At last week’s hearing on redistricting, I had to commend the Democrats for being so well-organized, although their arguments left something to be desired.

Listening to them, I had visions of Eastern European peasants being made to trudge from District 1 to District 2 with all their worldly goods on their backs.

No one is being displaced by this plan. Rather an effort is being made to unite the different parts of Maine so that there are urban areas, agriculture, fishing, boat-building in each and there is less of a north-south division.

That we need to move in such a direction was made plain by arguments from the opposition that they had nothing in common with people from Aroostook County or that all their bonds were with the greater Portland area.

Although the current plan is actually more gerrymandered than the Republican one, opponents argued for keeping it simply because it’s been in place for a while. Some, from North Haven, sought our sympathy for the terrible possibility that they might not be able to have their current representative under the new plan. But, unless that person chooses to move, she can run again in the new district, can’t she?

One individual even argued that the new plan would prevent a representative in the 2nd District from gaining necessary experience in marine affairs. Does the Maine coast disappear as one heads Down East from Knox County?

There are many of us in Knox County who would be honored to join the 2nd District and who feel they have a great deal in common with those in Aroostook and every other county in Maine.

I don’t recall such a hue and cry when Democrats won the privilege of redistricting. What is different now?

Patricia Colling Egan


Thanks to Dan Billings (current Republican snake-oil-salesman in chief) and Janet Mills (his Democratic counterpart) for the laugh-out-loud justifications of their parties’ partnership in shamelessly abusing the redistricting process (“Parties defend redistricting,” Aug. 23).

What a surprise that these two lawyers (who uniformly disagree on every other issue 365 days a year), hired to rationalize the cowardly actions of the two most corrupt and self-serving organizations in the state, “agree” that Dems and Repubs should be allowed to subvert the spirit of the law and make it a tool to silence other parties and independents.

Billings scoffs at the notion of his party’s elected officials having obligations beyond re-election, and Mills openly chuckles in agreement.

Members of both parties should be disgusted and embarrassed at how much (taxpayer-funded) time, energy and resources these people are spending to cling to their power rather than doing the jobs they promised to do when elected.

Marc Shepard


The Republican Party would have us believe that shifting 300,000 people, shuffling five counties, shifting 10,000 Republicans to their newly formed district, and splitting the existing elected Democrats to the House of Representatives so one can’t hold his or her current seat is a fair reapportionment.

The Democrats, meanwhile, propose to shift a single town.

This doesn’t pass a straight-face test, but apparently it isn’t supposed to, because the Republican chair says they earned the right to have their way because of a voter mandate.

I recall Gov. LePage earned a minority 38 percent of votes against two liberals earning close to 60 percent of the votes. Is that really a mandate? Come on, who could believe that?

I’m certain David Letterman or some other comedian could have comic fun with this, but in the end no would believe it, as what electorate would put up with this nonsense, after all. Who would be this stupid?

So when the Republicans act indignant and offended that someone would challenge their integrity, I have to ask, is there really a constituency in America so stupid as to not see through this transparent ruse of partisan politics?

And why wouldn’t you take the simplest solution, and sell your politics on the merit of your ideas, not nonsense politics. If the Republican ideas for government merit consideration, I am certain Maine voters will be smart enough to follow the reasoning and vote for them, without all the nonsense of rearranging half the state to their advantage.

John Schwartz


Dechaine case still alive, no thanks to AG’s office 

Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes has again resorted to his tiresome mantra about the “mountain of evidence” against Dennis Dechaine in his conviction for the murder of Sarah Cherry, but repetition does not make it so.

The only significant evidence that remains in the state’s case is that someone removed incriminating objects from Dechaine’s truck.

Not only has supposedly key damning testimony of two detectives been discredited by their own notes, but renowned forensic pathologists have determined to their satisfaction that Dechaine was in police custody when Sarah Cherry was killed.

Given that 100 percent of the scientific evidence argues for Dechaine’s innocence, one might hope that Attorney General William Schneider would wish to be certain that the real killer had been imprisoned.

However, in the hearing on July 29, Stokes made every effort to block any search for the truth. Judge Carl Bradford deserves praise for keeping open doors for that search that the state wished to slam shut.

William Bunting


Letting rich keep income will fund jobs, all right 

I am writing in response to Dave Irons’ letter (“Stop class warfare over taxes,” Aug. 19) defending tax breaks for the wealthy. He says, “When the rich, including businesses, see an opportunity to keep more of what they earn, they will aggressively pursue investments which will create jobs.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Irons failed to tell us that these jobs will be created in China.

George Howitt