March 31, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Rural delivery fee makes no sense

Greg Kesich should screen the letters to the editor and the "Another View" editorials. The ones that make sense go to the Sunday opinion page. The comical or nonsense ones go to the comic section. But then, that's why I buy the Maine Sunday Telegram.

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The Postal Service’s lack of investment in facilities to handle parcels – not the cost of delivery to rural mailboxes, such as these outside Morrison, Ill. – is the reason it’s losing money, a reader says.

2002 File Photo / The Associated Press

Regarding Michele Boston's editorial ("Another View: Balance postal budget: Charge for rural 'free' delivery," March 10) asking for the Postal Service to charge for rural free delivery: She claims that "all postal boxes in locations other than a post office are 'rural.' "

The mail receptacles across the street from the downtown (city) post office in Caribou, Maine, are not rural and are not serviced by rural carriers, who are paid "a vehicle use allowance."

Ms. Boston must have a post office box that she probably pays a minimum of $46 for whatever period. She did not mention as much.

Having worked for the postal circus for 28 years, I can tell you why they are losing billions of dollars yearly: poor management.

They gave away parcel post delivery to UPS, Federal Express and DHL because they would not build the warehouses to handle all that revenue. The first-class letters and junk mail were all they cared about.

Well, now the Internet makes it possible to pay all your bills and email Mom and Dad and everybody else. And also order a ton of stuff that is delivered by the big brown machine and FedEx.

Bob Lapointe


Regarding the editorial by Michele Boston, "Another View: Balance postal budget: Charge for rural 'free' delivery" (March 10): Did the editor even give this some thought before it was put on the editorial page?

What's the world gone to? "Fee for this, fee for that. Come on, let's charge up front for what it cost." Does Michele Boston work for a bank or a credit card company?

My suggestion is that the post office should stop Saturday delivery and increase the cost of mail for what it cost for that service. That is business sense.

It seems that Michele Boston's train of thought is that we should all go to the post office and wait in long lines to collect our mail. Wouldn't that be great?

Richard Sevigny

North Waterboro

Target reunification, housing funds to foster care services


Re: "Poor planning adds to Maine's foster care crisis," March 24:

Now a retired attorney, I was formerly with a Pennsylvania legal services program where I litigated on behalf of parents in foster care cases briefly during the 1980s.

I know of the tragedies of these cases, the harm devolving on unfortunate children, sadly exacerbated sometimes by deficient services funded through state appropriations, Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act. I am also aware of the services provided by remarkably generous foster parents to needy children, especially as addictions rise.

Your article admittedly depends on possible incomplete records and verbal reports. And the Department of Health and Human Services excluded broader social factors, disregarding additional assessed risks.

However, the first mandate of federal child welfare laws is to endeavor to keep the family united with intensive services. The second is to reunite families if possible once children are placed, before extending that care or arriving at an alternative permanency plan.

Your article shows that foster care placements have increased as a result of 1) inadequate housing and 2) insufficient reunification efforts. Funding cuts, says Rep. Richard Farnsworth, resulted in a major failure to provide necessary services for parents to keep families together.

If housing is the sole factor, as in the chart's 169 cases, a cheaper measure is to help with housing. If reunification efforts have not been provided, they should be immediately implemented. Follow-up monitoring and in-home services for the children, with MaineCare continuing, can ensure access to Medicaid's licensed professionals.

(Continued on page 2)

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