There has been a good deal of discussion on these pages about reverting the traffic patterns on State and High streets in Portland from the current one-way to the two-way flow as a means of what urban planners call “traffic calming.” Often this talk has been theoretical; let me add a very direct example of why this change would benefit neighborhood residents.

I have just returned from walking my dog on this rainy, chilly night. I was standing on the corner of State and Gray streets, at the crosswalk, when a courteous motorist saw me and stopped.

I began to cross the street when the three drivers behind this one (sitting in dry, climate-controlled comfort, probably listening to music or talking on the phone) decided they weren’t willing to delay their trips by an extra few seconds for a pedestrian.

They pulled out behind the stopped car into the adjacent lane and continued at high speed toward the bridge, missing me by a few feet and scaring me out of my wits — and violating state law in the process.

Two-way traffic on State Street at this intersection would have been proceeding more slowly, and drivers coming in the opposite direction would have been able to see me clearly (if, indeed, that was the problem and not just simple rudeness).

State Street would no longer be treated merely as a high-speed throughway to the bridge; rather, it would be part of a network of streets in the residential neighborhood that surrounds it.

I hope the city will proceed quickly to consider and implement these changes, as a matter of safety and good public policy that favors people rather than cars.

Ellen D. Murphy

Portland 

Government trying to ease Americans into socialism  

At a United Nations assembly during the Cold War with Russia, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev took off his shoe and, pounding it on his table, he made a statement that describes the United States of today.

“Your children will live under communism … You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept communism outright … but we’ll keep feeding you small dosages of socialism until you will finally wake up and find that you already have communism. We won’t have to fight you, we’ll so weaken your economy until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands.”

Does this look familiar? Companies moving overseas or closing, unemployment higher than it has ever been.

Government taking away money from Social Security and Medicare and giving it to the welfare and Medicaid.

Instead of feeding those on welfare by using debit cards, put them back on food stamps and cut the time down from five years to one. And the state would not have so many freeloaders who never planned to work anyway.

And to top it off, Obama has put the United States in debt in the trillions.

Richard C. Campbell

South Portland  

Have you wondered why Americans are buying assault weapons at a record pace? Why are so many citizens purchasing the AR-15 and the AK-47? Because they are a thing of beauty? Because “everyone has one”?

I don’t know why others desire a gun of that type, only why I want one. I do not trust my government. My deep fear is that Barack Obama and his goal of fundamentally transforming the United States of America will lead to a socialist dictatorship, where government replaces the citizen’s role of individual responsibility, initiative, ownership and choice.

When Obama was elected in 2008, I believed that he would ruin the United States of America by destroying our economy. It’s happening; look at our national debt.

I predicted, and now hear talk about, repeal of the Second Amendment. Our Founding Fathers established the Second Amendment so we could keep and bear arms to protect us from and overcome a tyrannical government. David Horowitz’s pamphlet “Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution” backs up my belief.

Looking at the past and the future, the past looks less dim than the future. At my age, I could just lay back and believe death will get me before Obama’s black berets do.

America has been good to me. To pay a part of that debt, God has given me a great desire to warn as many as possible what the future holds if we don’t stop Obama and his ideology.

I fear the incremental loss of freedoms that James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” and fourth president of our nation, warned about: “There are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.”

Kenneth W. Poirier

Berwick

Small food producers work to promote the Maine brand 

I applaud Grace Hinrichs for her guest editorial in the Portland Press Herald on Dec. 27, “Another View: Governor should brag about Maine’s small business economy.”

As a small-business owner (Chuck’s Organics, aka Pastor Chuck Orchards), I am proud to be a part of what makes the economic engine thrive in this great state.

When I began my business in 2004, I was a neophyte in what it takes to begin, operate and market a small, family-owned business. However, I was so impressed with the number of vendors who willingly gave their expertise to help me in this launch of a new and exciting business.

Hardly a day goes by that I do not hear or read of another small entrepreneur who follows his or her dream and plunges into this creative marketplace.

I want to call the reader’s attention to a remarkable organization that epitomizes what our governor has failed to either see or acknowledge as an example of what is at the core of our economy.

I am referring to the Maine Food Producers Alliance, a consortium of Maine vendors and their suppliers who have banded together to promote, not only our own products, but also the state of Maine and the unique Maine brand.

Our office is in Augusta. We offer, in conjunction with the Maine Grocers Association, the Maine Means Business Summit held each fall in Rockport. We present many opportunities for vendors, brokers, distributors, etc., to network, share ideas, generate opportunities and in general to promote the Maine brand.

This is our mission: “to create and sustain a collaborative environment for the development and growth of markets for value-added food and beverage products made in Maine.”

Visit www.mainefoodproducers.com to see what small businesses are doing in and for our state.

C. Waite Maclin

Portland