September 10, 2013

Letters to the editor: Use of gas compels action in Syria, Tom Allen says

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In a citizen journalism image that’s been authenticated based on AP reporting, Syrians mourn men slain in Arbeen on Aug. 21 in an alleged poisonous gas attack by regime forces. The attack represents a violation of international norms, says former U.S. Rep. Tom Allen.

The Associated Press

On Aug. 13, my wife was "laid off" or "severanced" from her position at Maine Medical Center in Scarborough. She was an executive administrator with more than 5½ years in that position. She had subordinates.

At the very same time, the state of Maine is beginning enforcement of collections for past tax debts (no more than $2,000).

If the state of Maine had promptly paid the debts owed to the hospitals, my wife would not have lost her job!

How is it that the state of Maine, which avoided paying its debts, is now enforcing that debts owed to the state are paid? Double standard?

Greg Smedal


Enlightened Mainers should voice views on race relations

I am dismayed and disheartened by our state's recent contributions to the national media's dialogue on race relations.

Last month, many Americans proudly celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Headlines across the country were full of reflections on the state of race relations in America, and the progress (or sometimes lack thereof) toward racial equality that has been made in the past 50 years.

Maine had two contributions to the national media's dialogue on race relations last month that were both completely discordant with the feelings of most Mainers.

Gov. Paul LePage's allegation that "Obama hates white people" and David Marsters' use of a death threat and racial slur directed at the president in a Facebook post were both shameful incidents of individuals making racist remarks that grossly misrepresent our state.

The remarks would have been unacceptable coming from anyone, but were especially alarming coming from public officials, an unfortunate fact that served to propel them into the national media and give the rest of the country reason to wonder if their opinions somehow reflected public opinion in our state.

When the two biggest stories that other Americans are hearing about Maine concern our public officials -- whether it's the governor himself, or a town volunteer in the small community of Sabattus making racist remarks and death threats against the president -- it sounds an alarm. (Marsters subsequently resigned from three town boards.)

It's time to reflect on our state's participation in the national dialogue on race relations, one that has been so rich as of late.

It's time to put forward some progressive, serious and enlightened contributions and ideas that will hopefully drown out the voices of ignorance that have spoken so loudly thus far.

Anna Boots

North Yarmouth


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