Letters to the Portland editor: November 2, 2007

Let the Gov go, but not the Prez

Let the Gov go, but not the Prez
Should the governor’s trip take place? Yes. (See “Gov: Cut Services While I Travel Overseas,” by Lance Tapley, October 26.) Should his wife travel with him at taxpayers’ expense? Yes. If there are any unnecessary trip members it is probably the two bodyguards, because Japan and South Korea are two of the safest countries in the world.

I’m not sure about the answer to the first question (Should the governor allow lobbyists to pay?). South Korea and Japan are both fine countries, and it’s good that 30 representatives from Maine are going to visit. It’s something that has nothing to do with war, and that’s refreshing. I do not condone all the cuts in services that Baldacci is proposing. But if we would stop supporting the national government’s obsession for constant war, the cuts would not be necessary.

Both Japan and South Korea are wonderful countries. And they are wealthy countries. And the people are healthy. They do not have an obesity problem. They have national health care. They have healthy schools and day-care systems. And people are busy, they’re working, everyone has a job. And both countries have extensive public transportation systems and fantastic trains. In fact, the last time I rode on Amtrak between Portland and Boston, I sat there thinking that someone from over here needs to go to either Japan or South Korea begging for some hand-me-down trains, because the trains they “retire” from service are in better shape than the ones we ride on here.

Baldacci’s 30-member entourage needs to see all that — to see how we too could flourish — if we spent our time and money building a democracy instead of a military empire, if we supported building bridges with other nations, and establishing fair trade — instead of building weapons of mass destruction, and initiating war after war after war.

Baldacci’s trade entourage will cost $175,000. Probably every state in the country has to contribute at least that much every time the president of this country decides to travel abroad. And that isn’t taking into consideration the enormous expense that is incurred by the host country. A law should be passed that no one be allowed to travel abroad while he or she is the president of the United States. That is a real waste of taxpayers’ money.

Amanda Kobayashi
South Portland

Lawmakers hide their spending
Maine politicians seem intent on finding ways to spend the public’s money while finding new ways to keep us from knowing what they’re up to. The Legislature is trying to pass “emergency” legislation (LD 1878) that would end the requirement for Maine government to post legal notices in newspapers. The legal notices in the classified section aren’t the most noticeable part of the paper, but sometimes contain the most important information for the public.

This bill would move legal notices onto a Web site and a phone hotline, but these would only be useful if you have access and skills to use the Internet, or if you know what you’re looking for (or just have lots of free time to spend browsing or calling). In most cases I know of, people who found legal notices of interest only came across them by chance when browsing the paper — they wouldn’t have known that there was anything of concern to them on some Web site or hotline they don’t necessarily even have access to.

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