Teachers need to walk out nationwide. Replace them with the lawmakers, politicians and taxpayers who feel teachers’ jobs are too cushy and who’d like to take away those teachers’ collective-bargaining rights, retirement and respect.

After the lawmakers, politicians and taxpayers have completed their coursework, done their student teaching and taken the costly Praxis exams, which are completely worthless at assessing teacher qualifications, they should have no trouble teaching history, math or English to 100 or more students yearly.

They can add in acting as psychologist, social worker, nurse, mediator, coach, dance chaperone, co-creator of school policy, secretary, team leader and teacher of social skills, etiquette and civility, turning out each year premier test takers and model ethical citizens while being where the buck stops for all of society’s ills.

The lawmakers, taxpayers and politicians in their new roles as teachers will be able to relax during their not quite two months “off” during the summer while they run bed-and-breakfasts, wait tables, landscape or paint houses to supplement their already lavish first-year salary of $35,000 before taxes.

There are bad teachers. Just as there are bad doctors, bad lawyers, bad interior decorators and bad, bad politicians. So, teachers, walk out. Let our critics step in.

As a high school special-education teacher for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, I give the lawmakers, politicians and taxpayers about a week before they, shocked at the enormous job expected of them and the lack of respect for it, flee in horror.

Lisa Stathoplos


Downtown parking meters real cash cow for city

If Old Port and downtown business owners wonder why people choose to shop at the Maine Mall, they only need to look out their front doors at the city’s cash-cow parking meters.

Not only do we have to feed their voracious metal mouths more and more quarters for less and less time, but we have to contend with the meter police.

I returned to my car in the Old Port just five minutes after the meter expired to find a $15 ticket already tucked under the windshield.

Did one of the ticketing vultures watch the meter click down from 3 to 2 to 1 and immediately start to write?

Harriet Schultz


Evidence lacking to show any benefits of civic center

When Neal Pratt, chairman of the Cumberland County Civic Center board of trustees, states that 18 million people have attended events at the civic center in the past 34 years, where does he get that figure?

It was reported several years ago by local news media how the attendance numbers were grossly overstated. It seems that for many years, CCCC ticket-sales numbers included all tickets given away for free to various groups and that actual door-count attendance was considerably lower.

With that deception in mind, shouldn’t the taxpayers of Cumberland County ask why an impartial economic impact study of the civic center has never been done?

Could it be because most studies of similar event centers have found that they rarely provide economic benefits in excess of public subsidies? And, while there are intangible benefits to the local communities, in these times of economic hardship the actual costs and returns to the residents of Cumberland County should be clearly stated before a public vote to borrow $28 million for renovating the civic center is held.

It seems to me that the driving force behind this massive borrowing is to keep the Portland Pirates hockey team in Portland. Prove that the biggest beneficiary of this public spending is not just the owners of this sports franchise but all of Portland and Cumberland County residents, and you’ll have my vote. But not before.

Jay York


Why should Portland be in the restaurant business?

Does it surprise anyone that the city of Portland is going into the restaurant business? The Press Herald reported on April 8 that the restaurant at Riverside Golf Course will be run by the Barron Center, clearly not a restaurant I am familiar with.

The city knew last August that it would not be renewing Ted Everest’s lease, so why wait until Feb. 10 of this year to begin the pre-proposal conference and request for proposal when bids were due by Feb. 24?

Two respondents filed paperwork and neither satisfied the requirements. Coincidentally, with no worthy bidders the city handed the restaurant to themselves. Certainly it did not participate in the RFP process, which it was told to do in September 2004 when the city suggested the Barron Center take over the restaurant after Bill Doughty’s lease was not renewed.

In the selection process, what qualifications did the city submit, what plan of operation did it offer, and what price proposal did it give? None.

Now we have food, liquor, renovations and training costs at taxpayers’ expense. What about creating a healthy menu for the golfers? Good luck!

The lease was not written to allow success for a private entity, with the city’s ability to terminate for cause or convenience upon 30 days’ written notice and the ability to hire who it wants to cater events, like it did in June 2005 when there were reports that it hired an unlicensed caterer to sell food and liquor at the Maine Open.

There have been issues of lease payments and bills not being paid, of drinking and drugs on the course, violation for serving a minor and continued smoking on the deck, to name a few problems the city has not handled well.

This is a bad choice for the city of Portland and golf that has nothing to do with the possibility of future management at Riverside.

Kathleen Joyce


Class warfare vs. deficit cuts: What’s the difference, folks?


Why is it, exactly, that increasing taxes on the super-wealthy is called class warfare, while cutting programs that help the very neediest among us is called deficit reduction?

Paul Oppenheim