Gov. LePage was reportedly overheard saying recently that President Obama “hates white people.” Then he said, “No, I never said that,” effectively accusing some of his Republican supporters at the gathering of lying.  

In his latest letter to Republicans, he represented himself as being “plain-spoken … and blunt” and said that he is “not a polished speaker” and does not “always use the correct wording while making a point.” One would logically interpret that to mean that he says what he means, and does not polish or sugarcoat his words for the audience.

Was he reportedly trying to “make the point” that he believed President Obama favored African Americans over Caucasians, a more polished statement that did not contain the word “hate”?

If Gov. LePage means what he says, then he should be honest and defend or explain the words he is alleged to have used. Instead, he accused witnesses of lying and later tried to weasel out of the situation with an apology to his fellow Republicans for causing them “any difficulty.”

Our governor lacks the internal fortitude to stand up for what he says and believes when it becomes a political liability. As he said, a person’s actions do “speak louder than their words.” In this one week Gov. LePage apparently lied to the public, and then blamed everything on the press for accurately quoting him and causing the controversy.  

The apology should have been sent to President Obama, the person he insulted — unless, of course, he meant what he is reported to have said but just didn’t say it nicely. Once again, Gov. LePage disgraced himself and the state of Maine.

David S. Glaser
Portland 

Tar sands critics draw on emotions, not hard facts

Three things about the proposed tar sands ordinance in South Portland:

• One: Passionate advocacy is important, even necessary to move the world. But the advocates’ letters reveal only a purely emotional, cult-like mantra of opposition, repeating an organized opposition to tar sands oil conflated with opposition to fossil fuels. The opponents never dispute facts presented by defenders of a business with an exemplary record. This is mob rule in print.

• Two: It is entirely fair to compare the risk-reward balance of any fuel moving through Maine. If we think the risk is too high, then let’s do something about that. Industry practices are continuously improving and can always be better, chasing the final fractions of 1 percent of possibility that the unforeseen will cause a disaster.

The amounts of fossil fuels moved in or through the state are enormous. Divide that number into the amounts leaked in accidents, and the math reveals a percentage so low your fears should reasonably be mitigated. Are opponents reasonable enough to deal with that, or will they continue the emotional cult mantra?

Nevertheless, if we are still concerned and willing to pay the cost, we can create an ordinance requiring additional safeguards. This approach changes the world, too. Additional detection of leaks, double pipes, reduced velocity pressure, emergency storage facilities may all be reasonable.

If opponents dream of eliminating the pipeline, please be responsible, too, and figure out what that will cost, as in risk-reward analysis.

• Third: While the proposed ordinance originates in South Portland, the results affect multiple communities.

It is not fair, but what one can do if the reader is tired of the cult is make sure your letters get printed, too. Please step up. Please do your part to balance printed mob rule.

Brian Jones
Scarborough

Congress Square sale offers chance to improve space

I am presently spearheading a campaign to restore our historic (1866) Lincoln Park and as an adjunct am immensely interested in the ongoing Congress Square saga.

Both my wife, Sharon, and I wish to applaud Greg Kesich’s column (“Giving up part of city park might make public space better,” Aug. 21) on what we gain by giving up part of Congress Square, in that for the first time someone has given us a clearer perspective on the matter, a sense of reasoning that most of us can accept.

In other words, we are not losing anything by allowing this sale to go through but gaining a more attractive, accessible and, hopefully, usable area for the city.

This area has been begging to happen for as long as I’ve been here, and a relatively close neighbor to Congress Square. With neighbors like our world-class Portland Museum of Art, WCSH-TV, a major player in the broadcast industry, several nationally acclaimed restaurants and now a renewed Eastland Hotel, the area should be alive with activity — and not just for tourists, but for everyone, all year-round.

Congress Street should once again be a boulevard of fine shops, good restaurants, overall entertainment, clean and safe sidewalks for resident strollers and an inviting atmosphere for new businesses. 

I believe that with a new Congress Square and a restored Lincoln Park, all things in between these two landmarks and beyond will create a renaissance for Congress Street, as well as for Portland.    

Frank E. Reilly
Portland

Panhandlers practice form of ‘free enterprise welfare’

Legislating beggars off city medians in order to “protect” these individuals from the “danger of injury” from passing traffic is the height of the disingenuous.

The removal has much more to do with the fact that these folks make the rest of us uncomfortable with the realities of life in America today. There is not enough work out there for these folks to be self-supporting, and our social safety net is full of holes.

Many Republicans and tea party types want to ensure that government (at any level) does not make the mistake of depriving these poor folks of the opportunity to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and get on with realizing the American dream.

Unfortunately, begging on city medians is the only recourse for many of these people. Perhaps the far right should be doing more to support begging.

After all, standing in traffic in any weather for hours at a time is difficult physically (and emotionally). The far right should be more supportive of what they might characterize as “free enterprise welfare.”

Ron Leeking
Portland