The article on the front page of the Telegram Oct. 9, “Gambling and harness racing,” subtitled, “Sharing the wealth,” which said, “An issue in the debate over two gambling proposals is who benefits from gambling profits,” misses the mark.

The chart on page A4 shows some of the distributions of profit, but that is not the whole story. The indication is that Hollywood Slots has distributed $265 million in profits, $103.6 million, or 39 percent, to those groups on the left side of the pie, mostly people related to the horse racing industry, and 61 percent, or $161.4 million, to “racino operators,” from 2005 to 2011.

Another $37.7 million, or 1 percent of the gross, has gone to the state general fund. A big question remains: Where did the rest of the apparent remaining gross revenue, which totaled more than $3 billion over that period, go? Obviously there were other expenses, but how much profit went to Hollywood Slots? Concerned citizens (taxpayers/voters) want to know.

John Kelley


I am a lifelong harness racing fan and supporter, and I’m also a small-business owner who has been hit hard by the recent economic crisis. The racinos proposed by Question 2 on the ballot this November would immediately put people back to work.

Maine already has a casino under construction in Oxford, and we have Hollywood Slots in Bangor, which could get table games. Harness racing can’t compete with those forms of gaming, but it is the perfect partner for an integrated entertainment complex, such as the one that would come to Biddeford if Question 2 passes.

States such as Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York have successful racinos, and New York alone has eight racinos that give back more than $400 million to the state.

The argument against gambling in Maine ended when the lottery was approved. Gambling is here, and we should reap the benefits instead of sending players out of state. Biddeford Downs would be the first resort in southern Maine to combine harness racing, slots and a hotel. These will be good-paying jobs — real jobs for real people right here in Maine.

We should also think about the agricultural jobs that are at stake. Who hasn’t been awed by the sight of horses in their pastures? Who hasn’t been to the Cumberland or Fryeburg fair and watched families embrace their horse in the winner’s circle? Who hasn’t driven by farm fields and smelled the sweet odor of hay being harvested? Imagine if all of this went away.

We can get Maine back to work, revitalize harness racing and preserve farms by voting “yes” on Question 2.

Rick Skoglund


Changing hues of autumn reflect diversity’s benefits

The changing of the leaves, extremes in temperature and presence of football all announce that it is autumn to New England. Of all the seasons of our fair state, this is the favorite of many, because its colors have so many layers of meaning.

Each tree produces its own colors, and the location, access to water and a host of countless other variables all add to the brilliant display of optical delights. As with the trees, each country of origin, every heritage, cultural background, location and family lineage, all these also contribute to the many peoples who make up both Maine and the United States of America.

As with the snowflakes, no two leaves are ever the same, because each depends on its unique history of biology, chemistry and geography, to mingle into a delight for the eyes. While uniformity among the leaves is necessary in the spring for photosynthesis, the autumn counts on differences, combinations and mixtures for the dazzling burst of various pigments.

How boring the fall would be in New England if the leaves did not respond to the lessening of the light, with individual creations of hues and textures. Difference is good among the leaves on the trees, and difference is also good among the peoples of our great nation.

One kind of leaf on the ground doesn’t make for a stunning autumn, nor does one kind of person make for the greatest nation in the history of humanity. Our strength lies in our variety; anyone can become an American. We do not ask anyone to sacrifice their identity or heritage to share in our human experiment; if anything we celebrate everyone’s taste in food and dress and expression.

This fall, as we walk among the absolute feast for our eyes, let us also wonder at the beauty in other faces, languages and lifestyles.

James A. Weathersby


Appeasing the tea party a waste of Obama’s time

I am frustrated by some of President Obama’s backing off on campaign positions to try to pacify the tea party extreme of the GOP. It is a waste of time, as they will not compromise and have sworn to run the country into the ground, if necessary, to defeat him in the next election.

They do not consider any dilution of position as compromise, only cowardice. They see they are getting much of what they want, and Obama takes the blame from his own party. He should stand up for what is right and not be bullied by the tea party. It will get him nothing from them but can cost him some of his own supporters.

The latest outrage is bowing to business interests by overruling EPA scientists on smog regulations. Utilities and other smog producers need to clean up their act, even at whatever cost. Public health and world climate change is at stake.

Instead of watering down our regulations, we should be pressuring the rest of the world to follow suit. Without change, Mother Nature will impose costs far beyond the costs of cleaning up our air.

The immediate costs would help get some of the business money out of the bank and back into circulation to help get the economy moving again.

Harvey Versteeg


Occupy Wall Street should get attention in Congress

Why would someone watch the Arab Spring, think it was good and about time and not think about our Occupy Wall Street movement?

It seems people worldwide have had it with the ruling class in the Middle East, and now Wall Street, about its continued greed in banking/business in the U.S. and now elsewhere.

Why in this day and age should most people be subjected to so much less control and substance than the ‘powerful and rich”? Losing ground among the majority is not a winning prescription. Abused powers, control by a few and decreased influence by the middle class have led to great malcontent. Subprime greed remains. Power and control by the few remains. The traditional social contract has been rewritten, and not by the middle class.

How widespread has Occupy Wall Street become? Occupy Wall Street is not going away, senators, congressmen. Listen up.

Washington is at a stalemate with our two political parties — the party of the people and the party of “no.” No to lessening opportunities of the haves, no to growth and opportunities of the middle class and certainly to the rest via decreased investment in research, education, infrastructure and job growth.

Do you think the steady high rate of joblessness, the steady decline in middle class spending power, the decreased confidence reflected in consumer spending is a time for saying simply no? How do you feel about your job as an elected official to represent all of the people? Who has been in our elected representation during this decade’s long decline?

What can you do to change this stalemate? I say, turn them out. Bring in anyone. Let some other children try. Occupy Wall Street is a beginning. Listen up.

Donald Verrill