Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The majority of states don't require motor vehicle inspections on a regular basis, but Maine does. That might not seem like much of an issue, but there is no evidence that lack of inspections leads to more traffic fatalities or injuries.
Erik Lowell of AAA Car Care in Portland puts a new sticker on a car after he inspected and passed the vehicle in 2011. A reader says Maine’s car inspection mandate amounts to “a regressive tax.”
2011 Telegram File Photo/Derek Davis
Given that is the case, it's hard to see inspections as anything more than a regressive tax, one that disproportionately impacts the poor. I would go so far as to say that inspections are a form of indirect subsidy to mechanics.
I think almost everyone has been in the situation where their car cannot pass inspection, but they can't afford to get it fixed, so they drive anyway. People do this because if they ever hope to make those repairs, they have to work, and to work, they must get there. It's something of a catch-22.
They risk a fine if they fail to get a sticker, something that surely doesn't make them more likely to actually have the repairs done -- if anything, it makes it more unlikely.
Inspections don't make us safer, but they do put financial stress on the poor and they do force people to make many repairs that are often unnecessary, benefiting only the garage and not the individual.
Dropping inspection requirements would free up money that could be used more constructively, especially in the case of our poorer citizens.
Smokestacks, railroads brought prosperity here
I don't know what letter writer Eliot Chandler has against smokestacks and railroads in his letter to the Sunday Telegram of May 12 ("Turbines not first project to affect 'quality of place'"), but his statement that Maine railroad tracks take up a very large percentage of valuable shoreline is pure hogwash.
In truth, those railway tracks that so closely skirt Maine's lake and ocean shorelines, which he claims render adjacent parcels useless for building upon, are few in number and very short in distance where they do exist.
Railroad rights of way vary from 50 to 99 feet in width. So, too, do our roads, of which there are far many more hundreds of miles that skirt shorelines throughout the state than there are railway tracks.
Were it not for those factory smokestacks that brought prosperity to Maine communities and the railroads that carried their wares to market, few would have ever known this state harbored the natural grandeur that entices tourists to come and enjoy it.
Did the coming of railroads to Maine affect the tourist industry? You betcha! Though not in the negative manner Mr. Chandler alludes. Their advent here 165 years ago also brought people to view these magnificent scenes of nature's grandeur and birthed the tourist industry that benefits local and state economies today.
I'm sorry, Mr. Chandler, but it wasn't until the large-scale abandonment of homegrown hydropower on Maine's many rivers and streams in favor of coal and oil-burning electrical generating plants during the past 40 years, that your "quality of place" began disappearing.
And it will continue disappearing as the conglomerates desecrate additional dozens of mountaintops with more and more hundreds of wind turbines, along with massive pollution from the 4,000 big rigs that one proponent of Peter Vigue's proposed east-northwest private toll road foresees entering the border tollbooths daily if it is built.
John R. Davis
Easy access to firearms can save homeowners, kin
I would like to shoot some holes in the letter "NRA brushes off risks guns pose to kids" (May 13), by Sam Kamin.
First of all, I wish those on the left would stop emotionally politicizing the firearms issue by surrounding themselves with children, which is a tactic used by terrorists to prevent retaliation.
Secondly, the NRA is the foremost advocate for and instructor in firearms safety.
Let's look at some facts. When seconds count, police are only minutes away, and here in rural Maine, they can be very long minutes.
I would like to cite an incident that happened three years ago in Pittston where the homeowner and his daughter were severely brutalized and left for dead. Law enforcement just could not arrive in time. Would not a firearm have been a better self-protection weapon than 911?
Quick-access safes are not as simple to open as a gun lock. I would like to suggest the homeowner place a cellphone in the safe, draw and cock the firearm, then dial 911. This way, if police cannot arrive in time, the law-abiding citizen can protect himself from a criminal assault.
To suggest an intruder may not be armed is absurd. What intruder would not be armed breaking into a home he knows to be occupied? Prudence demands you assume an intruder is armed and ready to do you bodily harm.
Mr. Kamin's thinking would leave the innocent homeowner to the mercy of an armed intruder. This is absolutely wrong.
State rankings should get lowest old-school grade
I am a former public school teacher, having retired in 1996 after 37 years as a teacher of history and psychology at Portland High School.
When I was an undergraduate student at Bates College, their alpha grade scale included a grade of double F. I think FF is an appropriate grade for Gov. LePage's bell curve alpha grading system for Maine's public schools.
Gerald M. Davis
retired Portland High School teacher
Immigration plan will draw other nations' best citizens
Congress now has a solid, sensible immigration bill to deal with. The "Gang of Eight" has presented a bipartisan bill that, among other important things, contains a realistic roadmap for undocumented workers in waiting.
These include children who know no other home than the U.S. They are products of our educational system, "dreamers" who thirst for more of what they have learned to know and love.
Every single one of us comes from the same background they do. We, all of us, are immigrants.
As Barney Frank pointed out in a recent column ("Immigration a good problem to have," May 19), people who come to our shores as immigrants are the adventurous, the creative, the hard workers intent on getting ahead. They are people who add to our rich cultural heritage and drive our economic prosperity.
It is only right that we immigrants make it possible for them to participate in our communities and workplaces on a solid footing.
I urge our senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, to support this bill. Let's make dreams into reality.
Senator quick to recognize constitutional violations
Please take note, dear readers, that your new Sen. Angus King just had the guts to stand up and challenge egregious violations of the Constitution by the military and the executive branch ("Military: al-Qaida war to last 15-20 years," May 17).
Congress has the sole power under our Constitution to declare war. Every president and general tries to ignore that fact, given that it provides a civilian check to unlimited warmaking.
Angus King called out the generals, and for that he deserves our thanks and strong support.
If the warmakers cannot follow the Constitution, perhaps their funding should be cut -- and that would be the ultimate in patriotism by those in D.C. sworn to uphold our Constitution.
Thank you, Sen. King. Keep on them!