On behalf of our member organizations, we at Maine Mental Health Partners want to thank the 124th Maine Legislature for its exemplary service during this most recent session.

We especially wish to thank the legislative leadership and members of the Appropriations and the Health and Human Services committees for facing the daunting challenge of balancing the biennial budget without crippling the mental health services infrastructure that so many Maine residents rely upon for their health and well-being.

It is particularly noteworthy that the Appropriations Committee worked tirelessly to support a unanimous budget in these trying times.

Lawmakers’ restoration of critical mental health funding that had been proposed for elimination in the governor’s preliminary budget was a godsend to both Maine employers and consumers alike.

Not only did these proposed cuts threaten the livelihood of mental health centers and psychiatric service providers across the state, but they also promised to choke off access to timely, affordable and sometimes life-saving treatment for tens of thousands of Maine residents with mental health concerns.

We are especially grateful for the time and patience demonstrated by lawmakers during the public hearings. For some of us, these hearings were our first opportunity to take part in the legislative process firsthand, and we could not have been more impressed with lawmakers’ respectful and attentive audience.

We appreciate each lawmaker’s service to the state and its residents, particularly in this most challenging session. Our congratulations and thanks to the 124th Legislature on this tremendously difficult job being carried out so exceedingly well.

Richard A. Carriuolo

Board Chair, Maine Mental Health Partners

Dennis P. King

CEO, Maine Mental Health Partners

Westbrook 

Republican legislators in Augusta initially resisted a Democratic proposal to issue an $85 million bond package this June, but 11 of them in the Senate and seven in the House reversed themselves and voted for a $58 million compromise — $70 million with interest expense — that passed by one vote.

By voting for new debt so soon after the painful exercise of balancing the state’s budget, these Republicans proved that they are little better than Democrats at making hard choices and setting priorities.

Democratic legislators predictably pushed the bond deal as a jobs initiative, which is becoming the general-purpose excuse in Washington and Augusta for any kind of spending, including endless energy boondoggles and more money for the state’s growing investment in unused or unprofitable railroad track.

Looked at separately, the projects in the bond package may appear more or less plausible.

But in the aggregate, the Legislature’s compulsive borrowing and spending take money out of the private economy that individuals and businesses cannot save or invest as they see fit; that is not available for consumption; and that cannot be used to create sustainable jobs based on the needs of individual businesses rather than on political preference.

When Republicans join Democrats in thinking that state government can spend money more effectively than the private economy, it’s no wonder that taxes remain so high.

Maine voters rarely reject the state’s borrowing proposals, but they should consider just saying “no” to this one.

Martin Jones

Freeport 

John Richardson recently had to end his campaign for the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination, as allegations of fraud swirled around how his campaign collected the $5 matching contributions that would have qualified him to receive public funding under Maine Clean Election Law. From the published reports, it sounds as if he was using ACORN: forged signatures, non-existent donations, etc.

This is just another example of the continuing disregard certain prominent members of the Democratic Party have for the law.

To say all Democratic Party office holders have a flagrant disregard would be an overstatement, as I am sure many are honest and would never use their position to either enrich themselves or to circumvent the laws of our great state and nation.

However, there are many prominent examples of the abuse of the public trust.

The original version of what has became LD 1495 (the Democrats plan to shift our tax burden from income tax to sales tax) originally included taxing golf greens fees and ski lift tickets. But after the lobbyists from these industries visited the Blaine House, Gov. John Baldacci came out against taxing them.

While it is perfectly legal to alter legislation while it is being considered, this action by the Democratic governor of our state must raise the question, what was his quid pro quo?

In Washington, D.C., we have New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel “forgetting” to claim income on investment property in the Dominican Republic. Earlier, there was Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson, who stashed the bribes he received in his icebox.

The Democrats came to power in 2006 claiming they were going to drain the swamp. The facts show the culture of corruption is alive and well in the Democratic Party, both in Augusta and Washington, D.C.

