The letter from Town Councilor Jim Walsh supporting fees for Fort Williams Park in June 2 issue of The Press Herald cries out for rebuttal due to several inaccuracies and/or misleading statements therein.

He states, first of all, that the park’s annual expenses “now total $250,000.” Many figures have been bandied about, some official, some not, but nowhere has a figure such as this been substantiated.

As respects capital needs, which are hardly an issue in this discussion of fees for maintenance, Councilor Walsh mentions “invasive plant species,” which is an allusion to a proposed million-dollar arboretum, a project which will be supported by private fundraising and has no bearing on town taxes whatsoever.

Again, reference to capital needs is off the mark when discussing park maintenance. Since the referendum of four years ago in which the town overwhelmingly rejected the instituting of fees, there have been hundreds of creative ideas advanced to raise funds, all of which have been blithely dismissed by town officials.

If we really love the fort and its breathtaking views, there should be plans to make use of these fundraising ideas rather than attempting to turn this beautiful property into a cash cow.

Citizens of Cape Elizabeth, vote “no” on the June 8 referendum to charge parking fees.

Bob Crane

Cape Elizabeth

On June 8, residents of Cape Elizabeth will be voting on whether to institute parking fees in Fort Williams.

I and many of my neighbors implore the town residents to vote “no” on this question and get rid of this bad idea once and for all.

Aside from the fact that supporters overstate the amount of revenue to be raised and never address the whole issue of enforcement and collection, entrance to Fort Williams has been free since the town purchased it in the early 1960s. Hundreds of us would like to think that Fort Williams is our gift to the rest of southern Maine, to be enjoyed by all.

Surely a town as prosperous as Cape Elizabeth can afford to give back to the Greater Portland community, as well as visitors from far away, by keeping this jewel on the coast free to enjoy by all.

As a member of the Fort Williams Advisory Committee for six years a decade ago, three as chair, I am very familiar with the issues involved; we studied it extensively back then. Certainly there are challenges facing the park.

However, installing parking meters will negatively impact the park in several ways; they’ll be an eyesore, pie-in-the-sky revenue projections are a joke, enforcement costs will eat away at income, and parking outside the park will be burdensome to surrounding neighborhoods.

More importantly, fewer people will use the park, our neighbors from South Portland and farther away will pay more than Cape residents, and Cape Elizabeth will be further stigmatized as a “rich town” whose residents don’t care about their neighbors.

So please join me in voting “no” and stop the parking meters. And if you’re from away, please call a friend here and tell them how you feel.

Paul Phillipps

Cape Elizabeth

Candidates, readers address primary races, ballot questions

My name is Clarence Stewart and I am running for the Maine House of Representatives for District 132 in Old Orchard Beach. I am working closely with new businesses coming into the area to promote economic growth and create year-round employment in the town.

The development of the economic structure in our town will also be possible when I help reduce the meals and lodging taxes imposed upon our hospitality industry.

Doing so will attract more tourists to the area, not just in the traditional high season, but all year long. I have been endorsed by Sen. Peter Mills, Les Otten and Matt Jacobson.

When elected, I will keep more of our money in Old Orchard Beach and away from Augusta, so the money collected can do the most good for the people of the town.

A stronger police presence is needed in Old Orchard Beach, and by restoring the budget cuts, we can restore this presence for our citizens. The least we can do is support them in their efforts by ensuring these officers have the proper equipment and manpower needed in order to do their job effectively.

Accessibility to the citizens of Old Orchard will also be a priority in my representation. Being located at 69 Saco Ave. in Old Orchard Beach, I will be available to my constituents during normal business hours to hear their concerns and thoughts about the town and the issues we face.

These are but a handful of goals I will address if elected in the upcoming primary on June 8. I ask for your support in order to bring these issues as well as others to Augusta, for the good people of the town.

Clarence Stewart

Old Orchard Beach

In his column Tuesday, Ron Bancroft made the astounding statement that he will vote “no” on Question 1 because “it lowers the taxes for 95 percent of Maine citizens. …” This is wrong, and Bancroft should know it.

Taxes will be lowered primarily for people with high taxable incomes by the reduction in the Maine income tax rate. Many people do not have enough income to pay Maine income taxes.

These low-income people will, however, be hit by sales tax on a large assortment of new items. Many of the items to be newly taxed are necessities for most people.

The net result, if this evil law is not repealed, is increased taxes on people who can least afford to pay them.

Mr. Bancroft also says that he will vote for the bond issues which, if passed, will further increase the deficit between state expenses and state revenues.

David W. Knudsen

Gray

For the first time in 40 years, the Legislature has successfully reformed the burdensome tax code. Passed almost a year ago, LD 1495 will reduce state income taxes while applying new taxes to Maine’s growing service economy and other consumption goods.

Although the bill has been praised by several Maine newspapers as well as conservative economists at The Wall Street Journal, Charlie Webster and the Maine Republicans have vowed to defeat it.

That’s right. Charlie Webster and the GOP want higher income taxes.

At the College Republican Convention, Mr. Webster spoke about the bill. He waved around a list of 100 new goods that would now be taxed; this list is a regrettable misrepresentation.

Although the new tax law will apply fresh taxes to certain goods and services, without this reform Maine will continue to have one of the highest income tax rates in the nation. Is this what Mr. Webster wants?

Income taxes are drawn directly from our paychecks and in many cases we never even see our wages until the government has exacted its sum.

