I grew up in Portland on Munjoy Hill and have great memories — of Deering Oaks, Lincoln Park and the Eastern Prom. I work in Portland and continue to feel a connection with the city.

I am baffled by some of the things the City Council is doing. A docking berth for mega ships that doesn’t have deep enough water at low tide? That wasn’t in the plan when it was built?

Election of a mayor? The city is going to pay $65,000 a year to someone who will cut ribbons and give the key of the city away and have no real power?

This is the kicker: three benches for $45,000 that will be original “art.”

With homeless shelters overflowing every night and food pantries needing to fill shelves, how can officials sleep at night paying $45,000 for three benches? We are our brothers’ keeper, a fact that Portland seems to have forgotten.

There are times I wish I lived in Portland so I could attend meetings when some of these decisions are made. Residents really should get involved. Your city is being messed up. The poor aren’t being helped.

Janie Conley Lynch

Cumberland

Retiree urges protection of health care benefits

While Americans are suffering through some of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, the average corporate CEO is doing just fine, raking in an average salary of $11.4 million or 337 times the average worker, according to Wall Street estimates.

But let’s not forget about tens of millions of retirees, like me, who spent decades-long careers funding our corporate-sponsored retirement benefits. We accepted lower wages and salaries in order to secure valuable non-wage benefits like health care and pensions.

Now these are being threatened by a tax provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The only way to stop this is passage of the Earned Retiree Healthcare Benefits Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 1322), a bipartisan bill that would protect America’s retirees from having their earned health care benefits reduced or eliminated by their former employers.

To protect our earned benefits, it is important that retirees join ProtectSeniors.Org, an organization leading the charge to pass H.R. 1322.

Don Jones

Portland

Two very different views of same-day registration

Question 1 asking new voters to register at least two business days before an election provides a way for town and city clerks to verify eligibility before Election Day. I’ve read that this bill will disenfranchise or deny people their right to vote. Nonsense!

New voters can register through the Department of Health and Human Services, at local clerks’ offices, by mail or at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, among other ways. Once you register, that’s it — you don’t have to register again.

In Maine, and in this country, we need to be accountable and able to prove who we are all the time, sometimes with a photo ID.

Maine has now joined 41 states that already have similar laws. When people move into this state, it is their civic responsibility to register to vote just like anything else they have to do.

I think we need to secure Maine’s elections. I don’t want illegal, non citizens or college students voting unless they are proven citizens. Maine is correct in wanting our elections to be the true results of the citizens of this great state.

For clean elections, vote no on Question 1.

Raymond Lemieux

Winslow

With all the real problems confronting our state, the speaker of the Maine House and his Republican cronies continue to attempt to deny Maine citizens the right to same-day voter registration.

A number of those legislators have used same-day registration in the past to register. What hypocrisy!

The truth of the matter is that most of the elderly and disabled are the ones who will be disenfranchised. What a shame!

Petros Panagakos

Portland

Steve Jobs a great loss to family and the world

Steve Jobs believed that form preceded function and the ultimate “form” was partnership. Working with Steve Wozniak, he created the Macintosh computer and a company that made them young millionaires.

Jobs claimed his ultimate success was the 20-year marriage to his best friend, Lorene (who chose the charities to which they gave) and becoming a father to four children (the eldest from a previous relationship).

Jobs, an imperfect being like all of us, worked on his spirituality, practicing Buddhism, becoming a vegetarian and having a modest lifestyle for a billionaire. He taught us that not every life when examined closely fits a given form.

As in his delightful production, “Toy Story,” Jobs proved that through experimentation, acceptance and alliance, we invent useful and fun technology.

An Oct. 17 letter questioned the outpouring of grief over Jobs’ death and suggested that mourners instead make the world better. Mourning and improving the world are not mutually exclusive activities; the first often inspires the second.

Steve Jobs was the idea man but he never denied needing the thousands whom he employed, his wife and children, his sister or the two middle class parents who raised him well. We want to acknowledge their great loss as well as the world’s.

Colleen P. Crowley

Bowdoinham

A natural alternative for dealing with fleas

A method to eradicate fleas not mentioned in Ray Routhier’s Oct. 16 article (“Life’s an Itch?”) is food grade diatomaceous earth (DE), a fine powder made up of fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae.

It kills fleas by penetrating and removing their waxy outer layer, causing them to dehydrate and die. It can be applied topically to your pet without concerns of chemical exposure.

Sprinkle it around the house and leave for a week or so, then vacuum. No need to temporarily evacuate the house.

Food grade diatomaceous earth is an inexpensive, natural alternative that really works!

Susan Hamilton

South Portland