Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Two bills were introduced in April that could restore rights to a segment of Maine's unorganized territories residents, rights they lost to the 2008 makeover of the state's wind power siting laws.
Wind turbines are seen on Mars Hill Mountain in 2007. Maine Audubon and the Natural Resources Council of Maine are resisting bills that would give all Mainers a chance to participate fully in the process of siting wind power projects, a reader says.
2007 File Photo/The Associated Press
More than 99 percent of Mainers, in organized and unorganized areas, have input into the siting of wind power projects in their communities, how they're sited or even whether they're sited. Such input used to be available to 100 percent of Mainers.
At a hearing April 22, it was disappointing to hear two of the state's largest environmental groups speak out against fairness for all citizens, urging legislators to continue the denial of our rights.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine and Maine Audubon were part of the process that put constraints on our community members, and here they were, lobbying to make sure that the constraints stay in place.
At issue is whether these rural Mainers can participate in siting matters prior to the permitting phase of wind developments.
Almost every Mainer has this right, including most of the staff, board and membership of these two groups. They just don't want us to have it, fearing it might slow their push for more mountaintop wind development.
Instead, they want us to be limited to input only in a permitting hearing, a drastically reduced level of participation.
A permitting hearing is not a forum for the broader discussion of a community's future. Most Mainers have the right to influence wind siting in their communities long before it reaches this final permitting phase. Five years ago, it was a basic right that every Mainer enjoyed.
The Natural Resources Council and Maine Audubon appear ready to work hard to keep some rural Mainers from having meaningful input into wind matters in their own communities. That's disappointing. I expect that from corporate wind interests, not the Natural Resources Council and Maine Audubon.
Story spreads stereotypes of reasons for immigration
I applaud the Press Herald for covering the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project's Celesoiree celebration April 12 and for highlighting the experiences of immigrants in Maine.
However, I am disappointed and upset at your article that appeared in the newspaper of April 21 ("Society Notebook: Here and after"). This article falsely described my move to Maine as my having "fled Namibia."
I did not "flee" Namibia. This statement is offensive to me and my home country, Namibia, which has enjoyed peace and political stability since 1990.
Aside from being displaced by wars, Africans migrate to the USA for many reasons. I came to Maine to be with my wife, Shayna, who I met and worked with in Namibia.
I am by no means suggesting that being labeled a refugee is a bad thing. My point in short is: It's wrong for the reporter to stereotype and consequently make a wrong assumption.
Inaccurate and false reporting like this reinforces negative ideas that the entire African continent is a war zone. It is not!
Many African immigrants do hail from war-torn lands, and the African community is grateful that Maine has opened its doors to those who cannot return home.
I want the conflicts to end, and peace and prosperity to reign in war-torn countries. This will not come about unless the world understands it is possible. Africa is also a continent of hope and opportunity.
The Press Herald can help the world achieve this understanding. In the future, your readers would be better served if your reporting explored the diversity of immigrants' personal stories and took care not to make assumptions about any individual's past.
This is the best way to avoid perpetuating a negative stereotype of developing countries and the immigrant experience in general.
In democracy, we don't need guns to settle our differences
Why are we in these United States so scared that we need to have weapons of mass destruction, to own weapons built for war?
What is going on in our towns and communities that we are not trying to ease our differences within a democratic process?
The Mainers who I know hunt with sane weaponry, not multiple clips -- which would cut a deer in half with all the multiple rounds firing. They are not armed for war with anyone that I can see.
We attend town meetings to air our differences and then vote on whatever matter is at stake. It is called "participating in and taking care of our communities."
I am an owner of a one-shot shotgun to keep vermin away from eating the wood on my old barn and other structures. If I can't get them with one well-placed shot, then I don't have any business owning a gun. In other words, know how to aim, shoot and use a gun safely.
I ask again, why are we seeing so many scared people here in the United States that we feel the need to own weapons of war; to walk down a crowded city street flashing said weapons, or to walk into a tavern or shopping mall packing a gun?
Why so scared?
Views on lodging tax prove legislator is no economist
State Rep. Ben Chipman of Portland certainly proved he has no grasp of economics and should not be entitled to have a say in state tax or fiscal policies.
During an April 26 public hearing on his effort to hike the lodging tax, he said that tourists don't factor lodging taxes into their decisions on where to vacation.
He is wrong.
When the Maine Republican Liberty Caucus prepared its winning bid to host the 2015 RLC National Convention in Portland, a 7 percent lodging tax was factored into our net cost estimate.
This enabled the site selection committee to compare net expense estimates from city to city.
How many conventions with a large influx of visitors will Rep. Chipman turn away from the city he represents because of his ignorance of economics and his greed to grab other people's money?
Northeast region director, Republican Liberty Caucus
Maine hospitals spend a lot to offer services to neediest
After I read this letter to the editor, I had to scratch my head for a few moments after saying to myself, "Hospital payback deprives poor Mainers of state aid" (April 28).
It appears there are a lot of misconceptions on why the state of Maine owes Maine hospitals all these millions of dollars.
These dollars represent services the hospitals provide for poor Mainers. It is state aid for poor Mainers.
If the state did not guarantee the hospitals that they would be paid for services provided to the poor families of Maine, at some point the hospitals would need to either ask for payment at the door or refuse care.
Hospitals are businesses. Hospitals have employees whose wages they need to pay.
You withhold payments to these hospitals, and you see doors being shut, hospitals being closed, all those nurses, lab technicians and well-trained doctors leaving for jobs elsewhere.
How many hospitals in your area are in financial trouble now?
Mid Coast Hospital? Maine Medical Center? Central Maine Medical? MaineGeneral?
Do you think that the greed of hungry CEOs is draining the system dry?
It's non-payment of our bills, our bills, the state of Maine bills for the poor Mainers who live here.
And no, I do not work for any doctor, hospital, etc. I have no personal interest in any of these facilities or organizations.
Our state guaranteed these payments. Now we need to pay them.