February 27, 2013

Letters to the editor
Weak laws help Nestle exploit Maine

The article "Risky business tax breaks cost Maine $100 million per year" (Feb. 20) was an excellent insight into our budget disparities in Maine, particularly in regards to the fiscal challenges facing small towns such as Fryeburg.

click image to enlarge

Poland Spring water trucks fill up at a Fryeburg spring. Nestle, Poland Spring’s owner, and the Fryeburg Water Co. want to enter into a contract “that would compromise Maine’s groundwater resources for future generations,” a reader says.

2005 File Photo/John Ewing

Since 1997, the Fryeburg Water Co. has sold trillions of gallons of water to Nestle/Poland Spring, and now the Fryeburg Water Co. is more than $1 million in debt.

The article referenced Nestle/Poland Spring receiving $1.9 million in tax breaks in 2009 and the fact that the company and its top executives made almost half a million dollars in campaign contributions.

Now Nestle/Poland Spring and the Fryeburg Water Co. are lobbying to enter into a 25- to 45-year contract that would compromise Maine's groundwater resources for future generations. But how do such contracts benefit the people of Maine?

That fact is, Nestle/Poland Spring takes advantage of weak and outdated laws governing water rights and tax breaks by pushing and twisting legal limits to the extreme.

The people of Maine should not stand for this. The government of Maine should work for the people, not multinational corporations.

If you agree, please attend the public hearing in Fryeburg regarding the proposed contract on March 7 at 6 p.m. at the Fryeburg Legion Hall on Bradley Street to voice your opinion.

Nisha Swinton



By resigning, pope shows he has little staying power


Those who were not raised Catholic should know that followers hold a number of tenets very dear. One is that that when the pope speaks or writes on matters of the church, he is infallible: i.e., his word is the word of the Lord.

Some, like myself, may find this concept hard to believe, but I believe that all true Catholics hold this truth as part of their faith.

I think most would agree that "renounce" is a pretty powerful word, but Pope Benedict's resignation with two weeks' notice was pretty abrupt. We all understand the age factor, but it's been over a half a millennium since a sitting pope has resigned.

Pope Benedict XVI's predecessor was far sicker for a much longer period of time, and he never bailed out. I, for one, feel saddened and somewhat betrayed.

The belief that the pope is infallible contributes to the idea that he's more than a man when it comes to religion, and somehow, walking away from the job when times get tough doesn't appear to be "what Jesus would do."

It's been widely written that Benedict is a conservative and traditionalist, but his swan song doesn't portray those ideals.

Sadly, I guess he puts his hat on in the morning, just like you and I.

Bill Thomas



Quaker meetings more vital, diverse than story portrayed


I appreciated the article about the Friends School of Portland's plans to build a new, very energy-efficient home ("Quaker school plans move to Cumberland," Feb. 18).  

But I must take issue with the characterization of Quakers: "Quakers, formally called the Religious Society of Friends, are a Christian order more than 350 years old. Followers believe that God lives in every person, and that people should minister to one another, often without a traditional leader to guide a service."

Indeed, the Religious Society of Friends has its origins in other Christian faiths, but our religious community today is much more diverse.

I'm on the Ministry and Counsel committee of Portland Friends Meeting, but would identify as a Universalist and not a Christian. People of many beliefs attend our meetings for worship, and find comfort and guidance in the deep silence and occasional spoken message.

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