I have to wonder where Ralph K. Ginorio (“Common Core standards give away too much power,” Sept. 7) gets his information about the standards. One thing is sure: He hasn’t actually read them.

Ginorio says the Common Core seeks “to produce ‘global citizens’ … with little reference to their American citizenship or Western heritage.”

Had he actually read the standards, he would know that they cite as exemplary instructional material works by the following figures: Thomas Paine, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ronald Reagan.

What’s more, the standards recommend the U.S. Constitution as a text deserving close study by all American high school students.

I can’t believe this needs to be said, but I guess it does: People who want to write letters to the editor to vilify educational standards should first take a few minutes to read what they’re about to criticize.

Michael Trombley

South Portland

Green space could resolve Congress Square conflict

The sale price of the Congress Square Plaza parcel is incredibly low. The City Council is divided, and the people are against the sale.

A middle ground can be carved. A rooftop public green space with upper-floor access from the hotel would be a gem in the heart of the city.

The hotel would get green space that guests could easily access and a place where functions could be held, thus extending the capacity of the hotel.

The public could have much-improved green space. It could have access from the street with stairs or ramps and would be a place where one could sit at a bench or on a lawn and enjoy a lunch or play with the kids away from the street.

For the city, it gets something it can be very proud of: a best and highest use that will result in both economic expansion and an embrace of common spaces for its citizens, all in the very heart of the city. Given the environmental benefits of such spaces, our environmental portfolio gets a notable and visible boost.

There would need to be modifications to the contract, such as oversight and maintenance, no buildup, etc., but those are details that can be worked out.

This could be a huge win on all sides. I would even suggest that the city put the money for the sale toward the project itself.

A rooftop park that is a respite from the city streets shared by both the public and a hotel overlooking the heart of Portland. This is where we as a city should be going.

Michael Shaughnessy


Why didn’t Assad’s killings spur earlier action on Syria?

According to CNN, more than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict raging in Syria, and 1,300 may have died as a result of the use of chemical or biological weapons. 

Would somebody please explain to me what the big deal is about chemical and biological weapons?

Bashar Assad had murdered more than 100,000 people, no big deal, but now he uses weapons we don’t like, so we must do something. It makes absolutely no sense.

Paul Anderson


Cutler silent as LePage dismantles government

Where is Eliot Cutler?

Hardly a word over the last three years about what’s been going on in Maine under our cockamamie governor. Notice how silent and disengaged he’s been in the Category 5 hurricane of Maine politics?

Have you heard his comments on:

Republicans cutting taxes on Maine’s top 1 percent so that everyone else’s taxes have to go up to pay for it? Not a word.

The effect of cutting off the circuit-breaker program for the middle class and poor and suspending revenue-sharing for two years so that municipalities all over Maine have to increase property taxes? Silence.

Grading schools A-F with little or no help to local districts to improve schools with failing grades? Silence.

How LePage and the Republicans rejected the 100 percent federally financed Medicaid expansion that would have covered 70,000 Mainers’ health care, and all the jobs that expansion would have generated? Silence.

The budget impasse with Le-Page vetoing a hard-won Democratic budget and how Republicans helped Democrats override his veto? No applause.

LePage’s alleged comment at a fundraiser about Obama’s hating white people, then his denials about it? Absolutely silent.

LePage’s refusal to develop a state health exchange for the implementation of Obamacare? Silence.

Remember Eliot Cutler’s silence when it comes time to choose between him and Mike Michaud for governor. He hasn’t been active. Hasn’t put his prestige on the line, commented on or clarified issues important to Mainers.

If you have any interest in seeing Paul LePage replaced by a mensch for governor, vote for Mike Michaud.

Stan Spiegel


Allen’s call for Syrian strike consistent with Iraq stance

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Allen’s recent letter (“Use of gas compels action in Syria,” Sept. 10) calling for bombing Syria reveals the sad state of politics in our country.

It is a distortion of history that Mr. Allen helped lead a fight against the war on Iraq when he voted to fund that war every year thereafter.

The U.S. spends more money on the military than most of the world combined. It is a big business that has made a lot of rich people richer, while making the poor poorer, in addition to causing hundreds of thousands of casualties of our own citizens.

Politicians have perpetuated the myth that we must have the primary role in guarding most of the world. The U.S. has hundreds of thousands of troops in Europe, Korea, Japan, the Middle East and many other outposts.

We pay more for this “protection” than the countries that host these military garrisons. The rest of the world is without skin in the game, and they are reluctant to play a role in their own backyards. We have become the world’s police. Why?

It is time for a new realism. The U.S. cannot be the default defender of the world, or the human and economic costs will bury us all.

We must significantly reduce the size of the military and reinvest in infrastructure, education and technology at home instead of war.

Politicians must begin to govern in the best interests of all of our citizens, or they must be replaced by others who will.

Dexter J. Kamilewicz

Orr’s Island

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