If Rep. Dennis Keschl of Belgrade and Sen. Doug Thomas of Ripley, the sponsors of proposed legislation to permit the resurrection of billboards, feel businesses do not currently have sufficient capability to advertise, they should take a trip outside their districts and experience the blizzard of signage on Route 302 in Windham, or on the commercial strips of Route 1 in Scarborough and Saco, or near any exit on the Maine Turnpike.

They may also have a revelatory experience to find that consumers now have new tools at their disposal to locate commercial enterprises: the Internet and GPS.

Joe Wagner

Lyman

 

So we need to strew the landscape with billboards to aid the tourists. How about conducting a survey at the visitor center down at Mile 3 on the turnpike?

Ask visitors whether they feel inconvenienced by a lack of billboards. Does anybody think any significant number would say yes?

This isn’t about providing a needed “service” for anybody. It’s about the billboard industry seeing a chance for a change in policy with Mr. LePage and going for it. It’s about trashing the landscape to benefit a few.

It’s not about balancing a budget at no cost to you. Advertising costs money, and you pay for the advertising in the cost of the product, be it a car or a dinner at a restaurant or a room in a motel. It’s just that the “tax” isn’t called a tax. It’s still your money, and it’s still you who will see the billboards.

Have you ever said, “Gee, I wish there were billboards to help me know what kind of beer I should buy”? Of course not. It’s advertising. Surely we get enough advertising on TV and in print without inflicting billboards on the state of Maine.

Steve Wellcome

Brunswick

 

Regarding your front page on April 25 (“Bills would let billboards pop up again”), visitors generally come to Maine for its seacoast and its outdoor beauty of all kinds. Not because of its local services, stores, motels and restaurants. Those businesses are the beneficiaries of the visitors being attracted here in the first place.

Imagine the signs that would line the highways, roads to the beach, roads into the wilderness, blocking the views the visitors came to see.

It wouldn’t be long before enterprising businesses would buy small parcels of land for their large, imposing signs, all within the proposed law.

Instead, let the state sell listing space on reasonably sized road signs preceding turnoffs or approaching towns.

Everyone wins!

Roger Hewett

Portland

 

If billboards were the answer to bolstering a state’s economy, then New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio would be economic powerhouses. They’re not.

Their roadsides are polluted by endless billboards that are an assault to the senses. This would be one more stain on the Maine brand and nothing more.

The Republicans in the Legislature need to focus on ferreting out the real causes of Maine’s lagging economy and crafting effective long-range plans to address these issues. Putting up billboards solves nothing.

Mary Ann Larson

New Gloucester

 

As I listen to and read about the debate over billboards, I can’t help but wonder if the proponents of bringing them back are considering that more and more people are “getting the message” through cellphones, GPS and other electronic devices being installed in cars.

Does it really make sense to invest in an infrastructure that is already on its way to obsolescence?

Bill Keller

Windham

 

Please do not allow the billboards to return. I have had a business in Boothbay Harbor for 37 years. I advertise in local and out-of-town papers, chamber guides and magazines and get great results. Their very existence to a small business is invaluable.

It also helps support the local publishers and their caring and talented staffs without blemishing the natural beauty of our state. Gas is going up at a nonstop rate. Why would anyone want to spend that kind of money to drive all the way here to see what they left behind in their own state?

This kind of visual scar, the billboard, demeans the natural beauty of our great state and does nothing to enhance our tourist economy. Perhaps the people who would build these eyesores would disagree, but they probably go to Hawaii or Tahiti on their vacations.

We all recycle to keep our state clean. Why would we allow a bill to be passed that would be as profound a blemish to our state’s beauty and well-being as nuclear energy or nonreturnable bottles and cans? I feel the state is being bullied with a flood of bad ideas by its new and misguided governor.

I am sorry for his way of thinking. I do not feel these ideas of his, like billboards and nuclear power plants, are in any way, shape or form a sign of positive growth for our beautiful state.

Karen Vander

Gold/Smith Gallery

Boothbay Harbor

 

I believe the unscientific online poll on www.pressherald.com fairly indicates that many Maine lawmakers are out of the mainstream on their billboard renewal law (88 percent of Press Herald online readers indicated that billboards should not be allowed in Maine).

Rep. Dennis Keschl sponsored the new bill by saying, “This is not meant to create a huge proliferation of signs all over the place.”

