Can the federal and state unelected fish and wildlife officials ever stop wasting money?

The most recent Maine Audubon report (“2012 Piping Plover and Least Tern Project Report for Maine,” February 2013) is a poignant reminder that government officials are wholly unable to stop spending our money.

The report clearly states that Higgins Beach has produced three fledgling piping plovers in the last five years. The 2012 season produced zero fledglings, and I have been told that the 2013 season also produced zero.

You may say it is because they need better rules, but understand the bigger picture statewide.

Eleven of 26 monitored beaches have also produced zero fledglings in the last two years. In fact, 11 of 26 sites (42 percent!) have produced zero fledglings in the last five years.

A government agency whose job it is to advocate in the interest of their specialty will never say, “Stop, enough is enough.” That is the job of responsible local authorities and the voters who foot the bill.

There are 11 productive sites in Maine, and there the conditions are paying off. Those sites alone account for 251 fledglings, or 93 percent of all the piping plover fledglings raised in Maine in the last five years. (All the statistics can be found on Page 26 of February’s Audubon report.)

Now, where is the common-sense voice advocating reducing our expenses by removing the federal and state agents from our remaining 15 long-term unproductive beaches?

Leave those beaches like Higgins to the responsible enjoyment of the local citizens. Why are we spending any energy and our tax money in this doomed effort?

If Scarborough is threatened with a lawsuit because of a leash law, I say, “Enough is enough.” Zero birds at 11 beaches statewide is not because of the need for a leash law at Higgins Beach.

Stop the madness and get rid of the waste and make the known productive spots the best they can be.

David Stahelski

Higgins Beach

Scarborough

Offering all kids free meals eases stigma, paperwork

I just have one question regarding news I watched out of Boston.

Why can Boston offer free school lunches to all kids but Maine can’t? They decided to do it this way to get rid of all the paperwork and not stigmatize kids who can’t afford to buy lunches.

We in Maine could do this to make the kids more comfortable and not get bullied for getting free lunch.

If Gov. LePage can send lobster packages to other governors, why can’t we take care of the kids?

June Watson

Westbrook

Criticism of strike in Syria not a ‘free pass’ for Assad

Every good debater knows that if you can set the terms of the debate and frame the question, you improve your chance of winning the debate.

Barney Frank is nothing if not a good debater. So, in his Sunday column (“U.S. should punish Assad but limit its intervention,” Sept. 8), he writes: “I have mixed emotions about the fact that a majority of the American people are apparently opposed to any retaliation against President Assad of Syria for his undeniable use of chemical weapons to kill so many of his people.”

By framing the issue this way, he implies that the American people are opposed to any action that would punish Assad and that his responsibility for the chemical weapons attack is “undeniable.”

Contrary to Frank, I do not believe that Americans who oppose unilateral military action at this moment are ready to look the other way and give Assad a free pass. Instead, I believe they know better than many of their representatives that military action, no matter how “limited,” has many unknown consequences and a poor record of success.

Instead of rushing to strike, we should give the evidence, including the U.N. inspectors’ report, full airing at the United Nations. Public presentation of evidence would force those defending Assad, including Russia, to rebut the evidence, which Frank thinks is “undeniable.”

Why are we in such a hurry to “retaliate” unilaterally? I recall that even after 9/11, George W. Bush took months to build a strong coalition for war.

A few weeks’ pause for deliberation will make no difference militarily because Assad has already taken measures to protect his forces and assets from a U.S. missile strike. But waiting might pay big dividends in building a consensus for nonmilitary punishment that could move toward a peaceful resolution of this horrible conflict.

Harold McWilliams

Gorham

Inaction in gassing’s wake would encourage brutality

The international community established a legal and ethical framework under the aegis of the United Nations to guard against overt acts of violence against populations using chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction.

Countries of the world are obligated to adhere to punitive rules of law to protect all segments of the diverse world populations from sins against humanity. The Western nations and Russia went to war against the Nazi regime in World War II in order to stop the widespread plundering and slaughter of millions of innocent civilians.

We are now faced with the awful specter of the use of chemical weapons upon the Syrian people by their own leader, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The pictures that we saw of more than 1,400 men, women and children murdered by poison gas should be enough for all of us to agree that halting this insanity going on in Syria needs to be done right now.

By using the limited military intervention that President Obama has outlined, we will send a strong and necessary signal around the world to other rogue leaders that such terrible weapons will absolutely not be tolerated.

I am stunned by the silence and tepid response of many in the world community to this worldwide tragedy. Hesitation and doubt over what to do will be a historic black mark against all of us if nothing is done.

It will give leaders who wish to control populations by force and brutality unhampered leeway to do whatever they decide to do without consequence.

Everyone who cares about living the good life should consider the reality that this same Syrian massacre could happen where they live. Now is not the time to turn away from the hard decision of doing what is right and just for all people.

John Oser

Parsonsfield