Waterfront pier owners are pressuring the City Council to throw open Portland’s working waterfront zoning to more shops, offices and restaurants, and to consider allowing more condos on the piers. The pier owners say their present mix of upscale and marine businesses isn’t profitable enough to pay for pier maintenance.

These piers belong to these owners, yes, but they also belong to us because the waterfront is a public resource that city leaders need to preserve as part of the public trust.

For 400 years, this especially deep, natural harbor has provided: good jobs; national and international trade, including export of Maine products; fresh seafood; protection during wars; important transportation links; and the beloved source of our name and character – Portland.

If privately owned piers need upgrades, and buildings need tenants, and slips need dredging as all waterfronts do, and if pier owners cannot afford it, the answer is not to throw open the zoning to upscale uses that will out-compete authentic water-dependent uses that require a waterfront location.

The answer is public-private cooperation in such initiatives as tax relief, bond issues, marketing campaigns and pulling in federal, state and local money for infrastructure improvements.

That was the long-term vision of the working waterfront referendum that Portlanders passed overwhelmingly only 23 years ago.

I think their children and grandchildren would vote the same way today, but the City Council doesn’t need another referendum to reveal the wisdom of working with owners to preserve our valuable access to the sea. It is their job, and I’m sure they don’t want to be the council to take the port out of Portland.

Karen Sanford

South Portland

Where’s the outrage for those here legally?

Eight million, 20 million, 25 million. Whatever the number, how can our federal government and so many Americans so readily accept people who are criminally in this country while Dean and Laura Franks, who have played by the rules and our laws, and contributed so much to our Maine community, are forced to shutter a thriving a business, lay off their employees and then leave their home and the U.S.?

Sounds like U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree has been ineffective, but apparently she has tried. Where are Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins?

Where is the outrage to match that of people who are demonstrating against Arizona for trying to fix a problem? Where are the courts that have required states to educate and provide health care to those who do not have a U.S. visa? Something is badly out of balance in our country.

John and Rilla Harrell

Yarmouth

Letters criticizing senators draw their own rebukes

I understand your right to print letters sent to you from out of state and perhaps our need to see what the “tea party folks” from afar think of Mainers, but still it was depressing to read Wednesday’s letter from Illinois saying we should “secede from the union and form our own communist state.”

Just because the writer doesn’t agree with a vote our senators made, he wishes a “pox fall upon the whole state” and our “forests are infested with beetles and towns overrun with rats.” It was sad to read such hatred aimed at us.

On the other hand, I’m sure most Mainers share my sentiment that we wish only the best for all of our fellow Americans, including those from Illinois, regardless on how they or their senators vote.

Biff Higgison

Brunswick

I read with amusement the two letters from residents of other states decrying the way our senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, cast their votes. I assume both of these diatribes were printed to elicit responses. Well, here you go:

People who believe that lawmakers must adhere rigidly to a party ideology and would rather see the government shut down than have their party compromise do not believe in democracy.

It is unfortunate that the followers of the institution that was once the Party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and yes, even Ronald Reagan have sunk so low. A pox on those unwilling or unable to handle living in a democratic system is what I say.

BJ Nicholson

Cape Elizabeth

Are you kidding me? We don’t have enough opinions in this state we have to publish opinions from out-of-staters.

If these people want to change the politics of our state, maybe they should move here and vote. My advice to them would be stay in the broken states from where they come.

I would possibly be willing to take comments from New Hampshire, maybe even Massachusetts. But South Carolina? Illinois?

Really! Your editors should be ashamed of themselves. Mainers are intelligent and sometimes opinionated but fairly level-headed. And although I don’t always agree with them. I think our senators do a fairly good job given the state of politics in this country. What you published has no place in your paper.

Leave the foolishness to Fox News and Glenn Beck.

Ron Benner

North Yarmouth

Dodd-Frank reform seems to defy logic

Financial reform — hardly. The biggest part of the struggling U.S. economy is the sub-prime mortgage market. The biggest part of the sub-prime mortgage mess is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., are the chief architects of the reckless policies starting in 2006 that allowed Fannie and Freddie to guarantee so many high risk mortgages.

The actual name of the new legislation is the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It is 2,300 pages with over 500 new regulations and no mention of reforming Fannie/Freddie.

I don’t know which is more insane, that Dodd and Frank write the rules that create the problem and then create more government to “fix” the problem, or that our Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, voted for this.

David Jones

Gorham