I’ve been following with interest the plight of the three Deering High School boys’ hockey players who have been denied the ability to play at Portland High School by the Maine Principals’ Association.

Last season the MPA also denied four girls the chance to play at Portland after the Deering girls’ program was eliminated. My interest led me to re-read the 2004 Sports Done Right initiative created by the University of Maine, which listed “special partners” in its acknowledgements that included the Maine Principals Association.

Among “select panel members” who wrote the report were Dick Durost (then and current MPA executive director) and the then-assistant executive director of the MPA. I believe it’s fair to say the initiative was endorsed by the MPA.

While trying to reduce the importance of winning, the initiative affirms core principles that include “Opportunity to Play.” This principle includes the statement: “The lessons of sports must not be denied to any student whose grades and behavior merit the privilege of participation.”

As a “core principle,” one would think the opportunity to play might trump policies that often appear to be enforced in an arbitrary manner (this season, the MPA is allowing Deering girls to play at Portland in violation of the very same policies being referenced in denying the boys).

I’d like to know how the MPA reconciles its support of Sports Done Right while denying these students the opportunity to play. Maybe it’s time for them to re-read the initiative. The last place this issue should have to be is in court.

Four girls denied the ability to play last season and three boys this year by the MPA. Sports done right? I don’t think so.

Bob Rothbart

Portland

Neighbors fondly remember the ‘Mayor of Kaler Road’

Nov. 8 was a sad day for residents of one South Portland street. The “Mayor of Kaler Road,” aka Tony Bennett, passed away.

When we moved to Kaler 11 years ago, Tony was the first neighbor to introduce himself and ask if he could help in any way.

Many of his neighbors can attest that that spirit lasted until the day he died. Whether bringing us vegetables from his bountiful garden or beautiful flowers from his annual summer displays, he always gave something to everyone.

We will all miss him, but feel sure he has joined his late wife, Lillian, in the gardens above.

But for sure, the Mayor of Kaler Road will never be forgotten.

Ann Poteet

South Portland

Setting budget priorities is not ‘pitting’ interests

 

Regarding Maine House Minority Leader Emily Cain’s charge that the LePage administration is “pitting” the DHHS against the Education Department in terms of cutting the budget: Rational people must keep their budgets in balance (read the vast majority of Maine people) and prioritize their spending.

The current environment dictates that spending on the state level must be prioritized to balance the budget. For example, the LIHEAP program has had massive cuts on the federal level ($40 million). The state government must try to make up that difference.

Places where money could easily be transferred include the $3.7 million subsidy to “public” TV and radio. Why not let them compete in the marketplace like all other TV and radio stations? What’s so special about them? Do we really need to subsidize another Charles Dickens costume drama? Let a clothing company do it. Can you imagine Emily Bronte in L.L. Bean boots?

Another source of funds could be Efficiency Maine. It has many future projects for which money has been allocated. Take some of that cash for the truly needy today.

It is time to make the hard choices. Emily Cain can have her powdered wigs, satin pants and windmills. Paul LePage is rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on priorities now.

Wake up, Augusta, it’s time to start acting like responsible adults.

Bill Greene

Freeport

 

READING REP. Emily Cain’s remarks asserting the governor’s suggestions that the Legislature must prioritize spending were “pitting” groups against one another was so disappointing, but not surprising.

I had hoped she would grow into her role as a legislator after having her pout and scowl across the aisle at me when I presented legislation to cut the pay of University of Maine administrators.

I think she has a serious conflict of interest where the university is concerned.

With her drama degree and lack of experience actually accomplishing anything other than winning elections, Emily Cain’s priorities are very unfamiliar to people here in Cumberland.

Gary Moore

Cumberland Center