Greg Kesich, in his Oct. 9 op-ed on Eliot Cutler’s gubernatorial candidacy (“Cutler’s book doesn’t answer the biggest question: Can he win?”), presented what might be called a content-free discussion of the politics of a three-way gubernatorial race.

No mention was made of who might be the better candidate between Cutler, an independent; and Mike Michaud, the Democrat; although Kesich was clear that Paul LePage, the Republican incumbent, would not be a favorable choice.

This column was soon followed by more of the same from Alan Caron (“Anti-LePage voters need to push for Michaud-Cutler agreement,” Oct. 10), with Caron going so far as to assert that whichever of LePage’s two opponents was leading in the polls in October 2014, that candidate should get the endorsement of the other challenger.

I can agree with both Kesich and Caron on only one point – LePage must be beaten.

I do not think this will be difficult. I rest my argument on two simple points.

First, Paul LePage’s high-water mark was the 38 percent (to Cutler’s 37) that he received in 2010.

LePage will be lucky to get 30 percent in 2014 after the series of blunders that have marked his term so far.

Second, it will become clear as the campaign unfolds that Eliot Cutler will be a stronger and more effective governor than Mike Michaud.

Cutler has used the time since the last election to initiate constructive dialogue on the issues facing Maine.

Cutler has sound, practical ideas for what needs to be done. Moreover, he has the combination of toughness and political savvy to make it happen.

This election is not about splitting the Democratic vote.

It is about Republicans, Democrats and independents voting for the candidate they believe can best lead Maine.

A significant proportion of each of these groups will go for Cutler – in much the same way they went for Angus King.

Ronald M. Bancroft


Expediting of ‘Closed’ signs raises issue about shutdown

Does anyone besides me wonder how they got all those “Closed” signs printed, distributed and posted far and wide in the USA only hours after the government shut down?

I worked in the government for 25 years in Washington, D.C. As the director of administration for a federal agency during that time, I became quite familiar with requisitions, bidding, awarding contracts, etc.

The procurement process is a time-consuming process with a variety of bureaucrats involved with every step of the way.

The simplest procurement takes weeks from request for a product to delivery of that product. It cannot happen in hours or days.

Yet, within less than eight hours of the shutdown, professionally printed 3- by 4-foot signs appeared all over the country, saying, “This park, facility, etc. (with custom logo) is closed due to government shutdown.”

There has not been a government shutdown for many years. So, these signs were designed, specifications were determined, signs were then requisitioned, bids were posted and vetted and government contracts were awarded. The signage materials were then ordered and the signs were manufactured and then distributed to thousands of locations. This all happened in less than eight hours.

You may agree with me that this shutdown was orchestrated and planned well in advance many months ago.

Millions of tax dollars were spent by the administration in this process.

If you ask for it, you will find a paper trail leading directly to the White House.

Brent Ekstrom


Hinck has ideal demeanor, background for City Council

Jon Hinck is an ideal candidate for City Council.

On numerous projects since the 1990s, Jon has shown fine judgment and an appetite for the tedious tasks required to see things through.

In fact, on an issue that interested me while he served as state representative, he entertained partisan opposing positions with equanimity, and used good sense to convert some.

And he had a knack for plowing through the steaming dung-heaps that are known to obscure vision and impede foot traffic in the halls of our State House, as part of what proved at times futile efforts to discover evidence of measurable cerebral activity.

Jon’s a genial foe with the resolve to outwork but also challenge others. Yet his confidence doesn’t (unlike with many rooster-politicians, who take daily credit for the sunrise) get in the way.

Having first served as our state representative in 2006, Jon is long past that hyperactive-debutante phase that clouds the judgment of many politicians first elected off the street.

Believe it or not, he served as an assistant attorney general for the South Pacific protectorate of Palau.

And while others of his generation chased the dollar, or stolid security, Jon headed up Greenpeace’s early 1980s efforts to expose South Jersey cancer-causing land and groundwater pollution generated by CIBA-Geigy. (See the several-page reference to Jon’s efforts in Dan Fagin’s riveting recent book, “Toms River.”)

Though Jon’s professional life has been guided by strong principle, he has nonetheless been able to “descend into the hard heart of things and still be among friends.”

Jon is, however, not as good a basketball player as he thinks he is.

William Wilson


Lodging tax unfair burden on people who camp out

Why is it that the state of Maine collects lodging tax on campers?

We bring our own lodging. It’s not a motel or cottage that someone else owns. We own it!

We already paid sales tax to own it, then there’s excise tax to get it to the campground. Once it’s there, the state is requiring us to pay an additional 8 percent to use it.

I was camping next to a couple from another state, and I quote him: “I’ve never paid so much, to get so little in this state.”

Maine relies heavily on its tourist industry, and a good portion of those tourists are camping families, or seasonal campers.

So, let’s drive them away by charging them more tax on something they already own.

I’m sure someone is going to say, “Well, it’s not the camper that you are being taxed on, it’s the property you are leasing.”

If this is the case, is the state taxing mobile home owners for the space they lease from the mobile home owner’s property? I think not.

There’s got to be some sort of reprieve for us, especially being Maine residents, using Maine campgrounds.

Oh wait, that’s the way life should be in Maine – tax the heck out of us.

Doug Mills

West Bath

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