While warming up the checkbook to pay our Portland property taxes, I happened to run across your story on “Cheers” star Kirstie Alley putting her Islesboro estate on the market.

With all of the details right there, I couldn’t help but compare her situation to ours. Her summer house sounds modest, about 25 percent bigger than our year-round home.

Hers was built in 1993, ours dates to 1844. She has about 16 times more land than we do. I don’t know if it’s waterfront. Ours isn’t.

We have a city street going through our property, but I don’t know if Kirstie does. The town of Islesboro values her property at just about $1.2 million, over 3 times what the city of Portland thinks ours is worth.

What caught my eye is that Kirstie’s property taxes, with 16 times more land and a 300 percent higher valuation, aren’t even double what we’re paying here on Peaks Island.

Is she paying too little, or are we paying too much?

Marty Braun

Peaks Island

Who will pay more tax? Not those under $1 million

Jim Mansfield’s letter of Aug. 24 complained that the president wants him to pay more taxes.

First I want to offer my congratulations on his being in the 1 percent of the population with an income over $1 million a year, which is the group from which the president says he will seek more revenues.

I then would ask him to find it in his heart to take Warren Buffet’s lead and start paying taxes at a rate closer to what we little people pay, not the 17 percent that Warren paid last year.

The distribution of wealth in this country (two-thirds owned by 10 percent of the population) is about the same as China and most of the countries in Africa.

Bob Marsh

Sanford

‘Arab Spring’ has no link to Bush’s attack on Iraq

Your editorial view that the recent political upheavals in the Middle East (“Oppression vs. revolution: It’s a good start, at least,” Aug. 27) is breathtaking in its use of intellectual dishonesty, as exemplified by a reliance on one the oldest logical fallacies, to rewrite history.

Your claim that the “Arab spring” somehow — you never explain how, other than to suddenly inflate George W. Bush’s “suggestion” into a “framework” — was part of a “wildfire of democracy” in Middle East started by the groundless invasion of Iraq, is nothing more than an application of the old debater’s ruse known as “post hoc ergo propter hoc” (“after this, therefore because of this”).

Just because the uprisings we’ve witnessed this year came after — as in eight long, bloody years after — the invasion of Iraq, we cannot conveniently conclude that our invasion was the cause or played any part in those events.

To make that conclusion, we need evidence of a causal link. But the evidence sadly leads us elsewhere. For example, you might consider Alan Greenspan’s infamous admission in his memoirs that the invasion of Iraq was “all about oil,” Or consider the facts behind the meeting at which Libyan leaded Moammar Gadhafi was so taken by Condoleezza Rice: She was visiting him to normalize relations between the U.S. and Gadhafi’s government.

Does that sound like a framework for freedom to you?

No, this is not some long-time, Rube Goldberg result of Mr. Bush’s failed Middle East strategy. Instead, please give credit where it’s due — to the brave men and women who won their freedom by overcoming generations of terror to defeat powerful military and state security organs.

We can now only hope and pray that they will find our values and freedoms worthwhile. But smugly and falsely including Mr. Bush in their victories will not help anyone.

David Lentini

North Berwick

Three views of bike lanes roll in variety of ways

My usual bicycle route includes roads in Falmouth, Portland, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.

As I enjoy our beautiful area, I am constantly reminded of the behind-the-scenes workers who are responsible for keeping our roads and streets clean and safe.

This is a thank you to all the public works folks who street sweep, maintain and repair the bicycle lanes. Your ongoing attention to this area is never overlooked and always appreciated by this bicyclist.

It keeps the travel path clear of debris, making for a safe and enjoyable ride. Thank you from “Nature Girl!”

Mary Grant

Falmouth

A recent incident has me wondering about our priorities as a society.

I like bike paths, brick sidewalks and many of the nice things that towns vote to spend money on, but when we can’t afford full-time paramedics, or other first responder personnel, sometimes bad things happen.

At a recent triathlon in Cape Elizabeth, a man was pulled out of the water in distress and no ambulance was nearby. After much effort by those present, a rescue unit did finally arrive, but the man died the next day.

We may never know if he could have been saved with more immediate response by paramedics with equipment.

But I just wonder if maybe we should be spending more money on emergency response and not so much on other public projects.

Anne-Marie Ham

Scarborough

I do appreciate the work done to William L. Clarke Drive in Westbrook, which now includes four lanes, wide sidewalks, a median strip of many lights, trees and grass, and seems much safer for pedestrians crossing now.

The entire project seems to have been well planned except that there is no bicycle lane.

There is a sign now on each end of the drive which says that cyclists may ride in the full traffic lane with traffic and that traffic should change lanes to pass bicycles.

In my opinion, that is a very dangerous policy for cyclists to be in tight lanes with traffic at speeds of 35 mph.

I cycle through Westbrook and think that avoiding William L. Clarke Drive and taking Main Street is much safer, even though there are problems for cyclists on Main Street too, but less dangerous.

Hopefully, though, future planning for road construction will include bicycle lanes.

Philip Reardon

Gorham