Judge John Woodcock’s decision to deny a temporary restraining order in the Labor Department mural case came as no surprise, as he had noted during oral arguments that federal courts are reluctant to interfere in state affairs and are inclined “to allow the status quo to exist while a more ordered and thorough process is completed.”

Though Gov. LePage declared that “We won,” his claim of victory is as premature as President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003.

According to commentator Edgar Allen Beem, “We won the moment the U.S. Department of Labor wrote that LePage was out of order with the terms of the federal funding when he seized the mural. We won when (mural artist Judy) Taylor stated publicly that LePage had not consulted her ‘as required by her business contract’ when he seized the mural. The injunctions are simply about the disposition of the mural and what happens next.”

Judge Woodcock did not “throw the case out.” He simply and predictably denied a TRO seeking to restore the mural. The legal and moral fight for justice in the mural censorship case will continue.

Still to be answered are the federal demand for the mural to be rehung (or funds returned), the issue of LePage’s breaching the artist contract and whether the LePage administration violated the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.

As well, if Woodcock orders the Le Page administration to allow members of the public to check on the disposition of the mural and either LePage refuses or the mural is damaged, there will be serious consequences.

As Judge Woodcock himself points out, “Maine’s political leaders are ultimately responsible to the electorate.”

Who ultimately wins the battle over the mural may not be decided until the next gubernatorial election. According to Joan Braun, one of the plaintiffs, “We have already been proven right in the court of public opinion, but we do not intend to wait four years for justice.”

Natasha Mayers


Robert Shetterly


In response to the decision from Judge John Woodcock, it may in fact be legal for the governor to do as he wishes with the mural. That does not make it right.

I do not know of any branch of government that is responsive to anonymous emails, which the governor in a rare moment of candor admitted was the impetus for his action.

This partisan action only deepens the divide between an apparently in-over-his-head governor and the people who live and work here in Maine.

The mural represents the history of labor, which is appropriate for the Department of Labor. Hiding it will not make it go away.

We owe much to the people depicted in the mural, things like workplace safety and child labor laws. Perhaps this governor would like to take away some of these from us in the name of making our state “business friendly.”

I support welcoming business here but not by sacrificing our environment or our workers.

Kevin Dagnese


Two views of Cynthia Dill and her run for state Senate 

When voters in South Portland, Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth go to the polls on May 10 to elect a new state senator, I hope that they will choose Cynthia Dill.

For as long as I’ve known Cynthia, she’s been the kind of person who stands up for others, ponders each issue carefully, and follows through on every issue she works on to its completion. Cynthia is a workhorse who understands the legislative process and will be ready to hit the ground running from day one.

Cynthia supports policies that will power Maine’s economic future: access to the kind of quality education that will better prepare students for higher-paying jobs; a simpler tax code that will give businesses and families more stability; a clean, safe environment that keeps our children healthy and protects Maine’s quality of place; and improved access to broadband that will attract more businesses and investment.

We’ll be very lucky to have Cynthia on our side fighting for all these worthy goals.

Darcy Halvorsen

South Portland 

Rep. Cynthia Dill, Democratic candidate for Senate District 7, released a campaign video showing her exercising beneath the Freedom Tree Memorial to U.S. Air Force Capt. John Duffy in South Portland. She is seen standing on the monument, which she has described as a “piece of granite with a plaque on it describing the tree.”

She asserts the tree is the important part of the memorial. After all, the monument is not Capt. Duffy’s headstone, but of course, she has ultimately missed the point.

Capt. John Everett Duffy’s Cessna O2A plane went down on April 4, 1970, in South Vietnam. At the time he was 24 years old. In 1973 he was still missing in action. The Air Force was unable to determine if he was taken prisoner, or the whereabouts of his remains.

According to Craig Skelton of the South Portland Historical Society: on Memorial Day 1973, representatives from the Jaycee Wives organization presented the monument, bearing Capt. Duffy’s name, to his mother. It memorialized Duffy and “All Prisoners of War and Missing in Action.”

Relations between the United States and Vietnam prevented recovery of POW and soldier remains and Capt. Duffy’s remains were not identified and returned to the United States until 1996.

For 23 years the Freedom Tree, and the plaque bearing Capt. Duffy’s name, have served as a memorial to his sacrifice and the suffering of his family, without closure. It now stands as a reminder that wars never truly end for those who serve and their families.

Let’s hope it now acts as a lesson to all politicians. The next time they decide to stand on a “piece of granite with a plaque,” they should consider reading said plaque first.

Dan Roberts


Sauce for poor geese also good for Augusta ganders 

Having read about Sen. Tom Saviello’s ill-considered (and possibly unconstitutional) legislative proposal to require random drug testing for MaineCare recipients, I suggest that he broaden the scope of his bill to include another group of recipients of state funding:

State legislators.

Kenneth S. Spirer



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