In March 2011, Gov. LePage, following a tip from an anonymous fax, had Judy Taylor’s mural celebrating Maine labor history moved from the Labor Department and placed in a secret hiding place because he asserted it was anti-business, too pro-labor and similar to communist propaganda in North Korea. State funds were consumed to fend off public opposition and a lawsuit.

Now, almost two years later, following another midnight operation, the mural has surfaced in the Maine State Museum (“Labor mural gets a new home in Augusta,” Jan. 14).

A Labor Department representative points out, with apparent satisfaction, that many more people will see it there than in its former place in their lobby.

And the governor, according to his director of communications, Adrienne Bennett, “is supportive of this. The governor has always said it needs to be in a more accessible location. Just think of all the schoolchildren who go to the museum. It’s in a place where it is going to be viewed by a lot of people on a regular basis.”

What could have happened to the mural while it was hidden away? Was all that communist propaganda scientifically purged from it so that it is now suitable for schoolchildren to see? Or is this just one more instance of the governor’s talent for wasting the state’s money while making Maine look foolish to the rest of the world?

Neil Gallagher


City must take lead role in rejecting tar sands oil 

On Wednesday, the Portland City Council will decide whether or not to keep the fuel oil for Portland’s city-owned vehicles tar sands-free, and it’s a big deal.

Tar sands oil is the dirtiest on earth. Mined in Alberta, Canada, from an oil field the size of England, tar sands extraction is destroying the pristine boreal forest. Mining, burning, transporting and refining the oil pollutes our air, water and land, fuels global warming, and harms people’s health.

Tar sands oil now poses a major threat to our drinking water here in Portland and in the other 10 communities served by the Portland Water District. ExxonMobil and Canadian oil giant Enbridge are seriously contemplating pumping tar sands oil through the 62-year-old Portland-Montreal pipeline, which is almost certainly unable to withstand the fuel’s high temperatures and corrosiveness.

The pipeline passes within 1,000 feet of Sebago Lake, Portland’s drinking water source. It also crosses the Crooked River six times as well as the Androscoggin. Pipelines carrying tar sands oil are three times more likely to spill than pipelines carrying conventional oil.

On Jan. 12, residents of Casco passed a municipal resolution opposing the flow of tar sands oil through the Portland-Montreal pipeline (“Casco says no to plan for tar sands oil,” Jan. 13). The Burlington, Vt., City Council passed two anti-tar sands pipeline resolutions last month.

Fifty other communities along the pipeline route are considering similar resolutions. Portland needs to show its leadership on this issue by taking a critical first step to keeping tar sands oil out of city vehicles.

You can inform the Portland city councilors of your views by contacting them and attending the City Council meeting where the tar sand-free vehicle issue will be discussed, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

Helen F. Anderson


Let communities pay for ‘Cadillac-quality’ services 

The two-year budget for state revenue collection and spending recently proposed by the LePage administration is a solid dose of plain hard truth: Augusta simply cannot afford to fund Cadillac-quality social services on a statewide basis anymore.

If local communities like the city of Portland feel that it’s important for their communities to provide expensive levels of social services, then those communities should also accept the responsibilities of raising the local tax revenues from their residents and businesses to fund those preferences.

It makes perfect sense to expect our state’s most populous and prosperous municipalities to pay their own way, if they want to provide benefits that exceed affordable statewide standards.

We should be grateful to the LePage administration for this sensible and straightforward management of the state’s budget.

James Clingensmith


Humane alternatives exist to cruel practice of trapping 

Regarding the Biddeford hoopla over the coyote sightings (“Some in Biddeford howl over coyotes,” Jan. 7), trapping is the ultimate form of animal cruelty.

Since we are not living in the Jeremiah Jones era and we do not need to trap to survive, please consider this:

So loyal are coyotes to their mates that if one gets caught in a trap, the other will bring small game for it to eat, even soak itself in a stream so its trapped partner can lick the water from its fur. The free coyote will stand by until the other’s death.

These traps are indiscriminate. Family pets and wildlife are often victims. Foxes, woodchucks, porcupines, even eagles, cardinals and children can spring these traps!

Anything or anyone caught can suffer lacerations, broken bones, joint dislocations, tongue and tooth injuries, hunger, thirst, shock and finally, death.

Solutions other than trapping and maiming? Eliminate the attractants in your neighborhoods: outside pet food and water, barbecue drippings, exposed garbage, etc. Don’t leave pets outside unattended.

Any person of any age who receives a state trapping license doesn’t prove they are talented or clever, only that they are lacking in compassion for the animals that share our planet.

Compassion for animals begins at home. Now keep your eyes open for cruelty or neglect in your neighborhood, near your workplace, as you drive to the grocery store.

There are laws.

Do outdoor pets have water and shade? See any animal left in a car or truck during too hot or cold weather? Report it to your local police! Many states, including Maine, have laws that protect our innocent beings.

Step up, you are doing right, the offenders are doing wrong and threatening the very lives of our dearest friends.

Nancy Van Reeth