July 26, 2013

Letters to the editor: Step up effort toward nuclear reduction

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A woman prays Aug. 9, 2008, in front of the Statue of Peace, hours ahead of a ceremony to mark the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. Maine voters must contact congressional delegation members about heeding President Obama’s recent call for further nuclear stockpile cuts, a reader says.

2008 File Photo/The Associated Press

Frank Teras

Portland

Hydroelectric dams' removal could hurt our environment

Regarding the removal of the Veazie dam, I grew up in Winterport, a town on the Penobscot below Bangor, and am somewhat familiar with the river.

It is interesting to note that in the 1980s, at a time when salmon fishing was thriving, all the dams were in place and the pollution load on the river was much higher than today.

We need to apply an objective standard when such action as the removal of working hydroelectric dams is being considered. How many megawatts of much-needed power have been lost to dam removal, and how much oil or coal is burned to replace that power, contributing to global climate change?

I hope the cost to our state and economy is justified, and we do not discover later that other factors such as unregulated fishing on the high seas are the major contributors to the destruction of the salmon fishery.

Michael Cuddy

Falmouth

Planned Parenthood clinic protests major safety issue

I have been greeting patients for several months on a volunteer basis at Planned Parenthood on Congress Street.

In that time, I have seen young women intimidated, harassed and badgered with abusive language at terrifying volumes as they have passed through the throngs of protesters who claim the sidewalk in front of the clinic every Friday and Saturday morning.

Sometimes the patients scream back at them to mind their own business. More often, they roll their eyes and pass them off as crazy. Occasionally, they cry. That's the worst.

In addition to feeling sorry for patients who may already be vulnerable and facing extremely difficult decisions, I fear for the safety of our volunteers and innocent bystanders.

The photographs on the protesters' signs upset parents, which has many times led to heated arguments about the signs not being fit for children's eyes. Some parents have even threatened violence if the signs aren't gone when they pass by the next time.

Other pedestrians tell the protesters that they should be ashamed and that they have no right to judge anyone else for their own private health care decisions. Some stick around for lengthy debates, which clogs the sidewalk and blocks pedestrian traffic.

Simply put, having protesters so close to the front door of the clinic is a disaster waiting to happen.

That's why Planned Parenthood needs a sidewalk buffer zone. The volatility that I witness every week presents a safety issue for many of Portland's residents and visitors. I sincerely hope that I'm never exposed to violence outside the clinic. Creating a buffer zone would be excellent insurance against that horrible fate.

Marian Starkey

South Portland

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