2018-04-13 / Opinion

Letters

No Easy Answer to Pleasant Street Traffic Woes

The solution Mr. Crimmins suggested in the column about the new light on Pleasant, Mill and Stanwood Streets (The Times Record, April 11, Page A4, “No Mas!”) is no solution to the problem that exists at that intersection. I live off of River Road. When coming from the south end of downtown Brunswick, I go to Stanwood Street as the most direct way for me to get home. If I went to Mill Street, I would have to drive through all of downtown Brunswick and then turn left onto Mill Street or attempt to turn left onto Mill Street from Cumberland Street. A very difficult thing to do. Before the new red light was put in on Mill Street, we had to take our lives into our hands in order to turn left onto Pleasant Street from Stanwood since the cars from Mill Street often did not respect our right to turn left even though there were 2 Yield signs on that road near that intersection. Now we are able to turn left safely. Also, if we do not get into the right lane right away, we are often not able to do so before we get to River Road.

If you made Stanwood Street a no left turn street, we would have to go up to Church Road and then turn left off Pleasant Street in order to get to River Road. So, it would be to make more traffic in downtown Brunswick with more traffic turning left off of Main Street onto Mill Street or go to Church Road, to Pleasant Street and then have to turn left off Pleasant Street to get onto River Road, thereby making a traffic Jam on Pleasant Street. No easy answer, but Mr. Crimmins suggestion is not an answer either.

Monica Hamkins,

Brunswick

Bill Would Have Driven Energy Costs Higher

I write in response to a letter published in this newspaper from my opponent in the upcoming election who questioned my vote on LD 1444, a bill having to do with reimbursement rates for solar customers who sell their excess power back to the grid (April 9, Page A4, Letter to the Editor, “Campaigning on Renewable Energy Benefits”). First and foremost, nothing changes for existing solar customers or those who want to install solar.

My opponent might want to reserve her comments and criticism until she actually knows what the bill does and does not do.

In short, LD 1444 centers around a process known as “gross metering” that allows the measure of the amount of energy produced to be recorded. This only applies to people who take part in the net metering program which is 100 percent voluntary. Net energy customers are reimbursed for power they sell back to the grid at a rate of .16 cents per kilowatt hour. The current rate power companies charge for electricity is around .3 cents per kilowatt hour, so the additional costs utilities accrue to buy back solar customers excess power is passed on to you, the electricity ratepayers.

Under new rules implemented by the Public Utilities Commission, the subsidy paid for by electric ratepayers would be phased out over a ten-year period. LD 1444 would remove the ability of the PUC to reduce these rates. If you want to see some examples of what overly progressive solar policy can do, I urge you to look at Nevada and Massachusetts.

Do these subsidies you’re paying for help to motivate more people to install solar? Maybe. But do these subsidies make our electric bills go up in order to pay for someone else’s solar panels? Absolutely. If my opponent is okay with raising the electric bills of the elderly, disabled and less fortunate among us, that’s up to her.

I was elected to make the best decisions possible for the people I represent. At a time when I am being contacted daily by constituents who are seeing skyrocketing electric bills, I cannot in good conscience vote for a bill that would drive those bills even higher.

State Rep. Jeff Pierce,

Dresden

Doc Shines Light on U.S. intervention in Latin America

We Americans know very little of the history of U.S. involvement in Latin America. As a result, we tend to be angry at Latin Americans flooding into our country, when we should be angry at U.S. policies that cause the flood. On Sunday, April 29 from 2-5 p.m. in the Morrell Room of the Curtis Memorial Library we have the opportunity to see a powerful documentary that exposes the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today. Harvest of Empire looks at U.S. policies that have forced people to flee Central America, Mexico and Cuba.

We learn about the military occupations early in the 20th century that allowed U.S. banks and corporations to gain control over key industries in every Latin American country. The U.S. corporations got lucrative concessions and the host countries fell into debt and dependence.

As U.S.-owned plantations spread into Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Guatemala, millions of peasants were forced off their lands, impoverishing them. Then they were recruited into an army of low-priced labor. The uprooted workers came here, drawn by corporate recruiters and political repression.

By the early ‘80s Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua were all engulfed in wars. Five hundred people a month were massacred by death squads. By 1984, 500,000 Salvadorans had arrived in the U.S. fleeing a government our country supported. By 1989, fatalities from the wars in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua had passed a quarter of a million—five times the U.S. death toll in Vietnam. Seventy percent of the $3.7 billion the U.S. sent to El Salvador was used for weapons and war between 1981- 1989. As the number of weapons escalated, so did the number of Salvadorans fleeing the devastation.

Refreshments and discussion follow the film.

Selma Sternlieb,

Brunswick

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