This surfer largely disagrees with the proposed Scarborough Beach parking expansion, even if it means repeated long walks to reach the beach’s end (Jan. 7, “Park operator seeks more Scarborough Beach parking” by Emma Bouthillette).

The plan is an insult to the residents abutting the farmland and dunes and disregards the key reason so many people love Jordan’s Beach: the relative emptiness of the north end, which is available to everyone that walks there. Development here would eliminate this solitude for all.

Dune and wildlife preservation is crucial. Any changes to coastline can have unintended consequences. Dune disruption can quickly allow coastal re-shaping.

This portion of the beach is home to federally endangered piping plovers and more human traffic will not increase their chances. Food concessions create further hazards to plover habitat; food scraps and trash attract invasive predators.

Between the dunes and fields, a secluded pond offers sanctuary for waterfowl, songbirds, and other species. This pond and marsh likely qualify as having “special significance;” if so, they are protected under Maine’s Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA).

Likewise, any potential dune alteration and effects to plover “tidal waterfowl wader” habitat will be reviewed under NRPA.

The expansion proposal is a commercial venture being cast as a benefit to beach-goers. What form the development may take is a major concern.

The current parking model turned once-picturesque Massacre Pond into an offensive eyesore with chain-link fencing and gates with restrictive swipe-cards.

Is space at the other lot so deficient that we will risk losing this spot’s wonderful character and wildlife for more parking?

I support free access to all oceanfront, but this is not the appropriate place for hundreds more cars and people, and all that entails.

Paul Cunningham

South Portland

Before the town of Scarborough allows for this parking expansion at Scarborough Beach, there will be numerous challenges to overcome.

While state and federal environmental regulations and other legalities may be satisfied, I have one particular practical question: What happens when the beach decides to recede so there’s no more dry area at high tide?

Over 15 years of witnessing that beach I have seen several occasions where the ocean reached the dunes at high tide for months at a time.

I can’t stop thinking of the beach-goer, paying at the gate and walking down the walkway, only to have to jump off the last plank into the swirling water.

Jen Joaquin

South Portland

I would like to publicly thank the chair of the Scarborough Town Council, Judith Roy, for the way she handled the Jan. 5 public hearing on parking at Higgins Beach.

The measures she took to restrain the continued unsubstantiated vilification of the Surfrider Foundation as well as the sweeping accusations against Maine’s reputable surf community were noticed and very much appreciated.

It showed the concerted effort that the council as a whole is making to sift through the prejudice of a small group of people to uncover the true facets of this complex issue.

Janice Parente


People need warnings about cell phone cautions

State Rep. Andrea Boland, D-Sanford, introduced the Children’s Wireless Protection Act last winter, which would have placed warning labels on cell phones.

Experts from around the world testified in favor of Boland’s bill, including Dr. Devra Davis, the author of the new book “Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done To Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family.” Scientists, doctors, and nurses were all supporters for the bill.

On June 15, 2010, San Francisco passed a right-to-know ordinance, making it the first city in the nation to require cell phone radiation disclosure at the point of sale. On June 30, 2010, Ohio’s U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced his intent to introduce a bill to grant a consumer’s right-to-know by providing warning labels on cell phones.

After being diagnosed with a brain tumor myself, I learned that cell phone manuals come with warnings that are being buried in fine print, which nobody reads. I sure didn’t.

I was shocked to learn that the manual of the BlackBerry Torch warns, “Keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 in. from your body, including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers.”

I was happy to learn that Portland’s mayor, Nicholas Mavodones Jr., declared October as Cell Phone Awareness Month. To learn more information about safer cell phone use, go to Campaign For Safer Cell Phones on the web. Please protect yourself and your family

Stuart Cobb


Draft women as soldiers? It’s a very bad idea indeed

A fellow complained in a letter (Dec. 28) that women in the United States are exempt from the military draft. He argued this is a “great injustice perpetrated by politically correct cowards (in Congress?) who are afraid of losing votes.”

The writer insists that just because some women take jobs with police departments and volunteer for military service — and particularly because Israel and some other countries draft their women — we “should mandate that the sexist and unjustifiable exemption of women be corrected as soon as possible.”

But men and women really do differ from each other. They think differently; they have different strengths, weaknesses and interests.

They complement rather than compete with each other. Women are not just smaller, physically weaker versions of men, and should not be treated as such.

Mandate? Why do something so ungentlemanly — and so unnecessary? After all, didn’t we essentially fight two wars simultaneously during 1941-1945, drawing 12 million in military manpower from a population less than half its present size? And we did so without conscripting women (those who served were volunteers).

No, I’m more inclined to agree with Mark Twain: “What, sir, would the people of the earth be without women? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce. Then let us cherish her, let us protect her, let us give her our support, our encouragement, our sympathy, ourselves — if we get a chance.”

And also, let us not draft women.

Paul S. Bachorik



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