In the tradition of Watergate reporters Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein, their editor, Ben Bradlee, and The Washington Post, your publisher, Richard Connor, and Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell have distinguished your newspaper and yourselves.

The first part of your coverage of the Dennis Dechaine case on July 4 is thorough, clear, well-written and well-presented; it is an excellent introduction to probably going deeper in part two this coming Sunday.

I sense something significant happening, and your work will have a profound effect.

Vigorous investigative reporting is alive and well at The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram. You are commended for your courage and public service.

Tom Hopps

Camden

Your July 4 articles about attempts to free Dennis Dechaine from his life sentence for murdering 12-year-old Sarah Cherry remind me of what Clarence Darrow wrote to his client Nathan Leopold, warning him against expecting an early release for having killed a 14-year old.

“I often think of you and especially when people got a brain storm lately over the deep laid plans to procure your freedom. It is strange the satisfaction people get over tormenting someone. The rest of the animal kingdom do not indulge in these pleasing past-times, which shows, of course, that man is the apex of creation. But, the apex is not very high.”

Of course, Darrow was glad to have kept Leopold from being executed.

And the people seeking Leopold’s release at least concurred with the judge, the law and common sense in admitting that Leopold actually committed the murder.

Of course, a newspaper doesn’t have to do any of those things. You answer to a higher authority — the need to sell papers.

Peter Monro

Portland

Kagan yet another justice picked for political purposes

Elena Kagan is the latest in a long line of Supreme Court nominees selected mainly for crass political reasons, rather than based upon careful assessment of their ability to perform as jurists.

She is undoubtedly an extremely smart and capable lawyer, but so are many other people who don’t belong on the nation’s highest court.

While ugly politics undoubtedly has played a role in the selection of many court nominees, our parties have dropped all pretense of seeking candidates based upon qualities other than political fealty or the appeasement of an important voter group.

We already live at a time when the other branches of government have successfully driven a sharp wedge into the electorate with a brazen “team sport” approach to politics.

Our presidents do a disservice to the nation and the Constitution by transferring such ideological divisiveness to the one branch of government that is supposed to be independent, impartial and apolitical.

When I watched the Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination hearings a year ago and heard the nominee repeatedly misuse words like “imminent” and “eminent,” and read press releases that always managed to stress her ethnicity, I all but gave up hope in the process.

Soon-to-be Justice Kagan’s performance at her hearing didn’t change my mind.

David Bertoni

Yarmouth

Columnist’s view of Obama embarrassing both times 

It might be merciful of those who publish the meanderings of columnist Kathleen Parker’s delusional mind to advise her that quitting her feminization of President Obama after her first column on the topic, while she was merely hopelessly behind, might have prevented her from making a complete fool of herself in her second column on it!

Cam Cate

Ogunquit

Eliot Cutler, an independent, would make the best governor

The election of Maine’s governor may be four months away, the primary is over and both the Republicans and Democrats have chosen their candidates.

But it’s never too early to educate yourself about who’s running, so I am writing this letter to let the readership in this area know that there is an independent candidate for governor who has a clear vision on how Maine’s people can make progress. His name is Eliot Cutler.

I encourage everyone to please visit the website “www.cutler2010.com” to learn more about him.

You will find out that, in the end, he is the best choice in November — whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an independent.

I believe everyone will see that it is time to stop playing partisan politics and do what’s best as a whole for Maine. Please look into independent Eliot Cutler, Maine’s next governor.

Todd A. Sweet

Kittery

What will Portland get for mayor’s $67,359? Not much

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “I know I’m not a smart man, but I know baloney when I see it.”

As reported in the Press Herald July 2, we’re now going to vote on a mayor, along with the ranked-choice voting.

So, what will we get for our $67,359 yearly salary? As far as I can see, only a glorified city councilor who gets a full-time job that really doesn’t have any power.

It’s obvious that, as presented, the mayor will not have any actual power. Portland will still be run by the city manager, with “policy guidance” (read as, “I don’t need to listen to you”) from the mayor. Just about everything else listed is currently performed by a member of the City Council anyway. C’mon, folks, if we’re going to have a mayor, let’s have a real one, maybe in the process getting rid of the city manager’s position.

As for the ranked-choice voting, I really don’t have a problem with it except that it may be asking too much to expect the city’s voters to keep track of everyone running. It’s hard enough to get people to vote.

Ah, the $67,359 salary. Let’s not forget the $40,000 executive secretary, assorted aides, etc., along with associated benefits for all. Bet it comes up to over $200,000 by the time the dust settles.

Don Gallant

Portland

Correction 

A letter on July 7 from William R. Laidly inadvertently omitted his community. He lives in South Portland.