The news media continue to help perpetrate the myth that a voter not affiliated with an organized party is an “independent.” In truth, they are dependent on those of us in parties to provide candidates for them to choose between.

However, some duplicitous candidates have figured out that since 40 percent of the voters are unaffiliated, if they call themselves “independents,” then the 40 percent of the people the media call “independent” will think they have values in common. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing that many have in common is that they are not affiliated with a party.

Where do “independents” stand on the major issues of our time? Do they favor Obamacare, high debt for job creation, a welfare state? Are they “right to life” or “right to choose”?

There are no “independent” positions, since “independents” come from all parties and all sides of issues. So don’t be fooled by candidates who claim to be “independents.” They just want your vote without taking a stand on the issues that you care about. Look at candidates’ records to find out how they will vote.

Former Gov. Angus King proclaimed his moderate positions (and even wrote a book about it) before he was elected. In eight years he doubled the state’s spending and left his predecessor with a billion-dollar shortfall.

Look at his record. In college he was a liberal. He has made his money on businesses funded with government subsidies. His track record as governor screams “big-spending liberal.” Is that what we want and need in the U.S. Senate representing Maine? Not me! I am voting for Charlie Summers for Senate.

We know where he stands, and his record is clear. Don’t be fooled by an unaffiliated candidate.

Brian Bicknell

Yarmouth

 

It feels very fitting that our former governor is running as an independent for Olympia Snowe’s seat – the seat she retired from because of the “atmosphere of polarization” in our government institutions.

As a college intern for the Angus King for U.S. Senate campaign, I truly believe I am working for a candidate who has the ability to refine our frustratingly partisan system. As we were marching in Boothbay’s Independence Day parade, people unfamiliar with King often asked us just one question: “Which party is he affiliated with?” Instead of asking, “What’s his background?” or “Does he support fixing x, y, and z?”

His party affiliation seemed to be of utmost importance. This is evidence of a flawed system, a system where people’s party alignment determines which policies they support and whose name they’ll bubble in come Election Day. Such an adversarial setup fosters an atmosphere where people disagree for the sake of disagreeing and expend energy bickering that could be put to better use compromising.

There is constantly too much focus on who won and who lost in Washington. However, this is not intended as a pessimistic observation. In fact, volunteering for this campaign has made me ever so optimistic because the catalyst for change we are desperate for is right here in front of us.

And I am far from the only hopeful here at the campaign headquarters. The amount of energy, enthusiasm and dedication is unbelievable. From the constant flow of supporters into the office to seeing the entire staff gathered around one TV listening to Obama’s response to the latest Supreme Court decision to our triathlon team composed of interns, I never forget I am surrounded by people who know what’s best for this state and best for this country.

Julia Isaacson

Cumberland

 

Legalized fireworks ruin all the fun for many

 

The 36 Maine communities that voted “no” to all fireworks should be commended for their decision.

July now will be the month to worry about injuries or burns, which will require our EMTs and perhaps a trip to Portland in our emergency boat. There are many more concerns about possible fires in or around our homes.

I wish my town had said “no” and that we were one of the 36!

Laurie Brayley

Long Island

 

Well, July 3 was proof, the inmates are running the asylum! All over my neck of the woods and probably most of Maine, people who you thought were reasonable, somewhat smart, law-abiding adults became children playing with matches.

Whoever the numbskull was who introduced legalizing fireworks (never mind the one who signed the bill), he or she should be very proud of him/herself. They have succeeded in irritating countless people who, if they had wanted to see fireworks, would have gone to see the professionals put them on. Instead we have to put up with the “backyard pyromaniacs”!

The noise from them frightens my animals and irritates me! Ahh, the way life should be! I have called the police tonight, but they are at the bottom of my list. I plan to go all the way up the ladder (or is it down the food chain?) until I can get someone to get rid of this hypocrisy!

I don’t bother anyone until they bother me, but God help ’em then!

Richard A. Aspinall Sr.

Scarborough

 

Congress Street work didn’t help cyclists much

 

I have commuted to work on Congress Street for many years by bicycle during the warmer months. When I read the description of the planned repaving and traffic pattern changes, I was hopeful that safety for bicycling will be improved on the dangerous stretches there.

Unfortunately, Congress Street is now more dangerous for bicycles than it was before. While in a few places the bike lane is wider (really a shoulder was widened to reflect less traffic lanes), in most places the width remained the same or was only marginally altered.

What makes the situation more dangerous is that the new pavement did not come to the edges of the road; now the already-narrow shoulders are of two levels of varying widths.

Also, there is a significant amount of debris from the repaving activity littering and blocking the shoulders.

I think these last two facts impair safe bicycle travel and point out an indifference or even negligence on the part of Maine DOT and its contractors where the safety of bicycle travel is concerned. I only hope that the project is not yet finished and that nobody thinks that putting up signs saying “Share the Road” is a substitute for having safe roads for both motorists and cyclists.

The people responsible for the design and implementation of these changes only need to try riding a bike along Congress Street to understand how treacherous it has become.

Piotrek Stamieszkin

Cape Elizabeth