Leslie Bridgers’ story about Maine camps (“Camps feel pressure to retain enrollments,” June 24) related comments from one mother whose friends don’t understand why she would send her daughter away to camp for seven weeks when many nonresidential daytime sports camps are closer, shorter and cheaper.

Here is why my family has sent our daughter to Wohelo (a camp featured in the article.) Our daughter learns things at Wohelo that she cannot learn at sports camps or from family members. She not only learns sailing, silversmithing and other skills, she learns how to get along with other girls who share her cabin.

The women who teach her at Wohelo are well trained and enthusiastic and want her to enjoy herself. She is in a safe and beautiful community on Sebago Lake and, last but not least, she is learning in a real, not virtual environment.

There are no electronic screens at Wohelo — no texting, Facebook or TV — just face-to-face relating. What seven weeks away at camp really provides is a place where she matures and is exposed to things she isn’t exposed to anywhere else.

I certainly miss her. But I am so thankful that Wohelo and other traditional camps are there for girls her age. And as it is a significant investment in her growth and in her future, it is definitely worth the money.

Jeanie Barnard

Yarmouth

Columnist makes excuses when Obama caught in lie 

Columnist Kathleen Parker (July 19) joins the media ranks in veiling the true nature of President Obama, even when he is caught in an outright, documented lie that resulted in major consequences to our country.

Her column refers to a recent book, “A Singular Woman” by Janny Scott, in which this author reveals that Obama lied during and after his presidential race by stating that his mother was denied health insurance payments by an uncaring insurance company for cancer treatment she was receiving because it was a “pre-existing condition.”

A potential consequence of his lie is the passage of Obamacare, in which eliminating the pre-existing-conditions insurance clause was of paramount importance.

But the fact is that his mother did receive payment from her health insurance company, and Obama lied. The insurance his mother was denied was disability coverage and somehow, Obama “forgot,” and Parker is OK with that.

Parker recognizes “the story of Obama (a lawyer), Ann Durham (his mother) and corporate America’s inhumanity toward pre-existing conditions became an inviolate holy trinity of immense political power,” thus resulting in an “untouchable” Obama with a snow-white health care plan replacement up his sleeve.

Parker implies that the poor guy just forgot the details and/or Americans misunderstood him. Per usual, Obama remains immune to media scrutiny!

So let me summarize: Our elected president — Nobel Peace Prize recipient; often referred to as brilliant and impressive; an orator compared to Churchill and Lincoln; president of the Harvard Law Review; an attorney trained to remember and recall details; knowledgeable about insurances and the difference between health and disability — brazenly lied.

And Parker concludes that “the president likely will be forgiven making incorrect statements.” I rather would conclude that the shame is on us for accepting his lies and shame on Parker and her media brethren for shrouding his guilt.

Robert J. Sbrilli

Freeport

Jed Rathband is leader Portland needs as mayor 

Portland voters are electing their first mayor in almost 90 years. We should choose the candidate who can best fulfill the unique needs of this newly empowered and very important office. In my opinion, Jed Rathband is that candidate.

If we want Portland to flourish into the next decade, we need a leader who can help build a business environment that will make it easier for employers to thrive and that will attract new entrepreneurs to the city.

Jed, as a small-business person, sees this need and is the only progressive candidate with the experience necessary to create an environment of prosperity.

He has already bridged gaps between business and citizen leaders, and as mayor, he will use these experiences to put Portland on a path of intelligent growth.

Our city is vilified in Augusta and underrepresented to the nation, in no small part due to its poor presentation by current city officials. The new mayor will need to be able to reverse that trend.

Jed is an outsider candidate who isn’t constrained by previously partisan relationships. He has a record of successfully promoting and advocating for Portland through his work with the Portland Public Schools Marketing Committee and the Maine State Pier redevelopment effort, and he will be able to bring that experience to bear as he promotes Portland to the state and the nation.

As our city grows, its need for strong leadership will grow alongside it.

Jed’s record of building relationships between business and community leaders, as well as between Democrats and Republicans, represents a break from the complacent representation that City Hall presently offers.

He views Portland’s future holistically, seeing both the need for big-picture planning and short-term repairs. For these reasons, I am casting my vote for Jed Rathband for mayor.

Kenny Laughton

Portland

Critic of government works for bank that profits from it

Martin Jones’ July 25 Maine Voices column, “Americans should learn not to demand too much from the government,” left out others who seemed to be happy to have Uncle Sam around.

The others would be represented by Mr. Jones’ industry, banking.

I believe many of the mortgages written by banks in the past decade were sold to Fannie Mae, a quasi-government agency; banks also rely on the government to borrow at a little above prime rate and then use the taxpayer money to buy treasury bonds and profit from the spread.

Was it not Mr. Jones’ fellow bankers who were saved by the U.S. government? His own employer, U.S. Bank, received a loan of $6.6 billion.

Americans pay Social Security and Medicare taxes and therefore are participating in their own responsibilities, while lately Mr Jones’ industry seems to be the most demanding and dependent on our government.

Charles Oransky

Kennebunkport