It’s understandable that some Cumberland County residents don’t feel they should be obligated to have their taxes help fund the expansion of the Cumberland County Civic Center because they don’t attend events there due to lack of interest, or because they live too far away.

I’m sure, though, that almost all have been touched in some way by an event there.

The civic center provides an opportunity for great family entertainment like the Portland Pirates, amazing stars providing concerts of varied musical tastes, children’s programming, and figure skating programs (bringing world figure skating stars to our county). It’s also a perfect location for graduations, boat shows and business expos, among others.

Having proudly been a part-time employee of the civic center for several years, I’d just like you to know that the civic center does not only attract attendees from the southern Maine area, but from all over Maine, New England and Canada. I have spoken as recently as Aug. 30 with a couple from Vermont here to see the “American Idol” show, and have met folks from other states, Nova Scotia and Montreal as well.

Many of these folks stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants and shop in our stores, all of which helps boost our local economy. In addition, there would be construction jobs, civic center staffing positions and bigger and better shows.

The newly renovated civic center will be more eye-appealing, accessible, conveniently laid out and profitable for the county. I hope that on Nov. 8, the residents of Cumberland County will vote to support the renovations.

Robert Murray

Portland

So, we are being asked to “invest” $33 million to renovate the civic center. Now is probably a good time to be borrowing money, but is it wise? Is it the county taxpayers’ responsibility?

Neal Pratt, the civic center’s board chairman, remembers Fenway Park in 1990, but new owners poured money into the park. This is the key to Mr. Pratt’s statement: new owners! They spent mostly their own money to upgrade the park, not the taxpayers’ funds.

Perhaps the civic center needs new owners who will put their own money into renovating the center and make it profitable, rather than asking the taxpayers to do it.

But “taxes will not be raised” because the bond for the jail has been retired and the center will make a profit. Well, taxes will not be lowered because the bond has been retired, either, so we will still be paying the bill.

This is a classic smoke-and-mirrors, sleight-of-hand argument. The taxpayers still have to pay the bill.

I will be voting against the renovation project not because it is not needed, but because it is to be taxpayer-funded. I wish there was an option on the ballot to sell the building.

Richard Prince

South Portland

Smart Meter controversy continues in York County

I live in Berwick and now have a choice: Do I pay extortion money to CMP to opt out of the “Smart Meter” program? Do I install a special EMF transmitter (about $500) to protect me and my family from the radiation? Or do I start planning my funeral, as was the case in 2008?

There is growing publicity regarding cellphone radiation and brain cancer, but little attention to the harmful effects of low levels of radiation from lighting, office equipment, etc. In 2008, I was severely affected as a result of accumulated daily exposures to low-frequency electromagnetic radiation. Some of the symptoms I had were chest pain, virus-like conditions, loss of weight (15 lbs), energy loss, breathing difficulties, intermittent paralysis and more.

No blood tests, stress tests or chest X-rays were able to determine what was wrong with me. I was near death. My wife and I prayed for an answer.

Eight months later, the cause was brought to my attention and I was able to begin rebuilding my immune system and ultimately restore my health. Over the past three years, we have helped many, both locally and globally, experience relief from this environmental illness.

Now, Central Maine Power’s “Smart Meter” could be my death sentence.

Ray Allard

Berwick

I am opposed to the “blanket” installation of Smart Meters in the state of Maine, or anywhere else, and offer these comments in rebuttal to Laura Simmons, as published Sept. 5 in her letter, “The science behind Smart Meters.”

Simmons states that studies found no health threats. Some studies do — the World Health Organization has classified Smart Meters as possibly carcinogenic. If Smart Meters are “safe,” why did CMP choose the same consulting firm that represented the tobacco and asbestos industries, products considered to be safe in the 1950s?

In reality, there are many, many studies showing biological harm from the type of radiation these meters emit. Can’t we avoid another “Thalidomide tragedy?” I’m old enough not to worry for myself, but I do worry for my children and grandchildren.

In addition to health issues, the Public Utilities Commission has discounted CMP’s invasion of privacy; violation of personal property rights and security; radio interference with wi-fi and cellphones; replacing permanent jobs (meter readers) with temporary jobs (installers); costs we’ve already paid via taxes and rates; and its extortion via charging people who do not want them.

I’m all for technology, but what is the rush to install this potentially harmful equipment on every home? I suggest it’s motivated by greed and the opportunity to increase profits.

Many need a fair way to avoid this massive experiment and the forcing of customers to pay for a system and service they do not need or want.

This is not good business practice.

Floyd Beavers

South Berwick

Where are York toll fast lanes for E-ZPass users?

Having had to travel to Massachusetts on weekends this summer, it amazes me that we don’t take a tip from our neighbors in New Hampshire and create two drive-through E-ZPass lanes like they have in Hampton.

I saw firsthand the back-up from York past the Piscataqua Bridge. Come on, Maine Turnpike! The room is there. Labor Day weekend was a horror show, backed up from York to Kennebunk southbound on Monday.

We want people to visit, not get stuck in traffic for two hours. The Hampton toll barrier used to be the worst, and now it is a piece of cake.

Kyle Quinn

Saco