As our endless adjustment to a new “reality” continues, the pending loss of beds at Serenity House due to Medicaid regulation is particularly disturbing.

Organizations such as Serenity House, Milestone and the St. Francis Recovery Center provide a doorway back to society for those who have wandered. With prescription drug abuse growing and opportunity shrinking, now is not the time to shut the door to those in need.

The abuse of prescription drugs happens for many reasons, to a wide variety of people. We can blame the individuals, we can blame easy prescriptions and we can blame pharmaceuticals for marketing a product to the public that defies control.

According to the regulations, compliance with community-based care means a facility can have no more than 16 beds. More and you are an institution too big for Medicaid support. Regardless of regulations, the notion that this is a rational move defies logic.

There is not enough help now and we are being forced to offer less. These groups are swamped by an epidemic and they are told they have too many lifeboats?

The important thing is the committed staff of these organizations that do the hard lifting at the street level, every day. They have been there, done that, and should be encouraged and thanked for their efforts.

Our elected officials can stand by and watch this disaster unfold or affect the outcome. They can change regulations in this arena with as much zeal as they would reduce corporate regulations, support community-based treatment, reduce the market for illegal pharmaceuticals, enhance education or all of the above.

The risk to those not bewildered by this approach is that you will try to help a friend in need one day and there will be nowhere to go anymore.

Joe Delaney


Real enemies of society are not the bank executives

This is in response to Larry Dansinger’s Oct. 19 letter, which I believe exhibits faulty thinking. I hope he is not looking for excuses for violent demonstrations.

Nobody in this country is making peaceful demonstrations impossible. In fact, the city of Portland, Mayor Bloomberg in New York and park owners are going out of their way to accommodate protesters.

Our enemies are not bank executives, wealthy people or elected officials. We can protest all we want, as long as we obey the laws and rules in place to govern such activities.

The enemies of our society are those who want to be politically correct and be able to pick and choose which laws to break, such as immigration laws.

If this is truly a democratic movement, people will obey the law. If folks break the law, police have a right to respond to prevent our society from descending into anarchy.

It is not quite fair of Dansinger to compare our leaders with dictators in Egypt or other parts of the Middle East.

David Ryder


Influence of big money apparent on Question 1

I am not a member of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, but I can certainly agree with them on one issue — big Wall Street money has too much of an influence on politics.

A perfect example is Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot. According to The Portland Press Herald of Oct. 6, the Yes on One campaign has been almost entirely funded with large out-of-state donations.

One donor, Wall Street hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman, gave $100,000 and single-handedly financed the entire signature-gathering process.

In total, with other big out-of-state donations, especially from Washington, Yes on One had brought in $308,000.

It is a sad day when a single Wall Street hedge fund manager can write a check and repeal a Maine law. I will be saying no to Wall Street and rejecting their people’s veto with my vote. Maine is not for sale.

Earl Inman

Round Pond

Maine senators chided for votes on jobs bill

Thank you, Sens. Snowe and Collins, for marching in lock step with your political cohorts. I’m sure the teachers, firefighters and police of Maine will appreciate your usual skewed reasoning for voting against the president’s job plan. But then, you both have jobs, and a health plan that calls for the government to pay most of your premiums. Not to worry.

Don Federman


State was a better place before invasion of gaming

I grew up in a Maine with no legalized gambling, save for harness racing.

It was a time when churches were full, families had one car, one breadwinner and there wasn’t much disposable income. Neighbors shared and looked out for each other.

Now, church leaders are not widely respected, families seldom interact with their neighbors and there is greater disparity between “haves” and “have nots.” Entertainment is a priority, and there are more entertainment options.

I recall when attitudes on gambling shifted in Maine, and the state got involved reaping gambling revenue for the General Fund. Disposable income of families had risen, and for those who play responsibly, the lottery was considered entertainment.

Scarborough Downs faded and pari-mutuel racing depended more on the fairs. Now, with scratch tickets, gaming at Foxwoods, poker on cable, all kinds of Internet gambling action, and the new casino in Bangor, there isn’t much room for growth left in our gambling industry.

We are maxxed out. The grand schemes that Questions 2 and 3 pose are not sustainable. I miss the Maine that I grew up in. The one where gaming was not king. The one where people lived at or below their means. The one where people went to church on Sundays.

Heidi Chadbourne


Hair-braiding proposal strikes an amusing chord 

“Hair-braiding bill gets look by lawmakers,” Press Herald, Oct. 17.

Gotta love this type of legislation. The recent article about hair braiding and dog training really made me chuckle.

I understand why Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor, felt he had to submit a bill to prevent a bill. He’s trying to keep government out of the business of a citizen who knows how to braid hair yet does not have a cosmetology license.

Kudos to Goode. He is reacting correctly to too much regulation and too much government interference with the citizens of the United States.

Barbara Britten