Portland Mayor Nick Mavodones and City Councilor Jill Duson are disingenuous in suggesting I set the course of the City Council’s problem. (“Skolnik objects to treatment by council,” Sept. 10). E-mail logs show the mayor never even read my report to him on what I’d like to do as I finish up my term in office.

He wouldn’t agree to honor a District 3 artist for her work at the Hall School. Why, for heaven’s sake? He didn’t say why when I asked the city to honor her. He didn’t say anything. He just refused.

Disengagement in office is disservice. They have spent nine weeks amusing themselves in the schoolyard.

As to At-large Councilor Dory Waxman, what have I done? Really? Where? Only they know what happened nine weeks ago; I don’t; I’ve asked, a lot.

So no one with an IQ above 6 should give credence to Jill Duson’s ridiculous and evasive insults. To say someone has mental problems is the easiest and laziest insult in the world after “Your mother.”

This is our City Council, Portland. Let’s all be smarter than that. Let’s take the matter seriously.

Is Duson actually unable to address this reasonably, or is she just stubborn beyond reason? Is our mayor really as undedicated as he has made himself seem? (The answer to that one is “no.”)

Despite my colleagues’ vast nonsense, I am trying to do what I think is right, as it is given to me to see what is right.

I have a job to do. After waiting nine weeks for this to blow over, I’ve concluded the city should know of this situation.

Yes, I’m blunt. It’s allowed. I’m also sincere. And open. And I’m a great dancer.

Seems to me, sharp talk is a virtue when sharp talk is what it takes. What do you think, Portland?

Dan Skolnik

City Council, District 3



Lawmaker should go back to school on wind power


I’d like to respond to the Maine Voices column by Rep. Melissa Innes (“There’s a lot Maine can do to meet its environmental challenges,” Sept. 7). She makes several statements regarding wind power that don’t pass the straight-face test. Our legislators should speak from fact-based know-ledge while avoiding the repetition of common, but inaccurate, sound bites.

New jobs and lower energy prices are perennial favorites among all political sales pitches and, so, are hardly surprising coming from a politician. However, trying to tie these benefits to wind power development defies logic, real world experience and reality in general. Her perpetuation of the “windiest state” myth, though, is inexplicable.

A glance at the U.S. Department of Energy’s most recent wind maps quickly reveals that Maine has mediocre land-based wind potential, at best.

Onshore, Maine simply is not one of the windiest states in the nation, not even in the running. It’s unfortunate that Rep. Innes chose to repeat this gem that probably originated with political and industry wind promoters.

Depending on how the wind resource is screened for the calculations, DOE data ranks Maine between 19th and 25th among the Lower 48 states in its annual wind electricity-generating potential. Even that middle-of-the-pack ranking is misleading, as the DOE’s value for Maine’s generating potential is much closer to the bottom 10 states than it is to the top 10.

Rep. Innes, for the sake of our state and its people, go lighter on the marketing and heavier on the facts.

Alan Michka



Gorham roundabouts work, if you use them right


The new roundabouts that are part of roadway renovation and especially the new Gorham bypass are all well and good if people actually understand how they work.

The yield signs on entering mean just that – you yield to the car in the circle. Time and again, I have seen cars whizzing both ways along Route 25, especially going west, and not even glance to the left, much less yield the right of way to the car or cars already in the circle.

Coming home recently I was treated to verbal, facial and hand signals from a young woman who did not feel she needed to yield, as the two cars in front of her had just zoomed through on their way west. Unlike the eastbound side, the westbound side has no curbing to separate through traffic from those actually going around the circle. Perhaps this is part of the problem.

As a longtime commuter, I appreciate what the bypass has done to improve my drive to work. Used properly, the roundabouts improve traffic flow. Car accidents do not.

Isabel Higgins



Taxes do matter in Maine-New Hampshire divide


Christopher St. John says that even the “proverbial man on the street” can tell you that there are multiple factors that make a state well-off economically (“Two votes for Maine, two for N.H.,” Voice of the People, Sept. 3). But how does Maine meet the criteria that St. John suggests?

• “Education levels.” Check. Maine’s education levels are good.

• “Labor productivity.” Yep. Ask the former president of Bath Iron Works. “None better in the world.”

• “Transportation infrastructure.” Well, this one could be better, but it isn’t bad.

• “The availability of natural resources.” Double check. The best resources in New England.

• “Proximity to centers of economic activity.” Check. Right next door to the most vibrant economies in New England, and, by the way, eastern Canada.

So, what doesn’t Maine have? A tax system that is relatively friendly to individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. And a regulation system that is rational and consistent.

Ask any “proverbial man on the street” (as St. John suggests) if he would cross the street (or border) to get a lower price (or tax) on a purchase, and he will say, “Hell, yes. Wouldn’t you?”

Ask any “proverbial” businessman on the street if he would cross the street (or border) to get a better treatment (or regulation) for his business, and he will say, “Yes.” And many have.

Maine meets or exceeds all of the criteria St. John requires, but he, like many liberals, put blinders on when it comes to two important ones.

So, do taxes matter? Yes. And so do the regulations.

Ask anyone, Mr. St. John.

J. Dwight