September 11, 2013

Letters to the editor: Higgins Beach not critical plover site

Can the federal and state unelected fish and wildlife officials ever stop wasting money?

click image to enlarge

An adult piping plover stays close by a nesting chick. There's no reason to have officials patrolling Maine beaches that, like Higgins, don't have a history of producing fledgling plovers, a reader says.

Photo by Amanda Reed/Maine Audubon

The most recent Maine Audubon report ("2012 Piping Plover and Least Tern Project Report for Maine," February 2013) is a poignant reminder that government officials are wholly unable to stop spending our money.

The report clearly states that Higgins Beach has produced three fledgling piping plovers in the last five years. The 2012 season produced zero fledglings, and I have been told that the 2013 season also produced zero.

You may say it is because they need better rules, but understand the bigger picture statewide.

Eleven of 26 monitored beaches have also produced zero fledglings in the last two years. In fact, 11 of 26 sites (42 percent!) have produced zero fledglings in the last five years.

A government agency whose job it is to advocate in the interest of their specialty will never say, "Stop, enough is enough." That is the job of responsible local authorities and the voters who foot the bill.

There are 11 productive sites in Maine, and there the conditions are paying off. Those sites alone account for 251 fledglings, or 93 percent of all the piping plover fledglings raised in Maine in the last five years. (All the statistics can be found on Page 26 of February's Audubon report.)

Now, where is the common-sense voice advocating reducing our expenses by removing the federal and state agents from our remaining 15 long-term unproductive beaches?

Leave those beaches like Higgins to the responsible enjoyment of the local citizens. Why are we spending any energy and our tax money in this doomed effort?

If Scarborough is threatened with a lawsuit because of a leash law, I say, "Enough is enough." Zero birds at 11 beaches statewide is not because of the need for a leash law at Higgins Beach.

Stop the madness and get rid of the waste and make the known productive spots the best they can be.

David Stahelski

Higgins Beach

Scarborough

Offering all kids free meals eases stigma, paperwork

I just have one question regarding news I watched out of Boston.

Why can Boston offer free school lunches to all kids but Maine can't? They decided to do it this way to get rid of all the paperwork and not stigmatize kids who can't afford to buy lunches.

We in Maine could do this to make the kids more comfortable and not get bullied for getting free lunch.

If Gov. LePage can send lobster packages to other governors, why can't we take care of the kids?

June Watson

Westbrook

Criticism of strike in Syria not a 'free pass' for Assad

Every good debater knows that if you can set the terms of the debate and frame the question, you improve your chance of winning the debate.

Barney Frank is nothing if not a good debater. So, in his Sunday column ("U.S. should punish Assad but limit its intervention," Sept. 8), he writes: "I have mixed emotions about the fact that a majority of the American people are apparently opposed to any retaliation against President Assad of Syria for his undeniable use of chemical weapons to kill so many of his people."

By framing the issue this way, he implies that the American people are opposed to any action that would punish Assad and that his responsibility for the chemical weapons attack is "undeniable."

Contrary to Frank, I do not believe that Americans who oppose unilateral military action at this moment are ready to look the other way and give Assad a free pass. Instead, I believe they know better than many of their representatives that military action, no matter how "limited," has many unknown consequences and a poor record of success.

(Continued on page 2)

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