Regarding the Eastland’s bid to privatize Congress Square Park, New York City has many public/private atrium spaces that could be a model for a project like this — available to the public but controlled by private security; able to be used for private functions but generally open to all. They function as green spaces and sometimes have water features.

One of the true lacks in Portland is a winter garden, a space where anyone can go to experience humidity, greenery and tranquility in the long, dark Maine winter. A space like that would bring people to the center of Portland to relax and renew rather than driving them to the mall to find a public indoor temperate zone. And it could be a place for exhibits, performances and other events as well as the Eastland’s private functions.

Andy Graham

Portland

With regards to the current controversy surrounding the park at High and Congress streets, I feel that the city has taken a step in the right direction, finally.

As a retired city employee who spent my entire career in public safety, I have seen firsthand the failure of that park. With the conversion of the park to an addition to the Eastland Park Hotel we can finally rid the place of crime and the stale urine smell that permeates it daily.

As for moving the park to another location nearby, great. However, won’t the same failure to manage the current park simply change locations and burden local homeowners and businesses somewhere else?

It’s time to put that area to good use, and it sounds like the owners of the Eastland Park Hotel have found just that in their plan.

Robert Orr

Scarborough

Grandmother concerned about bullying in schools

I would like to urge you and others who might care about bullying to call the Portland School Department to request that an anonymous questionnaire be made up for students to report what they believe to be bullying by other students (or teachers, for that matter).

I did call the school department and was told that this was a good idea and that they may already be doing this, but they aren’t. I have two granddaughters who were bullied until their parents called in to report it. I found out from the girls that they were still being bullied so I called in also.

The bullying has stopped for my granddaughters, but they tell me that they see bullying of other kids and do not dare to say anything.

I believe that if my letter is published on your editorial page, maybe other concerned parents could also call in to request the anonymous questionnaire be printed up for students to use.

Thank you for your time and consideration to my concern about bullying.

Ann J. Dillon

Portland

Cynthia Dill would bring fresh perspective to D.C.

I am writing to support state Sen. Cynthia Dill, a candidate for U.S. Senate. Dill is a state senator serving South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough.

A working mom from Maine, Dill offers a fresh view for Democrats seeking some sanity in Washington. To the average American, congressional members who are stonewalling our country and our president should instead pay attention to the business of the people. They should not seek to restrict women in a free country.

Dill has proudly championed working-class values as an award-winning civil rights attorney, town councilor, state representative and state senator.

Soldiers are dying in Afghanistan right now, and part of the reason that they are there is to protect basic rights such as the right to vote. Honor them by registering and voting for Dill today!

Diana Bell

Fryeburg

Not all acts of self-defense are committed in good faith

In the commentary “Anti-seizure bill protects your right to protect yourself” (May 4), M.D. Harmon asserts, “The right to self-defense is actually far older than the Bill of Rights, being inherent in human nature.” This is reminding me of Barry Goldwater’s assertion that “extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.” The question becomes whose liberty?

Let us assert that a “collective” response on the part of a government militia is inadequate to the task of coming to my aid in a natural disaster or a crime against my person. Let us assert that the “collective” response by government to investigate my murder is inadequate. Does this mean that I must rely on a group of rugged individuals (vigilantes) to come to my aid or investigate my murder? What prevents the rugged individuals from taking away my liberties?

Was it an act of “collective” aggression by George Washington to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion? Was it an act of “collective” aggression for Abraham Lincoln to fight a war to preserve the Union, disarm the slave states and declare an emancipation of the slaves under federal control? Did John Wilkes Booth have a right to defend himself against Lincoln?

In my opinion, not all acts of self-defense are “righteous” acts of self-defense.

Herbert W. Twiddy

Yarmouth