Topless women marching through the streets of Portland? Gals, how can you do such an embarrassing, humiliating, undignified thing and still expect to be loved by a great guy and respected by him and others?

Whatever has happened to common decency, dignity and decorum? The fact that a man can get by with going topless in certain casual settings is in no way the same as a woman doing so.

I hardly think I need to give a lesson in anatomy and hormones. I am mortified to have this story from my beloved state of Maine flooding the news on TV and the Internet all across the country and the world!

Where is your sense of pride and self-respect? You’re leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination of the menfolk.

Therefore, there’s no longer such a thing as a romantic sense of mystery and intrigue when you march along, boobs bouncing and flopping.

It’s not attractive, girls, and the sooner you realize that, the better for all of us!

Rosalie Welch-Johnson

Bangor

As you report (“Marching for right to bare breasts, women faced with sea of cameras,” April 4), a number of women walked down Congress Street without shirts.

And predictably, there were “young men eagerly snapping away with cameras and cell phones.”

If these louts had a little more forbearance, I expect women would feel freer to do as men can do any time.

As it is, these boors are ruining it for the women, for the rest of us and for themselves as well.

Thanks a lot.

William Vaughan, Jr.

Chebeague Island

Outlaw private gun sales without background checks

Every year hundreds of convicted felons, domestic abusers and mentally unfit individuals are allowed to buy handguns in Maine. During the last three years, more than 880 persons failed the federal background check required to buy a gun from a dealer (such as L.L. Bean) in Maine.

With very few exceptions, the only way to fail the test is to come within one of the above three categories.

Yet every one of those who failed the test were eligible to buy the gun of their choice from the hundreds advertised every week in Uncle Henry’s, or otherwise from a “private” seller, with no questions asked and often no written record of the sale.

The Press Herald recently reported the resistance of many private gun sellers to a new state program encouraging voluntary background checks by private sellers. (The state program is based on the assumption that no responsible gun owner would want to sell his gun to a convicted felon, domestic abuser or mentally unfit buyer, nor would a responsible seller simply take the word of the buyer that he was just fine).

One gun seller repeated the tired slogan of the NRA that the state should just enforce existing law rather than making new laws.

But wait – that’s what a background check does. It simply enforces existing law that prohibits convicted felons, domestic abusers and mentally unfit persons from buying a gun!

And given the easy availability of any weapon through Uncle Henry’s with no background check requirement, the argument that background checks don’t work is sort of like arguing that a prison with all but one door locked proves that locks don’t work.

Finally, a recent poll of Maine voters showed that by more than 10-1, they favored requiring background checks for all handguns sold at gun shows.

Maine voters want sensible gun laws, and a system that requires background checks for some gun sales but not for all just doesn’t make sense, and doesn’t protect Maine residents from gun violence.

Ted Walworth

Lewiston

City’s spending creates some critical responses

I want answers! The city of Portland is cutting back on city services, including snow removal. What about the money it saved from this past winter?

And an increase in spending? What in God’s name is it building on Stroudwater Street again? City workers placed eight wooden 4x4s that took them eight hours to do? This was our taxpayer dollars at work?

And the city leaves the Fitzpatrick Stadium lights on till the wee hours of the morning. The School Board, the minute they heard more state funding was available? Yep, you guessed it! They didn’t stick to their original plans either.

I don’t get it; either Portland taxpayers are all wealthy people, or the officials don’t care. My advice is that we start a tax revolt in the city.

Limit spending and get rid of the entire governing body at City Hall.

Time and time again citizens vote the same flunkies into these positions and don’t care what they do, never mind all the phony campaign promises they make.

Times are tough, and our elected officials couldn’t care less. I’ve said it before, they should hide their heads in shame and go in the back door when collecting checks for the useless work they do for this city.

Frank Teras

Portland

My father used to talk about the loss of the nickel candy bar, always saying that the more the cost increased, the smaller the candy bar became.

Here in Portland we are seeing higher taxes and less service every year. So where does it end?

Politicians always tell us how hard they are working to avoid increases. The article on the Portland budget process on April 3 is a classic example of the sleight of hand too frequently employed.

We are told that tax increases will be held to a minimum by increasing the cost of our pretty blue trash bags.

If the large bags currently costing $1 each increase by 50 cents to $1.50 each, that amounts to a 50 percent increase?

Of course, the good news here is that everyone needs to buy them, so at least it isn’t all laid on the property owner.

Our city manager says that in these economic times we all must sacrifice. While I certainly applaud the reduction of administrators, will he or other city employees be taking any benefit or wage freezes or cuts?

I am not able to go to my employer to levy a higher wage to help offset the increase of costs that the city imposes whenever it increases taxes or fees. The opposite is true, as many employers, citing these same rising costs, are freezing or decreasing wages.

Frozen wages combined with higher taxes and service fees multiply the overall impact of these difficult economic times.

John Bennett

Portland