Thursday, September 18, 2014


Wage discrimination, based on prejudice, is a real problem.  

I need to sound off about arguments like the following that there is very little wage discrimination against women: “An analysis of more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, commissioned by the Labor Department,  found that the so-called wage gap is mostly, and perhaps entirely, an artifact of the different choices men and women make—different fields of study, different professions, different balances between home and work”  ( All these arguments are concerned only with wage earning that is “market driven,” and they reflect values of a culture saturated with wage discrimination based on pure prejudice about money being the most important cultural value. 

One example: Why is the school superintendent worth more than 3 times as much as the classroom teacher who has at least as much experience and training (quite often she has more)?  Is his work worth more to the students, their families, and the community?  Administration with its power status has been traditionally men’s work, men have had the political power, and men have decided superintendents are worth more money than classroom teachers, traditionally women’s work. Such judgments about the relative value of superintendent and classroom teacher is a cultural prejudice that still dominates “market” values everywhere, prejudices that pervade nearly any service or industry you could mention. From department stores to the makers of toilet paper, the people who get the major work of the organization done are among the lowest paid by huge multiples, and those positions are filled more by women than by men.  That is wage discrimination.

Wage discrimination is not only against women.  It is also against certain races, ethnicities, and labor.  But women make up a disproportionate % of the discrimination in all categories, and it is worse for women who also face these other categories of discrimination.  The argument about women being worth less because they have taken time off from paid employment for family is another example of a market driven cultural prejudice.  Because motherhood is not paid employment, the experience gained is valued as worthless, though it could be worth many hours of gainful employment in terms of what mothers who spend time with their children can learn about human relationships and mediating conflict; that should enhance their value to employers. 

The arguments suggest that the solution to the problem is for women to become more like men in their values, to make the same kinds of choices men make, rather than try to change the culture Choices such as sacrificing ethical values for career advancement (; The sacrifice of good education, health care, happiness, and the common good for the love of money and power is destructive for men as well as women and the common good.  And it results in the kind of wage discrimination we see in the obscene income inequality that is ruining our economy.    

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vote Responsibly

To the Editor, The Star Herald
From Alice Bolstridge
Subject: Political Attack Ads

If you think advertising doesn’t influence you because you don’t pay attention to it, think again.  An ad pops up on my Facebook page with a picture of my state representative and the message, “Saucier Means More Taxes, [from] Your State Rep, BOB SAUCIER, voted to increase taxes and fees on cars, snowmobiles & ATV's.”   I don’t want to pay more taxes; I want my taxes reduced.  If I am a snowmobiler or an ATVer, and if I am not paying attention, and if I don’t know Bob Saucier, all I see flashing before me is that guy who wants to make my outdoor life more expensive than it already is, and I will vote for the other candidate. 

I’m not a snowmobiler, nor an ATVer, and I know and support Bob Saucier as my representative, so I paid attention. Even though I don’t use outdoor sports vehicles, people I love do.  So I want safe, well-groomed, and well maintained trails.  The clubs responsible for maintaining the trails are having trouble finding the resources to do an adequate job and some have closed because of it.  This affects the Aroostook economy; outdoor sports is an important job creator here.  One of the bills Bob voted for would have raised registration fees $5.00 a year.  Designed to help maintain trails, it was supported by both snowmobilers and snowmobile dealers.  The Maine Sportsmen’s Alliance has endorsed Bob.  These are reasons why I support Bob’s votes on this issue.

I researched to see if Bob’s Republican opponent, Larry Fox, might have a better plan for solving these problems. I couldn’t find any information in the media or on his Facebook page about his position on this issue.  I wanted to call and ask him but couldn’t find any contact information. 
About Fox’s views on any of the issues he would likely face in the legislature, I could only find vague generalizations. A professional educator, he says he “will focus on education reforms that match students young and old with good careers.”  

But Bob has the endorsement from the Maine Education Association and a 100% voting record on educational issues. He also has endorsements from various labor organizations concerned with good jobs for Mainers.  I couldn’t find any specific information about what positions Larry Fox has on the important issues I care about.  Bob is easy to contact, and lots of information about his views is readily available. Just google “Maine Representative Robert Saucier,” or go directly to,

You won’t find that kind of good information in political attack ads.  Pure attack ads, either from the right or the left, are socially irresponsible, misleading, and sometimes outright lies.   Sponsors pour millions into advertising to keep us consumers and voters ignorant and to manipulate us.  They do it because it works to their advantage, not to ours.  Pay attention, so you won’t be an ignorant manipulated voter. 


