We all feel the downturn in the economy, and too many of us are fed up with what our government and the parties have become.

That is why I am amazed to see the media continuing to support the same old parties and doesn’t want to bring the public new news and information.

When I caught the snippet that independent candidate for governor Kevin Scott requested a debate with the other two independents, I was shocked that I didn’t hear anything else about it.

Wake up, and show readers and viewers that you care about our society and government! Families are suffering out here; prices are up on everything, and one minute we are being told that there is a huge state budget deficit and we must pass tax reform, and the next minute we are being told that the state budget is in the black! Huh?

This just confirms my view that the parties are playing games with us once again. Which is why I feel that we must take a serious look at the independent candidates.

The candidates are equally represented on the ballot, so let them be seen equally in public. The media must take the lead on broadcasting a debate between the independents.

We’ve seen the party candidates for months now, and it is time to give fair focus to the rest of the candidates — the independents.

So, please do your journalistic duty and bring us equal coverage. And give us a debate between the independent candidates!

Annie Darling
Cape Elizabeth 

Congress shouldn’t quit until vote on Disclose Act 

We call on Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to publicly support the Disclose Act instead of the so-far-successful Republican filibuster.

This much-needed legislation is critically important to Maine citizens who care about the health of our democracy and who would like to see voters, not corporations, represented in the 2010 elections this fall.

After Citizens United v. FEC overturned limits on corporate political advertising, strong campaign finance laws are essential — and more than 80 percent of Mainers polled recently said they strongly support campaign finance disclosure and transparency.

The Disclose Act does just that: It establishes new disclosure requirements for corporations, labor unions, advocacy groups and trade associations. It is fair and equitable legislation that does not favor either political party.

If the Senate does not act, there is nothing to prevent election manipulation by fly-by-night “hit” groups, or to stop foreign — or even hostile — governments from pumping secret money into our elections. Voters deserve to know who is behind election advertising. The Supreme Court has endorsed campaign finance disclosure — now it’s time for our senators to do the same.

Barbara McDade
president, League of Woman Voters of Maine
Bangor

We are painfully aware that ordinary citizens, especially those of the middle class, have to pick up the pieces time and time again because of bad decisions made by our congressional representatives and senators in Washington.

While that is bad enough, what is totally outrageous is that many of those bad decisions are made intentionally as payback to the big-money interests such as corporations, unions and special interest groups who pay for the politicians’ campaigns.

We the people have to live with the results of those payback decisions, results such as high unemployment, deflation or inflation, higher taxes, falling real estate values, loss of pensions, etc, etc.

It is high time that we the people put pressure on Congress to pass legislation limiting campaign contributions to individuals, with a maximum amount set at $2,000. To allow the current situation to continue will only lead to more corruption, and an eventual catastrophe for the nation.

We the people want government of the people, by the people, for the people; not of special interests groups, by special interest groups, for special interest groups.

Barbara Goodwin
Portland 

Toenail clipping results in astounding medical bill 

I buy my own health insurance and know what doctors charge, but I was still stunned when a podiatrist charged $161 to clip a toenail in his office.

I saw him to ask about foot surgery and he was very informative. As we were talking he noticed my toenail fungus and wanted to biopsy and treat it. A little uncomfortably, I told him I didn’t want him to treat it because my regular doctor had advised me not to. He clipped the nail to test anyway; it took less than a second. After I paid the podiatrist, the lab billed me for, oddly, almost the identical amount, $161.77.

I thought the bills must be duplicates, but they weren’t. All together, my visit cost, after insurance, a frightening $585.64.

I thought the nail-clipping charge might have been a computer error, so I called the podiatrist’s billing office and left messages but haven’t heard back.

A quick Internet search turned up a page from “Podiatry Today” cautioning podiatrists about misusing the same insurance code that’s on my bill. “There is some controversy as to the proper use of this code. … One should not use this code when simply clipping a portion of nail.”

I respect doctors — my brother is one. Skillful surgery’s a different matter, but a clip is just a clip. Even a patient knows that.

Joan Carney
Harpswell 

Helping hand welcome when car breaks down 

Thank goodness there are still good Samaritans in the world.

I recently decided to indulge myself in a good seafood meal. I drove to Ken’s Place in Scarborough. After lunch, I returned to my car and found to my dismay that it would not start.

Seeing my predicament, restaurant owner David Wilcox volunteered to help. When he was unable to start the vehicle, Mr. Wilcox called a local garage for assistance, and then drove me to my home, which was a good 20 miles away.

Being elderly and burdened with emphysema, I am truly grateful. Mr. Wilcox, along with his staff, was most helpful in a time of need; they have my heartfelt thanks.

And oh, by the way, the clams were delicious.

Phyllis Panagakos
Portland