Legislature should get back to work

To the editor,

Maine Republicans need to quit their obstructionism and get back to work. Three months ago they demanded to resume the legislative special session that had adjourned due to COVID-19. Thanks to Gov. Mills’ executive leadership, the virus is now under reasonable control. Consequently, House leader Sara Gideon and Senate leader Troy Jackson have twice called their respective bodies back only to be rebuffed by Republicans.

Since the adjournment, legislative work, however, has been going on in Augusta. Committees have been meeting with 162 bills reported out of committee with 74 percent of them receiving bipartisan votes, 48 percent  with unanimous support. If the Legislature does not resume, all this committee work will be for naught, and will all have to be re-filed in 2021 wasting time and resources.

As the Portland Press Herald stated in its Sunday editorial, Aug. 9, 2020, “Mainers should not be confused: This is not legislative gridlock or inter-party squabbling. This is a move by the minority to block the will of the majority. It’s not governance, it’s preventing governance from happening— and they (Republicans) are doing it in the middle of a public health economic crisis.”

Many of the bills waiting approval affect veteran’s rights, child protective services, criminal justice and tribal sovereignty. Seems to me a worthwhile agenda to finish the special session. Let’s get going Republicans.

Tom McClain

Kennebunkport

Sign saboteur caught on camera

To the editor,

I am writing to express my deep sorrow and disappointment, to learn that a neighbor has experienced several acts of terrorism in our community. On two occasions, their Justice Now, flag, displayed on their property, near the intersection of Walker Road and Alewive Road was slashed with a knife, and four Biden 2020 signs destroyed.

Fortunately, the last act was photographed, showing a man wearing a bandana replicating the Stars and Stripes. It’s ironic that a man, wearing the symbol of a republic founded by people seeking to escape religious persecution, terrorized his neighbors, who were peacefully, lawfully, expressing their values. While the history of this country has had some profound challenges living up to the ideals of religious, cultural and political tolerance, it is most disheartening to see this intolerance expressed in our community.

Here’s hoping Mr. Stars and Stripes is identified, and can learn the history lesson he missed in elementary school.

Steve Kelley
Kennebunk

Performing arts face critical time

To the editor,

We are writing to you today, after working closely with our peers from leading nonprofit performing arts organizations throughout the state, to voice the urgent need our sector faces, while COVID continues to keep our theaters closed. Maine’s nonprofit theaters need immediate, targeted action in the form of financial support for operations from Maine’s $1.25 billion CARES Act funding to create economic relief and to preserve our greatest cultural assets until we can reopen our facilities at full capacity.

Ogunquit Playhouse and Maine’s other nonprofit theaters were some of the first businesses to close, and we will be among the last to reopen. Nowhere are we feeling the economic impact more than in our local communities. Besides being a performing arts attraction, Ogunquit Playhouse is an enormous economic engine in our region, bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Every $1 spent on cultural tourism results in $46 spent in our local economy. The more work we produce, the more staff we hire, the more artists we employ, the more youth we educate, and the more patrons we engage – patrons who help our small business partners fill their restaurants, hotels and retail shops. As a direct result of the Playhouse not being able to open our mainstage theater, we have witnessed the closing of a number of local businesses.

As support from the first PPP loan program runs dry and our reserves dwindle, we continue our efforts to innovate, educate, and engage our audiences in new ways and maintain our facilities without the benefit of usual staff and financial resources. Our loyal patrons have been generous, but without state assistance, recovery will be a very long and difficult process. Lacking financial support from Maine’s CARES Act funding, we are leaving employees without jobs and our business partners without income to sustain operations. What happens between now and when true reopening is possible is critical to our community’s survival.

For 88 years, Ogunquit Playhouse has been a summer vacation destination for generations of theatre lovers — the playhouse is an important part of what makes Maine a truly great place to visit. We need your support to carry us through this challenging time. Please join us in writing your elected leaders to advocate for this critically needed funding for Maine’s nonprofit theaters. You will not fully realize how important the performing arts are to your own community until we are no longer there. Please do not let that happen.

Bradford T. Kenney, executive artistic director

Kent Bridges, executive managing director

Ogunquit Playhouse

District has ‘incredible educators’

To the editor,

Susan Kamuda’s letter to the editor regarding Dr. Cooper’s appointment is spot on. I put two boys through MSAD 71 years ago, and it wouldn’t have mattered what color the folks were: Mrs. Carroll, Mrs. Mattuccio, Mr. McLelland, Carol Kelly, Roe Coates, Beth Bush, Mrs. Cressey, Mr. Lewia and the countless other administrators, teachers and coaches that touched John and George’s lives.

They could have been purple. Nobody would have cared given the job these incredible educators did to help teach, coach and mentor two awesome kids. I commend the school board for choosing Dr. Cooper based on her merits and we wish her all the best. She is in a great community.

Tod Jarvis

Kennebunk

Why weren’t we prepared?

To the editor,

And I begin to wonder if anyone else has similar thoughts.

Last week Kennebunkport posted a notice that read, “Just a reminder that all trash should be out at curbside no earlier than 6 p.m. the day before your collection …” The time was later changed to 3 p.m. I guess someone complained.

Is there a reason I can’t put my trash out roadside at 2 p.m.? It makes me think that this is so that tourists won’t be put off by the sight of residents acting like normal people. Certainly, it can’t be because wildlife can get into it. They do that at night.

Later I read the Annual Town Report and saw that the Colony Hotel pays only $500/year in town taxes. I pay more than 10 times that amount. There were similar amounts for the other hotels in town. Why don’t they pay their fair share. Are we subsidizing them?

I enjoy the tourists in town. Sometimes the numbers are a little overwhelming and the traffic becomes difficult, but in general, I don’t think we would have the variety of stores or the quality of restaurants we have without visitors. But, in the back of my mind, I begin to wonder if the residents aren’t being looked upon as immaterial or inconsequential to the efforts of the business community to keep the economy bustling and growing.

Then, with COVID-19, slowing everything down, I wonder why politicians are so much more concerned about the economy than they are about supporting the citizens whose work makes a town prosper. To me, keeping people alive is so much more critical than companies thriving. I understand that businesses may go under. I have neighbors that run a B&B and they are enduring a very rough time economically. I would hate to see the B&B fail. But, they know, as well as me, that keeping people alive is more important.

And then I wonder why, if pandemics like this have been predicted and are predicted for the future, too, why aren’t our state and federal (and local) governments prepared to handle it medically and economically. Humans are adaptable and competitive. For businesses that fail, others will be created. But will we go through the same crises because we look at growth the same way?

Maybe we need a different type of economy. One that takes care of people first and the economy second. I wonder.

Nina Pearlmutter

Kennebunkport