Democratic Candidates at the Acadian Festival Parade, left to right: Mike Carpenter for State Senate; Danny Martin for State House; Emily Cain for US House; Mike Michaud for Maine Governor, Troy Haines for Maine House; Ken Theriault for State Senate; Bob Saucier for Maine House; Janet Mills, current Maine Attorney General; John Martin for Maine House. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why I Support Troy Jackson

I was interviewed by Mario Moretto for his article in The Bangor Daily News, “Democratic congressional primary pits a progressive dealmaker against a blue-collar firebrand”  That article does not accurately or fairly represent my reasons for supporting Troy Jackson for US Congressional District 2.   The article says nothing about one of the most important reasons I support Jackson which I emphasized in my interview, my concern about compromise and the influence of money in politics.  I support Jackson not because he is “looking for a fight” as the article says, but because he is one who will not back away from a fight when the interests of workers, the poor, and the middle class are at stake.   He will not make deals with corporate interests that compromise away core values.  In Jackson’s own words, “I’m running for congress because of income inequality, poverty, unfairness, corporate greed, and political cowardice . . . [and] when the privileged elite try to keep me quiet with their checkbooks and their political machines, I sure as hell won’t back down.” 

There are many other good reasons to support Jackson.  Before you vote in the primary, listen to his speech at  I share many values in common with Jackson’s opponent in the primary, but she is a compromiser in values I hold dear, and I haven’t heard anything from her that assures me she understands and will protect the interests of the poor, the working class, and rural Maine as vigorously and passionately as Jackson has demonstrated he will.  

Published in Aroostook County newspapers June 4,2014

Money in Northern Maine Politics

How does money in politics affect the economic and social well-being of Northern Maine?  And by “Northern Maine,” I don’t mean Bangor.  I mean the vast areas of Aroostook County, Northern Penobscot, and Washington County.  There was already way too much money determining the outcome of elections when Supreme Court decisions dramatically compounded the influence of corporate greed in political decisions that vitally affect us.   The Citizens United decision defined a corporation as a person and money as speech; it struck down regulations that limited the amount of money they could spend on political campaigns.   The McCutcheon vs. FEC decision eliminated caps on how much people can give in total to federal candidates and party committees.  That means that our individual voices in Northern Maine are being drowned out by voices of greed coming from elsewhere.
We in Northern Maine have always had to struggle to have our voices heard in Augusta—let alone in Washington—where money and profit rule.  Giant corporations from outside Northern Maine have gradually taken over our farms, retail outlets, forestry industries, and government.  They were already controlling our lives, silencing our voices, and shipping out their profits to other areas.  They have not improved our economy.  We are rural, sparsely populated, and struggling to survive economically and to maintain what is left of our pristine environment and our quality of life which in so many ways should be a role model for Augusta, Southern Maine, and the rest of the nation, not a way station to be ignored.   
We have increasing numbers of organic farmers here who need and deserve public support in Augusta.  They show the way to improving our citizens’ health which corporate food producers have been undermining for many decades.  We still have forests, wild lands, and wild life that provide a quality of life necessary for personal happiness of local citizens, travelers, and tourists; these resources need protection from corporate greed that use up these resources for profit and leave our soils, waters, forests, and air polluted.  We still have some semblance of town hall government where diverse voices can be heard and respected.  This kind of government must be protected and strengthened to combat the power of money coming from outside interests and determining political decisions that affect our lives. 
Whether you are Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, Independent, or Other, arm yourself with information.  Do everything you can to find out how candidates are being funded. If you can’t find out from the media, ask the candidates and the party officials before you vote.  Ask them where their campaign funds are coming from. Ask them what kind of obligation they will owe from their funding.  Ask them if they will support campaign finance reform to restore the democratic principle of one person, one vote. 
The definition of a corporation as a person and money as speech is a travesty of justice.   We in rural Northern Maine have to speak even louder since that travesty, and our best megaphones are informed voices:  private speech one-to one in homes and neighborhoods, public speech in town halls and other public meetings, Letters to the Editor, and the vote.  The upcoming elections are an opportunity to make your voice heard, both in the primary elections in June, and in the general elections in November.   Think about what is best for Northern Maine and vote accordingly.   Don’t let our fate be determined by those who will use our resources for their own gain and take their profits elsewhere. 

Friday, April 25, 2014


from the Portland Press Herald, FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014: 

"Alice Bolstridge, now of Presque Isle, was born in Portage Lake.

"She is a proud grandmother who has spent countless hours educating her friends and neighbors in Aroostook County about the environmental threats from Irving Corp.’s recent proposal to weaken Maine’s mining rules to go after gold, copper and other minerals at Bald Mountain, not far from her home.
Alice drove a total of 24 hours in the last year to testify at three public hearings in Augusta on this issue. She came to public forums, wrote letters to the editor and helped organize a presentation about mineral mining in her hometown. Alice is a force to be reckoned with and a champion for clean air, clean water and the health of future generations."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


To our Legislators,

I have concerns relevant to climate-change legislation that must be addressed in order to make substantial progress in reversing the damage already done to our climate.  The influence of money and corporate power in political decisions has hampered efforts to protect our environment for at least a century and led to the predicament we are in now with global warming and all other damages to the environment.  That influence has greatly increased with Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC.  Right here in Maine, the influence of Irving, Inc. is only one example of many political decisions being made in Augusta that favor the profit of corporations over the protection of the environment.   What is your position on these decisions and on the increasing income inequality that reduces the power of the people to take care of the earth, our home?

