July 27, 2013

Letters to the editor: Rally story parrots 'race-baiting phrases'

Regarding the July 23 article "About 200 rally in Portland in Trayvon Martin's memory":

click image to enlarge

Lado Lodoka of Portland observes a moment of peace for Trayvon Martin at a rally in Monument Square on Monday. Coverage of the event included a misleading description of George Zimmerman, a reader says.

2013 File Photo/Gabe Souza

How pathetic has the Press Herald become, when it copies race-baiting phrases such as "white" Hispanic when describing George Zimmerman?

It was discovered in his recent trial that the media edited audio of Zimmerman to make him sound racist, Photoshopped images of him to erase any evidence of the wounds he suffered at the hands of Martin and lightened his skin tone to make him appear more white than he is (his mother is Peruvian).

All this was followed by The New York Times referring to him as a "white" Hispanic.

So, I suppose Barack Obama is a "white" African-American ... right?

Now, everyone is screaming about Florida's "stand your ground" statute when, in fact, it was never used as a defense in Zimmerman's trial in the first place.

As for race hustlers like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, et al., I get it. They wouldn't have any way to make a buck if they didn't spend every waking moment ginning up racial strife.

I suggest that everyone chill out and respect the memory of Trayvon Martin by striving for a color-blind society where achievement and character stand for something.

Dennis Gervais


Stalled transportation bond could have done a lot of good

In Augusta, Democrats and Republicans spend a lot of time debating what the best use of taxpayer money is and how much funding various government programs should receive. While it's safe to say we don't always see eye to eye, I think we can all agree that maintaining our roads and bridges should be a top priority.

For that reason, I think the Legislature missed a golden opportunity recently when it declined to act on a $100 million transportation bond.

I am the ranking Republican on the Transportation Committee, and I am a co-sponsor of this bipartisan legislation, which would provide $46 million for Maine highway projects, $30 million for bridges, and the remainder for secondary roads, ports, railroads and airports. Approval of the bond by voters would trigger $154 million in matching federal funds.

Acting on these bonds will have multiple economic benefits. The sooner we get the bond approved by voters, the sooner work can begin on much-needed repairs to our infrastructure, and the sooner we can begin hiring workers for these projects.

Democratic leadership declined to allow the transportation bond bill, L.D. 1095, to come up for a vote during the final day of session. We will now have to wait for the Legislature to convene again, possibly this fall, to take it up again.

In the past, lawmakers have fallen into the bad habit of lumping numerous, unrelated borrowing initiatives into one bond package for voters to approve.

My fear is that the transportation bond will fall victim to this, leaving voters with the unenviable task of having to decide if they want the state to take on all of the other borrowing that would go along with approving the transportation improvements.

When the Legislature comes back into session, we need to pass the transportation bond as a stand-alone bill, and weigh other borrowing proposals on their own merit.

Sen. Ron Collins


Chiefs best people to speak for police, fire departments

What is behind the recent change in policy behind all Portland Police and Fire Department news releases emanating from City Hall?

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