Letters to The Editor
Where in Maine?
I became intimately acquainted with Ripogenus Gorge ["Where in Maine?" August 2005] after a whitewater rafting mishap in 2003. It is a beautiful location, but it's not such a great view scraping along the bottom of the Penobscot River!
While I enjoyed your profile of Senator Susan Collins ["The Moderate," August 2005], as a member of the Naval Air Station Brunswick BRAC Task Force, I take exception with the embedded question — "Can she stop the base closings?"
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process, infinitely more than previous rounds, was specifically designed to be impervious to political influence. The data was collected and the recommendations formulated in a process closed tightly within the Department of Defense, by DOD staff sworn by oath to withhold everything from the public and elected officials until the recommendations were ready to be handed over to the nine-member BRAC Commission. The commissioners themselves have proven to be every bit as independent, and nonpolitical, as their charter demands.
That said, Senator Collins has done all that could be expected and more. She and her staff have supported the efforts of the Brunswick Task Force full-speed, full-time. She has personally provided essential access, visibility, insight, and ideas. No matter how BRAC sorts out Maine's installations, she will be owed our gratitude and more.
—Ralph J. Dean
Hear, hear to the Ellsworth American for their editorial entitled "Base Closure Realities," and to Down East for reprinting it. I could not agree more. I have to believe the Pentagon knows more about how to optimize the defense of our country than our state politicians whose motivation is primarily to gain votes in their next election.
Out of Service
In reference to your "Out of Service" article ["The Talk of Maine," August 2005], I am glad someone finally addressed the problem of restrooms, or lack thereof, in busy tourist areas.
My husband and I travel to New England every fall and find this situation in each state. Unlike the Midwest, where every little town has a McDonald's and at least one convenience store, the quaint and charming little towns of New England do not. And this is good, as it certainly would detract from their quaintness and charm.
Surely in busy tourist areas such as Kennebunkport, each shopkeeper and restaurateur could contribute toward a decent public restroom facility. The one near Dock Square always has lines in the fall and I can only imagine what it must be like in the summer crowds.
A fine exception is Camden, with a beautiful and interesting waterfront and very clean and roomy public restroom facilities.
Prairie Village, Kansas