November 26, 2013

Letters to the editor: Don’t let Scarborough dog leash law stand, voters

At its Oct. 2 meeting, the Scarborough Town Council transformed the issue of piping plovers and beach access into one of abusive conduct of the public’s business. This was local government at its worst.

click image to enlarge

An adult piping plover stands close by a nesting chick. A Scarborough law to protect the birds overreaches, a reader says.

Amanda Reed/Maine Audubon

Without prior discussion or opportunity for public input, the council enacted a leash law that was far more restrictive than any previously proposed.

The ordinance requires all dogs to be leashed at all times, all year on all town property, including fields, parks and beaches. It is essentially impossible for a dog to chase a ball on public property in Scarborough.

While the ordinance itself is overly restrictive, the method by which it was enacted was a clear breach of the public trust. Scarborough voters – regardless of their position on the merits of the ordinance – now have an opportunity to undo the council’s arrogant and unreasonable action.

As the result of a grass-roots petition drive, a special referendum will be held Dec. 3 to attempt to overturn the deviously enacted ordinance.

For this repeal effort to succeed, nearly 2,400 votes must be cast in the special referendum – a high hurdle, especially at this busy time of year.

Fortunately, early voting is available at Scarborough Town Hall every weekday until the election date of Dec. 3. I urge all fair-minded Scarborough citizens to vote “no” today to overturn the Town Council’s irresponsible action.

Stephen Hanly

Scarborough

Debate on tar sands oil had some positive effects

The tar sands oil issue seemed to have split South Portland’s residents and the City Council into confused and sparring camps. Some people feared that friendships and neighborly relationships would be permanently damaged, no matter how the election turned out.

Yet what also came out of the campaigns for and against the ordinance is a more educated electorate that clearly understands why it doesn’t want the specter of tar sands oil looming over our community. This point, we all ultimately united upon.

Our council members have set aside their differences to dedicate their efforts to protecting the health of all our citizens and the surrounding communities.

When members of the City Council met Nov. 18 to discuss a moratorium to temporarily halt the possible development of infrastructure to bring tar sands oil to South Portland, they passed the first reading of the moratorium!

They are to be congratulated for their responsiveness to the desires of the citizens they represent and for the example they are setting for all of us in rebuilding torn relationships as we all work for and support a successful effort to keep our community safe, healthy and tar sands-free.

Linden Thigpen

South Portland

Appeal to Christians: Love your lesbian neighbors, too

I’ve never written to the editor before, but being a lesbian Christian, I found Frank Novotny’s remarks personally offensive and in need of a reply (“Letters to the editor: Congressman’s disclosure not really sign of progress,” Nov. 10).

Saying this, I also understand that many conservative Christians agree with Mr. Novotny.

I’ve been a born-again, believing Christian for more than 50 years, initially through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and its sister organization, Nurses Christian Fellowship.

I tried for many years to deny my true identity, even entering counseling to become “straight.” When it became apparent to me that this was not working, I thought I could be a lesbian and be celibate. This worked for several years.

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