Think of the last time that you wanted to go out with a group of friends to do something as simple as dinner and a movie. How long did it take you to decide?

You all like each other and enjoy one another’s company, but one of you wants Chinese food and another one of you had Chinese food last night; one of you wants lobster and another one is allergic to shellfish. It can take a long time to come to a compromise, and we haven’t even discussed movie options.

So how do we expect 435 people with strong opinions, who regularly attack their counterparts from the opposing political party and who won’t budge on their ideologies, to get anything done?

It would be nice if they could get along. It would be nice to have more political parties to help break up the deadlock. But I believe the solution is to reduce their ranks.

There have been 435 members of the House of Representatives since 1912, when each person represented about 210,000 people. Now each represents an average of 650,000 people.

But since 1912 we’ve introduced radio, TV, the Internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, websites, blogs and smartphones – a cornucopia of technologies that make the dissemination of information and the ability to communicate, including getting feedback or input from constituents, instantaneous.

With a good support staff, each member of the House could represent a lot more people at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers.

Chuck Homler

Saco 

Waterfront measure would send property taxes soaring

I have no stake in the South Portland waterfront from a business standpoint, but I do have a stake in our fine city. I pay property taxes.

I just read the Waterfront Protection Ordinance. I read Section 4 several times just so I would understand it. It can be interpreted several ways, but what it boils down to is: “There shall be no enlargement or expansion of existing petroleum … facilities … in the Shipyard District … .” The quote is from section 4(a).

If this ordinance passes, consider the following probable scenario:

Soon the Montreal refinery will no longer need imported oil, as it has enough from Canadian sources. Our pipeline operation is forced to shut down because it cannot export Canadian oil. Our property taxes would then go up, way up, and as a result people lose their jobs.

Or perhaps some other oil-related business in the zone needs to upgrade and expand to meet local demand. It cannot under the terms of the ordinance, so the demand shifts to other modes of transportation, which results in an increase in the price of oil products. Perhaps this company is also forced to shut down because it cannot modernize, creating a loss of tax revenue and forcing the city to raise our taxes yet again.

This scenario repeats itself again and again. Property taxes go up and up, city staff are laid off and the increased taxes on property cause property values to drop. It becomes increasingly more difficult to sell a home in South Portland.

This scenario is not what we have heard from some members in our community, but if you look closely, it is a more probable long-term outcome.

I, for one, will vote against the ordinance because I do not want folks to lose their jobs or for my property taxes to go through the roof.

Richard Prince

South Portland

Our hair-trigger society on tragic display in D.C.

Having recently returned from Canada, I’ve come to the conclusion that we in the United States of America are a hair-trigger society on a collision course with morality.

The recent tragic events in Washington, D.C., where an unarmed woman with a child in her car runs a barricade, panics, tries to get away and is cornered and shot to death by a phalanx of armed security is the latest testimony to overreaction.

This is the climate we live in, a shoot first (either verbally, as we see in Congress) or literally on the streets of our cities and then try to piece the story together. It’s best if individuals do their own information gathering, as the mainstream media are more for sensationalism than truth.

Case in point is that a search of the raw video of the above tragic event and the subsequent clips shown on media outlets shows the selectivity of various outlets as to what they choose to air. If you choose, if it hasn’t been erased, check and see if you can view the unexpurgated shots of that incident.

My friends and family in Canada don’t understand our issue with universal health care in the United States, nor our issue with gun control, and neither do I.

Nicole d’Entremont

Peaks Island 

Scarborough leash law aims to help threatened wildlife

It is disheartening to see that some residents of Scarborough are starting a petition drive against the recently adopted leash law (“Scarborough won’t enforce new leash law yet,” Oct. 8).

Many people do not understand the importance of protecting a species with which they have little or no contact. Wildlife need our help more than ever, because of habitat loss, and the piping plover is just one example of a species under stress and threat of extinction.

I am a volunteer dog walker at the Animal Refuge League and have a dog of my own. I understand that my dog and I have options about where we can walk; the piping plover has few options left.

Helen Hurgin

Windham 

King gives superb speech on the Affordable Care Act

It would be a great service to the public to refer people to the Angus King website – www.king.senate.gov – and scroll to where he makes his superb speech regarding the Affordable Care Act and health in general.

There is so much hatred (yes, hatred) about President Obama and Obamacare that people refuse to see the forest for the trees. Angus helps to make a lot of this clear.

Please take the time to be open-minded and to listen to what Angus has to say (all of it).

Bob Tripler

Cape Elizabeth