I read the recent article concerning the Portland Co. and its million-dollar settlement from the city of Portland (“Waterfront dispute costs city nearly $1 million,” June 4).

I have owned businesses in Portland for more than 10 years and, as anyone knows who lives in or works in Portland, you can’t buy a crack in the sidewalk in Portland for the city’s offer of $5,000, much less as easement to the waterfront.

I believe that if the city had negotiated in good faith with the Portland Co. from the beginning that the city would have increased its coffers by an order of magnitude far exceeding the asking price of the easement.

As with any business discussion, there is usually an element of give and take, and I believe that the Portland Co.’s offer to trade the easement for the right to expand its marina was a fair barter and would have been a win-win scenario.

Instead, the city turned this simple business deal into a major conflict. The Portland Co. (even with the settlement) lost, the developers interested in developing the land lost, the city of Portland lost and the people who would have benefited from the development (namely, the citizens of Portland and the state of Maine) lost.

The increased revenue the city and the state would have seen over the last five to seven years as a result of that development would have more than made up for the initial cost/barter as presented in 2005.

It’s this attitude that keeps business out of Maine and out of Portland, and keeps the creation of jobs at a minimum when they are so desperately needed from coming to fruition.

Please, officials, get a clue and start building job opportunity instead of creating unnecessary roadblocks to the success of Portland in particular and the citizens of Maine in general.

Steve Durham



American Revolution’s goals just as Palin described them


Maybe it is a coincidence that less than a month prior to Independence Day, we are talking about Paul Revere – well, of course, in a more controversial context created by Sarah Palin.

There is always controversy and a stretch of the truth about Paul Revere’s ride, or any historical event in general.

In the days following the killing of Osama bin Laden, it was reported in the media that bin Laden’s U.S. codename was “Geronimo.” Later, we came to believe that it was not true, it was simply a step of the process and the letter “G” was the target.

Before I get ahead of myself, I am not defending Ms. Palin’s politics; however, she is actually correct on the historical perspective of the event. After he was captured, Revere did indeed “warn” the British about the Americans’ plans to resist them.

Let’s examine what she said about the Americans’ goals: “We were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.”

Most of us know what Paul Revere said, but let’s look at the bigger picture, like adults, not third-graders. This makes news due to the speaker, Ms. Palin, whom the media portray as a dimwit; therefore, anything she said would be scrutinized.

Had it been Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, I believe that people would have taken him at his word. I believe that Ms. Palin was looking at the entire event that led to our independence where we have freedom of expression and the right to bear arms. Under British rule, it was a crime – seditious libel – to criticize the government in any shape or form. Also, the right to bear arms was regulated.

The warnings by Paul Revere were in fact part of the many events leading to our independence, where we now enjoy freedom, security and the right to be armed.

James W. Edouard



Proposed budget too hard on those who protect us


I will be so disappointed if two-thirds of the Maine Legislature comes out in favor of the governor’s budget to support the ultra-wealthy at the expense of Maine workers.

Going after first responders’ pensions as a way to balance the budget is so far off the mark of what we need to be doing I wonder why these legislators are even holding elected office.

First responders are the people who try to save our homes from burning down, they are the ones who help when we have an emergency and in the case of last weekend, these are the people who go into burning buildings to save pieces of history, like the personal Bible of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (“Brunswick church heavily damaged by overnight fire,” June 6).

Our legislators need to get their heads screwed on straight, stop the lollygagging and get to work on creating better jobs in Maine instead of taking away retirement benefits from the people who earned them.

Christina Burnham



GOP claims to know how to fix economy, but does it?


OK, if the speaker of the House, John Boehner, or Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin or any other Republican has some bright idea about how to get the economy back on its feet, why don’t they put their plan forward in the Congress and some other way so we could get immediate action?

If they know something so much better than President Obama, let them speak or forever hold their peace. Talk is cheap, but I guess that coming up with a real idea is too hard.

It is easy to criticize if you have no plan of your own. Step up the plate like a man (or woman).

Viola Vance



Highways a mess, so let’s all get an excise tax break


Because of the condition of our roads, it seems to me that a change in the automobile excise tax is warranted.

If you consider the wear on tires, springs, wheels, shock absorbers, struts and even headlights because of the poor road conditions, it would seem as though since we aren’t able, or willing to correct these conditions there ought to be at least a 25 percent reduction of these taxes to compensate drivers for the additional wear on their vehicles.

Let’s face it, excise tax is just that, not a fee. This would be a fair exchange. The excise tax should eventually be phased out, as it is in a great number of states. We certainly stand out in that category.

Raymond Dixon

Orrs Island