Maine’s League of Young Voters is to be praised for taking an important and public step in the right direction of fully integrating legal immigrants into the Portland community.

We are a nation of immigrants, and this is as true in Maine as it is in the rest of the country.

Legal immigrants pay the same taxes as U.S. citizens and contribute equally to the maintenance of our social fabric.

It is only right to give them a voice in local government.

Mark Russo

Maine Liaison, New England Chapter

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Biddeford

If citizens can vote to give non-citizens the right to vote, logically, they can also vote in the future to take away their right to vote. Do the non-citizens get to vote in that election?

And where does this nonsense stop?

The argument that non-citizens pay taxes and therefore should be allowed to vote ignores the fact that they receive services in return, so the implication that they are being shortchanged is wrong.

The privilege of citizenship gives them the power to have a say in how those taxes are spent. That’s one reason that citizenship has value.

Also, if the argument applies for Portland city elections, it also would apply for state and national elections. The non-citizens pay state and federal taxes, don’t they?

Jim Staffaroni

Standish

Our senators spending money we don’t have

In January of last year, I wrote the following to Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins:

“I am writing because political pundits have predicted that you may be the only Republican senators to approve a stimulus bill similar to the one just passed by the House Democrats. I request that you not approve of such a bill.

It is my understanding that the Democrats are recommending the government borrow and spend money we do not have in the order of $1 trillion ($7,200 per taxpayer) in order to get the economy moving.

It is also my understanding that the country’s current economic problems arose because people, companies and institutions borrowed money in the past in amounts that they weren’t capable of repaying. It makes no sense to me to try to solve the resulting problems by continuing to do the same thing!

It is my understanding that the annual budget of the United States — money collected in taxes (or borrowed) — is in the $3 trillion range ($21,000 per taxpayer).

Instead of the government funding its needs with tax money, and then borrowing the same amount to interject back into the economy in order to get it moving, why not stop collecting taxes for four months, or reduce taxes by a third, or some combination, and pay for governmental needs with the proposed $1 trillion stimulus bill?

Private citizens and businesses will be more likely to spend money from a $7,200 tax savings in better ways to get the economy moving than would result from the government trying to spend the same amount of money that it doesn’t have.”

A year and a half later, Maine’s senators continue to vote with the Democrats to spend money the country does not have to fund an approach that has not worked and will not work.

Peter H. Frink

Kennebunkport

Bring back the Express for afternoon readers

This is just a suggestion. I was thinking about when we used to have the Evening Express, and it got me thinking.

It might be a good idea to possibly bring that back into circulation — possibly for the people who do not subscribe to The Portland Press Herald in the morning.

I think it would be a good idea and people might actually like the idea — either that or you could possibly put out a weekly edition recap of the most important news for people who do not subscribe to the Press Herald every day.

Dawn Fournier

Westbrook

Halting Amtrak waste opposed by Maine’s reps

A bill was introduced in the House of Representatives to repeal a subsidy of more than $100 million per year for “sleeper car” service on Amtrak.

This taxpayer subsidy equates to $396 per ticket.

I find it unbelievable that both of our Maine representatives, Chellie Pingree and Michael Michaud, voted against repealing it. Go figure.

Robert J. Nee

Damariscotta

‘Civic gardening’ a way to participate in local life

I want to thank gardening writer Tom Atwell for such a lovely article (“It is my business card, my handshake to the world,” Aug. 1) on the new landscape I’ve designed for the John Calvin Stevens building owned by my partner in this venture, Neils Knudsen.

I also want to to thank the paper for giving us the coveted Sunday spot.

If I might be given one more column inch, I’d like to say that, because Tom is such a genial guy, he refers to this type of outreach as “community” gardening.

My word for it is “civic,” because to me that implies the responsibility we have, one to another, to engage with our society, to become participating members of the community.

Portland is my home, this property is my connection to it, this design is my participation.

It is also my gift to those who will follow, and my encouragement to those who are here to put both feet, or both hands, in.

Lindsay Knapp

Portland

Former Obama fan now bitterly disappointed

I didn’t vote in the last presidential election. If I had, there was no question Mr. Obama would have been my choice.

What I saw was a man with integrity, intelligence, thoughtfulness and compassion.

What I see now is a man who appears to be obsessed with being in front of the camera.

While important issues need to be addressed and resolved in Washington, Mr. Obama is making speeches to high schools, having beers with notorious public figures, playing basketball, etc. — anything to put himself in front of the cameras.

What a bitter disappointment.

David Plourde

South Portland