When I first heard about the discussion in Portland it was being presented as non-resident voting, which has a completely different implication.

The proposal on November’s ballot is wholly different, allowing foreign non-citizens to vote in local elections.

I feel that this is a “slippery slope” upon which I do not intend to tread. As I have stated, “If you want to vote in elections, then put your hand over your heart and say the Pledge of Allegiance to this flag, as a U.S. citizen.”

I realize that the process is difficult and takes a long-term commitment, but in the meantime until one earns their citizenship, I am more than willing to share all of my other rights as a U.S. citizen, except the right to vote.

I propose that Portland adopt the “town meeting model” that has been used in Maine since 1820, where non-voters are encouraged to address the community without a binding vote.

The right to vote is special, so we have a special process to obtain it: naturalization. When foreigners get to the end of this process and swear allegiance, then they have publicly affirmed their stake in the American experiment. We waited a long time for black suffrage and for women’s suffrage to further develop the concept of equality. I do not take these struggles lightly.

Although I applaud the enthusiasm and efforts of the non-citizen group to develop this referendum issue for the November election, I do not believe that it is fair to the thousands of immigrants who have followed the path to citizenship before them.

I strongly encourage to voters of Portland to clearly value their citizenship and to come out and vote in November and to vote “no” on non-citizen voting. It is simply not right, not just, and not fair.

Barbara Campbell Harvey


I have followed your coverage of the effort to allow non-citizens to vote in Portland municipal elections. This is truly an unprecedented and exciting prospect!

I’m a legal resident of Georgia and therefore am not a citizen of Portland. I do, however, own property in Portland and pay taxes on it.

I look forward to his opportunity to participate, as a voter, in the political process that decides how my tax dollars are spent.

Kirk M. Duffy

Portland and Savannah, Ga.

Danger appeals to kids, but is wrong for them

I applaud your editorial on kids in extreme sports (“Kids in extreme sports signal adults who have lost bearings,” Sept. 4). You have said very well what has bothered me about this.

This is largely parental wish-fulfillment at a potentially lethal level. I know a family whose kids do nothing but play hockey, the sport a parent wanted to participate in. That person watches hockey all the time and urges the kids to play hockey all the time.

I think the same impulse pushes parents to give opportunities to do extreme sailing, car racing, etc., to their kids. Do the kids want to do it? Of course, they have known for years that only by excelling in sailing or car racing or hockey will they measure up to the parent’s selfish wish.

Maybe that was not the case with Tania Abei, who was 18 when she sailed around the world (which she described in her book, “Maiden Voyage”) and had not been “pushed” into the sport. I feel similarly about many adults who have sailed in inadequate or overly small boats “to be first” at something.

But then maybe that means I include Joshua Slocum, the first solo circumnavigator (from 1895 to 1898) and Sir Francis Chichester (the fastest circumnavigtor, taking nine months in 1966-67) in my rant?

Wherever the line is drawn, I think some exceed it and some irresponsible parents “push” or at least enable kids to attempt to do too much.

Alan Pooley


Apple harvest story revealed effect of changing climate

The second headline and part of the text of Meredith Goad’s Sept. 8 article on the apple harvest (“Off and running”) perpetuate a frustrating misunderstanding of recent weather in southern Maine.

If any farmer was surprised by what Ms. Goad called “ an unexpected frost last spring ” they’re apparently sadly out-of-touch with the normal rhythms of natural life here, which is especially surprising considering their line of work. It was completely, absolutely “normal” that we had the last frost when we did this past May, based on the average date of last frost for our region

What was not normal was what preceded that last frost: week after week in April with no frost whatsoever. This warmer than normal, frost-free period allowed the apple trees to get a big head start on the growing season, only to be nipped in the (literal) bud when last frost arrived.

I know that Ms. Goad is “just” a food writer (and a very good one, at that), but it would be gratifying if she occasionally were to put on her “investigative cap” when it comes to climate issues (which have been mentioned over and over again this past year in her columns).

They include growing seasons under way weeks earlier than ever before recorded; harvest dates weeks earlier than ever before recorded; growing season lingering weeks later than ever before recorded; maple sugar season much shorter than normal due to lack of nights below freezing during the critical sugaring period, etc.

We’re now in our 11th straight month of warmer than normal temps here in southern Maine. We’ve just completed our absolute warmest March through August period on record. It’d be great if she (or anyone else at the Press Herald) would start acknowledging and writing about the realities of our changing climate, especially as it relates to our local region.

Steve McKelvey


Mideast peace would aid both sides now in conflict

George Will’s column, “Israelis don’t need the lectures” (Aug. 20) was well written but in danger of misinterpretation. While it’s true that more than 1,000 Israelis were killed in the 2000-2005 infitada, which would have been 42,000 if it were a portion of U.S. population, readers should keep in mind that Palestinian losses were about 4,000. As a portion of U.S. population, that would be 340,000, approaching the toll of America’s four years in World War II.

While Israelis then feared for their schoolchildren, Gazans now can’t export their produce, purchase building materials or import adequate medical supplies. I can’t say who’s at fault, only that both sides are suffering. Any end to this conflict will be extremely difficult for both, but I pray the talks in Washington will make progress for the benefit of all parties.

Ivan DeGroote

Boothbay Harbor