A recent incident on Peaks Island highlights many of the reasons that it would be unwise to reduce the number of Portland police officers on duty there.

On April 13, at 12:24 a.m., two police officers were summoned to a home because a man was cutting himself with a knife. The man was potentially suicidal and was later found to be intoxicated and under the influence of prescription drugs.

According to the officers, they arrived at the home at 12:28, 4 minutes after the call was dispatched. The officers encountered the blood-covered man on the steps of the home. He had several cuts on one of his arms.

The man did not comply with the officers’ several requests to take his hands from his pockets so the officers could ensure he was not concealing the knife he harmed himself with.

He approached the officers and struck one of them in the head with his arm. The officers secured the man and restrained him. He was then transported to the mainland, after waiting 28 minutes for the fireboat to arrive at Peaks Island.

The point of the story is that the minimally appropriate number of officers responded to this life-threatening call 4 minutes after being dispatched. If one officer had to wait 28 minutes for the fireboat to arrive with a second officer, the outcome could have been greatly different.

They handled the serious threat professionally and without injury to themselves or anyone else. Will this be possible if the city cuts half of the police officers from Peaks Island? I would not bet my life on it.

Why should we ask the residents of Peaks Island or our island officers to take that risk with their lives?

Eric Nevins

Secretary, Portland Police Benevolent Association

Portland

Richardson funding fiasco proves public financing’s value

John Richardson’s leaving his gubernatorial bid emphatically proves that to get Clean Election funds is no walk in the park.

Richardson has as long a track record and is as connected as anyone in political circles and state government. If he could not qualify for Clean Election funds, that’s a pretty high bar. The Clean Election Act goes a long way in keeping our election process free of the influence of big money. It also allows those in state government to be a reflection of the people of Maine.

Unlike some candidates, most Mainers cannot self-finance a gubernatorial campaign, and find the pursuit-of-donations routine repugnant. It also proves that Clean Election qualifying is a good initial test of how much support by Maine people a candidate actually has.

While Richardson could contest the findings, he did not and bowed out, respecting the decision of the ethics commission staff. All of this is clearly a testament to how well the Clean Election system works and how rigorously its ethical standards are applied. Clean elections is truly an issue for which Maine leads.

If there is one thing that current events more than prove, it is that for congressional elections, the country should follow.

Michael Shaughnessy

Windham

I’m not saying that this is what happened to John Richardson, but any candidate’s campaign can be derailed by dirty tricks.

Workers pretending to be helpful can join up and do things that are prohibited and cause major problems for the candidate. It’s impossible for a candidate to personally monitor all the volunteers helping out. the time anything is resolved the election is over. What can be done to prevent this sort of thing from happening?

Janice Doctor

South Portland

Live animal acts disgrace to circus and humanity 

As I opened the online edition of the newspaper this morning, an ad for the upcoming circus popped up.

I find the ad disturbing and offensive. It’s even more disturbing to be directed to the website promoting the circus, which is clearly geared toward children. Wild animals do not belong in circuses. They belong in their natural habitat. What values do we teach our children when we promote a show that uses captive wild animals to perform silly tricks?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to teach children respect for the animals, teach them about the various natural habitats and preserve those habitats so the children can be ecotourists one day and see the animals they way they should live?

Instead, we capture the animals and put them in cages. What educational value does a unnatural circus act, where a tiger or lion jumps through rings or something, provide to children or adults?

I appeal to the editors and journalists to reject ad revenue and stop promoting animal circuses. There are circuses that do not use animals. They are very popular and do come to Maine!

Christina Perkins

Orland

Saltwater registry good for state and resource 

A broad coalition of recreational and commercial fishermen, environmental groups, business owners, state natural resource experts and dedicated legislators worked together to pass a key bill, LD 1432, An Act to Create a Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry.

The bill will increase understanding of fish stocks and provide some much-needed funding to the Department of Marine Resources to help it restore sea-run fish such as alewives and shad.

Most recreational saltwater fishing in Maine is for striped bass, and these fish don’t come for the scenery. Mostly they come for alewives.

To get more alewives, and more stripers, requires information and funding. The new law will help by establishing a saltwater fishing registry to provide better catch data, along with funding for important fisheries programs.

This new law would never have passed without the great work of members of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, who showed up day after day to talk with legislators about the importance of restoring alewives and the need to fund these efforts.

The Maine Association of Charterboat Captains also deserves credit for its lobbying and willingness to pay a significant fee for new state licenses. DMR staff worked tirelessly for this bill, as did a number of key legislators. Sen. Dennis Damon and Rep. Leila Percy, who chair the Marine Resources Committee, deserve special recognition for their leadership. Many thanks to all.

Nick Bennett

Staff scientist, Natural Resources Council of Maine

Hallowell