Time apparently does more than heal most wounds; it effectively renders one’s memory nearly extinct. How else to explain current polling that has Donald Trump leading in a preliminary vote of Republican hopefuls?

A quarter century ago, Trump leveraged his real estate firm at precisely the wrong time. He borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the construction of new properties and the purchase of several trophy buildings, most notably The Plaza hotel in midtown Manhattan.

When the 1990 recession hit, Trump was completely blindsided; his debts far outweighed his assets and his cash flow from operations was insufficient to cover his interest and prinicipal obligations.

Rather than forcing him into bankruptcy, a bunch of greedy New York City banks decided to give him a free pass; they reduced his debt burden, lowered his interest rates, extended the maturity dates on his debt and put him on an austerity program, dictating how much he was allowed to spend for personal expenses.

Why did they do this? Because Trump was such a colossal failure and owed so much to creditors that they simply refused to foreclose on his properties. They allowed him to “wait out the storm,” figuring his penchant for self-promotion would ultimately work in their favor as economic conditions improved.

The lesson for today’s investors is simple: Better to be a failed businessman on an epic scale than to reside with those poor souls who only owe a few hundred thousand. The former gets to keep all his properties, while the underwater homeowner loses his home and is pushed into bankruptcy.

The Great American Bailout of 2007-2009 upset many. The Great Trump Bailout of the early 1990s was no less nauseating.

Christopher Smith

Portland

 

Treat gambling industry like any other business

 

I am sick of hearing about the pros and cons of gambling, especially harness racing.

If people want to build a harness track with their own money, so be it. Either it succeeds or fails.

If someone wants to open a business on the corner with their own money, do we stop them? The last thing we need to do is waste money on committees, and a possible statewide vote.

Remember the words of con man Joseph (Paper Collar Joe) Bessimer, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” By the way, if you’ve got an extra 20 bucks I’ll see you at post time.

John Flaherty

Cumberland Foreside

 

Time to close loophole for smoking at clubs

 

Maine taxpayers need to get behind L.D. 1230. It is a bill sponsored by Rep. Anna D. Blodgett, D-Augusta, to close a loophole in Maine law, which still allows smoking in private clubs.

Less than 18 percent of Mainers smoke. Less than 35 percent of veterans and active duty military smoke.

Despite these statistics, Maine law allows indoor smoking for a small minority which results in untold damage not only to smokers but to non-smokers who are forced to breathe in the secondhand smoke. The only other option nonsmokers have is not to attend club functions.

Breathing in involuntary secondhand smoke is extremely expensive in terms of health care expenditures, morbidity and mortality.

Given the pathetic financial condition of our state and nation, one wonders why the state still has a provision to allow indoor smoking, adding to the tax burden of the majority of citizens who don’t smoke.

I urge everyone to contact their representative to support the passage of L.D. 1230 to take a positive step to get this unnecessary expense off our backs. And, in the process, maybe save some lives.

Patrick Eisenhart

Augusta

 

Cesar Chavez not a Mainer but his legacy is felt here

 

It’s April 23 and I just finished reading M.D. Harmon’s commentary on the labor mural (“On murals galore, objectivism and solemnity,” April 22). I found it very well-crafted, eloquent, effective. It did its job, it had its impact on me. I feel downtrodden.

Coincidentally, I am writing on the anniversary of Cesar Chavez’s passing. You’re right, it’s hard to place Chavez directly in Maine. But, like Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater or Milton Friedman, who all contributed visions impacting the social conscience of the nation, so too did Chavez. And the legacy of his efforts lives on across this nation.

If not directly connected to Maine, Chavez’s legacy is brought to Maine by hundreds of migrant workers, be they Hispanic, Haitian, or Jamaican, who come each year to labor in Maine’s blueberry barrens, vegetable farms, apple orchards, and, yes, even Christmas wreath operations.

Chavez’s legacy is manifest in the way Maine agricultural employers treat our seasonal migrant workers — fairly, decently, and providing good wages. This is why migrant workers return to Maine each year.

This is why we should celebrate Cesar Chavez’s efforts in Maine.

Jorge Acero

Waterville

 

Cut your roadside brush and government spending

 

Would you like to cut local taxes, reduce our dependence on government, make our roads safer and have your home the way you want it? I’m talking about doing your own road trimming. Our road crews have faced cutbacks, and they haven’t been able to keep up with the growth along the roads. When they do cut, they cut way back to extend the time between cuttings.

When the trees leaf out in a couple of weeks, sides of roads will be covered, and intersections will be unsafe.

I encourage any able-bodied person to trim back their roadsides, and especially the corners, and offer to help less able neighbors. Picture yourself as a teen or elderly person in a small, low sedan, and cut as far back as you can to make them safe. We need a long, clear view down the road at intersections. And we need at least a couple of feet on the sides for pedestrians and bicycles.

We’re accustomed to letting the government do this work for us, but most of us want smaller government and lower taxes. Do it yourself, especially now before the leaves come in. Pile it for wildlife, or spread it out, and it will be gone in a couple of years.

I hope we have safer roads this year.

David Brown

Raymond