I didn’t vote for Eliot Cutler for governor last time, and I won’t this time, either (“Cutler may take step toward governor run,” Page 1, Jan. 23).

He helped move the tea party and Paul LePage into the governor’s office last time around. There’s little I can think of to better help LePage win re-election while further weakening the Democratic Party than Cutler again splitting the vote.

Maine doesn’t need any more waffling centrists like Cutler and Angus King, whom I also didn’t vote for.

We need to produce and vote into office new, young leaders such as Sen. Justin Alfond who will pursue a progressive course of equality and justice for all Americans, not just the super-rich and well-connected who now run our nation.

Norman Abelson


Well, here he goes again — “he” being Maine’s current, inimitable governor, Paul “Grumpy” LePage.

In his open letter to the governor (“A letter to LePage the Tigerhearted,” Jan. 23), columnist Bill Nemitz once more performed a true public service in shining the spotlight on LePage’s latest tantrum.

The governor recently chewed out some independent state legislators with whom he was meeting, and at one point made a melodramatic brief exit while he must have “reloaded” verbally for another salvo when he returned.

Talk about going off half-cocked! We should not be surprised, as LePage “loses it” with such frequency. Bad boy, Governor!

On Wednesday, we also learned that in a three-way election in 2014 that LePage would win (“Cutler may take step toward governor run,” Page 1, Jan. 23). Yikes!

Please, Eliot Cutler, don’t run again as an independent candidate for the governorship, for to do so would indeed be folly. Give the rest of us Mainers some peace and some hope that we won’t be saddled again with the likes of Paul LePage in the Blaine House for another bizarre term.

Robert Barter


Mass post-storm ticketing unfair to city’s car owners

On the evening of Jan. 16, Portland participated again in the mass evacuation of the streets so Public Services could plow and keep the city accessible. They’re very good at this, and all over, people pull together to push cars and shovel.

I think we’re at our best in these moments, tightening into a clearer idea of community. You see people trudging together through the snow: third shifters yawning and cranking coffee; moms dragging kids along; the young, the old, everybody. And the motivation is pretty clear: Nobody wants their vehicle towed away.

The city is good at posting snow bans, and people are good at passing this information on to each other so the evacuation will go according to plan. In the morning, we do this all in reverse.

When I found my car at 8:45 the next morning, however, I saw the city had chosen to ticket everyone in Deering Oaks who had arrived an hour late for demobilization.

I guess a possible explanation for this is that Deering Oaks is so vital a throughway that it must be cleared early in order to keep the city from suffering paralysis, and that those who don’t comply should be charged for their negligence. But I’ve spoken to a lot of people, and there’s some consensus that this isn’t the case.

I understand that if we all left our cars there too long, it would be tough on people visiting the park. But an hour to get out?

Didn’t we all pull together to help the city? That’s the idea, right? We help the city and the city helps us, and we all try not to foul each other up.

So, someone please tell me — what was that all about?

Anthony Gerrard


Six-year term would give us leader who actually governs

I watched the inauguration festivities and couldn’t help but think, “We’re borrowing money from China to put on this ‘dog and pony’ show?” Crazy!

How about this idea? We elect a president for one term of six years, instead of what we have — i.e., a four-year term where the president “settles in” for a year, governs for a year and then spends two years running for re-election, while nothing happens and the country is on autopilot.

Why not have one six-year term where the president “settles in” for a year and then gives us his best shot for five years for what he believes should be done without being concerned about re-election? Do you realize how much money, time and wasted effort would be saved from where we are?

Jim Burke


Avoid devastating viruses — don’t eat animal products

The flu epidemic has invaded 48 states, overwhelming medical facilities, exhausting vaccine supplies and killing 29 children and thousands of seniors. Both the problem and solution to this disaster hinge on how we relate to animals that are raised for food.

Indeed, 61 percent of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. The more recent, contagious and deadly viruses among these include Asian dengue fever, Ebola, H5N1 (bird), HIV, SARS, West Nile and yellow fever. The pandemic “Spanish” flu of 1918 killed 20 million to 50 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts more pandemics in the future.

Today’s factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host’s immune system, then propagate by contact.

Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own immune system against the flu by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits and whole grains. These foods don’t carry flu viruses or government warning labels, are touted by every major health advocacy organization, and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.

Paul Mahn