September 28, 2013

Letters to the editor: Portland rules make it harder to recycle

Recently, the city went to great lengths to tell residents that recyclable materials that are not in a blue bin will not be picked up.

click image to enlarge

A Portland Public Services worker dumps a container of recyclable material into his truck during trash and recycling pickup in 2008. Requiring residents to put all recyclables in the bins will lead people to throw away items that don’t fit in the bins, a reader says.

2008 File Photo/John Ewing

As with everything else, we are getting less and less for our money.

First we were told we had to use the outrageously, ridiculously overpriced blue trash bags, the reason for that being to pay for curbside sorting of recyclables.

The city has long since stopped doing curbside sorting, but we are still being forced to pay the ridiculous price for those now-pointless blue trash bags.

Now the city says, "If your recyclables don't fit in that tiny blue bin, we are not going to pick them up." This is going to result in more trash and a move away from recycling, as people go back to putting their cardboard, etc., in trash bags, simply because there is too much to fit in the blue containers.

I, for one, don't even have a blue container, and never did. I am a disabled, terminally ill cancer patient on a very limited income.

I called Troy Moon, who is in charge of the trash and recycling program. On five different occasions, I was told that he would have a blue recycling bin dropped off.

I still don't have one, and so all of my recyclables go in the trash, thus creating more trash and defeating the idea of the recycling program.

The city came up with this marvelous plan to increase recycling and cut down on waste/trash, but now it is too lazy to continue what it started and is purposefully undoing all that it had set up.

Gordon Smith

Portland

Calls for official caution relevant to Dechaine case

Two strikingly different articles appeared in the Sept. 22 Sunday Telegram about how law enforcement, prosecutors and the media respond to alleged perpetrators of crimes.

Poor Rollie Chance ("Ex-Navy man falsely accused says 'Verify before you vilify'") was on one end of the spectrum, identified by the media on radio, national television and Twitter as the shooter in the Washington Navy Yard massacre and soon confronted at his home by the FBI, all because his identification card was found next to the body of the real perpetrator. His plea: Verify before you vilify.

On the other end of the spectrum is Justin DiPietro, the father of Ayla Reynolds, a 2-year-old missing for almost two years ("Experts: Mom's strategy in Ayla case could backfire"). In this case, state prosecutors are proceeding with abundant caution to verify before they vilify and bring charges in the case, in spite of intense public pressure.

I applaud this caution and only wish that this had been the same caution used when Sarah Cherry was kidnapped and murdered a quarter of a century ago.

In that case, Dennis Dechaine was immediately targeted as the perpetrator, based on nothing more than what was considered his "identification card," without the pursuit of obvious other suspects or a careful and just analysis of all the evidence.

Dennis is still trying to win a new trial based on DNA evidence that clearly excludes him as the perpetrator. Dennis has already been vilified.

With more than 2,000 exonerations in the U.S. over the past 23 years, which the Center on Wrongful Convictions says represents a small percentage of those wrongfully convicted, it is time to step back and do what should have been done at the beginning: Verify all the evidence in this case and present it to a jury so justice can finally be served.

Genie Nakell

Portland

Gov. LePage's liberal critics ignore his accomplishments

Some liberal letter writers and columnists are waging a vigorous campaign of misleading statements against Gov. LePage. They complain that he does not follow their politically correct rules; he speaks plainly and they do not like what he says.

The liberals want to continue their policies of job-killing regulations, increasing the size of a reform-choking bureaucracy, raising the cost of government, growing taxes and expanding failed or harmful welfare schemes with no end in sight. 

Liberals wanted to pass the largest tax increase in Maine history during the last legislative session. Gov. LePage implemented the largest tax cut in Maine history. 

Liberals want to increase regulations on Maine's small-business owners and job creators. Gov. LePage instituted red tape reforms and responsiveness in state government to make Maine "open for business."

Gov. LePage insisted on paying off the overdue debt to hospitals.

Liberals want to bring back the Baldacci era when Maine's unemployment rate was higher than the national average. Maine's unemployment rate has been lower than the national average since Gov. LePage took office.

Liberals want to continue expanding the size and cost of state government without holding those who take huge sums of taxpayer money accountable.

Maine needs Gov. LePage to keep working to improve financial, regulatory and political conditions for everyone.

David W. Knudsen

Gray

USDA inspection proposal presents risk to food safety

The pilot inspection program that the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to roll out in meat and poultry plants nationwide has repeatedly failed to stop production of contaminated meat.

The program allows meat producers to increase the speed of processing lines and replace USDA safety inspectors with their own employees.

But plants operating under this program have experienced some of the worst health and safety violations, including failure to remove fecal matter and partly digested food, according to the USDA's inspector general. These contaminants may contain complex strains of deadly E. coli and listeria.

Traditionally, the USDA has catered more to the interests and profitability of the meat industry than to the health and safety concerns of American consumers. Consumer interests come into play only when large numbers of us get sick. Having the USDA protect consumers is like asking the fox to guard the chicken house.

The Obama administration must reallocate responsibility for consumer safety to the Food and Drug Administration.

In the meantime, each of us must assume responsibility for our own safety by switching to the rich variety of plant-based meats offered in local supermarkets.

Patrick Wayne

Portland

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