I am a retired lifelong resident of Portland on a fixed income, and to my dismay I find out that the Public Utilities Commission has shot us in the foot again.

They have approved a $9 million rate increase to upgrade Unitil’s natural gas supply system. A total $60 million upgrade.

They tell us it will cost each household user of natural gas $40 more per month. To me this equates to a 20 percent increase, and if it’s a cold winter, it could jump to a 25 percent increase.

What private business could raise its prices by 20 percent to pay for equipment and expect to stay in business? Was nothing ever put aside for improvements out of profits?

An increase of this size could put a lot of natural gas users into the need for LIHEAP assistance.

Write to the governor. Maybe he should review the makeup of the PUC.

Donald R. Slipp

Portland

Readers weigh in on why government isn’t helping

I am an experienced, well-educated manager and business analyst, with project management and consultancy expertise. I am also a 99 percenter and support the Occupy movement.

Yet I have been looking for a job for the past 2.7 years — forget about unemployment insurance — but I will not quit until I land a job or die. I work harder looking for a job than what I would ever have to if I had a job.

There are millions who find themselves in the same boat, out of work. Ironic, isn’t it, that there is so much work that needs to be done, and it is left unattended to because our mainly Republican lawmakers believe that job creation will come from the untaxed 1 percent and that government stimulus is socialism?

Our country’s representatives in the U.S. House oppose any solution the Obama administration has proposed. In fact, they want to cut anything, safety nets being one, and job creation and development being two, that would stir the economy back into life and growth.

Yet the Republican “Party of Jobs” undermines any effort to get us out of these economic doldrums, except policies that benefit the 1 percent! They forget how the government matched jobs to work under President Roosevelt and got America out of the Great Depression.

In contrast, the Republican Harding, Coolidge and Hoover administrations used the same trickle-down nonsense favored by today’s Grand Old Party, and the results are the same as well: crash and burn.

We the people are speaking. Listen up, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Obama — and truly represent us as we seek political and economical parity — on a level playing field — so we can reach the dream.

Wil Tibby

Mount Vernon

I respectfully disagree with the reader from Eliot whose letter appeared on the Opinion page in the Nov. 15 edition, criticizing the Republicans in Congress for rejecting the Obama administration’s latest version of policy garbage called a “jobs bill” (“Snowe and Collins veered off course with jobs vote”).

The reason the Republicans have thankfully stifled this load of incompetence is because it’s not a “jobs bill” at all. It’s another sloppy spending bill that borrows yet-to-be-paid tax dollars from our children and their children, to recklessly splurge on salaries and benefits for public employees in communities that can’t afford to fund those jobs themselves today.

In other words, it’s another silly attempt by Obama and his cronies to buy votes next November, by pushing more federal debt onto the backs of future taxpayers.

If Obama and his bunch really wanted to help create jobs, they’d stop blocking the development of large new energy projects on U.S. soil. Opportunities like the 1,500-mile Keystone pipeline construction project and the extraction of natural gas from our own interior resources are both examples of significant sources of new jobs that would arise from private commercial industry if Obama would stop putting up regulatory roadblocks to suffocate them.

Then all the communities that could benefit from that development would generate their own increased tax revenue to fund jobs for any additional teachers, police and firefighters that they may need.

But that kind of local empowerment doesn’t figure in Obama’s decision-making process because it would take power out of his hands that he is determined to retain for himself.

Meanwhile, it is his own foolhardy policies that make Obama guilty of suppressing the creation of new jobs outside of his control. But he is good at blaming the failure of his crippling policies on others.

We need to vote Obama out of the White House next November so our communities can start to rebuild themselves on their own terms.

James Clingensmith

Saco

The way the supercommittee was set up, it was programmed to fail. The problem was with how the members were appointed.

Instead of having the congressional leaders in both the House and the Senate appoint the members of their own party — thus ensuring those chosen would not deviate significantly from the party line — what if the leaders had chosen the other party’s members?

What sort of Republican senators would Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid have chosen — those who don’t always follow the party line? Which Democrats would Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have picked for the committee? Same thing in the House.

In short, the supercommittee might have been packed with moderates, non-ideologues, pragmatists — the sort of people who compromise and make deals. They would have gotten the job done.

Virginia Boehm Worthen

Westbrook

Re-elected city councilor ready to work for Biddeford

I want to sincerely thank all the Biddeford voters who elected me to another term as Ward 5 city councilor. I will continue to listen and work for everyone.

We have much more work to do. A lot of the neglected infrastructure has been improved my last two terms. I, with your help, will strive to do more and more each day. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] maine.org.

Bob Mills

Biddeford