December 5, 2013

Letters to the editor: Columnist scoffs at Walmart workers' plight

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The Southern Maine Labor Council's John Newton, left, hands out literature to protesters on Black Friday last week at the Walmart in Scarborough. A letter writer praises Newton for his efforts to help volunteers plant new ideas in people’s minds.

2013 File Photo/Gordon Chibroski

Much remains to be done, and Republican House members can’t do it alone. We need a Republican Senate and White House. Time is short – the stakes are high.

Porter D. Leighton


Train derailment highlights need for more seat belts

All I want for Christmas is seat belts, seat belts, seat belts. We have them in cars, trucks and airplanes. We need them in school buses, team buses and commercial buses. We need them in new models and current models (buses in use now).

Now we also need seat belts on commuter trains like Amtrak, as evidenced in the Dec. 1 morning crash (train derailment) in the Bronx.

Someone please tell us how to get seat belts accomplished for everyone’s safety.

Randi Graumann


DHHS move makes access to services more difficult

The unrelenting effort by Republicans across the country to marginalize poor people is something to behold.

Two years ago it was a phony campaign to stamp out “voter fraud,” which resulted in various forms of voter ID laws being passed in some states. It sounded reasonable enough on the surface until you considered how difficult it was for poor people, many who do not drive and therefore do not have driver’s licenses, to satisfy the law’s requirements.

Never mind that, try as they might, the Republicans could not uncover a scintilla of evidence that voter fraud even existed as a real problem.

Now here comes Paul LePage with his newly revealed plan to move Portland’s Department of Health and Human Services offices from their current location on Marginal Way to a site close to the jetport.

The DHHS spokesman blandly offers that the new site is on the bus route and that the site was picked after an objective survey of alternative sites in the city. The jetport site supposedly outscored the Lancaster Street site 18-5 in the “location” category, but, of course, no one could explain the criteria for this laughable result.

If you were opening a retail site to best serve Portland’s low-income community – say, a grocery store or a dollar store – would you put it out near the airport? Of course not. You’d put it as close to the population center as possible.

But this was not an objective choice. This was not even designed to save money, although that will no doubt be served up as its rationale.

No, in reality this is a thinly disguised effort to make it as difficult as possible for the disadvantaged in our city to access the many outreach services that the DHHS provides.

For shame, Gov. LePage, for shame.

Phil Coupe



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