Letters to the editor, Week of 13, 2017

Left turn on red ill-conceived idea

To the editor:

L.D. 977, “An Act To Allow a Motorist to Make a Left Hand Turn at a Red Light Under Certain Conditions” was recently voted “Ought Not To Pass” by the Maine Legislature’s Transportation Committee. It was sponsored by Representative Tim Theriault who submitted the bill at the request of a resident of Albion. The individual who requested the bill cited “stress levels that can’t be measured as one waits to turn” as well as “efficiency, fuel economy…time and money” as reasons to support the bill. Neither he nor Rep. Theriault made any mention in their written testimony of the increased accidents, injuries and deaths that would likely result if the bill was passed.

In his written testimony, Rep. Theriault stated, “There have been many times that I have personally been stuck at a red light without a soul around. I see no reason for people to be sitting there idling, wasting gas and polluting the environment when we used to be able to make that turn, before there was a light.” One individual who opposed the bill stated that “it has to be the most irresponsible piece of legislation I have ever seen.” The Maine Department of Public Safety (Maine State Police) opposed the bill. Their testimony stated in part, “Last year in Maine there were about 30,482 reportable crashes. 4,684 of those involved unsafe intersection movement. 1,550 of those crashes resulted in someone being injured and, tragically, 16 people were killed in addition to those injured…. We fear that should LD 977 become law that these numbers would only increase. We feel that no other outcome is possible if we were to allow people to proceed through red lights. Think about the driving behaviors you have seen in your travels. Consider the number of drivers who roll through stop signs even though the law says that you must come to a complete stop and then proceed if it is safe to do so. How long do you think it will take before vehicle operators are rolling through red lights?”

Thank you for this opportunity to present this information regarding the issues and outcome of this ill-conceived and dangerous bill. Thankfully, the legislature gave it the time and attention that it deserved.

John M. Glowa Sr.
South China

They were here first

To the editor:

[I] read this morning in a local paper about the KKK flyers appearing in towns in Maine, especially Skowhegan, and how Native American leader Barry Dana calls the school district and people hypocrites due to the fact that they still will not erase the name “Indian” [as the school mascot] and consider this just as much bigotry as the KKK.

This brings back memories to me when serving in the military and sharing a BOQ (bachelor officer quarters) years ago who told me about being a chief of his tribe yet somehow ended up being drafted during World War II. There are numerous stories back then and now about bigotry against the Native American. Imagine after serving on Iwo Jima during World War II and then get back home and still not be able to buy or enter a beer saloon in your own state. Wish everyone had seen the Code Talkers, a movie about how valiantly Native Americans were as the Japs couldn’t understand their language, so they communicated for the Marines in that era. Must mention their superiors were told never to let one of our code talkers to get captured as the Japs would break their code. Of course, this meant, if necessary, to kill the code talkers if there was a chance of them being captured.

Years ago, I saw a cartoon in U.S. News and World Report showing Pilgrims talking and the caption read, “What would the Indians have if not for us white men?” Well, I thought about my friend of years ago in the BOQ and the stories he told me. With that in mind, I wrote the following letter to U.S. News and World Report:

“Your cartoon was not only tasteless and not funny, but did a great disservice to the Native Americans and with that in mind, please send the cartoonist my answer to the Pilgrim’s question in that awful cartoon – I hate to even call it that. The Native Americans would still have their clear blue skies, pure and clean rivers, abundant with fish, millions of buffalo for his meat and fertile soil to plant his vegetables, etc. But most important, he and she would not be living as second class citizens imprisoned on reservations located in a country he and she both owned.”

Frank Slason


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