Pam Plumb and Will Everitt’s Jan. 3 Maine Voices column, “Historic import of publicly elected mayor makes choosing wisely vital,” was on the mark.

Without question, setting the tone for the office and establishing important precedents to guide our city government in the years ahead should be the highest of priorities for Portland’s first publicly elected mayor in 90 years.

Let us not miss this opportunity, however, to assign equal importance to the manner in which the first mayoral election is conducted. I can think of no better way to set the tone for our government than through the election itself.

To that end, will our first mayoral election be political business as usual, or will we have candidates who publicly endorse a pledge of civility, fairness and a focus on the issues of importance to the people of Portland?

How far will the political parties go to get their candidate elected to this “nonpartisan,” high-profile position?

Will fundraising escalate at levels that inevitably lead to expensive and often negatively oriented media buys, or will the candidates exercise restraint and instead focus on getting their message out through public forums, honest debate and the hard work of meeting voters face to face?

The stakes are high. After all, through the nine decades that Portland’s government has functioned under the council-manager system, we have become nationally recognized as one of America’s top small cities with an impressive record of honest, nonpartisan government.

That is a tradition and legacy that we must all be vigilant in preserving and building on as we move forward.

Neal W. Allen



Disposal fees for syringes may create health hazards


The proposed disposal fees (“DEP targets manufacturers of paint, drugs,” Jan. 1) have the potential to encourage the improper use of prescription drugs and hypodermic syringes.

Patients depend upon these for their very survival. The fees would increase medical costs and would serve as an impediment to good medical care, tempting some to skip or reduce medication dosage or to re-use syringes.

How would the fees guarantee proper disposal? It is an extremely dangerous proposal.

Larz Neilson

East Boothbay


DADT repeal has already produced first PC victim


On Jan. 3, I wrote a letter to the editor that I did not send in because my prediction has already come true.

I predicted that the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was going to cause moral problems for the military because of the politically correct nonsense that would follow. This will be far worse than the racial problems in the late ’60s and early ’70s and the gender issues of the late’ 70s in the military.

If someone wants to join any group that has historically been predominantly the realm of someone different from themselves, they must be willing to put up with the hostility, overt or not. Another thing to think of is, why would that “well-known homophobe” Bill Clinton have signed the DADT law into being?

Truth is, the law was passed to allow homosexuals to serve. Unless the law forbidding homosexuals from serving is now also repealed, this means that when the identities of those practicing a homosexual lifestyle are made known, and they will, will they face summary discharge? Or are well-qualified and expensively trained personnel going to be hounded out of the military to appease the PC crowd?

It seems we have the answer already: Capt. Owen Honors, a good fighter pilot and aircraft carrier commander, is being hounded already, and for something that happened four years ago.

Larry Marshall



If USM saves money on fuel, spend it on faculty posts


I was delighted to read in the paper that the University of Southern Maine will save $300,000 this year, and one assumes as much in each ensuing year, by switching from oil to natural gas on the Portland campus. The question now is, how will these savings be apportioned?

As is the case throughout the University of Maine System, USM has lost dozens of faculty positions in the past several years due to budget cuts and a lack of funding, several of which might be filled with this money.

The public should demand that these dollars be used for this purpose and not applied to other recurring costs, as such opportunities to begin the daunting task of returning staffing to even the most basis levels should not be missed – especially with our Legislature’s and our past two governors’ recent records of ignoring the university system’s basic needs.

Bruce Pratt



Congress should have read entire Constitution


It was reassuring to know that the new Congress had the Constitution read to them. It would have been more reassuring believing they weren’t hearing it for the first time. Even more reassuring if the entire document had been read.

When the part of the Constitution which indicated African-Americans weren’t really people was not read, many wouldn’t realize how imperfect the document was in its original form.

We need to learn all our history in order to avoid past errors not a history edited or rewritten to suit some political agenda.

With so many new members elected by a movement financed and spun by the super-rich and fed a history and constitutional view unsupported by facts, it is critical they have an opportunity to hear and read those documents which shaped this republic.

John Wood


Anti-abortion reader has lots of things to do


I would like to congratulate Mr. Robert Poissant for his letter published on Jan. 3 regarding abortion.

I assume, of course, that Mr. Poissant has done what he could to eliminate the need for abortion, including contributions to school sex-education programs, international contraception programs and contributions to every organization that provides food, clothing and shelter to the poor. Enough said.

Joseph Kolko



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