I certainly understand recent major accounts of news events should revolve around the tragedy in Japan. What I can’t understand is not one story about the heinous murders that occurred earlier this month of the Fogel family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar in Israel.

Well, that’s not exactly true. There was one mention in the paper. It was buried in the middle of the never-ending stories about the expansion of building homes in existing neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

It amazes me that the Israel bashers never miss the opportunity to criticize the settlement expansion but utter nary a word when an 11-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 3-month-old get knifed to death, along with their parents.

Where’s the U.N. decree denouncing this atrocity? You can darn well bet the good old United Nations will have a resolution against Israel as soon as they build one more home in a disputed Jerusalem suburb.

The Press Herald has published the next of the never-ending anti-Israel pieces from William Slavick, and I’m sure one is pending from Marjorie Gallace. But the fate of the Fogel family continues to be ignored. If it was a Palestinian family slaughtered by a brutal home invasion, though, people would be up in arms.

But since I can’t recall something like that ever happening, it’s a moot point.

Mickey Haas
Portland

 

Anthem sells lower rates, then demands an increase?

 

I received in my mailbox an advertising letter from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield telling me, “We’re reducing your rates so you can lower your medical costs!”

So how can your newspaper be so irresponsible to publish as news that Anthem has proposed average rate increases of nearly 10 percent?

Please look into your sources. There must be some mistake. I have mailed your article to the CEO of Anthem. I’m sure he will be shocked.

Jack Glatter
Cumberland Center

 

Flower show was great, but parking near it wasn’t

 

The Portland Flower Show was running smoothly with helpful volunteers and beautiful displays hosted by knowledgeable vendors from throughout New England.

Parking on Friday afternoon, however, was terrible. The city of Portland should step up to the plate and foster parking solutions for this annual spring event. Please make this event more hospitable.

Johannah Hart
Portland

 

Don’t fund tax relief from state workers’ pay

 

We are legitimately concerned by a host of fees for public services and licenses, new or hidden taxes and missed opportunities for tax relief in Maine. We should engage in intelligent tax and fee relief.

What has emerged, however, is yet more economic inequality by subsidy to those already greatly advantaged by a complex tax code.

Class warfare is most apparent in further concentrating wealth at the highest income brackets through tax rates, at the expense of working, middle class families and civil servants as this administration proposes.

Their proposal extracts half a billion dollars of pension income from state employees and retirees while using none of these revenues to alleviate projected state pension liabilities.

Having paid their share throughout their state employment history and forfeiting Social Security, these taxpaying workers should not then also pay for unrelated state General Fund shortfalls. The administration’s 2 percent cap on future public cost-of-living raises assures that their disproportionate burden can never be relieved in better times.

Roughly $200 million of avoided pension payments are diverted to tax relief, with less than one third of these revenues going to those most affected by financial hard times.

Certainly none of those receiving the proposed state income tax relief at the highest income levels will be forfeiting any share of their pensions to accomplish this revenue redistribution. Their proposal chooses wealth redistribution to those already well above median income rather than genuine tax relief for those who need it.

The propensity for the middle class, particularly those below moderate income, to spend on local services, stimulating the local economy through tax relief, is far greater than those at the highest income levels.

Maine needs authentic economic recovery by allocating tax relief to those below the state median income, recirculating those funds locally and re-energizing the state economy.

Accomplishing this without burdening state employees nor exploiting our natural heritage will earn the respect of Maine taxpayers at all levels.

Carl Solberg
Waldoboro

Clean Election fund deserves taxpayer checkoff

 

When I gear up to cast my ballot, nothing is more important to me than knowing where the candidates stand on issues I care about. Candidates should be out meeting with, listening to and talking with voters rather than dialing for dollars.

Maine’s Clean Elections system allows just that; it allows candidates to get to know their constituents and hear about the problems that are affecting their families and businesses.

It allows people without a lot of money a fairer playing field, and keeps Maine’s government “of, by and for the people.”

I don’t know about you, but I want candidates that are beholden to me — not big money lobbyists and out-of-state interests. If you agree, check “yes”on line 1 of your Maine tax return (which doesn’t raise your taxes).

Tracie Reed
Portland