The recently published cartoon by The Denver Post’s Mike Keefe lampooning AARP and likening seniors to ravenous apes (“Rise of the Planet of the AARPs,” Aug. 15) is in exceedingly poor taste.

The suggestion that older Americans are a threat to the future of younger generations is not only erroneous, it is insulting.

Seniors have spent their lives working and paying into the system so they’ll have secure health coverage and a foundation of income when they retire.

With pensions disappearing, home values dropping, savings diminished and health care costs on the rise, our members and all older Americans understand how important Medicare and Social Security will be for their kids and grandkids, which is exactly why they want to protect these programs for future generations.

AARP is fighting to stop Congress from cutting these crucial lifelines, and we make no apologies for it.

Lee Hammond, AARP President

Washington, D.C. 

Looking for good mayor? Vote for Michael Brennan

As someone who grew up in Portland and chose to return after attending college in Orono, I have always been passionate about this city.

This community and culture offer tremendous opportunities.

However, reflecting back on the growth of the city in my lifetime, I sense that Portland is at a crossroads.

We cannot merely maintain our schools, neighborhoods and workplaces: we must improve upon them.

This is why I am excited to elect a new mayor with the experience and skills to lead Portland into the future.

I am not overwhelmed by the large field of candidates because there is an obvious top person for the job: Michael Brennan.

I am supporting Michael because he shares my passion for Portland, believes in its future, and knows how to lead us there.

He has served Portland for over 35 years as the director of Community Initiatives at United Way and as a policy associate at the Muskie School of Public Service.

He worked tirelessly for our economy, schools, and health system as a state representative and senator.

His leadership and ability to collaborate with individuals, businesses and towns is evidenced by the fact that he is the only person from Portland ever elected Senate majority leader.

Michael’s vision for sustainable economic development, expanded public transportation options, and new affordable housing initiatives is informed by the years he has spent working on these issues.

When I speak with Michael about such topics, I know that he is drawing not just from his career, but also from having been born in Portland where he settled and raised a family.

These are the reasons that I will vote for Michael as my first choice on Nov. 8. I hope that many other Portlanders will join with me.

Seamus McGrath

Portland

Let’s drop all the labels and support good ideas

A recent writer declared “liberals” have a problem with objectivity, are misguided with taxation and like the wrong type of lightbulbs.

In summary, the writer felt like he was getting his pocket picked because of subsidies for using more energy efficient light bulbs. Really?

It is time to drop the convenient branding and stereotypes that serve as tired fodder for more divisiveness. I am sympathetic about getting your pocket picked but it is better than enduring a home invasion.

Both parties back a budget plan that reduces the benefits taxpayers have been contributing to in good faith.

Medical care will certainly cost more due to a lack of action and imagination. Medicare and Social Security are being raided.

Unions are being broken and social services are dwindling at a time of unprecedented need. Our “system” of government is currently hijacked by ideologues.

Rather than contradict your position by railing against the dumping of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and simultaneously decrying tax breaks to GE, I would ask you to think a bit deeper.

Focus upon fairness, tax reform, inefficient programs, subsidies ( I agree!) and the type of people we elect.

Politicians and lobbyists used to be separate entities. If it is not happening already, we are in danger of having lobbyists elected to seats in Congress and the Senate.

If you think subsides to create a more energy-independent future is akin to having your pocket picked, what is it going to be like when we all are short-changed regarding the benefits we have been paying into?

Can we back off of the liberal/conservative diatribe, please? We are ill-served by both parties.

How about acknowledging terms such as progressive, centrist or populist? I know there are some out there.

Joe Delaney

Portland

Boost Boothby Square by making it people-friendly

With the impending relocation of “Tracing the Fore,” we now have the opportunity to address the root cause of the negative perception of Boothby Square.

Understanding the strong reaction to the sculpture can help inform the future use of the square.

If we think of the very high value of downtown space, whether public or private, then we see the obvious problem with the old Boothby Square and specifically “Tracing the Fore.”

The space occupied by the sculpture is one of only three spaces in the Old Port that is designed not to be occupied by people.

The other two are street medians on Spring and Franklin. These “no-man’s-lands” are all horrible uses of valuable urban space.

The stainless-razor’s-edge nature of “Tracing the Fore” tended to reinforce the sense that this is a space to stay out of.

I believe this is why the sculpture was so reviled, and why the new use must be fully accessible.

Simply set out tables and chairs where the sculpture used to be and watch the space come alive and the adjacent business owners embrace it.

Imagine a vibrant square shared by people shopping, eating, connecting with others and engaging with approachable public art.

Give the square back to the people.

Jonathan Owens

Portland