Letter writer Judith Hopkins speaks of former Maine Turnpike Authority CEO Paul Violette as being a “good man” who has met “misfortune” — the misfortune of being caught in his breach of public trust (“Readers weigh in on Paul Violette’s sentence,” April 11)!

His actions are a crime, as are those of the “bankers who defrauded millions and have never been punished,” etc., and until they and those who abuse any public trust are brought to justice, there will be less and less a sense of confidence in any part of government.

How would “justice” be served in these instances? By full restitution! As another letter writer, Suzanne Murawski, suggests for Violette: Have him get a well-supervised job (perhaps as a tollbooth attendant — when there is an opening, by attrition); with partial garnishment of his wages (perhaps in the amount of the medical insurance coverage he receives as an employee), until full restitution is made (including the amount covered by the two bonding companies, as well as all court, investigative and administrative expenses associated with his case).

Pension? For abusing the public trust? I don’t think so! Perhaps Violette can earn a pension under his new work conditions, if he can resist the temptations that present themselves.

I do not think that Violette’s actions over the years were those of a “good man.” Not Violette’s actions, nor those of any who have not resisted the temptation to take that which was not theirs to take.

We must be able to expect justice from our system if we are to have democracy, and we need to speak out, insisting on it, whenever there is a breach of trust.

Carole Sargent


Defense Department urged to reclaim former monicker

I second Arthur Fink’s suggestion that we cease talking about “defense spending,” and replace such talk with the term “military spending” (“Reader prefers word ‘military’ over ‘defense,'” April 11), but would go one step further: Change the name “U.S. Department of Defense” back to the original: the “U.S. Department of War.”

William Vaughan Jr.

Chebeague Island

Faithful volunteers wielded shovels to aid city’s seniors

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each and every volunteer who shoveled snow for folks in the free Senior Snowshoveling Project all over Portland.

This was an unusual winter, in that we only had two snowstorms requiring shoveling, but these faithful people were there for those storms, and “at the ready” for any others!

The seniors really appreciate this service, and it makes their lives so much safer and more convenient.

I would also like to thank the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office for its financial and shoveling support, through the Portland Triad. I couldn’t run this project without them.

This year, about 154 people over 65, were shoveled at no cost to them.

Thanks again to each and every person involved with this project!

Joan Sheedy

founder/director, Free Senior Snowshoveling Project


Fixing Sarah Long Bridge would be waste of money

Instead of the Maine Legislature and the New Hampshire Legislature arguing over which state will pay more of the cost for the Sarah Long Bridge over the Piscataqua River; and since the Navy won’t appropriate any money to either rebuild or widen the span; and because of the fact that we will again have three bridges within a mile of each other after the Memorial Bridge is rebuilt — let’s tear down the Sarah Long instead of spending any money to rebuild or widen it.

It has outlived its usefulness. Truckers can still utilize the fuel stops on the New Hampshire side and Maine side of the bypass. Let’s save $100 million instead of throwing it away on a bridge nobody really needs anymore.

Dave Robbins

Cape Neddick

Second-mortgage situation spurs ex-Mainer’s reflection

As a former resident of Cape Elizabeth, I got a chuckle about the poor physician from Hawaii who wouldn’t be able to afford a vacation home in that tony seaside community if Mitt Romney’s proposed second-mortgage interest deduction adjustment were law.

Not any home, I may add, but a million-dollar one on the ocean with a $10 million view.

We all must face up to the reality that the U.S. tax code is a 73,000-page nightmare. Things must change, and our elected leaders ought to get some backbone and do what we pay them for.

John McManamy

Venice Beach, Calif.