I was dismayed by Ruth Marcus’ column “TSA’s airport screenings done for our own good” (Nov. 24). The choice between an irradiated strip search or a genital grope is not much of a choice.

It is most certainly a violation of our Fourth Amendment right “to be secure in (our) persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Beyond the obvious constitutional violation, these searches merely protect us from last year’s threat. Last month’s attempt to bomb two planes involved packages in the cargo hold. Annually, only 20 percent of the 9 billion pounds of incoming foreign air cargo is screened.

The TSA should devote more time and resources to closing this gap and forgo their current policy of invasive and low-yield passenger screenings.

Ingrid Mjelstad Sherrill



Your article on security at Portland’s airport leaves me confused. I can understand that they have not yet installed the new and expensive full-body scanners.

So my assumption was that everyone was getting the new full-body pat-down. Obviously I shouldn’t assume! Why on earth are passengers not getting patted down?

Have we forgotten so soon that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers may have boarded their planes at Portland because they thought security here was not as thorough as at Boston? How soon we forget!

Judith Stoy



There’s a problem with the recent change in TSA screenings, but the body scans and pat-downs are only half the problem. It’s equally disturbing to hear those people who are OK with forfeiting their privacy rights while touting the notion “as long as it keeps us safe.”

Since when has safety at all cost trumped freedom? If it was up to these sheep-types, we never would have had an America in the first place – we’d still be obeying the king of England.

Well, guess what? This increasingly bloated and intrusive federal government is quickly becoming our new king. These recent pat-downs and body scans are not going to bring a significant increase in the level of security and if we give up our liberties for security, we soon will have neither.

Pretending that everyone is a potential terrorist threat is ridiculous. It is another example of political correctness winning over common sense. Those who have committed terrorist acts around the world have given us clues as to who they are – they have embraced their deeds and want credit for them.

Call it profiling if you will, but let’s not be afraid of offending a few in order to provide actual safety to the whole.

Bob Olivadoti



Defending Portland’s maligned art installation

 As an outsider to Portland, I only get to see “Tracing the Fore” occasionally. I saw it early, when the grasses were not established. I saw it later, when it was still having grass issues.

I saw it last weekend, and it is lovely! The grass swirls in textured contrast to the stark steel of the waves. The rhythm of the grass texture is reflected in the sharp choppy line of the wave ridges.

It is transporting and truly a work for the 21st century! The piece is especially dramatic with Pandora Lacasse’s wonderful lights casting colorful reflections along the surfaces.

I hope the city will reconsider, preserve the art and decide to spend its precious dollars elsewhere. Art is most powerful when it makes people think and feel and react and converse. This is a dramatic modern piece, and the committee that approved it was daring. Thank you!

Jean Noon



Voters backed candidates who backed gay marriage

 On Election Day, 56 percent of Maine voters cast their ballots for candidates who actively and vocally supported marriage equality for same-sex couples.

That number moves up to 61 percent if you include Shawn Moody, whose stance on the issue was murky, though the Portland Phoenix identified him as a supporter in its pre-election candidate questionnaire.

Gov.-elect Paul LePage spoke frequently on the campaign trail about making Maine a better place to do business.

In his first public appearance after his victory, he pledged to put “people before politics.”

Allowing loving, committed same-sex couples to marry would be very much in keeping with these philosophies. A study from the Williams Institute at UCLA showed that marriage equality could produce $8 million a year in new state revenue, and $60 million in new business for Maine businesses.

A born-and-raised Mainer, I recently moved back to Maine after going to college out of state. I am gay and I hope to have the opportunity to marry the person I love, so that I can have a family here in the state I love.

Gov.-elect LePage’s first responsibility will be to focus on Maine’s economic and financial crises. I hope that as he addresses these, and every other issue that comes before him, he heeds his own advice to put “people before politics.”

Ian Grady



St. Lawrence Church should include parking

 As a former member of St. Lawrence Church who attended it since childhood, I read with interest about the potential rebuilding.

One of the reasons for the church’s demise was the lack of off-street parking. The church tried to purchase several buildings with the idea of tearing them down to create parking, which was not looked on favorably by the neighborhood.

Our wedding in 1982 was the last big event in the spectacular sanctuary with sloping amphitheater-style seating. (Very unusual for a New England church).

My dad, who is 88, spent his whole life patching falling plaster and plugging leaks in this building, which never should have been built in this climate. The new design should rectify these problems, which plagued the facility since it was built.

Ron Johnson

South Portland