This letter is in response to the article “Once valuable, suddenly expendable” (Jan. 3) about proposed cuts to assisted-living facilities.

There are many different facets of Gov. LePage’s plans to balance Maine’s budget, but in particular I find myself asking the question: Was it too much to ask that a group that is inherently supposed to advocate for the citizens of this state to develop a comprehensive plan that didn’t uproot some of the most vulnerable of our community?

We all know at this point that errors were made internally.

It sounds to me that instead of spending quality time identifying lower-impact budget cutbacks or determining an innovative solution, the easiest and laziest solutions were surmised.

I am not so naive that I don’t understand that with cutbacks comes negative impact.

But I would think that cutting resources for the elderly and mentally ill would have been off the table.

What’s worse, this initiative to cut funding was announced with no implementation plan.

Statements like this from Gov. LePage’s office are telling: “(Spokeswoman Adrienne) Bennett said that the administration wants to allow a transition to some other model of service, although it’s not clear what that will be or what it will cost.”

When statements like these are issued, it highlights the potential failure of the plan or that no substantial thought has gone into the outcome.

Where did they expect the patients to get alternative resources?

My fear is that they didn’t care. 

I am growing increasingly weary of the bold statements with no real course of action or quantifiable answers.

They cause what could be and probably is an unnecessary upset, and serve as yet another distraction from a larger problem.

If Gov. LePage’s camp is tired of feeling attacked or misunderstood, perhaps they should spend more time sharing their narrative for the future, if they have one. 

Jaime Cerullo

Portland

Many have complained about the LePage administration’s focus on cutting MaineCare, calling it cruel.

Maybe Gov. LePage should have started with the federal food program administered by the Department for Health and Human Services.

Years ago, people were ashamed to use food stamps, not that they should have been.

Today, there seems to be no stigma about pulling out the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program card at checkout time.

Years ago, there were restrictions that only nutritious food be bought.

Now, SNAP users are free to purchase whatever groceries and premium products they choose. Many eat very well.

Ever try to report a SNAP fraud to the feds? You wind up on a pesky and time-consuming phone tree.

Even if you have a simple SNAP question to ask, there is only that one toll-free fraud line number publicized.

A store owner I know got fed up and called the governor’s office.

He was attended to immediately, and within minutes received a call from a DHHS worker who confirmed for him that, yes, SNAP users can buy whatever groceries and in whatever large quantities their SNAP card allows.

Maybe it would be a good idea to investigate at our largest retailers at the start of the month.

SNAP benefits should not be a way of life for those who can work.

Food aid should be for subsistence nutrition.

I know that the middle class is shrinking, but where are the good examples of parents who work for a living? Where are the examples of aid recipients providing something positive to their communities?

Heidi Chadbourne

Manchester

The Portland Press Herald should be commended for its continued coverage of the LePage administration’s deplorable conduct, which continues to drag the state to a possible point of no return.

The headline concerning the abrupt cancellation of funding for nonmedical institutions through MaineCare (“Once valuable, suddenly expendable,” Jan. 3) is an act so senseless, a nefarious deed so reprehensible that I would think it would spark the 62 percent of Maine voters who did not want Gov. LePage to rise up and call for his immediate impeachment.

While I think the governor is not wrong to question welfare and assistance funding, the way in which he goes about it is questionable indeed.

What state in the nation is not bogged down with unnecessary welfare allocations? These budgets are wild cards, misused and abused everywhere.

Still, LePage’s fix is to cut wantonly to bring budget shortfalls into line.

Maybe it’s the ultimate solution, but however hateful it is, what we need is a state leader with more inherent intelligence and ability rather than the bloated bully that we have sitting like a fat, feral cat, licking his curds and whey up in Augusta.

The larger issue is Paul LePage himself. He’s not equipped to lead the state of Maine. He needs to go.

Waiting another three years for his replacement might bring Maine past redemption.

And the next proclamation from Forbes Magazine might be, “Maine is the first state in the nation to have brought about its own demise.”

Goodbye, Mr. LePage. It’s time to take a hike.

John Golden

Portland

President should resist pressure to back pipeline

The latest news on the Keystone XL pipeline is telling.

Oil industry lobbyists are warning President Obama of “huge political consequences” if he does not approve the project by a Feb. 21 deadline, which doesn’t allow time to assess environmental impacts.

So Big Oil can influence how a president’s decision on an issue will affect his re-election chances?

Interesting that the 234 House members who voted to rush the project have received $42 million in campaign contributions, while the 193 opposed received only $8 million.

These same representatives are parroting the inflated 20,000 new-jobs figure put out by the company that is poised to make a killing on the project, while every independent study puts the figure at around 6,000 mostly short-term jobs.

Obama will have my vote if he can stand up to this kind of political bullying, but maybe my vote isn’t the huge political consequence they’re talking about.

Greg Kimber

Temple