One recent Friday, when temperatures were hitting 100 degrees in Portland, I saw a sign in the front door of Target that said the lighting and air conditioning levels had been reduced in response to peaking loads on the electric grid.

My first thought was, “Wow, Target cares?” My second thought was, “There’s that ‘peak hours’ effect you get when everyone does something at the same time.” On that Friday and Saturday, that something was running air conditioning to keep cool.

The Cousins Island power plant, right on Casco Bay, was burning No. 6 heating oil to provide peak-load kilowatt hours. Yes, heating oil – go figure. The Bar Harbor power plant (about half a mile from a certain national park) was switched on as well.

I’m reminded of the irony of life, when we have to heat up every last furnace, and crank the CO2 on high, in order to keep ourselves cool.

I’m also reminded of the auspicious nature of modern solar technology. A photovoltaic array happens to be at peak daily production right when the grid experiences a “peak afternoon,” like the one we had that weekend.

Solar photovoltaic energy at grid scale is something state and federal governments need to embrace as a way to provide stabilized, nonfossil power, as well as more than a few skilled jobs.

Sun, baby, sun.

Will Kessler


List of generation’s leaders overlooks Maine educators


I was dismayed that your Forty Under 40 listing of Maine’s energizing generation of leaders (July 3) did not include one K-12 public educator. I’ve closely followed the Maine educational scene and have known many outstanding teachers and administrators for more than 30 years.

Perhaps you were judging from a compensation standpoint, since most of the educators are rewarded far less than most of the people listed.

This might reflect a bias on the paper’s part against public education. I hope not.

Joe Davock



Assumptions, not truth, foundation of class warfare


Members of the middle class who hate the rich mask their true feelings behind concern for the poor.

They view the rich as mean-spirited and evil, secretly coveting their lucre. They beseech the government to strip the rich of their wealth, no matter if it was hard-earned.

They assume the poor are generous and loving folk, scraping their fingers to the bone to feed their families, and imagine the heartless rich as partying until dawn at their grand summer homes in the Hamptons and beyond.

They do this without actually knowing any rich or any poor, instead blindly judging them based on media reports and commentary by TV personalities Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, both millionaires from selling that particular shtick.

I was born into America’s lower middle class; like everyone, I had nothing to do with my station in life at birth.

I am fortunate enough to now be on the higher end of the middle class, mostly because I married an overachieving, smart and dedicated Type A workaholic who has been rewarded for his innate drive and ambition by generous employers who have regarded him as a valuable asset.

So now I get to drive a new Saab instead of a beat-up old Chevy, and my husband drives a used SUV that he is working on beating up.

Should we feel guilty for this? Should we do more than give to charity and engage in volunteerism? Should my husband work for less pay, or perhaps give all his earnings to those we call poor? That doesn’t seem fair. What could we do that would assuage the bleeding hearts?

Oh, wait a minute, I know what. I could put up a lawn sign that says, “Tax the rich!” That should do it.

Andrea Rouda


Town made wrong move by limiting public input


During a meeting in May, Lisbon town councilors severely restricted public input at town meetings. The reason given for this action was “to move the meetings along.”

Long meetings aren’t the problem, they are a symptom of the problem. The real problem is that councilors are not representing the views of their constituents. When this happens, the public becomes frustrated and tries to vent at council meetings.

Councilors shouldn’t take this discourse personally. They should use it as a gauge to direct their governance in accordance with the public’s wishes.

At the July 19 council meeting, they further defended their decision to squelch the public by citing “Brunswick’s council meeting regulations” as proof they were acting responsibly.

I didn’t know Brunswick was the authority in these matters.

They also denied they were trying to silence the taxpayers of Lisbon.

Let’s let the facts speak for themselves: The preceding three meetings before the rule change were between 2 and 2½ hours in length. The July 19 meeting was about 30 minutes long.

Where did this reduction occur?

The only noticeable change in the meeting format was the amount of time allowed for members of the public to express their views. Whether intentional or not, this change has the effect of limiting free speech.

I hope the Lisbon Town Council will come to its senses and do the right thing. Restore our freedom to speak and listen to our complaints.

F.E. Stacey



Trahan’s constituents trust his professionalism, ethics


It amazes me that The Portland Press Herald questions the ethics of David Trahan’s job decisions (Our View, “Trahan should quit Senate for SAM job,” July 20).

Under the last governor, the deputy commissioner for the Department of Marine Resources was also the treasurer for the re-election campaign of the chairman of the Marine Advisory Council. That council oversees the DMR. Talk about ethics conflicts! I did not see that article in The Press Herald, however.

As a taxpayer of the district that Trahan represents (not a newspaper 60 miles away), I have witnessed Trahan’s decisions and his popularity among the working people. The fishermen, loggers and farmers of District 20 have great faith in all Trahan’s decisions.

His ethics choices have never been questioned here. Whatever he decides to do, District 20 is behind him (as we have been for more than a decade).

Glen Melvin