Is DEI racist?

I am responding to the May 2, 2024 paper’s article about DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) at UNE. Some campuses are removing DEI as it has gained a lot of opponents. I think it is destructive to the fabric of society.
DEI does the opposite of what it tries to do, and is the quintessential politically correct way of forcing people to do something with “good intentions,” but having an opposite effect, by excluding white people, and normalizing socialism. Comments from the DEI czar at UNE, Shannon Zlotkowski, were odd. She said “…creating a space where students can live freely” …? … “and feel a sense of belonging.” Don’t students “live freely” already? People of color have been integrated into society for decades, playing sports, living, etc. Students applied to, were accepted, and paid to attend … that is about as accepted as you can be, in my opinion. Race is a reality, not an excuse to get more “equity;” just like “reparations” for slavery are not fair to people who never owned slaves.

If DEI is singling out people of color to be more accepted or inclusive, but already are, isn’t that, itself, being racist, by excluding whites? (On one college campus, they had a “no whites allowed” DEI meeting in a student union).

The article talks about helping “marginalized communities.” The way Maine is taxing and impoverishing its citizens, perhaps we are all now becoming “marginalized,” with my “equity” being shared or taxed away into the hands of others that try to do good, but foster more marginalization, and exclusion for the beautiful people.

Diversity is good and brings a richness to society that is beneficial. DEI appears to be beneficial superficially, but perhaps is engendering/upholding racial exclusivity — either unintentionally or intentionally — and increasing societal uneasiness, by shaking the jar of ants.

Ethan Alcorn


Vote yes for
school bond

As a lifelong resident and former Mayor of Saco who has seen the challenges our schools have faced over the past 20+ years, I urge you to vote yes on the upcoming bond referendum to fund the construction of two new elementary schools in our city.

For too long, the issue of replacing the outdated and inadequate Young, Fairfield, and CK Burns Schools has lingered without resolution. Despite multiple attempts over the decades to get a building project approved, stumbling blocks have continually gotten in the way of providing our children with the modern, safe, and effective learning environments they deserve.

By taking advantage of the 72% state funding allocation, which equates to $101 million in construction aid, we have an incredible opportunity to address two pressing needs – replacing Young School and providing modern facilities for Saco students – in a fiscally prudent manner that keeps the local tax burden manageable.

Mark D. Johnston

Thank you for your unanimous vote, approving a referendum question to finance construction of two new schools, one for grades 1 through 5 and one for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. Saco’s Fairfield, Burns and Young Schools are old, outdated and overcrowded. Conditions at Young School got so bad that the original building has been replaced by modular units.


With state-subsidized funding of 93% of the cost for the grade 1 through 5 School, this is an opportunity that we need to support with an enthusiastic yes vote on June 11 to fund the Bond. The Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten School would be locally funded. Saco’s share of the total project cost is 28% with the State of Maine paying for 72% of the required funding for the two schools. We agree with Superintendent Jeremy Ray who called it an “awesome opportunity.”

We have already mailed in our absentee ballots and hope every Saco voter, whether or not they have children or grandchildren attending Saco schools will see the value of excellence in our educational system that is foundational to all areas of the community and makes Saco a city where people will desire to live and work.

Mary and Bill Johnson
Former Mayor of Saco

OOB may get mobile home rent control

The residents of Old Orchard Village and Atlantic Village are exploring the possibility of putting a mobile home rent stabilization ordinance on the ballot this fall. We are in the process of gathering the 504 signatures or 10% of the previous gubernatorial election vote necessary to make this happen. Any registered voter in the Town of Old Orchard Beach can sign this petition. Under new ownership, the rent in both parks will increase by 14.4% this June. There are many seniors living on a fixed income in both these mobile home parks that struggle to make ends meet. You don’t have to live in a mobile home park to join this effort to keep housing affordable in Old Orchard Beach. Please call (207) 779-7990 for further information and/or if you would like to sign this petition. Thank you!

Val Philbrick


Take down sign

As a veteran, I participated in many Memorial Day parades such as this year where the parade will begin in Saco and end at the Veterans Memorial Park in Biddeford.

One previous parade about a decade ago was particularly memorable when the guest speaker noticed people holding political signs in the park. He sternly reminded these people that this day and park have been set aside in remembrance of our fallen comrades, this is not a day or place for political campaigning. All signs quickly came down.

This year, someone has decided to erect a huge sign directly in front of this same memorial park which gives praise to a 2024 political candidate claiming that they are responsible for funding the construction project on Alfred Street.

I personally spoke to Mayor Martin Grohman of Biddeford to remind him of the sanctity of that park and asked that the sign be simply moved anywhere but on park grounds. I prompted him for a response a few weeks later and he wrote, “Unfortunately it is federally mandated and we can’t move it, related to the funding we got for the project.”

I find it completely outrageous that the federal government is practically blackmailing municipalities into allowing them to erect blatant political signage anywhere they want in return for tax money to upgrade their infrastructure. I would encourage the citizens of Biddeford and especially fellow veterans to contact city officials and ask that they stand up to this bullying by the federal government.

I’ve yet to receive information from the mayor as to which federal official issued this mandate, so we may also have to contact our federal elected officials and bring this matter to their attention. The Memorial Day parade is only a few days away so let’s not allow our veterans and fallen comrades to serve as mere backdrops in someone’s political campaign.

Ted Sirois

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