No Laughing Matter

My family and I look forward to attending the Bath Heritage Days festival every year. It’s a great example of a community coming together to celebrate our common values. It was disappointing, therefore, to hear an ethnic stereotype as part of the pre-parade warm up on the Fourth. I’m sure the emcee meant it as a joke, but when he referred to French Canadians as the people who “wear the weird swim suits,” I wasn’t laughing. Remarks like these, no matter how light-hearted the intention might be, just reinforce old stereotypes and push us apart instead of bringing us together. Bath, like much of Maine, has a rich Franco-American heritage. Some of the earliest bath-built vessels relied on the skill and labor of Acadian immigrants. Let’s forget about Speedos and focus on the positives that unite us. If Independence Day means anything, it has to be that we are strongest when we stand together. E Pluribus Unum — “out of many, one.”

James Myall,

Topsham

The People Spoke, Legislators Didn’t Listen

I wish to commend your excellent Editorial of 3 July 2017. You hit the bulls-eye.

Our legislators have completely disregarded the will of the voters by moving to establish half of the money for education — $162 million– instead of the estimated $320 million. What gives them the chutzpah and “I know better than the voters” attitude? The people spoke clearly when they voted in the citizens referendum.

The citizens also indicated that they wanted ranked choice voting and an increase in the minimum way. I am outraged and so should every citizen in Brunswick.

Robert Morrison,

Brunswick

House Republicans Failed Maine

The Republican representatives who shut down our government, including Jeff Pierce of HD 53 — Phippsburg, Woolwich, Georgetown, Arrowsic and Dresden — had six months to work with their colleagues on a compromise budget. Instead, they sat on their hands and refused to negotiate.

They took our government hostage with a shutdown that cost the state economy $2.5 million a day in lost or delayed wages (nearly $70,000 in Sagadahoc County alone). They had a list of demands, including radical changes to tax policy, education reform and other existing laws the governor dislikes. Such proposals should have gone through the regular legislative process of committee hearings and debate. But the Republicans have put them forward as bargaining chips in what the governor has described as “a game of chicken.”

Our state legislators have one constitutional requirement: to pass a budget every two years. In a divided government that requires consensus building and compromise. House Republicans failed in their most basic obligation to Maine citizens.

The impact of this shutdown will go beyond the financial hardships faced by more than 12,000 state workers who were locked out of their jobs or forced to work without pay, even as they have mortgages or rent to pay and families to feed and clothe. Halted construction projects, unprocessed permit applications, plumbing inspection delays, minimally staffed parks and public facilities at the height of the tourist season, all have a negative impact on Maine’s citizens and economy as a whole.

Joan V. Smith,

Phippsburg