November 25, 2012

Letters to the editor: Marriage story takes limited view

I was recently interviewed and my photo appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram's lead story on Nov. 11, titled "Hearing the ka-ching of gay wedding bells."

click image to enlarge

Emilie Sommer, a wedding photographer interviewed for a recent story about the impact of the passage of Question 1 on the wedding industry in Maine, says that the story and its headline reduced “our genuine joy” over the referendum’s approval “down to dollars and cents.”

2012 File Photo/Gregory Rec

I own and operate a wedding photography studio in Cumberland Foreside and have been in business since 2003.

When I received the telephone call to participate in the article, I was thrilled, as I have long been a supporter of same-sex marriage in Maine and was moved to tears when watching the returns come in, realizing that the Question 1 referendum had passed.

These sentiments and more were shared with Avery Yale Kamila, your reporter, who I adore and have had the chance to work with on several occasions.

I am a small-business owner, yes, but more than anything, the wedding business is about people first. Ours is about documenting the intimate intricacies between couples and families, unscripted moments and our beautiful landscape as the backdrop for these celebrations.

Never in a million years would I "bank on the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maine to provide a boost" to my business. Our business is thriving, and we are proud to live and work in this community.

I wish this article had shed more light on the collective excitement and support the wedding industry in Maine shares for this landmark legislation, instead of stripping our genuine joy down to dollars and cents. The tone and headline of this article were tacky and severely lacking a necessary and important human interest element.

Emilie Sommer

owner, emilie inc. photography

Cumberland Foreside

At mass meeting, citizens, officials to focus on change

Worried that nothing has changed in Congress? Take a look at No Labels, a movement of more than 500,000 Democrats, Republicans and independents who want our leaders to work together.

In December 2011, No Labels unveiled a 12-step plan to make Congress work.

One step was "No Budget, No Pay" legislation that has been introduced and is making its way through the House and Senate.

An equally important step is filibuster reform. Since the 2010 elections, a senator has only had to threaten a filibuster to keep a piece of legislation from making it to the floor to be discussed. The new Congress could change the rules to forbid this in January 2013.

No Labels is hosting a meeting on Jan. 14 in New York, to bring together 1,000 citizens, innovative leaders and elected officials to talk about solutions to our nation's big problems. They will announce two nationally known figures, a Republican and a Democrat, as leaders of the movement, as well as a Problem-Solvers Bloc of congressmen and congresswomen who have agreed to work together.

We need to support U.S. senators and representatives who have the courage to admit that if we want to keep the United States from becoming a fiscal basket case, we must both raise significant revenue and control entitlements. Not to do so is to jeopardize our prosperity and security and that of our children.

Consider joining us in New York. Why? Because a large gathering of citizens concerned enough to spend the time and money to travel in order to express dissatisfaction with a dysfunctional Congress will get the attention of politicians.

To learn more about the New York City meeting and to sign up, check out www.meetforamerica.com and www.nolabels.org.

Priscilla Markley

Winthrop

Collins' editorial points up problem with biased press

I found it very interesting, not to mention satisfying, to read Sen. Susan Collins' editorial in the paper Nov. 18 ("Another View: Sen. Collins: Editorial wrong on my position on tax increases").

Stories that feature unbiased reporting on issues facing this country are seldom seen in this newspaper. As she wrote, "This paper blindly continues to depict Republicans as stubborn obstructionists." It should be noted that there are obstructionists in both parties.

This is a crucial time for those in Congress to reach some important agreements. Is it also a crucial time for newspapers to take a fairer approach in reporting the news?

The written word, as opposed to hearing something that we so easily forget -- and usually remember only what we want to hear -- is vitally important to this country. We can read and re-read the written word and make a judgment. However, we must have the benefit of reading the opposing views on an issue, or we are left to judge on inaccurate information.

I applaud Sen. Collins for taking her valuable time to write this editorial, and thank the newspaper for printing it.

Alice Leighton

Portland

Teen's writings on WWII inspiring topic for Nemitz

I subscribe to the Maine Sunday Telegram, but not because of all the ads and coupons. They are recycled each week. Nor is it the local news, because I get enough of that in the local daily Kennebec Journal. I look forward each week to Bill Nemitz's "positive" story.

There never seem to be enough happenings that provide a pleasant, humorous or enlightening tale. Bill certainly has the capacity to find them and share them with his dedicated readers. And I consider myself one of them!

The Morgan Rielly story in the Nov. 11 edition ("Teen keeps WWII veterans' memories alive") reveals the 16-year-old young man's interest in people who served their country in times of need.

"Neighborhood Heroes" is the result of his research and writings, which capture an aspect of history that we might never know. Morgan did what he wanted to do, and as a result many of us will know more about Maine and the people who gave years of their lives to protect the world.

Rielly deserves recognition for his interest in history and preserving it. Thanks, too, to Bill Nemitz for telling us.

The Sunday Nemitz stories always add flavor to the morning coffee!

Katy Perry

Hallowell

New commenting policy hinders exchange of ideas

As one of the four-fifths of online commenters who did not subscribe to Facebook previously, I protest the Portland Press Herald's new policy requiring anyone who posts to be a member of Facebook now.

As a rule, I don't use cartoon words like "tweet" and "Twitter," probably because I am in an age bracket that is older than some (and possibly most) PPH commenters and am therefore somewhat less bedazzled by the latest electronic devices that purport to enhance communication.

Most of the older people I know feel as I do about the erosion of privacy in everyday life and do what they can to safeguard their own, which is why almost none of them is on Facebook.

The decision to require them to join it now or be silenced means forums will no longer have the views of many of us who've been around for a while. That's unfortunate and frankly unfair, since it very likely omits or considerably reduces a vital element of the conversation.The rationale for the policy is to make comments more civil, but that overlooks the long and honorable tradition of submitting an opinion under a pen name.

Prior to the current electronic age, if a written comment was libelous or egregiously offensive, it simply wasn't published, serving the same purpose basically as online mediation does today. Comments that are not civil can still be edited or suppressed without the author surrendering his privacy.

The result of the PPH's policy is a reduction in online comments that are not nearly as lively or provocative as in the past. Not everyone who contributes is civil or substantive, but when voices are suppressed, democracy itself suffers, and the result is a closed public forum instead of an open one.

Dan Loprieno

Bristol

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