A recent article (“Maine lobster industry supports new fee,” March 6) is incorrect. The article states that the majority of lobstermen are in favor of L.D. 486 and L.D.182, requiring lobstermen to pay 74 percent of the Lobster Promotion Council’s budget increase. They are not.

The increase, from $300,000 to $4 million per year, would be paid by forced surcharges to lobstermen’s licenses. A license will not be issued if the surcharges are not paid. Once the license is lost, it cannot be gotten back. The lobsterman’s livelihood is ended.

I do not know a business group that would support being forced by the government to purchase commercial advertising and promotional products that are not a public health or safety issue, especially if noncompliance terminated your profession.

The government here is taking the stance that if your profession is licensed, your “right” to work is a privilege that can be denied.

The 74 percent promotions surcharge is for restaurants and seafood dealers’ markets, from which they benefit directly. Supposedly, lobstermen will benefit from trickle-down higher prices paid to us by the then-newly benevolent, price-fixing dealers. Fat chance.

I spoke against these bills in Augusta, and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association spoke for them. This does not mean that the majority of lobstermen are for them, as the MLA does not represent that majority. The MLA is a newspaper, like this one, that sells advertising space. Follow the money.

The Lobster Promotion Council has gotten almost yearly increases from 10 to 50 cents per trap per year. This 500 percent increase has garnered us the lowest prices paid in almost 20 years.

These embedded politicos are now lobbying for $4 million per year permanently (until they ask for more). It won’t be the first time the Maine Legislature has done something untoward for a special interest group. Please contact the Marine Resources Committee, co-chaired by Sen. Chris Johnson, to stop these bills.

Nelson King,
lobsterman
East Boothbay

Second Amendment ensures means to fight bigoted mobs

I was shocked by Dennis Bailey’s opinion (“Maine Voices: How the gun-rights crowd gets the Second Amendment wrong,” March 1).

Bailey uses pre-revolution confiscations and loyalty tests, imposed by the British and colonies, as precedent for modern gun-control laws. A more careful review will show that these events are exactly the type of thing the Second Amendment is intended to prevent.

I can only hope Bailey was attempting sarcasm or irony in the seventh paragraph. If he is sincerely attempting to use measures from the Jim Crow era and other discriminatory laws to justify gun control, we have no option but to question his morality and motive.

I hope such laws have been overruled or otherwise made obsolete. How many lynchings might have been prevented if these unconstitutional laws had never existed?

While I certainly hope it never again happens in my lifetime, jackboots, brownshirts and white hoods tend to travel in packs and be full of mob-driven adrenaline.

We like to believe that a bully will turn and run as soon as you stand up to him. This is not always the case. Under stress, with more than one assailant, it may require more than 10 rounds to discourage aggression.

I do believe in sensible gun control, but we need to more clearly define what exactly is “sensible.”

The extremists on the control side are fond of pointing out that citizens do not need a gun that is derived from a military weapon. To carry this to its logical conclusion, flintlock muskets are descended from “Brown Bess.”

Some on the gun-rights side fear that the current administration will take our guns and become a tyranny. Unlikely as this is, those who believe it are less delusional than those who think that no government will ever become corrupt.

Ernest Pike
Casco

Regulating gun ownership is our constitutional right

I feel that I must reply to the editorial from Peter Howe regarding the interpretation of the Constitution in general and the Second Amendment in particular (“Another View: Supporter of licensing gun owners contradicts U.S. Constitution,” March 2).

There is no part of the Constitution, nor amendments, that are inviolable, nor did the Framers have that intent; that is the specific reason for Article V, The Amendment Process.

Further, there has never been any right, enumerated or not, that has been held to be absolute, as even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has admitted.

Congress and states have every right, indeed even a responsibility, under the Constitution to regulate gun ownership and licensing.

The first duty of any democratic government is to protect the individual rights of all citizens, but an integral part of that duty is to provide for public safety and security and, if a majority agrees, gun regulation and licensing can be part of that protection.

Mark MacLeod
Ogunquit

Tar sands pipeline backers out of touch with area needs

I attended the pipeline workshop in South Portland on March 11 (“Portland-area residents: No tar sands pipeline,” March 12).

I was very impressed by the many knowledgeable local people who spoke against permitting the company to introduce tar sands. But the CEO of the pipeline company tried to lay responsibility for the pipeline workers’ jobs on the shoulders of the South Portland City Council.

What he should be doing is moving the company toward products or services that in the long run will be good for the planet and the people of Maine and Canada. That would also be good for his workers.

Another advocate for the company reported that every state in the middle of the country has approved the Keystone XL pipeline.

I know what the countryside looks like in places like Kansas and South Dakota. It is just dirt, little water and few trees, and the wildlife is a few birds and some field mice. The damage from a spill in Maine would be totally different, a much bigger disaster.

Mike Woods
South Portland