November 16, 2012

Letters to the editor: Headline trivializes serious candidate

Your headline writer created an absurd and totally untrue fantasy around the story of Holly Seeliger's election to Portland's school committee ("Burlesque dancer wiggles into seat on Portland school board," Nov. 10).

click image to enlarge

Holly Seeliger, seen in the Reiche Elementary School Community Garden, was elected last week to the Portland School Committee. A headline on a recent story unfairly emphasized Seeliger’s experience as a burlesque dancer at the expense of her qualifications for the school board, a reader says.

2012 File Photo/Tim Greenway

The truth is that Holly Seeliger ran a serious campaign, portraying herself as an educated person deeply concerned about education in our city, and aware that the food we eat and the environment in which we live have a lot to do with how we learn. She portrayed her involvement with the Occupy movement as very relevant to her school committee candidacy.

Thankfully, this was a positive campaign all around, with both candidates speaking only about what they would bring to the Portland school system, what they thought was needed and why they were qualified.

As your writer pointed out, Holly did mention her burlesque dancing in her blog -- so that it would not appear as a secret she was hiding. But her campaign was about serious issues she thought were relevant to her candidacy.

Why the immature silliness in this headline? Can a woman who is in one moment willing to tease us with her sensuality not be taken seriously when she speaks with depth and conviction about an issue? I'd suggest that as a question for all of us -- not just your headline writer.

Arthur Fink

Peaks Island

Congress' progress depends on turnover in leadership

The election is finally over, and it's now time for our representatives to get back to work.  

Congress, however, will remain stranded in the same stalemate without new leadership.

There simply is too much bitterness and mistrust surrounding House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and, in the interest of our country moving forward, all four should be replaced.  

They have proved to be incapable of leading their respective parties toward cooperation across the aisle, and there's no reason to believe that will change in President Obama's second term.  

While we're at it, the party whips probably should go with them.

In all likelihood, internal party politics will prevent this from happening, proving once again that politics truly do come before national interest.  

But it is no secret that this Congress is broken, and it will remain broken with the same four individuals leading it.

If Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Reps. Chellie Pingree and Michael Michaud, and Sen.-elect Angus King truly have the interests of the people they represent at heart, they will do what they can to bring new leadership to Congress.  

Otherwise, it will be business as usual in D.C.

Tim Brooks

Portland

Maine voters lived up to responsibility as citizens

Congratulations to all the citizens of Maine! We proved that there are no billionaires in our voting booths, only citizens with votes. Bravo!

Dennis Perkins

Portland

Timeline of ex-CIA chief's resignation begs credibility

I realize that based on how we Americans voted last Tuesday, the president has concluded that none of us has a clue about what's really going on. I just want to let him know that we're not all stupid.

1) With regard to the resignation of Gen. David Petraeus, the White House said last Friday that the president just found out about the general's situation last Wednesday.

So let's see if I've got this straight: The director of the CIA is having an illicit affair with another woman (one of the actions he specifically takes an oath not to do when he's appointed because he could so easily be compromised).

The FBI and the attorney general know about it and do not tell the president. And the day after the election, Petraeus stops by the White House to tell the president the news. (Good thing the president was home!)

Either the director of the FBI and the attorney general should be fired, or someone is lying. I wonder what effect any of this had on the murders in Benghazi.

2) With regard to the president's suggestion that he and members from the Congress get together ASAP to avoid the "fiscal cliff" that we're headed toward on Jan. 1, 2013, I agree with the president that it's going to take some major concessions from both sides to avert this potential catastrophe.

However, I can tell the president is already "teeing it up" such that Congress should nail down the tax increases immediately and talk about the necessary expense cuts "later." Are you mad? Not all of us are that stupid!

Jim Burke

Cumberland

Crash death points up need for more testing of drivers

Here we go again -- elderly people driving causing deadly accidents ("Casco woman killed when van runs into school bus," Nov. 5).

She would probably still be alive today if there were more frequent testing by the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles -- like every six months, perhaps -- just to see if their driving skills are up to par.

I have had my license suspended after driving for 42 years. At least I never drove on the wrong side of the road, texted while driving, drove into the ocean or drove directly into a school bus occupied with innocent children. I have never caused an accident or been involved in one.

Families need to be more involved in the decision to have elderly drivers tested.

Kathie Lee

Portland

Obama left problems for Obama to contend with

Now that he's starting his second term, President Obama is inheriting a gigantic hell of a mess. He has every right to blame his predecessor.

Eduard van Loenen

Falmouth

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