An Oct. 4 article said Moody’s bond rating service reported that federal contracts for building destroyers give economic stability to the Bath area. This has been true for years.

It didn’t mention that the U.S. taxpayers are paying for the contracts. Nor did it say against what country the destroyers are expected to be used.

Evidently, the Navy expects to be perpetually prepared for war.

We were not prepared for any of our wars, from the Revolution through World War II. We had to prepare for the wars as we fought them. We were always successful.

Since then we have been a well-prepared military power. We have rarely been successful.

We invaded North Korea unsuccessfully and still have an army of nearly 60,000 in South Korea. We intervened in Vietnam and were unsuccessful. We did get Iraq’s army out of Kuwait, successfully. We invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. With the exception of Kuwait, it is hard to say any of these wars was in the “common defense” mentioned in the Second Amendment.

Thousands and thousands of Americans have been wounded or died heroically in these wars. Millions and millions of civilians in the invaded countries have lost their homes, and hundreds of thousands have starved and died in other ways.

Military spending is more than 30 percent of our national budget, one of the major causes of our financial crisis.

It would be good for us all if our senators can find non-military contracts for BIW — commercial ships or perhaps railroad cars. We can’t afford perpetual war.

Charles Brown


Who’s best for mayor? Readers list their choices

Recently I heard Ethan Strimling speak at an event. I was impressed by his experience and knowledge. He has proven leadership. Learning Works is an innovative learning opportunity for many of those in our society who might otherwise be passed over. He was the driving force in that organization, turning it from a failure into the success it is today.

His time in the Maine Senate was noteworthy for his willingness and ability to work across party lines to craft bills that offered benefits for all Mainers. He knows that it takes a real presence in this new position in city government in order for it to have the maximum effect on the lives of residents of Portland.

He is that dynamic presence we need. For too long we have waited for a leader in the city while economic opportunities have passed us by. We need a strong leader with the drive and vision to help this great city become even better.

We need Ethan.

Bill Weinschenk


With 15 candidates for mayor, we have a lot of choices. While I know several of them well, and like them, one stands out.

I represent House District 115 in the state Legislature, and only one of the candidates shows up frequently to lobby for the interests of our schools, our students, those less fortunate, our taxpayers and our city.

Many of the candidates, even those we all recognize, are completely missing in Augusta, or I have seen them once in the past three years. Who shows up repeatedly working for Portland? Michael Brennan.

Michael has been there to advocate for fairer school funding, for summer lunch programs for kids in poverty, for better education for our state and other important issues. His positive attitude, drive and ability to look forward are assets we need.

Michael’s experience and leadership as the Senate majority leader give us a strong advocate at the state level. I urge you to vote for Michael Brennan to help move Portland forward.

Rep. Steve Lovejoy


With so many candidates running to be Portland’s first elected mayor in nearly 100 years, it might be hard to figure out who stands out from the crowd. From my perspective, however, Ethan Strimling is clearly the best choice.

I like the fact that Ethan has both public and private sector experience. He represented the city of Portland with courage, honesty and tenacity as a state senator and worked to protect Maine workers and reduce our property tax burden.

Strimling’s private sector experience comes from his work as the head of one of Maine’s best educational organizations, Learning Works.

The financial turnaround and cultural transformation that Ethan was able to bring about at Learning Works is an impressive success story. He created new jobs, increased the number of people the organization served, and increased the positive outcomes for low-income kids at risk.

Ethan Strimling is the best-qualified person to lead the kind of transformation inside City Hall that Portland needs.

I hope Portlanders will join me in ranking Ethan No. 1 on the mayoral ballot.

Jennifer Elowitch


Michael Brennan would be outstanding as the elected mayor of Portland. He has experience in so many roles with valuable and diverse perspectives on the city, including the Portland Housing Authority, the United Way and the University of Southern Maine.

He has represented Portland with great skill both in the House and Senate, and showed leadership and the ability to bring people together when he served as Senate majority leader and chairman of the Legislature’s Education Committee. He is thoughtful, not dogmatic, approachable and concerned about the needs of ordinary people.

I am convinced he would set a great tone for the office, but also be a passionate advocate for the city.

David Finkelhor


Civic center bond issue bad idea for taxpayers

The Cumberland County Civic Center renovation should not rely on a free handout from the taxpayers after 34 years of operation. This $33 million renovation is just a handout for the investors of the civic center.

Plenty of businesses in the state need or have done remodeling. Did they ask taxpayers for a free handout? No, they paid for it themselves.

The money for renovations should have been put aside from all the functions the civic center has held. Sounds to me like it’s poor leadership. My family and I have never been in the civic center — why should people like us pay for those who go?

The people and businesses that benefit from the civic center should find a way to pay for the $33 million renovation. With today’s economy, people are really struggling just to survive. Some people have a lot of nerve asking for a $33 million handout.

Bruce Steeves