I just wanted to weigh in on the new cellphone recommendations. First, I completely agree that there must be a law with some clout. However, it seems to need a bit of tweaking.

I come from the generation that grew up without the cellphone, but have found it useful mostly when I’m on the road. I can’t use the handheld feature of the phone because I need reading glasses, so I never text unless I’m not moving and I hate texting, it takes too long to complete a conversation. My cellphone sits untouched in a cup holder in my vehicle.

I do have a newer car that has built in “Bluetooth” capability, and to call or answer the phone I simply push a button on the steering wheel. When I drive my pickup truck, I have a little earpiece that I also push once to activate a phone call.

I know my usage habit is rare in today’s world, because I don’t have long frivolous chats on my cell when I drive. I do derive a feeling of security from having it as a tool at the ready if I get lost and can place a quick call enroute. I hate GPS, and find it way too distracting.

Also, if I get stuck in a winter storm, or go off the road, it is reassuring to know if I’m injured, I just have to try to push a button for help. I would hate to be pulled over and issued a ticket because of the little earpiece in my ear, just because so many others are careless with this technology.

Lisa D. Lane


Toy Fund needs support of newspaper, community

We are concerned about the fundraising efforts for the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund. There have only been two articles about the fund, Nov. 24 and Dec. 4. There have been ads and “How to Make a Donation” information but these will not get the contributions needed.

Contributions have been around $200,000 after hitting a record of $260,000 in 2009. Was that the last year of the (almost) daily articles of requests from people and why help was needed to make Christmas possible for their children?

I know the stories were not done last year.

The articles explained how income earned from a job was just not enough to allow buying gifts for the children, or medical events had eaten into salaries that year. There are so many reasons that a family had to request aid.

Then there were the stories about the donors. The children that broke into piggy banks so another child could have presents. The donations made in thanks for receiving help in a previous year. The schools or business that did a special fundraiser to assist the fund. The list of donors and the running total.

I have not seen any information on the total this year.

We feel that you must change the way you are informing the public about the reason to raise funds or the amount of money will continue to decrease as the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund is forgotten by many people.

We have contributed already this year because we know the history of the fund.

We would not have any desire to contribute if we had just moved into the area, because there are so many organizations that have a need and you don’t give enough information to make Bruce Roberts a priority for people.

Please, write the stories.

Jane and Steve Martin

South Portland

Beware of politicians who trumpet ‘national defense’ 

Have we watched so much television that we are dumbed down and don’t care, or know, the difference between “national defense” and “offense?” What, and who, have we defended (South Korea, South Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan) and how has it helped the United States?

The secret code developed by our politicians and military complex is “national defense.” We are driving ourselves into oblivion on foreign wars, spending more than the rest of the world combined. How can we stop our politicians and military from the so-called “national defense” when we can’t control our own borders at home, or control the thousands of warring gangs in our cities?

I suggest that we do not vote for anyone who says we have a need for a strong “national defense.” The money thrown down a hole on the other side of this planet is sorely needed at home to revitalize this nation’s health, education, roads, bridges, in infrastructures and a better life for all of us.

Thomas Stone


City right to charge for parking, trash collection

There are two things that come to mind when the dreaded parking issue, and specifically the parking meter, are discussed. First, what is wrong with the city collecting money for parking?

We pay for every other space we use, basically, so that it will be available and usable (maintenance).

Second, if parking were “free” and unlimited there would be no parking spaces because the turnover would be virtually non-existent.

The merchants would then have no customers because their employees would be occupying all of the parking spaces.

I’m also thinking about the blue trash bag issue.

Granted, I live alone and have a garbage disposal. Also, I never use paper towels and haven’t for years. There are times when I cook huge volumes of food and never find the need for a paper towel, paper napkins nor disposable eating utensils. Just about all of my trash is recyclable and that costs nothing to have collected. Well it does, but I’m not paying for it up front.

OK, my question for the people that complain about these two issues: How is the city of Portland going to replace the income from parking fees and blue trash bags if these charges and fines were to be eliminated?

An economic lecture that I heard way back in the ’80s was called “TINSTAAFL” (There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch).

In other words, somebody is going to pay the bill someday, somehow.

So when you’re looking for a handout, think about that.

Bruce Erwin Johnson


Still waiting for full story on Portland’s fireboat

The smoke and mirrors following the commercial party barge grounding is really starting to smell like rotting fish.

I paid for the City of Portland IV fireboat.

I just want to know what happened out there that day concerning my vessel.

Tenley O’Brien