June 25, 2013

Letters to the editor: Falmouth parent's views rankle readers

I am writing in response to the front-page article June 14, "Prosecuted Falmouth parent: We were targeted because we're rich." My first reaction was one of anger and disbelief that rich people from Falmouth could be so crass.

click image to enlarge

Paula and Barry Spencer of Falmouth were accused of letting dozens of teens drink during a party at their home. Readers criticize Paula Spencer for saying that her family would not have been singled out for community disapproval “if we lived in a trailer park and didn’t have a cent to our name.”

2013 File Photo/Carl D. Walsh

I am a substance abuse counselor in a residential treatment program at a correctional facility. Our program helps inmates deal with their substance abuse issues and provides them with skills on how to live clean and sober lives and leave their criminal lifestyle behind.

The process of recovery involves taking responsibility. The article I read stated that Paula Spencer doesn't believe that apologizing requires taking all the responsibility.

Life has consequences. Yes, we all make mistakes, but Barry and Paula Spencer are adults! It was their responsibility to either maintain control, or, when things got out of control, to ask for help.

The article quoted Paula Spencer as saying, "Mistakes were made by the children, too. They brought alcohol." In our program, that is called "minimizing."

I would also like to add that I have worked with low-income, often homeless people who probably live in trailer parks, and frankly, "we're rich" sounds an awful lot like "so we're better than you are."

Did the Spencers stop to consider that perhaps these folks lost a job or maybe their homes due to unfortunate circumstances? That does not make them "less than."

In closing, I would like to say that alcohol and drug use transcends all socioeconomic lines. So does ignorance.

Linda A. Walz

licensed alcohol and drug counselor

Westbrook

Regarding "Prosecuted Falmouth parent: We were targeted because we're rich" (June 14):

I was shocked at the quote by Paula Spencer on the front page of the paper: "If we lived in a trailer park and didn't have a cent to our name, it would not stir up that kind of anger and resentment."

Shame on her for using the old and degrading stereotype of people who chose to live in manufactured-housing communities as less valuable than her and her husband, who live in Falmouth.

I'm quite sure Paula and Barry Spencer have never set foot in a manufactured-housing community. Perhaps they should visit Hillcrest in Scarborough so they wouldn't sound so ignorant and arrogant when trying to justify their actions.

We should congratulate the police and the legal system for not discriminating in favor of the "rich" in the enforcement of our laws.

We should also not tolerate the denigration of people who choose to live in a community that is different than the Spencers'. Not worse, not better, just different. Or is it really that different?

It's time to end all discrimination, including the discrimination against people who live in manufactured-housing communities. The stereotypical "trailer park" has been gone for a long time.

Theresa Desfosses

Scarborough

Youths will 'drop' baggy pants if adults don them

I read the article June 13 about the saggy pants in Wildwood, N.J. ("Town cracks down on saggy pants").

I have a much easier solution. As a barber, I saw the change in the '70s with the issue of long hair with the younger generation.

It abruptly stopped when men over 30 -- lawyers, doctors and businesspeople -- started wearing their hair down over their ears and even longer. Within a short period, the young people switched to short haircuts -- flat tops and buzz cuts. Problem solved.

We older people just need to temporarily adopt saggy pants, and this style of dress will die a natural death.

Bern Cook

Portland

Legislature takes wise step to protect lobster industry

A bill in the Legislature would have jeopardized one of Maine's most successful industries, coast and economy. L.D. 1549, An Act To Provide an Exemption for Incidentally Caught Lobsters, would have removed the penalty for Maine groundfishermen who land offshore lobster bycatch. This bill recently died in the House of Representatives.

The reason this bill didn't pass is simple: Lobster dragging depletes the lobster population inshore and harms a $1 billion industry that supports 7,000 jobs.

Current federal law allows groundfishermen to land up to 500 lobsters as bycatch. States following this law have lost their inshore lobster facilities because they allow offshore lobster dragging. Maine is the only state in New England that has a thriving lobster industry because of what we have done to protect it.

We put measures in place a century ago when we were facing the same problems that this bill would have caused. It took two decades to put in place the current regulations and another two decades to see the results.

While many species targeted by groundfishermen are diminishing, allowing them to land lobster as bycatch was not the answer.

We can help them by supporting the $3.5 million bond to purchase groundfish quota, by investing in processing and freezing technology to be competitive and by working with the federal government to bring other states in line with our sustainable fishing practices.

I'm thankful that the Legislature is protecting this valuable industry.

Rep. Mick Devin

D-Newcastle

Teens' essays give visitor hope for country's future

Congratulations on the excellent article "Essayists hope to leave a mark" (June 16).

After seeing so many young people with nose, cheek and eyebrow rings, tattoos and baseball caps on backward, it is very reassuring to read such wonderful essays by graduating high school seniors. It reinforced my faith that we are still producing the kind of citizens who have a vision of putting "service above self."

We will need a lot like them to keep our nation on track in the years ahead.

Aloha,

Ken Bailey

visitor to Maine

Kailua, Hawaii

 

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