November 12, 2012

Letters to the editor: Proactive view of climate change needed

Why's nobody talking? Why -- in the wake of extraordinary weather events and the millions of dollars spent in political ads -- is no party or newly elected lawmaker uttering a peep about how we might proactively take on the challenges of climate change?

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Superstorm Sandy floods Manhattan’s West Side Highway on Oct. 29. Both Sandy and last summer’s “extraordinary weather events” should jump-start a national discussion on preventing climate change, a reader says.

Dylan Patrick/The Associated Press

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, papers all across the United States wondered aloud about this disaster's effects on the economy. Yet will any wonder aloud about the cost of continuing to inject carbon dioxide into our atmosphere at the rate the world has been doing to this point?

Just this past summer, The New York Times carried headlines such as: "What Cornfields Show, Data Now Confirm: July Set Mark as U.S.'s Hottest Month" (Aug. 7); "Ending Its Summer Melt, Arctic Sea Ice Sets a New Low That Leads to Warnings" (Sept. 20); "Rise in Weather Extremes Threatens Infrastructure" (July 26).

This last article described how, among other things, a jet had became stuck in heat-softened asphalt, a train had derailed off a heat-kinked subway track; highways had cracked, roads buckled, and a nuclear plant's cooling pond, no longer cool, had all but evaporated.

That's economics, isn't it? So why isn't anybody talking? Is it a conspiracy of silence? Moral timidity? Political cowardice? Or have we as a nation simply fallen asleep?

Should we not now be demanding a clarion call from our political leaders, a call reminiscent of John Kennedy's challenge to put a man on the moon before decade's end -- to come together and act so as to steer clear of a future full of further droughts, fires, floods and Hurricane Sandys? At the very least, should we not be talking?

Lee Chisholm


Changes in turnpike policy apparently driven by money

A recent accident on the Maine Turnpike brings into question whether or not new policies are justified and wise. A toll collector lost her leg in August when it was run over by a tractor-trailer. Is this the result of cutbacks to employees? I saw nothing about this incident in the press.

Are the health and safety of turnpike employees being jeopardized by these cuts? Is this the best thing for customers who use the pike?

Many questions come to mind considering recent policy changes at the Maine Turnpike Authority.

The E-ZPass commuter system is apparently being eliminated, costing customers more while bringing in more funds for the turnpike. It seems that money has become the only issue there. Is this right? Is money now more significant than safety and convenience?

I understand also that 20 employees with high seniority are being laid off. Is the primary motive for this money? Won't quality of service suffer as a result of such a loss? And what about their families? We didn't see such questionable moves or such serious accidents under Paul Violette.

Is the new administration experienced enough to know what they're doing in managing this agency? Are they just trying to make a name for themselves by being frugal at the expense of human beings?

There are just too many questions, and very few answers.

I see nothing but bad times ahead for turnpike customers and employees. I guess their best days are behind them. I am using the pike very seldom these days.

Larry Vollor


Does Benghazi story reflect agenda or dearth of skills?

As a 60-something, I reflect these days with a bit of longing for the old days of news reporting. On Oct. 25, I read, with great disappointment and disgust, a story about the events in Benghazi and the latest chapter of the blame game ("Militants claimed consulate attack").

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