February 21, 2013

Letters to the editor: An educated country is a secure country

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A U.S. soldier eyes the road while on patrol near Youssifiyah, Iraq, in 2007. Lack of education is one reason 75 percent of young Americans are ineligible for military service, but high-quality early learning programs can help reverse that trend, a reader says.

2007 File Photo/The Associated Press

2. Also ax the totally redundant and useless mayor's position, saving $65,000 plus benefits.

3. Scrap the proposed park benches for the Bayside path at a whopping $42,500 each. (What?!? $500 benches were not good enough for the transients who dominate that area?)

4. Sell the idiotic dog walking park off Ocean Avenue for development and future property tax revenue.

5. Put an end to the encouraging and enabling of transients and other similar drains on our local economy to siphon off much-needed funds from the city coffers, which contribute greatly to the dreadful and dire financial state of our schools in the first place.

And that's just for starters. If Portland city officials managed our money as if it were their own, things might not be as bad as they are.

Remember the wise words of Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Great Britain: "Socialism only works until you run out of other people's money to spend."

Dennis Gervais


The potential benefits of conducting the external review to identify possible Portland Fire Department inefficiencies and to determine if realignments may produce fiscal savings have been stated ("Is the Portland Fire Department overstaffed?" Jan. 27).

The reasons the city of Portland has agreed to pay $39,000 for a study that had initially been estimated by the city to cost $30,000 remain opaque.

Did any qualified firms other than the successful bidder respond to the request for proposals? Were other proposals more in line with the budget estimate of $30,000, or was that sum unrealistic given the scope of the study? What qualifications did each firm possess or lack?

This study will be financed by Portland taxpayers. It would serve the public interest to make every proposal submitted to the city in response to that RFP available for publication and review.

Full disclosure of the facts that resulted in the decision to appropriate $9,000 more than had been projected will enable stakeholders to formulate informed opinions as to whether the 30 percent premium represents fiscal folly or a prudent and necessary investment of community resources.

Al Freedman



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