I was very disappointed to hear that Mayor Michael Brennan resorted to at least one instance of doublespeak during his inaugural address on Dec. 5.

While telling the crowd he would bring back heavy-item pickup, he neglected to say that it would be very different from what they remember.

Former mayoral candidate Peter Bryant would not have leaped to his feet in appreciation if he had known the details of the new proposed heavy-item pickup.

The new program will require residents to buy a tag at a cost of $7.50 for each small item and $15 for each large item to be put on the sidewalk. The tags will include the resident’s name or address and a description of the item. They will have to schedule the pickup of the items by a contractor to be determined by the city.

This program is about as different from what citizens of Portland expected as the new mayor position is.

Jay York

Portland

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, a mayor is “the chief administrative official of a city, town; the formal head of a municipality.” A city manager is “a person appointed as chief municipal administrator.”

So why does the city of Portland have to make out two paychecks for the same job? I understand why a person would want either job: the handsome paycheck, especially in these harder times.

Will this be a split-shift situation, where one person will work in the morning, the other in the afternoon, or will they work every other day? It will probably be like any other city job: One works while the other watches.

Find out which one you want, get rid of the other, take the paycheck and fix one of Portland’s streets, or plant some trees in Baxter Woods, perhaps put it back in the bank for a needy project down the road. Portland citizens are being duped.

Greg Locke

Portland

Cheverus should treat all abuse victims the same 

In January 2003, two former Cheverus students and 10 former Boston College High School students were awarded $5.8 million for the harms and injuries inflicted upon them as a result of their being sexually abused by the Rev. James Talbot, S.J., former teacher and coach.

The Boston College High headmaster “wanted to make sure everybody who had been affected by Father Talbot received some measure of justice.” Cheverus agreed to participate, no matter the civil statute of limitations.

Charles Malia, who has also admitted sexually abusing students, worked at Cheverus for 30 years. For the past nine years, I have asked Cheverus and Jesuit officials to respond to a simple question: “Will you provide the same measure of justice to the abuse victims of Charles Malia that you provided to the abuse victims of the Rev. James Talbot, S.J.?”

That question was first directed to the Rev. John Keegan, S.J., former president of Cheverus.

It was Keegan who allowed Malia to remain employed at Cheverus even after two men reported to him in 1997 that they were sexually abused by Malia in the early 1970s. Like Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, Malia had full access to the school’s athletic facilities in his retirement.

Melissa Hewey, the lawyer who represented Cheverus in the Talbot case, said at the time that the school’s goal was to work with the victims rather than get involved in litigation. Cheverus “wanted to resolve it, to help these men move on. That’s what we were able to do.”

So what gives? Hewey is now saying that Cheverus has neither the insurance nor the resources to settle with the Malia victims. How can it use that excuse when, in December 2005, Cheverus opened its $6 million Rev. John W. Keegan, S.J. Gymnasium?

Paul Kendrick,

Cheverus High School, class of 1968

Freeport

Affordable housing unfair competition for landlords 

A recent Press Herald story described affordable housing for artists and others that cost $172,000 apiece with monthly rent at $506 to $760, heat and hot water included (“One lofty idea,” Nov. 28).

Where do I begin?

First, it looks like special interest to me for artists, because I am sure only artists are poor and need special help.

Second, what about the landlords who have to compete with this?

I think they would like someone who made 50 percent of the median income, $25,350, who paid his or her rent every month. But the rent might be a little more for a private landlord.

That $25,350 earner would be paying only $637 a month in the Oak Street Lofts. I could live like a king on that deal.

Last thing is, I am sure taxpayers’ money makes this all possible, otherwise, this developer, Avesta Housing, is losing money.

Miles Gray,

landlord

Limington 

To say ‘Merry Christmas’ is just to wish others well

Why the war on Christmas? The name of the holiday is Christmas. By wishing someone “Merry Christmas,” one is in no way insisting or demanding that someone get religious about their celebration. Hence, “Merry Christmas” is nothing more than a wish that someone enjoy the holiday, no matter how the other person chooses to celebrate it.

Most people enjoy sending Christmas cards, exchanging Christmas gifts under the tree, singing Christmas carols both Christian and non-Christian, and eating a Christmas turkey or goose. Most non-Christians have their own Christmas traditions, which have little or no religious significance.

The basic meaning of Christmas is love, joy and peace to all mankind. Hence, the greeting “Merry Christmas” is the highest form of greeting man has ever come up with. So, at this most wonderful time of the year, let us all warm one another’s hearts with a greeting of love, joy and peace to our fellow man.

Dave Ricker

Wiscasset