Consumption taxes, on the other hand, are paid only when an individual or family makes the decision to purchase a service or good. The new tax law will maximize the economic freedom of Maine workers while creating incentives for people to do business in the state.

The choice facing Mainers on June 8 is between a highly coercive, growth-inhibiting income tax and a consumption-based tax that maximizes free choice and keeps money in the pockets of Mainers rather than government coffers.

Vote “no” on June 8 if you can spend your money more wisely than the government.

Steven Robinson

Brunswick

Seniors and independents, I hope you will take the time to vote on the tax reform bill on June 8. I don’t usually vote in the primaries as I’m an independent, but the tax reform question is also to be voted on.

You don’t have to vote for a gubernatorial candidate, you can just vote on the tax reform question. Seniors got no Social Security raise in 2010 and apparently we won’t get one in 2011, but that hasn’t stopped our legislators from passing this tax increase.

If we don’t repeal it, we’ll pay higher meal taxes and be taxed on car repairs, pet boarding, tickets to almost all events, and too many more to list. They always say “no new taxes,” but they always raise them.

Most of us seniors don’t have to make out income tax returns, as we’re not working, and if we do work we don’t make enough money to see any benefit from this law.

We just keep paying out more and receive less. We seniors are one of the largest voting constituencies in the state, and we need to stick together by voting “yes” to repeal this tax bill.

We can’t just sit back and complain if we don’t vote.

Connie York

South Portland

As a Green Independent Party candidate for House District 108, I agree with Sen. Susan Collins’ statement that “deepwater offshore wind has an enormous potential to help us meet our nation’s electricity needs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil” (“Coalition of Maine businesses join forces to catch the wind,” June 1).

The energy improvements to Maine’s college systems are a critical step in the ultimate goal of energy independence. Additionally, research and development of wind projects in Maine will provide much needed green jobs to our state.

This project, according to the article, could create 15,000 to 25,000 jobs.

If offshore wind is economically feasible and does not have a negative impact on the ocean habitat, the energy produced by these turbines may become a valuable part of Maine’s energy supply.

We should invest in wind power, and the people of Maine will see a return on that investment. Vote “yes” on Question 2 to put some wind in the sails of Maine businesses, and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Erin Cianchette

Chair, Maine Green Independent Party

Cumberland

Your review of gubernatorial candidates on May 23 edition indicated which of them favors “gay marriage.”

In my opinion, the term “marriage” should never even be uttered with respect to the gay community.

Marriage is a sacred term reserved only for one man and one woman being united by a church or justice of the peace. And the recent rejection of the concept of gay marriage by the voters of Maine supported this view.

If the issue for gays is rights as a couple, then permit a “civil union” or a “civil agreement” to provide those rights. But do not permit the term marriage. That’s unacceptable.

Therefore, I will not vote for any candidate who favors “gay marriage” and I encourage everyone to avoid voting for those candidates. To make it easy to know who not to vote for, candidates listed in The Press Herald so far as gay marriage backers are Peter Mills, Elizabeth Mitchell, Rosa Scarcelli and Steven Rowe.

On other issues, I have some respect for these candidates, but this year I will not vote for them.

Dan Davidson

Cape Elizabeth

Can the tea party philosophy be threatening the future of Falmouth? Tony Payne, David Murray and Faith Varney all espouse the slogan, also used by the tea party, of “limited” government.

In reality, this vision, or lack thereof, means reducing services that the public wants, including a new community center and library at the old elementary schools, and weakening environmental and land use protections so private developers can more easily destroy Falmouth’s natural beauty.

That’s why I’m voting to elect Barbara DiBiase and to re-elect Bonny Rodden, who are the only two candidates who share the common-sense, moderate vision of mainstream residents who want to keep Falmouth a healthy and vital place to live.

Cate Lund

Falmouth

Union’s action against TV station worth support

A letter from Stan Spiegel of Portland on May 26 contains numerous inaccuracies and falsehoods about IBEW Local Union 1837 and our labor dispute with WGME-TV. For the sake of your readers, our members and the Democratic gubernatorial candidates, we really need to set the record straight.

Mr. Spiegel lambasted the Democratic candidates for their courageous decision to stand with the people who work behind the scenes at WGME-TV and risk invoking the fury of a powerful media corporation from out-of-state.

WGME-TV and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. of Maryland are hurting Maine workers and their families by slashing wages unnecessarily and refusing to bargain in good faith.

In fact, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board is recommending that multiple complaints be issued against the company. These complaints would include one for bad faith bargaining because of Sinclair and WGME’s inflexible approach during contract negotiations. This recommendation has been referred to the Division of Advice in the Office of the General Counsel in Washington, D.C.

Another complaint recommended by the NLRB regional director is for the unlawful surveillance of union members conducting a peaceful protest — surveillance that greatly intimidated workers at WGME-TV.

Taking photographs of workers against their will is a bullying tactic. The responsibility for a hostile work environment clearly rests on the shoulders of station management at WGME.

IBEW asked all of the Democratic, Republican and independent candidates for governor to support the workers at WGME-TV during this ongoing labor dispute. Only Pat McGowan, Libby Mitchell, Steve Rowe and Rosa Scarcelli were willing to stand with Maine workers.

They should be — and have been — applauded for their willingness to fight to make sure good Maine jobs today continue to be good jobs in the future.

Cynthia Phinney

Business Manager

IBEW Local Union 1837

Manchester