April 28, 2013

Letters to the editor: Road anarchy must end

On April 19, I sent a letter to the Maine Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, asking members to take action to provide Maine drivers with a safer and more pleasurable driving experience.

click image to enlarge

Signs warning motorists to keep to the posted speed limit dot Washington Avenue in Portland in 2010. Speeding is one of the myriad driving infractions that is rampant in Maine, a reader says.

2010 File Photo/Kat Franchino

Speeding is ubiquitous. Running red lights, tailgating, unnecessary passing in breakdown lanes (often near pedestrian crossings), failure to utilize headlights and adjust speed for varying conditions, ignoring and refusing to obey posted speed limits -- all are rampant infractions.

Drivers could take the responsibility to obey the rules of the road, and avoid greater government/law enforcement intervention. It's not too late, but it's got to be one or the other.

Barring those alternatives, throw the book away and let anarchy reign. At least we'd know the score.

There are places where it is almost agony to drive the speed limit, but if you're driving, you obey the law.

Vehicles weigh several tons. They are not bicycles or motorcycles. If drivers are unhappy with posted speed limits, then take action to get the speed limits changed.

I have proposed methods to enforce the laws that would be cost-effective, including using public-service announcements.

Meanwhile, I want a bumper sticker stating: "I'm doing the speed limit. If you don't like the limit, contact the Legislature."

Margaret Trout


Data in gun story doesn't back misleading headlines

I recently moved back to Maine and looked forward to resubscribing to the Press Herald. I missed it while I was gone. It was always, to me, a fairly balanced news source, untainted by too much sway to either the left of the right.

Apparently, though, something happened while I was gone. You've moved decidedly left, and I'm not talking about your editorial opinions. Rather, the news is slanted.

The story April 19 by Nedra Pickler of The Associated Press was headlined "President, momentum outgunned by the NRA," with the subhead: "The passion of its members foiled new gun-control efforts despite public support and outrage over mass killings."

I read the story and tried very hard to find the data in support of the assertions in those titles. What happened was that a gun control bill was defeated because not enough senators voted for it, plain and simple.

Characterizing it as something engineered by a select few (the National Rifle Association) and accomplished in spite of the supposed majority (public support and outrage) is pure supposition.

If this were on the editorial page, I wouldn't bother to speak up because that is what it is: editorializing.

You have gone beyond the simplicity of reporting the who, what, where and when to formulate the why. You somehow have gotten into the heads and hearts of not only the senators to discern why they voted the way they did, but also the heads of the public to suggest that you know better than we what we are thinking.

This is just one example. There are others.

And please don't mistake this as a diatribe against gun control. It isn't. It is simply an appeal for you to report the facts and resist telling me how I ought to feel and think about those facts. Please.

Skip Simonds


Wind turbines undermine land values, quality of place

As rural hills and mountaintops in Maine are being rapidly developed by the wind industry, we must give thought to the impacts these projects have on Maine's tourism industry and on local property values.

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