I wasn’t too surprised to see Paul Madore and Michael Heath at the University of Maine (Portland Press Herald, April 10) trying to interrupt the university’s Gay Pride Week.

What did startle me was that they named their organization the “No Special Rights PAC.”

Apparently they decided that for people who were born gay, marriage is a “special” right. When they (or I, for that matter) get married, it’s a civil right.

All Mainers should be allowed to express their love and commitment that way.

The Supreme Court reminded us decades ago that denying this right based on skin color is not only unethical but illegal. Exercising that right should be equally possible for gay people, whose sexual orientation is just as much a trait that we’re born with.

Andrew Michaelson


Choice shouldn’t be to work or take care of your children

I am writing about the current state budget debate in Augusta concerning early childhood programs.

The canned text provided by Maine’s Quality Care Campaign was very thoughtful and accurate. What I would like to say in addition is that cutting this aid is a very short-sighted move. Essentially, it is forcing people who want to work and need support to pay for child care costs to be put in a position where they can no longer work.

It’s either work or take care of your child — they can’t do both. Those people will then be reliant on other state-funded care for the unemployed. It’s likely their kids will go to school and need additional ed tech support to help them acclimate and catch up to their peers.

From my perspective, this doesn’t seem like a good plan. At a minimum, I would prefer an impact this large to be handled through normal democratic channels.

Kellie Caron


Healthy Maine program shouldn’t be dismantled

About 15 years ago, grounded in the Maine tradition of active community level decision-making in matters concerning the common good, a group of visionary Mainers sat down to plan a locally based but statewide system that could successfully promote better health for all Mainers.

To turn this public health dream into a reality, they needed funds. Along came the tobacco settlement, known as the Fund for Healthy Maine — approximately $50 million annually for 20 years.

An enlightened legislature allocated a portion of that fund for what became known as Healthy Maine Partnerships. They focused on promoting physical activity, better eating and anti-tobacco programs, especially in the public schools.

As a public health professional, I am proud to be associated with this work, currently as the volunteer chair of the advisory board of the four Healthy Maine Partnerships in Cumberland County.

Another result of the Healthy Maine Partnership movement was the legislatively mandated district public health councils, made up of Maine citizens interested in promoting better health. These nine regional volunteer-led structures work closely with the state and thus represent the necessary next step toward an effective community-based public health system for all Mainers. They currently receive much of their small financial resources and staff support from the Healthy Maine Partnerships.

The dream of 15 years ago is just now bearing fruit. Mainers can take great pride in its achievements so far. Gov. LePage, why do you want to take down this remarkable effort by decimating the Fund for Healthy Maine programs? Why do you want to destroy an infrastructure and health promotion initiative that annually saves us far more than is being spent? Please tell us.

Ted Trainer


Maine’s low crime rate due to its character, not its guns

The recent “Another View” article by Bob Bertrand made me wonder what planet he comes from. He suggests that the reason Maine has a low crime rate is because we have “a strong self-defense ethos.”

I have searched high and low to find one incident in which an intruder was held off because the homeowner had a gun. But too often we hear of another crime — murder, assault, robbery — committed by someone with a gun — most recently the deadly killings in Tulsa.

The reason Maine has a low crime rate is not because so many have guns, it’s because of the character of the Maine people.

I knew a guy who had a loaded pistol in every room in his house. Talk about paranoid! Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your view, he never had to use any of them.

Walt Stephenson


Why does Congress allow our money to be wasted?

The news is filled with examples of our government wasting our money. Recently, the head person in the GSA agency was called before Congress to explain where our money is being spent by his agency.  

He stated he would not answer any questions posed by Congress and took the Fifth. So lets get this straight, the head person in the GSA will not answer questions from the Congress, his boss. How many of you can spend your boss’ money and refuse to account for the spending?

So my question is why does Congress allow our money to be wasted? Today, Sen. Susan Collins found the time to vote for an increase in taxes on wealthy people. Members of Congress have the power to stop wasteful spending. They have failed miserably.

Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, with Sens. Olympia Snow and Collins, continue to spend our money on wars all over the world (with the resulting deaths of many brave soldiers), allow the government to pile up huge debts on the backs of our children, allow trade laws to be passed that hurt the American worker … the list of shameful activities goes on and on.

Years ago, a great American president said “the buck stops here.” He was willing to take responsibility. Today, we have Obama, Michaud, Pingree, Snow and Collins as our elected leaders. They are ultimately responsible for the spending of our money. They can see the terrible waste of our money day after day. They have failed us miserably.

Where does the “buck stop?” It stops with us, the taxpayers. We need to be responsible and exercise our rights and vote the bums out.

James Waterhouse