March 21, 2013

Letters to the editor
New fee will add to lobstermen's woes

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.

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The Maine Lobstermen’s Association didn’t speak for the majority of fishermen when it agreed to support a new surcharge on licenses, a lobsterman says. The new fee will be used to pay for increased state efforts to market the crustacean.

2012 File Photo/Shawn Patrick Ouellette

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,
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.

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