I am concerned about a comment made by Leanne Robin, assistant district attorney.

She has the power to be effectively involved in plea-bargaining arrangements. Those sorts of decisions on the part of the various officers of the district attorney’s office are often judgment calls, personal observations and experiences and, yes, personal biases.

In the Paul Violette case, she said, “In white-collar cases, any jail time at all is a significant shock to the offender — even one day.”

It is a telling statement that makes me wonder how such a motivating factor in the district attorney’s decision-making would be played out for blue-collar offenders.

I have represented union workers all of my adult life, including those workers who have found themselves in trouble with the law.

I can tell you that even one day of jail time is as significant a shock to a truck driver, warehouse worker, ambulance driver or plow truck driver as it is to the white-collar employers of those workers.

In effect, when hourly wage earners go to jail, so do those who depend on them. These include their spouses, their children and often ailing parents and everyone else who share in their wages.

Their employment is often terminated, paychecks stop, children’s health benefits and college classes cease, homes are lost, essential transportation ends. And I have never found an oil company that will deliver oil without payment because their customer is in jail.

Jail time destroys a blue-collar worker’s family and future.

I have been through it with many workers. I am asking the district attorney to consider the significant shock of any jail time to workers as well as their employers and to always look beyond the social status of an offender when considering jail time.

Robert L. Piccone, Portland

MaineCare is a health care program, not welfare service

The budget shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services relating to MaineCare, Maine’s Medicaid program, has made headlines for months now. In that time we’ve seen and heard a lot of misleading information about the MaineCare program. As a long-time member of the state Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, I’d like to clarify a few facts to correct the record.

MaineCare is a health care program not a welfare service. MaineCare provides health insurance and prescription drug coverage for the elderly, disabled, mentally ill and the poor. Seventy percent of enrollees are children, seniors or individuals with disabilities. MaineCare payments go to hospitals and health care providers, not directly into the pockets of eligible individuals.

Since 2006, the total funding for the MaineCare program has been largely flat, despite a growth in enrollment and growth in the cost of health care. The cost of the program has increased by less than 10 percent in the last six years, while health care costs have grown at double the rate.

Growth in enrollment has largely been linked to the recession and from moving nearly 20,000 seniors and people with disabilities from a state-funded program into a prescription drug program funded through MaineCare, which is paid for with help from matching federal dollars.

The shortfall in DHHS was not caused by an increase of enrollment in the program. The cost of enrollment growth accounts for only 6.5 percent of the total projected shortfall.

Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston

Some Democrats pick and choose Christian values

This is in response to Andrew Wright’s attack on Republicans and how they pick and choose their Christian values. Then he says if you believe in core Christian values, you should vote Democratic this fall, because Christian values are accepting human diversity, compassion and mercy, helping the neediest, peace and tolerance and environmental stewardship.

Human diversity is code for gay rights. God would never approve of same-sex marriage. He considers homosexuality a sin like adultery and incest. Mr. Wright calls people homophobic if they don’t agree with him. That’s not very nice.

There is nothing to be afraid of. Homosexuals are just doing their sin of choice like everyone else. God didn’t make them that way.

Where was the Democratic “mercy and compassion” since 1973 when over 50 million innocent babies were aborted? Even our merciful and compassionate Democratic President Obama voted against the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which would have provided medical care to any baby who survived an abortion. Wasn’t it the staunchly Democratic Obama who cut LIHEAP funds for the poor to keep warm this winter?

Democrats led us into World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam. If the environmentalists had their way, they would turn this country into a national park and we would all live in caves. Most people want jobs, but when development programs come along, such as Keystone Pipeline and offshore drilling, Obama says no to appease the environmentalists. Peace and tolerance sound like the morally excellent behavior displayed by the Occupy Movement last year.

Seems like some Democrats pick and choose their “Christian values.” Hypocrisy? Democrats should love their Republican neighbors like themselves to practice real Christian values.

Janice Bodwell, Kenduskeag

LePage’s proposal would violate the Bill of Rights

The elders of the Catholic Church are insisting that government can’t require them to conduct business in institutions they operate — like hospitals — in a manner that would be contrary to their core beliefs. That would violate the Bill of Rights, they say.

Skip to the latest word from the State House. Gov. LePage is promoting a plan that would provide public funding — your and my tax dollars — to private schools operated by religious institutions.

Hold it.

You can’t have it both ways.

Gov. LePage’s proposal would require me to provide financial support to an institution that promotes a set of beliefs I don’t happen to hold with. I wouldn’t have a choice. The way I read the Constitution, that’s a no-no. The same Bill of Rights that protects Catholic hospitals protects me.

Our representatives in Augusta should say “no” to the governor’s wrong-headed proposal.

Homer Schoen, Rockport


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