I live in Westbrook with my two children. I have an incurable medical condition and receive Social Security Disability Insurance.

It’s not enough to live off, so I work part-time to keep the roof over my family’s head.

I don’t receive a lot from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but every little bit helps. I use SNAP to buy nonperishables, so I only have to worry about finding the money to buy meat, milk and bread.

If SNAP were cut, I would have to buy food that is cheaper and less healthy.

In school, my children are being taught to make better food choices.

If we can’t afford to buy this better food, what are we really teaching our children?

I’m afraid that if SNAP is cut from families, our children are going to either eat unhealthy food because that’s all families can afford, or children will go without food entirely.

To those who want to cut SNAP, please think about my children and other children. They are our future.

Trina Townsend


Biennial selection process was implemented ethically

In his recent review of the 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piece Work (“PMA biennial overlooks paintings but otherwise excels,” Oct. 13), art critic Daniel Kany accused the curator of contemporary and modern art and the Portland Museum of Art of acting unethically in our artist selection process for this exhibition.

While I appreciate Mr. Kany’s efforts to keep us on our toes, I strongly disagree with his characterization of the selection process for artists, in which the museum widely solicited entries via its website, advertisements, word of mouth and via letter to dozens of artists asking them to apply.

Casting a wide net in the hopes of soliciting many entries does not “rub against the ethics of a ‘juried’ show,” as Mr. Kany says; instead, it reflects the PMA’s mission to aggressively seek the best possible work for its audiences and to be inclusive and forthright in its efforts to engage artists.

Institutions and exhibition programs change over time, a necessary and sometimes challenging reality. At the PMA, we are deeply proud of the 2013 Biennial and all of the participating artists. We welcome public dialogue and are grateful to critics like Mr. Kany for the care and attention they pay to the art in our galleries.

Mark H.C. Bessire

director, Portland Museum of Art


Time Warner Cable strives to be consumers’ top choice

In its one-sided coverage of our company (“Time Warner Cable’s reputation tarnished,” Oct. 6), the Maine Sunday Telegram missed the point completely about the state of competition and customer service in the cable industry.

There is, in fact, widespread, vigorous competition among pay-TV providers in Maine and nationwide. The overwhelming majority of consumers we serve in Maine can choose among three TV providers and multiple Internet and phone providers.

Exclusive cable franchises were outlawed in 1996. Since then, competition, innovation and investment have exploded. High-speed Internet is available in all communities that we serve. Local businesses have their first real choice for telecommunications services. Last year alone, we spent $4.6 million extending our Maine network 180 miles – bringing advanced technologies within reach of even more local residents and businesses.

It’s fair to say that in the past, our innovation and investment might not have been matched consistently by our investment in customer service. But that has changed meaningfully.

Customers use our services more than ever, and have a wider variety of choices for interacting with us: phone, email, live chat, social media, mail or in person at one of our 12 Maine cable stores. We offer one-hour appointment windows. We’re hiring for 30 new jobs at our Portland call center. Competition demands that we continually improve customer service, and we are.

Of course, there’s no better indicator of competition than consumers themselves exercising the choices available to them. By describing some local consumers’ choices, the Telegram showed just how rigorous the competition is for Mainers’ TV entertainment budgets.

Our 900 Maine employees welcome competition. We look forward to building on our investments with innovative products and improved customer service that will make Time Warner Cable an even more compelling choice – among many – for Maine consumers.

Paul S. Schonewolf

area vice president, Time Warner Cable


Race for the Blaine House getting off to an early start

Americans now name dysfunctional government as the most important problem facing the country.

The dissatisfaction with our elected officials and our government is at the highest percentage in Gallup’s 75-year history of polling.

The political parties are a major source of this dysfunction.

We need to elect more independents like Angus King and Eliot Cutler to positions of power to break the partisan gridlock.

As Sen. King has said, we can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

I wanted to let Greg Kesich (“Cutler’s book doesn’t answer the biggest question: Can he win?” Oct. 9) know that I’m not afraid to read Eliot Cutler’s book (in fact, I have) and I’m not afraid to vote for him.

I agree with Kesich that this election is a referendum on Paul LePage, but it’s also about replacing him with the best candidate to lead Maine. We don’t have to settle for a mediocre candidate.

Eliot Cutler can win the election next November. There are more independents in Maine than ever before, and we just elected an independent senator. Eliot came really close in 2010, and LePage is even less popular now. Voters will coalesce around Eliot this time in even greater numbers.

I trust Mainers will elect the best candidate and I trust they will be able to figure out the difference.

Eliot should not be criticized for writing a book and laying out a blueprint for Maine’s future.

I love Eliot’s plan for making Maine younger. I want my kids to be able to get a job and stay in Maine after they finish college.

More than a year before the election, and the political pundits are already trying to decide what’s best for the people of Maine. Let’s have a campaign and an election before we decide to crown someone the winner.

Sharon O’Neill

Cape Elizabeth

I, like the majority of Mainers, am awaiting the overthrow of Gov. LePage next November.

There’s a big difference between moving mass quantities of damaged gefilte fish and running a state, and those of us without his moral turpitude and hatred for the poor and needy are well aware that Maine citizens can’t afford any more electoral flukes.

That said, a bit of magnanimity from Libby Mitchell, who certainly should’ve bailed out so that Eliot Cutler could ascend his rightful place on the throne, would have prevented the suffering of huge multitudes of people.

It is interesting that, while this logic has not eluded the common folk, it is seldom discussed amongst Maine’s aristocrats. For them, electoral politics is a game (albeit a passionate one) and winning is everything.

Which brings us to our next apocalypse (apparently, you can have more than one): the 2014 governor’s race. Obviously, the two qualified candidates must reach some (public) agreement as to when it’s time for one of them to surrender.

Unlike last time, when throwing in the towel was reserved for after the election, the independent and the Democrat in this race must show a little decency, even though the voters of Maine neither expect nor demand it.

Mr. Michaud, do you understand that the first duty of a leader is to do no harm?

Mr. Cutler, do you have the sand to protect the poor and subjugated of Maine from those who would destroy them, even it inhibits the advancement of your own career?

Citizens, will we endure yet another miscarriage of justice on Fate’s behalf?

We must, somehow, control the egos of our two authentic candidates, or next November, time runs out for a lot of people. Mr. Cutler, Mr. Michaud: we are watching.

Douglas Antreassian


Down East Maine had little to lose from D.C. shutdown

The loss of government jobs, contracts and government-sponsored construction caused by the shutdown hurt Maine badly.

That is, it hurt down south in Portland and Augusta and Bangor.

Up here in Washington County, we have always only gotten the leftover dregs. The good stuff, they were always too greedy to share (e.g., Indian casino, east-west highway, etc.).

As a consequence of years of neglect and avoidance, there is nothing of any consequence to lose up here.

Here, the shutdown was no big deal.

Sometimes it is true, that what comes around goes around.

Hal Goodman



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