I am increasingly alarmed about the influence of climate-change deniers, and those who see big profits for corporations as the only means to improve the local economy and create jobs.  This is a short-sighted view which has only worked in the last hundred years to hinder progress in protecting the environment, to send profits outside of the local area, and to prevent the growth of green energy and of stable, sustainable economic opportunity for all local citizens.  Please prioritize protection of the environment over corporate profits. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

More on Mining in Maine

Published in The Star-Herald, 1-22-14
            Bravo to the organizers of the public meeting on Mining in Maine on January 9 in Ashland for bringing in geologists who directly addressed environmental risks and attempts to mitigate them.  And thanks also for encouraging unlimited questions and comments from the audience.  The presentations focused on the difference between “legacy mines” and modern mines; the former operating in the days when there was not sufficient scientific understanding about pollution, nor adequate regulations, and the latter operating with advanced knowledge and technology.
            Important questions posed by audience members did not get reassuring answers.  What about the possibility of leaks in liners supposed to contain the toxic elements?  Yes, there is potential for leaks.  In addition to liner flaws, flooding, earthquakes, or other natural disasters can cause the tailings ponds containing the toxins to fail.  Is there potential for harm in using bactericides to clean up the chemicals used in processing the metals?  Yes, just as there is in the use of pesticides.  Hydro-geologist Carol White explained, “Inherent in any of these studies is uncertainty . . . nobody can guarantee water quality in the future, the idea is to draw up the rules in a way that minimizes negative impacts.”  
            Asked to provide a specific example of a modern mine using the advanced technology, Geologist Robert Marvinney referred to the Flambeau mine in Wisconsin.  Another audience member googled “Flambeau Mine” on the spot and asked about the toxic materials from that mine that are polluting surrounding waters after closure in 1997.  Marvinney said that there is conflicting scientific opinion about the success of that mine in reducing risks and it depends on who you believe.   
            So should we believe the scientists who work for the mining industry ( or the scientists used by a site like that provides an overview of the technologies used and of the pollution problems that remain (  Nick Bennnet, a scientist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine explained to me some of the serious environmental risks the Board of Environmental Protection has passed in its new regulations that you can read below.*
            There are important advances being made in the scientific understanding of risks, and some technologies are being developed that might help mitigate the risks.  But there is not enough evidence to warrant the relaxation of environmental safeguards.  Instead, there is sound evidence that these rules increase the risks. 

            It’s true, there is plenty of uncertainty in all areas of our lives, but when we can choose to reduce the uncertainty by writing more rather than less rigorous protections, it is socially irresponsible to increase the negative impacts and the uncertainty as these regulations do.   We need to err on the side of caution and remain vigilant about the motives of those who seek economic profit without serious regard for the health and safety of the environment, humans, and wildlife.  I look forward to further educational meetings promised by organizers and hope they will bring in alternative scientific viewpoints about current success in managing the risks.  

*Nick Bennet, scientist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine lists some of the most serious problems of the new mining regulations passed by the Department of Environmental Protection:
1.      They allow perpetual treatment for wet mine waste units as long as the applicant defines the time frame (i.e., 1000 years is okay) and DEP determines that wet mine waste units are the most practicable way of dealing with mining waste.  The thing is, DEP put in sections about wet mine waste units because they think they are the most practicable technology for mines in Maine, so it’s clear that any mining applicant will get the okay to use them.  This is a just a poorly disguised way of allowing perpetual treatment.
2.      Many Land for Maine’s Future and other public lands are not excluded from mining or protected by any buffer for surface mines.  Thus, mines – both underground and surface – are allowed on many Land for Maine’s future lands depending on who owns the mineral rights.  TNC and AMC have said they will work on a map of what lands this actually means.
3.      They don’t require full payment of financial assurance prior start of mining.
4.      They don’t have a clear definition of mining area, which means mining companies can likely pollute large areas of groundwater. 
He adds:

            “Every mine needs maintenance forever, especially mines that have tailings dams, which break if you don’t keep them up and that’s an environmental disaster.  Mines without tailings dams need maintenance of caps, also potentially the scooping out of wetlands that may get filled with sediment, etc.  But mines that require active wastewater treatment in perpetuity are a special problem that we have been fighting against as hard as possible.  That’s because if you need active treatment after the mine is done operating, it means you have particularly reactive waste or you have done a poor job of putting the waste to bed in a sound way.  Active treatment also often fails when the power goes out, when the weather is very cold, or if there is no one around to pay the monthly electric bills, add chemicals and do maintenance.  And active treatment is really expensive!
            “While the trust fund will be ‘fully funded’ under the definition of ‘fully funded in the rules, that definition stinks.  There is an incredibly complicated calculation the needs to be done at the start of each year figuring out how much money it would cost to clean up the mine a year from that point (this is actually from the existing rules).  My definition of fully funded is: you do an estimate of how much it costs to completely remediate the mine under worst case conditions and put that money in a trust up front.  Very different.”