I work in downtown Portland and go by Lincoln Park regularly. It is an eyesore and getting worse.

There have been several violent incidents this November and surely more to come. These have been reported in the local press.

I have spoken with several Portland police officers about the park and the people squatting there. They have told me that the bigwigs at City Hall didn’t listen to them when they were advised to not let anyone camp there. These bigwigs were told that there would be issues.

These protesters haven’t protested in more than six weeks except for a recent Wednesday that was the two-month anniversary of their movement.

Lincoln Park is nothing but a homeless camp at this point. You can’t call it a protest if all you do is sit around all day in the park with a few signs tacked to the fence.

Rank-and-file police officers want to thank the bigwigs at City Hall for creating another high-crime neighborhood that needs constant monitoring. And they also wonder if the bigwigs will be the ones to force the protesters out if need be down the road.

Shawn Moran


I hope everyone had someone or something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. It was delicious and peaceful.

The next day, dubbed “Black Friday,” or a newer term, “No Buy Friday,” I drove past those noble people in Capitol Park in Augusta with their noble cause — which I believe in — although it hasn’t been articulated by any leadership that can offer positive change.

I also sympathize with much of what the tea party stands for. There are similarities between these groups. The tea party surely is made up of the 99 percent, not the 1 percent.

The encamped 99 percent in the shadow of the rotunda remind us that greed is rampant, not only on Wall Street but in many corridors of power.

And yet, today folks are lined up at big-box stores to cash in on holiday gifts in a manner that has nothing to do with giving thanks, or what Christmas is all about.

Why, then, do we exercise greed by being the first in line to buy disposable goods, lining the pockets of big business? Is this added stress a new form of entertainment? Surely it’s not seasonal generosity. Why are we such hypocrites?

I hope the good people of this city will look favorably on the small Occupy Augusta camp. More of us belong there.

Occupy Augusta is trying to spark smarter, more humane economic behavior and make a better future for a greater percentage of citizens. Why aren’t we listening?

Heidi Chadbourne


Former state official twists voting measure’s meaning

In a recent Maine Voices column, Rodney Quinn, a Democrat and former Maine secretary of state, wrote a sleazy analysis of referendum Question 1, the voter registration law, and commented on a proposed photo ID law (“Efforts to restrict voting pose threat to democracy,” Nov. 23).

On Question 1, the Democratic “spin” begins with the statement that this law “restricts voting.” Nonsense! No person’s right to vote was affected.

The issue was about a three-day period when new registrations to vote would be closed (but open 250 other days in the year). This permitted time to check for fraudulent registrations. If you had registered to vote previously, and lived at the same address, nothing was changed.

Following this, Mr. Quinn made dire predictions about the idea of a photo ID requirement for voting. What is wrong with proving who you are when you pick up your ballot? The chore is that of providing photo IDs for those without.

His “spin” terms used were: “manipulate” voting; “power for the privileged few”; “secure in the warm leather seats of Augusta”; “raw political partisanship”; “casual” voters; “shift toward the Democratic Party among young or new voters”; “dangerous folks”; “keeping ‘lesser’ citizens quiet”; “a larger share of the pie for the affluent”; “democracy is weakening”; “a right to vote as freely and openly as possible”; and “a far too clever legislative enterprise.”

The real reasons that the Democrats did not like the registration law or a photo ID are well known. The Democrats are very good at bringing uninformed, unconcerned or transient voters to register at the last minute, and these voters are instructed on how to vote. Election clerks have no time to check for fraudulent registrations on Election Day.

Secretary of State Summers has found evidence of fraudulent voters. The Democrats try to ignore that. Let’s have honest elections truly representing Maine citizens.

Thomas F. Shields


Postal Service is actually doing OK

The current furor over the financial condition of the U.S. Postal Service is not very factual.

The truth of the matter is we are not in anywhere near the dire straits portrayed.

We get no taxpayer money and are forced by a law passed in 2006 to give the government $5.5 billion a year to prefund future retirees’ health benefits. This is unfair. No other agency does it.

The postal unions have been cooperating with the postal service to keep down costs. We have agreed to no raises for three years and lower pay scales for new hires. We have increased productivity and grown non-first-class services.

A recent news release from Joe Corbett, chief financial officer and executive vice president, stated, “After accounting for non-operating expenses, we ended fiscal year 2011 with a net loss of $5.1 billion.”

Again I ask, what deficit? Give us back the $5.5 billion, and we had a profit of $400 million. Give us back all five years worth of prepayments — $27.5 billion — and our finances would look pretty darn good.

This is really about much more than money. The last word in our name is “service.”

The U.S. Postal Service is an integral part of the U.S. economy and lifestyle. It is interwoven in the very heart and soul of America and performs so much more than just delivering the mail.

We really do not need the draconian measures being put forth by Rep. Darrell Issa of California. Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts has put forth a bill that would solve our problems and keep us virtually intact. I say, let’s keep “service” in our name and in our workplace.

Brent J. Rolfe