disabled is frayed") indicates that one of the Lewiston arsonists may be put back on the street because the system is frayed and the deinstitutionalization begun 50 years ago by well-intentioned liberals is becoming a disaster.
It shows the hypocrisy of those liberals, as they apparently can live with the risk created by their actions, yet they have a fit over the smaller risk the Second Amendment creates by allowing law-abiding citizens to have guns for self-protection.
There is no doubt that deinstitutionalization has created huge problems with these people who need direction to live. Our cities are swarming with the homeless who would at one time be housed securely at places such as Pineland was.
Many families have given up seeking proper help for sick family members as the system looks the other way. It is not until something horrendous or fatal happens does the authority get involved. By then it is too late!
Yet these same people are outraged that there is a similar risk involved by allowing the constitutionally granted right to bear arms. Does anyone see the parallel between these two risks: one a guaranteed constitutional right and the other just feel-good liberal emotionalism?
The pecksniffery is obvious to those who care to understand and points out just how out of touch our nation has become in its progressive agenda.
George A. Fogg