Concerning “High-tech parking meters on way” (Dec. 29), some critics have questioned how people will find out about this new system and the expense of removing existing parking meters.

Chicago has an interesting solution to both problems — and then some.

Instead of removing the old meter, the guts are drilled out and a message put in the display window that reads: “Meter remains as a courtesy to cyclists. Please pay at pay box.”

This thrifty approach has several benefits:

• It alerts drivers to the new pay system without endless new signage.

• It saves on the cost of removing the old meter, a threefold process that involves taking out the meter, trashing or recycling it, and repairing the sidewalk.

• And it saves on the cost of buying and installing additional purpose-built bike racks, which further encourages the use of bikes instead of cars.

The city should definitely consider this adaptive re-use for most if not all of Portland’s soon-to-be obsolete parking meters.

Lincoln Paine, Portland 

Bill Nemitz’s poem brought holiday cheer to some 

Bill Nemitz’s Christmas poem was a riot.

Even if you thought his humor out of place in the holiday season, he told the truth as a journalist should.

It’s not Nemitz’s fault that Gov. LePage is such a buffoon and an easy target for satirists.

It’s all we can do but laugh at his blunders even though often they are not funny.

From the start, Gov. LePage has been an embarrassment to this state by telling President Obama to “go to hell.”

Let’s hope Obama’s administration has a short memory when Gov. LePage has to go begging for heat and waiver assistance.

Mr. Nemitz left out of his poem how little Gov. LePage has done for jobs in Maine.

Quite the contrary, he even successfully defeated the only jobs bill to come Maine’s way in 2011.

He threatened to veto the Biddeford Downs project if it passed the last hurdle in the legislature and came out against Question 2 in the last election.

Hopefully, Gov. LePage will only be a one-term disaster and the state can still recover from all the harm and embarrassment he has caused us.

Gerald Smith, Old Orchard Beach 

In regard to Larry Davis’ concern about Bill Nemitz’s mental health (letters to the editor, Dec. 29), I believe that Bill Nemitz is ably expressing the deep frustration of the 61 percent of Maine voters who saw a candidate having an ideology nearly the opposite of their own selected to lead our state.

They found themselves in this situation because a healthy portion of the 61 percent dared to reach out to an independent instead of following the party line.

Now all are forced to spend the next three years fighting the aggressively retrograde policies of an embarrassingly dysfunctional governor.

It is my hope that Bill Nemitz will, looking ahead to 2014, use his considerable talents to promote the adoption of ranked-choice voting at the state level.

The voting system that allowed Portland voters to choose Mike Brennan from a field of 15 mayoral candidates in just one electoral cycle would free all Mainers to choose alternatives, such as Angus King or Eliot Cutler, without fear of another involuntary trip to the “dark side”.

Douglas Sargent, Cape Elizabeth

Don’t blame the weather or the road conditions

Drivers, not road conditions, cause crashes.

Your report “Icy roads claim five Maine residents” (Jan. 1) begins “Freezing rain and light snow are blamed for car-crash deaths in Bowdoin, Cornville, Edinburg and Gardiner.”

It was not, however, icy roads that claimed five lives, nor are freezing rain and light snow to be blamed.

In all of these cases it was irresponsible driving, under adverse conditions, to be sure, that produced the so-called “accidents.”

This reinterpretation may appear academic to some, but I suggest that the usual way of phrasing the issue (as the Portland Press Herald did) leads people to blame the weather, not themselves.

And that tactic will, in turn, produce more accidents.

Conversely, a person who takes responsibility for the consequences of his or her own behavior is less likely to end up in a ditch.

William Vaughan, Jr., Chebeague Island 

Ex-investigator: Missing child case mishandled 

I am a retired federal investigator with over 30 years of experience.

I have followed the Ayla Reynolds story with great interest and empathy for the families.

During the first week, I constantly wondered why the house and surrounding area was not treated as a crime scene — just in case.

Then the tape went up and I thought “well, finally.”

I just read the Jan. 1 Sunday Telegram story, and then read the timeline.

I was dumbstruck! Any seasoned investigator would have immediately sealed the scene and surrounding area, conducting a parallel criminal investigation along with the search.

This was bungled and bungled badly!

No matter how this turns out, that little girl deserved better from all of us in this twisted society.

Paul A. Cyr, Madawaska