Though it’s no secret that MaineToday Media newspapers, including The Portland Press Herald, regularly express their dislike for Gov. LePage, the tone continues to deteriorate.

They criticized the governor’s efforts to bring runaway welfare spending under control, even though Maine has more recipients than income taxpayers, who are below the national average income but who shoulder the burden for significantly higher-than-national average welfare spending.

Then the newspapers accused the governor, whose early life’s circumstances were much worse than many of today’s welfare beneficiaries, of “demonizing” poor people; condemning one of the very citizens for whom they feign compassion because he worked hard and become a productive member of society, and even slapping back at those who point out that the governor himself was at one time impoverished and homeless.

The day-to-day criticism of the governor in MTM newspapers is little more than duplication of attacks put forth by the governor’s detractors. Whatever happened to critical thinking and journalism?

The nationwide recession notwithstanding, decades of Augusta’s incompetence have created our unaffordable government and poor business and employment atmosphere. That is the reality the governor is facing.

Ignoring the issues does not provide immunity from them. Even MTM underwent staff cuts and resignations due to declining circulation and revenue.

Basic math shows us that expanding government, including welfare spending, while decreasing revenue producers is unsustainable. The escalation of Maine’s welfare rolls has outpaced the remaining taxpayers’ ability to generate revenue.

Promoting talking points and policies that have reduced revenue and increased dependency will only further the decline. Confronting the real issues, as the governor promised to do and is doing, is the only way to resolve them.

Gary Foster

Gray

Beardsley’s take on state’s natural assets refreshing

It was refreshing to read a column written by someone in the present administration that is cautiously optimistic and doesn’t blame anybody for our problems (Maine Voices, “Is a natural resources breakout strategy under way?,” Dec. 23).

Bill Beardsley’s assessment of our natural assets and innovative uses of them, leaning toward keeping the environment as clean as possible, is encouraging.

Thank him and The Press Herald for giving it to us.

Charles Brown

Brunswick

Havel’s passing recalls first Czech president

The recent death of former Czech President Vaclav Havel reminds us of the unique character of the two presidents chosen by Czechoslovaks to lead their country at moments of deliverance into freedom.

Vaclav Havel was a leader in the movement to topple the oppressive communist rule that had been imposed by the Soviet Union after they throttled the “Prague Spring” of Alexander Dubcek and occupied Czechoslovakia. When that movement finally succeeded, the Czechs chose Havel — not a typical politician but a playwright — to become president of a newly free Czechoslovakia in 1989.

Seventy-one years earlier, when Czechs and Slovaks were granted their freedom from Austro-Hungarian rule after World War I, the first president of an independent Czechoslovakia was Tomas Masaryk, a professor of philosophy.

He had been a leader in the independence movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and worked during the war for Western support of that independence. He died in 1937. I recall watching his somber funeral procession from a balcony in Prague.

Frank J. Heymann

Brunswick

Despite voters’ mandate, state lags on infrastructure 

Remember back in June 2010 when Mainers approved four bond issues? This was long before the November election that gave us Gov. LePage and the 38 percent “mandate.”

The approved bonds would invest $26.5 million in energy independence; $47.8 million to repair Maine’s transportation infrastructure; $23.75 million for economic development; and $10.25 million for clean water infrastructure. These bond issues were placed on the ballot with broad bipartisan support. Maine voters overwhelmingly said “yes” to all four.

Ever wonder what happened to them? Check out the treasurer’s page at www.maine.gov. There you’ll find the $97 million in bonds that were approved but ignored. And they will probably just sit there until Le-Page leaves for good.

These bonds would fund 2,000 to 3,400 good jobs and would fund projects that would improve public safety and quality of life.

Is it even legal for LePage to ignore the voters’ 2010 mandate?

Families borrow money to buy a home. States borrow money to invest in jobs and infrastructure. Even Mardens probably borrowed to fund expansion of their stores.

According to The Road Information Program, Maine has the 14th-worst rural roads and the 12th-worst rural bridges in the country. Refusing to make needed repairs is just another case of “kicking the can down the road,” and we all know how the governor feels about that.

Just one more example of the foolishness and dysfunction that pass for state government here in Maine.

Linda Dumey

Wells

Maine should value all that comes from trees

At Christmastime, many households decorate a balsam fir, an old favorite.

Trees are used in many ways; included are logging for paper production and for firewood. Trees provide food in many varieties of apples, oranges and nuts. Additionally, they provide habitat for wildlife.

Unfortunately, in many countries, forests are being decimated. I have a friend who flew to South America to witness their forests while they are still in good condition.

Fortunately, we have many organizations that strive to counter the impact that forest degradation makes. I have a friend who is a designer. When he designs boats, he prefers wood to other materials.

Frank Kramer

Scarborough