William Chapman

Rockport 

Editorial overlooked part of Maine’s role in history 

I would like to comment on and maybe expand upon the editorial “Patriots’ Day marks the birth before our birth” (April 19).

The gist of the editorial is correct, describing the freedom-loving spirit of America. The historical account is a little fuzzy, and to me, doesn’t really explain why the British troops were marching to Lexington.

The “supplies” that were to be confiscated were firearms, cannon and the powder for them. The Crown wanted to disarm the colonists to avoid insurrection. We have all been made aware of this encounter by the pen of Longfellow.

We here in Portland should be reminded of the events of October 1775. Portland, which was known as Falmouth, Mass., back then, was burned to the ground by the British for the same reason.

Falmouth was a hotbed of rebellion. When confronted with a demand to turn in their firearms and cannon, the town fathers got together and turned in just one musket, which didn’t satisfy the demand.

The British Capt. Mowatt gave them a deadline, and when it went by, he proceeded to shell the town from three ships and then sent marines to torch all that wasn’t yet burning. This caused some inhabitants to flee and resettle in places away from the coast.

It was this burning of a town heading into the winter and putting thousand of souls out of their homes that infuriated the Continental Congress and led it to start the movement to separate from the motherland.

It seems those in power always want to disarm the public. Tyranny has many forms. The spirit of America has been awakened. It is an interesting time to be alive.

John M. Roberts

South Portland 

Critic of Fort Williams fees sees controversy arise again 

On Oct. 26, 2006, The Portland Press Herald published a letter written by me, asking Cape Elizabeth citizens to vote “No” in the Nov. 6, 2006, referendum about fees in Fort Williams Park. The vote then was a resounding “No.”

Today, I am sending the same letter (with only minor changes in dates, etc.), as the letter is as pertinent today as it was in 2006.

I am appealing to the citizens of Cape Elizabeth to think carefully about their vote in the referendum for or against fees in our beautiful Fort Williams Park.

If we vote for fees, what is the legacy we are giving our children? Are we not willing to share a precious jewel with other families?

Are we so self-centered that we cannot see beyond a small and questionable relief from our taxes to pass the maintenance of our park to visitors? Is this the lesson we want to give to our children? “This is ours, and you can’t come in unless you pay”?

We have all enjoyed our neighboring communities’ free parks waterfront, Deering Oaks, Bug Light, East End Beach, Willard Beach, Park concerts, trails and views.

Can’t we, the citizens of Cape Elizabeth, give this gift of free park access to our neighbors?

Please give this vote some careful thought, and remember Cape citizens have always gone to the polls and happily voted for good schools. We can do both — have great schools and a free Fort Williams Park.

Please show the Greater Portland community that we are citizens of the world; we believe in sharing our blessings.

On June 8, vote “No fees” in Fort Williams Park.

Betty Crane

Cape Elizabeth 

Pay a little extra every week to keep city services intact 

I am going to propose something most people in Portland don’t want to hear: Raise taxes.

If a 1 percent to 1½ percent tax increase keeps us from going under, how about we all chip in $3 per week and keep our schools, library, police, trash collection, human services, etc., going? We could then hire the outside consultants to tell our leaders how to save money and keep a great city growing and educating.

Now is not the time to close our wallets, but to be proactive and show the state how to be a leader. Keep the vested interests out of the consultant business and move ahead.

James White

Portland

Story of wartime bravery didn’t get space it deserved 

Kudos to David Hench, staff writer, for his marvelous article about Portland Police Lt. Don Krier’s mission to Afghanistan (“City officer fulfills his military mission,” May 1).

What an American hero! I have sent copies of this story to family members and friends, as a true example of what is right with our country.

It was unfortunate, though, to have the article about Lt. Krier dwarfed by photos of topless women marching through Farmington. It seems the space devoted to the two stories should have been reversed.

Our thanks to Lt. Krier for his selfless service.

Mary Clancy

Brunswick