Enough is enough. When it takes a motor vehicle one hour to drive from Commercial Street via Franklin Street just to reach the bottom of the ramp of Interstate 295, something is terribly wrong and needs to be examined, please.

I consider it quite distressing that it took 30 minutes to drive to Brunswick and one full hour to reach the ramp. I witnessed some death-defying maneuvers today in an effort to creep forward two feet! I even found myself inched up on a curb because I miscalculated the next move forward and did not want to block the intersection.

I have no idea whose plan it was to place a traffic light at the top of the ramp, slowing down traffic and creating the clog, but I would like them to drive on Franklin Street at the end of the day and attempt to make it home for dinner via I-295.

I have been quite amazed that the tangled web of cars and trucks has not created the horn heard round the world, or a couple of fist fights, name-calling, or even some bumper car action.

Drivers have been incredibly calm, many talking on cell phones to pass the time. I don’t own a cell phone so have no choice but to try and take myself away with some calming music.

Will someone please help us? Possibly change the traffic lights on Franklin so a decent number of cars can pass? Maybe have police at intersections deciding whose turn it is to go next?

And please, please remove the traffic light at the top of the ramp. We are grown-ups. We know how to yield into traffic without a stop-and-go light. Thank you!

Chris Havenstein


Recently the interstate highway from the South Portland causeway to the Westbrook Street exit had a sound wall constructed along the residential side of the highway. I question the justification of a 50- to 60-foot cement light standard every 150 feet or so, on both sides of this stretch of highway.

There are no sidewalks or other reasons for the excessive light poles. At a minimum, every other pole alternating on both sides of the highway should be removed and stored for future projects. Additionally, the electricity eliminated from the removed poles would add up to substantial savings.

One cannot help but think that there surely was the possibility that political contributions were effected to reward the inclusion of this excessive installation of these poles in the contract for this project.

It is hoped that some entity in authority will carefully investigate this travesty for the taxpayers.

John Barritt

Cape Elizabeth 

Some deserve entitlements, but plenty of others don’t 

I am really tired of hearing that my “entitlements” must be cut to balance the budget. I am 59 years old and have worked since I was 16. I have paid into Social Security and Medicare since I started.

These programs are not gifts to me. I paid. My husband and I worked hard to gain access into the “middle class” only to have it pulled out from under us when jobs were lost.

We paid higher taxes for years. Now we are being told that my government wants to cut my programs. How about the entitlements we give to our elected officials and their dependents? Pensions and health care for life even if they only serve a term or two in office.

Let’s clean up the real fraud and get some good-paying jobs for the younger people coming out of the colleges who will support all this other stuff. I know it is not popular so it won’t get done.

I have the phone number for debt counseling if any of our congressional leaders, Republicans and Democrats, want it. They just have to default on their loans and someone will give money to them like they did us when our jobs went overseas. I personally am willing to give it all back to the banks and get in line for the entitlements.

Thanks a lot.

C. D. Collins


Our congressmen and congresswomen have completed their session — a do-nothing session of which they should all be ashamed.

I am so tired of hearing that they are “concerned” about the budget, and the consensus appears to be that the solution, as they see it, is to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It always seems to come down to cutting services to the poor and elderly.

It is so much easier to attack those who have little clout.

The irony is that, as programs or services are cut, those who were the recipients will then have to turn to other sources for assistance, and we will still find ourselves in the same economic rut. As the old saying goes, you can’t get blood out of a turnip. We keep hearing that we should not tax those wealthy people, because after all, they use their wealth to create jobs. Where are these jobs?

They were all sent overseas so that the rich could line their pockets even further.

We, the people, need to become more proactive, and demand of those we elected to office to recognize what is needed to keep our country economically stable. The United States has lost its AAA bond rating with one agency due to the failure of our senators and representatives to agree on a sensible plan for the economy.

It is time we stopped pampering the rich and powerful and demand that they pay their fair share.

Christine Kimball


Lee Hammond, national president of AARP, argues against cutting Social Security or Medicare (“AARP not apes, says upset leader,” Aug. 22). He states: “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.”

That statement, unfortunately, is rather misleading. Eligibility for Medicare requires that a person work just 10 years at a job that pays into Medicare.

So, while some may have spent their lives working and paying into the system, others have contributed very little.

Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute calculates that the average beneficiary who retired in 2009 would have paid in to Medicare less than half what he gets out.

It would be accurate to call the remainder that such a person receives theft — albeit legalized theft.

William Vaughan Jr.

Chebeague Island 

Editorials balanced under this ownership 

Despite my misgivings about Richard Connor as owner/editor of The Press Herald, I must admit the newspaper’s editorials have retained balance and pertinence to issues facing Maine and the U.S.

The summation of the debt limit fiasco of recent weeks (“No one to applaud in dreadful debt debate,” Aug. 3) was right on the money.

Too, even though I don’t care for the editorials’ constant sniping at President Obama, the paper was also right in saying in another editorial that Obama’s way of leading is overly dependent on consensus.

If Obama were a better leader, he could have raised the debt ceiling himself, in effect telling the extreme right-wingers to go talk to a wall until they were ready to yield on the Bush tax cuts. But no, Obama caved in to “consensus.” And I voted for the man.

One can only hope the acrimony of this latest shameful and frustrating display of governing by ideology instead of pragmatism will not show itself in the bipartisan commission set up by this latest budget law to continue negotiations on the deficit.

But I’m not holding my breath. That officials elected to responsibility could hold the world economy at bay based on the constructs of a political platform is exasperating in the extreme.

Thanks for calling the debt “crisis” exactly what it was: a shameful exercise in futility.

Bruce Bartrug