As many Mainers are aware by now, the report Monday of a sexual assault by a group of African-American men on the Back Cove walking trail in Portland has been proven to be false.

False reports, particularly those targeting a particular group, in this case African-American men, are damaging to everyone in our community and reinforce long-standing myths regarding both the threat posed by men of color and sexual assault. In fact:

Most sexual assaults are perpetrated by a single unarmed individual who is of the same race as the victim.

False reporting in sexual assault cases is rare, occurring at the same low rate as other crimes (around 5 percent) and generally only in cases involving strangers.

More than 85 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone known to the victim (an acquaintance, partner, spouse or other family member).

Let’s use this incident as an opportunity to learn more about the real risks of interpersonal violence and to work to prevent such violence by speaking out, taking action, and offering support to the true victims of these crimes.

Clara Porter

Program Director and Coordinator of Interpersonal Violence Prevention

University of Southern Maine

Portland

 

If marijuana were legal, all pressure would be off

 

Regarding your July 21 editorial (“Let’s hear the bid for medical marijuana”), not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in need, but adult recreational use should be regulated.

Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don’t ID for age, but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the drug problem is no solution. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking.

For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn’t fight crime; it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This “gateway” is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.

 

Vote on jobless funding gets thumbs down and up

 

What a disappointment. I really had come to believe that our two senators were different. I thought that they were serious about controlling spending.

How naive. Talk about being snookered. The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the extension of unemployment benefits.

Finally America had an issue that both parties agreed on. Democrats and Republicans agreed that unemployment benefits should be extended.

They disagreed on the funding. Democrats were content to tack on an additional $30 billion to the federal deficit. Republicans wanted to reallocate $30 billion from the $300 billion in unspent stimulus funds.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins cast their votes to tack $30 billion on to the ridiculously out-of-control federal deficit. I’ll cast my vote for their opponents the next time they run in Republican primaries.

Scott McLeod

Falmouth

 

Once again, our senators have done the right thing for the people of Maine by supporting the extension of long-term unemployment benefits. They have represented the interests of the voters of Maine who sent them to Washington rather than the ideologues of their own party.

They are certain to be called “RINOs” — Republicans in name only — again, as they have been before. In the July 22 Press Herald, a letter writer describes them not only as “RINOs,” but as “twisted” and (truly over-the-top) “traitors” for supporting financial reform legislation.

Then they got slammed (and the people of Maine along with them) by two letter-writers from out of state.

Our senators are independent thinkers, who try very hard to represent a moderate state, with more independent voters than either Republicans or Democrats. And we vote them in because we support results, not ideological purity.

I hope they consider being called “RINOs” a compliment to their independence, and keep on doing what they are doing!

Virginia Boehm Worthen

Westbrook

Shawn Moody has all the right stuff to be governor

 

When I first heard that Shawn Moody was running for Maine’s governor as an independent, frankly I wondered if he had the vision and experience for the job. What did the owner of a collision-repair business know about leading Maine?

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with Shawn, his family and co-workers. I’ve learned that Shawn started his business when he was 17 years old and still a senior at Gorham High School.

Shawn’s one-man body shop is now the largest auto-collision repair business in New England with five locations and a team of dedicated co-workers/co-owners who take care of more than 7,000 customers each year.

Moody’s is rated in the top 1 percent of 40,000 shops across the country. Shawn has received recognition at the local, state and national levels. In 2003, Moody won the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Business. In 2008, he was recognized for being an industry environmental leader.

That’s impressive, for sure, but what’s really meaningful is Shawn Moody’s dedication to the people around him.

In 2003, he gave 34 percent of his company to his co-workers under the auspices of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

He’s been married to his wife, Chris, for 23 years, and together they have raised four great kids.

I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about the guy. Still, is that enough to be an effective governor?

I believe it is. Shawn Moody is an honest, responsible businessman who is passionate about Maine and who intends to use his clear-headed vision and business savvy to revitalize our state’s economic, educational and environmental climate.

I, for one, will vote for Shawn Moody on Nov. 2, and I encourage people to go to www.moodygov.com to learn more about this real independent candidate for governor.

Dede Perkins

Gorham