February 2, 2013

Letters to the editor: Burning over fire department coverage

(Continued from page 1)

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Portland personnel fight a blaze at the Jordan’s Meats plant on Middle Street in 2010. The lives of firefighters and community members are threatened because the city fire department isn’t able to staff fire trucks at levels established under the national fire safety code, a reader says.

2010 File Photo/Jack Milton

We take our chosen profession to heart, and from our end I think that is why these negative remarks turn personal. Nobody wants too much help until it is their emergency.

Christopher Vail

Portland firefighter

Portland

Lawmakers should take back 'gift' to biotechnology giant

At the last minute in a secret deal, a paragraph was inserted into the "fiscal cliff" bill that awarded Amgen what amounts to a $500 million taxpayer gift.

Haven't heard about this? Go to the Internet and check out the Jan. 19 New York Times article about how the world's largest biotech firm bought itself a piece of legislation.

Last month, Amgen pleaded guilty to illegally marketing one of its drugs and agreed to pay $762 million in penalties. Basically, the taxpayers are reimbursing Amgen about two-thirds of its penalties.

This is particularly hypocritical, not to mention shameful, when the very senators behind this deal are those who make the most noise about bringing down the deficit.

This is ugly -- with a capital "U" -- on many levels, not the least being the ever-present cronyism that thrives in Washington. Can ordinary Americans ever get a fair shake?

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., is attempting to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor that will repeal this back-room giveaway. Please contact U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, and U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, too, in support of Rep. Welch's bill. Enough is enough.

Tracy Panzani

Bath

No such thing as a safe gun around children, teenagers

Recently, a teenage boy in New Mexico allegedly shot and killed five family members ("N.M. teen accused of killing his parents, three siblings," Portland Press Herald, Jan. 21).

Possible shared psychological characteristics aside, he and all young school shooters from Columbine to Newtown had one thing in common -- they had access to guns and knew how to use them.

Parents and close family members should get the guns out of their homes.

All the reasons for thinking your child or children may be safe around guns in the home cannot possibly trump the moment when a young person decides to play with a gun, show it off to a friend or, in one unfathomable moment, head to a local school bent on destruction.

In addition, many young teenagers do not have the cognitive development to know the devastating effects that accidental or intentional shootings can have on families, communities and their own futures.

Please rid your homes of guns if young people reside or visit there. Let's end school shootings, not by arming the teachers, but by disarming the kids.

Carol Eddy

Springvale

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