December 10, 2013

Letters to the editor: Augusta ignores stranded riders’ woes

Pretty horrible actions are being perpetrated against disabled and elderly people, and no one seems to care.

click image to enlarge

Sheena Patel of South Portland relies on the MaineCare rides program for transportation to a sheltered work environment. A private rides broker that hasn’t delivered on its promises shouldn’t have gotten “second, third and fourth chances,” a reader says.

2013 File Photo/John Ewing

These crimes are being committed on a regular basis since Coordinated Transportation Solutions was given a contract to monitor/arrange rides through the Regional Transportation Program for our most vulnerable population.

No one seems to care that they are not doing their job, which means handicapped people are being stranded and told a ride will come to take them to appointments – a ride that doesn’t show up or drops them off at programs and leaves them there with no way to get home.

There is so much stress and anxiety for this group of people just to get through a day. Why are their transportation needs being totally disregarded and promises made not kept? This would not be allowed to continue if this were any other group of people.

Why is any politician giving CTS second, third and fourth chances? Who is allowed to get paid for saying they will provide a service while not providing the service?

Things have gotten worse, and no one seems to care. I am mortified that the people who do care are powerless to make this horrible situation go away. What will it take?

Peggy Cloutier

Portland

Moving DHHS office makes life harder for new Mainers

The proposed site for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Career Center is where?

The refugee services office, the soup kitchens, the Oxford Street and Family Shelters, Adult Education, Catholic Charities, the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Community Financial Literacy and the Somali Culture and Development Association are just a few resources clustered in downtown Portland, making access to services easy.

It’s walkable – a key element of urban life – from where the majority of immigrants live. Going to the DHHS office to apply for services and sort out problems is manageable at the current location. Dropping in at the Career Center to work on job searches and resume/cover letter skills is easy and empowering.

Moving the DHHS and Career Center away from downtown is an unsurmountable hardship for new Mainers and the refugee community.

Many new Mainers struggle with English. It takes time. To understand directions or figure out the map for getting to a bus stop is a challenge, as is reading the fare chart, waiting for the bus with a family in tow and buying a ticket with money that could buy a jar of peanut butter.

Immigrant families are child-centered. No parent would take a chance that they may not be home to greet and watch over their children when they get out of school! Having to plan for a challenging and unpredictable schedule means children may have to miss school to go with their parent(s) for appointments.

Immigrants arrive with many dreams, one being to have a car. But a car is expensive and requires a driver’s license and a job for money to buy a car, pay for maintenance and filling up the tank. It takes time to realize this part of the dream; meanwhile, getting around on foot is a blessing.

Keep the DHHS and Career Center local!

Dd Swan

Portland

Filibuster reforms reveal that Collins is no moderate

On Oct. 31, Sen. Susan Collins voted to move forward with the nomination of Patricia Ann Millett to become a D.C. Circuit Court judge. The measure failed because of a filibuster only supported by other Republicans. The nomination was held up on a 55-38 vote.

On Nov. 21, Sen. Collins voted against moving forward with the nomination of Millett to become a D.C. Circuit Court judge. Because of the filibuster reforms enacted earlier that day, the measure passed and the nomination will receive an up-or-down vote in early December. The nomination advanced on a 55-43 vote.

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