October 21, 2013

Letters to the editor: Another sign of a failed City Council

Wow, city inspector quits and is paid hush money by the city leaders (“Portland restaurant inspector was paid to quit, clam up,” Oct. 16)! And this is news? No news to me.

click image to enlarge

Michele Sturgeon checks the temperature of food at a Portland restaurant. A letter writer says the city should be ashamed for paying her to quit as health inspector.

2012 File Photo/Gabe Souza

For years I have said that it’s time to replace the entire City Council because of its inability to run this city and listen to the concerns of the taxpayer. And over and over, the voters rubber-stamp them all in again.

People! It’s time for some major changes in the council chambers, and maybe, just maybe, you have been shamed enough to make the changes in November. I seriously doubt it, but I am hoping.

Anybody with a brain can figure out what the latest shame is about. This woman most likely had to quit because of pressure she was getting from city leaders wanting her to pass inspections on their favorite eating establishments – or else.

She knows names and dates and the places where it has happened, but our fabulous councilors decided to make her sign a release stating that if she keeps quiet, they will pay her. Am I wrong, or isn’t that against the law?

I am only one voter, but you can bet the house on me voting for everyone else who hasn’t served on the “Panel of Shame” for years, wasting taxpayer money and draining the wallets of the elderly – and, most of all, wasting time on city ordinances only to run and hide when opponents go to the American Civil Liberties Union and sue.

It has happened many times. It just goes to show you that spineless people are running your great city.

Maybe I should write a book about how this city has changed over the years, from the useless mayor’s job (that we now pay for) right on down the line. Most likely a best-seller.

Frank Teras

Portland

Good time for investing, so let’s vote for bond proposals

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Maine urges voters to support the balanced set of bond proposals appearing on ballots Nov. 5.

Today, Maine has a very competitive bid environment that gives taxpayers a favorable return on investments in roads, educational facilities and other capital projects. Meanwhile, Maine is also experiencing low interest costs on borrowing and Maine has a conservative borrowing policy in place. This is a good time for Maine to invest.

Additionally, the proposed bonds connect the dots between our anemic state revenue forecasts and the decline of our public infrastructure. Just as the tools for conducting business need to be periodically repaired and modernized, so must the public invest in the infrastructure that supports the Maine economy.

In the area of transportation, the Legislature acknowledges a capital funding gap of at least $110 million a year, and this assumes passage of the $100 million bond issue now being sent to the voters for their approval. Similar stories can be told regarding the unfunded backlog of needed educational facility improvements.

The American Society of Civil Engineers in their Report Card gives Maine’s infrastructure a set of grades no child would wish to bring home to his parents.

On a more personal note, the engineering companies of Maine join their colleagues in the construction industry in experiencing severe impacts from the continuing economic downturn. It is not uncommon to hear of engineering companies reducing their work force by up to 50 percent in recent years. These are some of the best jobs in Maine.

For all of these considerations, ACEC of Maine encourages a “yes” vote on Nov. 5 on the bond proposals recommended by the governor and Legislature.

Jim Wilson, P.E.

president, American Council of Engineering Companies of Maine

Augusta

Stop waterfront ordinance so rules can be done right

Bill Nemitz paints a misleading picture of the proposed Waterfront Protection Ordinance in his Oct. 15 column (“Oil guys pollute S. Portland waterfront debate”). His column is mostly a recitation of the same skewed and semi-accurate arguments used by the proponents of the ordinance.

But he did get one thing correct: He writes, “To be sure, the Waterfront Protection Ordinance deserves an informed debate – starting with whether it would achieve its intended outcome (no tar-sands oil in South Portland) without putting other commercial and industrial interests at undue risk.”

This is exactly why the ordinance should be defeated – no such debate has occurred yet, and it should. We are not in imminent danger of tar sands coming to South Portland, and in fact there is not even a proposal on the table to do so. Yet there seems to be a big rush to get this poorly worded and overly broad ordinance on the books right away.

Why the rush, especially when the parties most affected or interested (the waterfront businesses and city staff) have not been afforded the chance to sit down and hash out a set of rules that make sense? Let’s defeat the proposed ordinance and then get the right people together to craft one that works. We can and should do better.

Andy Charles

South Portland

Bailey has done homework, so elect him to school board

As a teacher with close to 30 years of experience in the Gorham schools, I am thrilled to be supporting Kyle Bailey for Gorham School Committee.

I entered the teaching profession because I know how important education is to our future and what a difference it can make in the lives of children. Gorham is fortunate to have a community that cares about its children and its schools. Parents are welcome partners in the education of their children.

These are some of the things I shared with Kyle last May when we chatted about our educational community. Since then, Kyle has talked with hundreds of teachers, parents, students and neighbors about their experiences with our schools, what they think we do well and where we can continue to make improvements.

I know that Kyle has used what he learned to set the right priorities: creating a transparent and responsible budget, setting policy that develops skills in every student so they have the tools to succeed in our global economy, and investing in innovative classrooms that help students thrive.

Having had several conversations with Kyle about his campaign for School Committee, I know he is a thoughtful, dedicated Gorham community member who listens to people and cares about our kids’ future. I hope you will join me in supporting Kyle Bailey for Gorham School Committee on Nov. 5.

Susan Sedenka

Gorham

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