April 3, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Local job creator faces undue obstacles

Re: "Trees standing in way of boatyard proposal" (March 25):

click image to enlarge

Portland Yacht Services owner Phineas Sprague shows a section of the Portland waterfront where he hopes to build a boatyard. A law protecting trees along the shore shouldn’t apply to the growth on this parcel, a reader says.

2013 File Photo / John Patriquin


In 2010, Gov. Paul LePage ran on a platform of pro-business, anti-regulation and revitalized economic development.

Yet here we are in 2013, and Phineas Sprague Jr. can't move forward on his planned boatyard development because small trees and scrub-brush have overgrown the rubble on the underutilized properties of west Commercial Street. How is that for progress, Gov. LePage?

And what a kick in the teeth for Mr. Sprague, who was the first to champion the development of container shipping services to and from Portland with his personal investment in Container Ocean Express in 1979.

The city and state did little to help him then and, as it appears, little to help him now, as he tries to move his boatyard operation to make room for a logical site to encourage potential cold storage and other shipping-related development.

Cold storage development will come to the waterfront eventually. It's a very costly investment up front but also very profitable when designed and sited to take full advantage of all existing and potential business opportunities. This could and should be a local venture.

It will be interesting to see if local development efforts to grow new business along with the expanded shipping services at Portland are stonewalled as the "red carpet" is laid out for outside developers once again.

It's time to encourage local business development and job creation in Maine and stop the flow of profits out of state.

G.E. Torrey


Gunmakers answer to NRA, public misconception aside

The narrative runs that the National Rifle Association is controlled by gun and ammunition manufacturers. Yes, those companies are promoted in NRA magazines, but this narrative viewpoint has the facts backward.

In 1994, when the Clinton administration pushed for an assault weapons ban, companies like Springfield, Mass.-based Smith & Wesson found it politically convenient to be on the side of promoting the ban. They were afraid of new regulations.

I was a director at the Agawam Revolver Club in Southwick, Mass., affiliated with the NRA. Our club and others boycotted Smith & Wesson, bringing the company close to bankruptcy.

Firearms manufacturers remain neutral regarding background checks. Their products are sold as new and are always subject to federal checks on purchasers. Proposed background checks will address private sales and loopholes that are currently outside the reach of authorities. Straw purchases get extra penalties under these proposals. Magazines are restricted.

District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago are recent landmark Supreme Court cases defining the Second Amendment to the Constitution as an operative individual right, prompting hundreds of thousands of assault-type weapons to be purchased.

Control advocates jumped on their bandwagon, pushing back against libertarian promotion of firearms ownership. One man's reasonableness is another man's treason. A tornado of lawsuits will be spawned in the friction among government entities, gun control advocates and firearms lovers.

My narrative is that the gun control bandwagon will be derailed in the U.S. Senate and its wheels will be detached by the U.S. House of Representatives. Guns are ubiquitous.

Bob Bertrand

Old Orchard Beach

Duplication of paperwork will boost health care costs


Articles keep appearing about health insurance and the cost of health care, but they have not mentioned the duplication of bills for an office visit to a doctor. Read on.

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