Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Re: "Trees standing in way of boatyard proposal" (March 25):
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.
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.
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.
For years I have seen a doctor at 25 June St., Sanford, a building owned by Goodall Hospital. Only a bill from the doctor was received.
Last June, some doctors left the area and a letter from Goodall Hospital stated there was a new division: Goodall Health Partners Sanford Internal Medicine. Doctors will be under these names at 25 June St., Sanford.
I saw a doctor listed under Goodall Health Partners. I received two bills, one from the doctor and one from the hospital. This was questioned, and I was told this is correct. The two bills will be used for doctors under Sanford Internal Medicine.
This will increase the cost of health care! This is two bills to Medicare, two bills to backup insurance, two bills to me, and I'll write two checks to pay any balance!
Who benefits from this duplication of paperwork? Is this being done at other health care locations?
Sequester erodes freedoms that make America great
When political people propose to develop some defense program -- military hardware or additional forces or roles -- they often seek comments from high-profile veterans.
It is natural that most former service members have positive memories from their service years. We tend to support measures to make our forces more effective and more safe.
It is probably expected that veterans looking at the recent "sequester" law in the federal government hope to see that the military continue to get its hefty share of the national budget. To some extent, we do.
Veterans are not monolithic in their views. Of the things that unite veterans, however, it is mostly our faith in the American system.
Broadly, we believe that we and all Americans hold to the basic values in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. We feel strongly that such a nation is very much worth fighting for. But we do not agree that our military strength alone makes us a strong country.
Rather, it is the very freedoms we enjoy and the hope of forging a better way for America -- and by example for the world -- that make the United States of America special. Should we harm by neglect through an intentionally harsh "sequester" of funds from programs for Americans in great need, while other programs that might do with less continue with scarcely a ripple of the water?
Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins have recognized that we should press for a rational budget. I think most veterans want that, too.
The things we fought for are too precious to fall on the sword of partisan selfishness. Maine should again set a strong example by our appeals to our congressional representatives to fight for a bipartisan budget.