It is a commonly held notion that people are entitled to their own opinions, not their own facts. So I was surprised to read some critical misinformation in a recent opinion piece in your paper (Maine Voices, “Republicans’ energy more significant than state convention’s problems,” May 15).

Firstly, the column states that I cast “the deciding vote to bring Obamacare out of committee to the floor.”

That’s simply not true. That version of the bill passed the Senate Finance Committee by a vote of 14-9, so the Democrats clearly had enough votes to move the bill to the floor without mine.

I ultimately voted against Obamacare after more than 1,000 new pages, crafted behind closed doors, were added to the final bill — including new Medicare taxes — and senators were not allowed an open and unfettered amendment process, as I was promised, to incorporate bipartisan ideas.

Additionally, the writer says that I “opposed the continuation of the Bush tax cuts.”

When we considered the extension of these crucial tax cuts in 2010, I publicly stated that I support “extending all of the tax cuts and not allowing any to expire,” and voted to do so. I fail to see any equivocation in that statement, and my position has not changed.

Finally, I was accused of “supporting Obama’s big government and debt-expanding spending plans.”

Well, on Wednesday, I joined all of my colleagues in voting against President Obama’s budget for the next fiscal year, and have voted against each of his four budget proposals.

The fact of the matter is, as I said when he unveiled his plan in February, “the president has failed to propose a budget that would restrain unbridled government spending, ensure longevity for critical programs, and provide fiscal stability for future generations of Americans.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine

Washington, D.C.

LePage regularly presents evidence of his ignorance

Throughout his term, Gov. LePage repeatedly has made judgments that are short-sighted and statements that are hurtful.

His claim to expertise rests on his experience as a businessman. It certainly isn’t as a clear and incisive thinker or humanitarian.

An example of his simplistic and inadequate vocabulary is the recent blanket accusation that middle management state workers are “corrupt” without data to back up his contention.

His willingness to allow Maine’s transportation infrastructure to continue to deteriorate (potentially risking lives and property) is shown both in his holding Maine’s neediest hostage in recent budget deliberations but also in his incredibly naive statement that, “A bond is a fancy word for borrowing money the state doesn’t have.”

Why would the state issue bonds for needed projects unless it didn’t have the resources on hand? When most people buy homes, they take out mortgages, because homes cost more than the buyers have on hand. With interest rates at historic lows, bonding is a wise and cost-effective approach to the many projects that loom ahead.

LePage is demonstrating once again a lack of understanding of Maine’s needs and misusing his office to impose his ignorance.

Peter K. Shaw


Unfair ticket will deter shopper from returning

Recently I decided to go into downtown Portland to shop at Renys. Upon returning to my vehicle, which I had parked on the street at a meter and diligently put in quarters to park, I found I had been ticketed.

The ticket was for “no parking that takes more than one metered space.” I had left space in front of me for the vehicle ahead of me to get out. There are no lines indicating where you should park or how you should park.

I guess it is their discretion as to whether you are properly parked or not and could end up costing you an additional $15.

Recently, the city has instituted a more “convenient” method to pay for on-street parking. Good luck! That may be user-friendly, but watch out for the unfriendly ticketing agents with their ticketing books.

I will think twice about entering Portland to shop again. Renys is a great addition to our area, but my advice would be to relocate to a place where people can get to you easily without the fear of being ticketed.

If Portland wants to be fair to their parkers, they should consider marking their parking spaces so we know where we are to park without the fear of being ticketed.

Virginia Blouin

South Portland

Homeless man penalized for ‘advertising’ for work

On one recent morning, needing some raking done in my yard, I set out to find one of several homeless folks who have been seen standing at various intersections in Portland, holding signs asking for work or help.

I found my helper at Forest Avenue. I summoned him to my vehicle, offered work, which he accepted and away we went.

He was a personable young man, in unfavorable circumstances, but he worked well and did what I asked in short order. So, imagine my surprise when he told me he had been summonsed more than once for “advertising” his plight to passing motorists.

He related that he was facing substantial fines for his behavior and didn’t know what to do, except continue as he had been in spite of law enforcement’s efforts to stop him.

Is it disturbing to see the homeless people asking for help? It ought to be! Am I the only person who is willing to do business with these folks? Of course not! I was grateful to find him.

And when I need more help, I will look for him or someone like him, boldly exposing his plight and unflinchingly announcing his willingness to work to help himself.

Mr. Policeman, city councilors, residents of Portland, I ask you: Please do not arrest, condemn or complain about these folks. There, but for the grace of God, go I or you or yours.

William Hobbs