Health care fatigue, anyone? What many conservatives and Republicans don’t seem to understand are the personal and immediate health needs that people have every day.

Their ideology does not include a way to address real-life issues that the average person or family faces every day because their “marketplace” fixes are long-term solutions to problems that only work if the playing field is level and fair.

It’s not. Without the courage to set up and enforce a truly fair, just, and equitable marketplace, conservatives simply have no ground to stand on other than ranting on about how the marketplace will fix everything.

The past two years of worldwide recession proves that ideology wrong, again. We need honesty, fairness and sensible regulation that stops the inevitable presence of greed, corruption and short-term thinking.

That type of courage does not seem to exist any more, as most politicians, no matter how well-intended, follow the lead of lobbyists, corporate donors and their addiction to pork.

Democrats and many liberals may be more sensitive and responsive to the daily realities faced by most people and the ongoing presence of discrimination and inequalities in our country.

But most Democrats have not clarified a sophisticated ideology or been able to act upon lasting solutions to problems like health care, because their ideas lack a long-term vision or the depth of thinking to fit into the realities of a democratic republic based on freedom and capitalism.

Democrats think first about protecting the most vulnerable people and then decide which government program needs more money. The law is a noble intention and a reasonable short-term fix in some cases, but a disabling long-term solution that fosters dependency.

How about developing solutions that build respectful and effective collaborations between families, communities, businesses and governments?

Rob Neal



It’s bad enough that the paper’s editorials on national issues have been channeling Glenn Beck, but now its headlines are channeling Fox News.

“GOP changes to reform rejected” about what had been going on in the Senate – pettifogging efforts by the Republicans to derail the majority-supported health care reforms – is blatantly misleading.

Those proposing the “GOP amendments” had not the slightest interest in passing them, but were indulging themselves in schoolyard tantrums because they have not gotten their way – which in this case was to sink reform.

I think Mainers need to remember that the 170,000 of their fellow citizens who do not now have the security of health insurance will finally be able to get it because of this courageous legislation.

And I think they also need to remember that their “moderate Republican” senators chose party loyalty over the interests of their constituents when it came time to vote.

Tim McEnroe



A headline on March 25 read, “GOP changes to reform rejected.” However, before buying into the belief that newly enacted health care reform has no bipartisan elements, please consider the months of work in the Senate Finance Committee.

While it is true that Republicans didn’t get all they wanted, a number of their more moderate proposals were included – the foremost being no public option.

Perhaps instead of feeding partisan rancor, the media should more helpfully start emphasizing bipartisan agreements in the bill. Offering financial assistance to small businesses and ensuring that insurers actually insure health-care consumers are widely supported.

Media and the angry right (especially those threatening violence) need to remember that Democrats and President Obama handily won the last national election.

As winners, they have certainly listened to and incorporated moderate GOP proposals far more readily than the GOP included Democrats during the Bush years.

So I challenge independents and moderate Republicans to stand up to the rabid right and say, “Enough already!” I also ask the responsible media to do likewise and stop sensationalizing partisanship. Political fanatics and bigots don’t deserve a respected public platform.

Pamela B. Blake


Brunswick should keep natural resource planner


Last month, the Brunswick town manager announced a proposal to eliminate the part-time natural resource planner position.

While I understand that fiscal responsibility is critically important as revenues continue to shrink, and that the town faces some difficult decisions, it is short-sighted to eliminate this position.

Brunswick has a vast array of natural resources that are widespread and fragile – 15-plus miles of coastline, productive marine resources, 375-plus acres of town-owned open space, 5,000-plus acres of forested habitat, as well as a rich tapestry of other natural resources requiring protection, oversight and planning.

Brunswick is a unique place in Maine. Although we are the sixth-largest municipality in the state, we have maintained some of the qualities of a small town surrounded by a rural landscape, and our natural resources play an important role in our community’s character.

In part, this is because Brunswick has been an innovative leader – planning for development to happen in appropriate locations where infrastructure already exists, conducting surveys of important natural resources, advocating for the protection of coastal open space on BNAS and Maquoit Bay, and participating in regional collaboratives for those natural resources we share with neighboring towns.

While we have volunteer committees that work on these issues, as a member of the Conservation Commission, I have seen firsthand how critical it is to have a dedicated and knowledgeable staff person to provide leadership and direction for all these issues.

In the Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2008, the Town Council recognized that the natural resources planner “has been vital in the ongoing protection of resources and will continue to be needed as the BNAS site becomes available, and as additional growth pressures are balanced with natural resource protection. Continuation of this position gives the Planning Department the resources to craft creative solutions to pressing environmental issues.”

The Town Council should be guided by the values and vision set forth in the Comprehensive Plan adopted just 18 months ago and not eliminate this critical position.

Joy Prescott



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