Thanks to the Press Herald for shedding the truth on Maine’s welfare system in your recent series.

Some gubernatorial candidates are running on a platform stating that fixing the welfare system is a solution to our economic woes. Really?

The Press Herald series set the record straight regarding many stereotypes about welfare, including the low rate of fraud, the short participation length, the low number of children per welfare recipient, the low percentage of people who exceed the five-year limit, the low percentage of Maine’s general funds spent on these programs, and the complicated federal rules that Maine can’t change.

We all want our children and our grandchildren to fare better than we did. Our kids didn’t make this mess we’re in. If we really want them to have a decent future, then we need to prioritize investing in children, especially during the first five years of life.

The political rhetoric cites job creation, yet if our children don’t have a good start, they won’t have the requisite skills for the future. Our workforce is aging and shrinking. We need to vote for candidates who can think strategically with smart investments that pay a significant return.

Or, we can believe the rhetoric and continue to pay the exorbitant and escalating costs caused by poverty, including remediation, school drop-outs and prisons.

Lori Freid Moses
field director, Every Child Matters in Maine
Scarborough

 

Even a hunting advocate questions bear techniques

 

Before reading Robert Fisk’s article (“Bear-hunting story made tragic activity appear appealing,” Maine Voices, Oct. 20), I assumed it was going to be a biased PETA member diatribe of anti-hunting, and it was. Although, I am pro-hunting, I don’t hunt and have no desire to ever take part in the popular activity.

Fisk and I might disagree on most aspects of hunting, as I’m sure he wants to ban the whole practice of killing animals, period. But in this case, we find common ground in prohibiting the hunting of black bear unless there are convincing arguments that 1) there is a black bear problem 2) traps and feeders will not be used and 3) the meat will be consumed or donated for eating.

Fisk points out that the population data used to provide an estimate of the black bear population is flawed. Although, I’m not convinced the data is flawed, we should at least give an honest assessment of the population, growth and impact that black bears have on the state to include safety to humans. I’ve lived the vast majority of my life in this great state and never heard of a “black bear problem.”

Mr. Fisk and I are in total agreement on the use of traps and feeders as a legitimate hunting technique. Just think after you set a trap, 20 minutes later a bear may engage the trap and could be struggling for three days until you return. Sickening.

The point of hunting is to use the meat.

JD Walker III
Portland

 

Awful state of our politics spawns fears about future

 

I’m well beyond 70 now and have been a news and politics junkie since I built my first radio on our family farm at age 11. Sixty years later I’m more worried about our survival than I was during the “duck and cover” drills at school in World War II, then again in the ’60s as the cold war heated up with the convincing threat of nuclear annihilation.

Recently, the terrors I felt as a kid came back in a discussion about the awful state of our politics. One fellow mentioned that he wouldn’t be surprised to see armed conflict in America soon because of it. Aghast, I asked where he gets information that leads him there. He said “the usual guys, Limbaugh, Beck, Savage they know what’s really happening to this country.”

I relate this because I need help to get at the cause for the pathology that divides us so, blinds us to calamities we face and cripples effective response.

I suspect the root cause is in the unholy alliance of corporatists, militarists and theocrats — a 21st century version of what Eisenhower and others have been warning us about for decades.

The moneyed greed of non-humane corporations combined with the reach of certain military and paramilitary elements is bad enough. Add the poison of theocratic opportunists and we have an awful beast familiar to those of us old enough to recall.

It’s a uniquely powerful beast, attacking even our sources of information behind screens of corporate and ideological propaganda.

Cures for that pathology are definitely not found in punditry and propaganda. Rather, they are found in our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. The question is whether there are enough of us who will grasp the cure in time to muster an effective defense.

Seabury Lyon
Bethel

 

Town right to be cautious about ‘smart-meter’ plan

 

With CMP poised to begin the widespread conversion to smart meters in Scarborough, I joined other town councilors in unanimously passing a resolution asking CMP to refrain from installing “smart meters” and related equipment for a minimum of 90 days, and to participate in several public forums here in Scarborough hosted by the Public Utilities Commission, CMP, Scarborough Town Council and other interested parties.

This action does not mean the Town Council is taking a position on the use of smart meters at this time. However, we want to be sure our citizens have the opportunity to ask questions and understand the implications of this issue before any effort is made to implement any plan to install them in our community.

I was pleased to see a recent article in the Press Herald where a CMP spokesman appeared eager to meet with Scarborough residents “as soon as possible.”

CMP provides a vital service to our citizens and we appreciate all it does, but the smart meter program deserves more public discussion. I have every reason to believe CMP will honor our resolution. A more informed citizenry serves all our interests.

The smart meter implementation will establish a town-wide wireless network to support the program. The wireless transmission will take place in public, including our neighborhoods. This is a complicated issue with potentially widespread implications that can’t be fully appreciated or understood without several question and answer forums attended by citizens and stakeholders alike.

Mike Wood
member, Scarborough Town Council