I believe Keschl’s line of thinking represents a slippery slope that may pave the way to dot the Maine Turnpike with thousands of signs like companies did in 1977.

I have enjoyed traveling around my beloved state partly because our cities are not littered with alcohol advertisements found in other American cities and Vacationland is not littered with offensive displays of cheap “souvenirs” found in other states that have sold out to large media companies for whom the cost of billboard advertising constitutes mere pennies.

Fred Follansbee

Portland

Each day, I eagerly hope for a slow news day, one where the Republican-led state Legislature and the governor are not making headlines by trying to tear apart the very fabric of our state.

An “open for business” sign (novel!). Insults on MLK Day. Beards from bottles. Nepotism in hiring. Questionable Cabinet picks. Tax breaks for the wealthy. Hide-and-seek with murals. Work that teen while in school, forget the grades. Repeal of the bottle bill. Now, put the billboards back.

Many folks have their stories about how wonderful it was to come from a state that had billboards plastered about the highways, and then to come here and see nature. A skyline. Beauty.

Our state depends on tourist dollars, not billboards. There is not one positive thing that would come out of putting up billboards on the turnpike. It only would enrich the few. The bills under consideration are reported to be “adjustments.” Too much of a slippery slope — and not necessary. It’s the Internet and radio that attract customers, not a silly sign.

Heaven help us, what will these guys come up with next?

Kathy Bordeleau

York

 

Cynthia Dill’s Senate hopes supported by two readers

 

We support Cynthia Dill for the state Senate in the May 10 special election. Cynthia has served with distinction as our state representative, elected in 2006. She is prepared to move into effective leadership in the state Senate for South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and all of Maine.

Cynthia Dill is a civil rights attorney representing people in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont during the past 20 years. She serves as adjunct faculty, teaching political science to appreciative students at Southern Maine Community College. She is specializing in the matters of broadband access and Net neutrality, important for the business future of Maine.

Her appointed role as director of the Common Cause Digital Democracy Project in Washington, D.C., represents a part-time commitment that complements her work as a legislator.

Cynthia Dill is unique in her ability to fight for Maine’s economic future — quality education that prepares students for higher-paying jobs, a simplified and fair tax code, and protecting Maine’s environment that is so central to its tourism business and quality of life.

We were perplexed when The Portland Press Herald critiqued Cynthia in January, describing her as “brash.” Such words do not fit the smart, articulate woman we know. While on a recent trip, a man noticed our Maine license plate; like so many he asked about life in Maine. We happily obliged.

He said “I hear you have a feisty governor up there.” A man is “feisty” but a woman is “brash”?

We know Cynthia as a dedicated elected official, seeking the well- being of the state of Maine and representing the best interests of all of its residents. Strong personality and energetic work are the marks of a leader.

Cynthia Dill has a record of sincere and effective bipartisan leadership in Augusta.

Dieter and Karen Hessel

Cape Elizabeth

 

I am writing to voice my support of Cynthia Dill for the state Senate.

When I left my hometown of North Yarmouth seven years ago to start college in Washington, D.C., I knew Maine was special. I knew that people here were kind, rational and in touch with reality.

The fall of my freshman year, there was a heated Senate race in Virginia taking place. The first time I saw the TV commercials aired, I was shocked and disgusted at the negativity and attacking nature of the ads displayed.

As time went on, I realized that was par for the course in Washington, and was so glad I was from a place that focused on the issues, and not irrelevant, outdated debates of the past.

When I moved back here last October during the campaign season, I realized things had changed. Democrats and independents failed to work together to elect a strong governor, and the Republicans nominated an impulsive, selfish fool.

Negative smear campaigns came from all sides, and in the first 100 days of the LePage administration, we’ve spent more time bickering than working to improve the lives of Mainers at a time we need help from the state more than ever.

Cynthia Dill is a breath of fresh air, a reminder of what government and politics should be about. She focuses on what’s important, and speaks up for what’s right.

She’s not afraid to communicate her constituents’ voices in fear she’ll upset a handful of people who won’t vote for her in the next election. She is committed, determined and truly believes in the role government can and should play.

I urge residents of District 7 (Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and parts of Scarborough) to vote for Cynthia Dill on May 10.

Karina Carley

Portland