And so it ends. The “occupiers” have succumbed to time, and time is always in favor of the rich and powerful, who own the law and the enforcers of the law. The citizens who align themselves with the law live in fear that they might become the disfavored and in hope that they might feast on the cake crumbs falling from the mouths of the mighty.

The almost invisible denizens of abject poverty and homelessness are once again relegated to Oxford and Preble streets, their equally invisible supporters disappearing into normalcy. How comforting to the many whose highest hope is to make it through another day.

History, bound up with time, has never been kind to the poor, the disenfranchised, nor the unremembered masses whose labors have brought our society to this uncrossable divide between the “haves” and “have-nots.” Soon, this season’s cries for social justice will be replaced by the sounds of passing traffic, dogs barking, and the pleasant chatter of the children who will play in the parks until their day of division arrives, and it most certainly will.

Change will never, has never, come about as a result of a favorable court ruling, a knuckling under by the disgruntled, a cleaning up of rubbish by riffraff. Change will come when the streets are filled with the oppressed, the wounded, the unforgiven, those who are willing to lay down their lives for a new and lasting justice, the lifting up of the hopeless by the hopeful.

William Hobbs

Falmouth

David Hench reported on Superior Court Judge Thomas Warren’s ruling (“Occupiers can’t camp overnight, judge rules,” Feb. 2), citing city ordinances, that Occupy Maine protesters camped out in Lincoln Park needed to clean up the park and leave. Others would like to use the park, too. The Occupy protest lasted from October, with the City Council, through Portland’s city manager, having acquiesced to occupiers’ free speech rights.

Last year, tea party protesters paid up front for their permits and agreed to all the city ordinances, including a limited time frame. We paid for our own security and sanitation. We weren’t allowed a popcorn machine, let alone a kitchen/campground.

There is a statue of Lady Justice in the chambers of the Portland City Council. She is peeking out from under her blindfold, ensuring that the scale on the left is weighted with favoritism.

Bob Bertrand

Old Orchard Beach

I read with interest the (Feb. 2) story about the judge ruling the occupiers can’t camp overnight in Lincoln Park. I certainly support and empathize with a lot of what the protesters are trying to do. However, they are forgetting one important thing about a person’s rights: “Your rights end where my rights begin.”

For example, a person who likes to take a pleasant walk with his dog through a public park on a nice winter day has a right to do just that any time they wish when the park is open. However, that wasn’t possible with a group of people camping in that public park. The tents and clutter presented an eyesore and the pseudo-protesters presented a public nuisance.

In my opinion, the judge was doing his job – trying to protect everyone’s rights. The protesters can still protest, as is their constitutional right. The dog walker can still walk his dog without tripping over tent stakes and the items that accumulate when one has been camping for a while.

We all need to be reminded, from time to time, that all of our rights come with the responsibility to respect everyone else’s rights. We should also remember and thank all the military personnel for protecting those rights which we all cherish so dearly.

Steven C. Pomelow

Gorham

Brewery’s sewer bill error was an honest mistake

Ten months ago, the city of Portland and the Portland Water District made Shipyard Brewing Co. aware a sewer billing error had been made. Until that time, we had no reason to believe we hadn’t been billed correctly. We’ve paid every bill presented to us and all bills seemed reasonable and correct.

We believe the city of Portland and the Portland Water District made an honest mistake and we are committed to working with them to bring this to closure.

We also strongly believe that mistake has not led to higher rates for other customers.

Commercial water users like Shipyard actually help keep rates down for everyone. Our high level of water usage ultimately offsets operating costs of the water district, effectively helping prevent increases.

We also invest significant capital in infrastructure that plays a vital role in keeping rates from rising.

For example, in 2006 Shipyard paid for the separation of sewer and storm water lines on our property. That investment is critical to the city to reduce the amount of water that goes into the sewage treatment facility and has poised the area for future storm water separation.

That investment also led to the extension of Hancock Street and the development of two new major taxpayers, the Marriott Residence Inn and Ocean Gateway garage, neither of which could have been built without the line separation.

Shipyard has always been committed to recycling and green technologies and we’re working with a local environmental engineering firm to pursue additional efficiencies in water conservation.

In two years, we’ll celebrate 20 years of business in Portland. I’m extremely proud to be part of this community and of the work our 90 employees do every day.

Fred Forsley

president, Shipyard Brewing Co.

Portland

The city of Portland and Shipyard Brewery will work out the sewer bill. Publishing letters that cast aspersions on the character of Fred Forsley and imply that the management of Shipyard has been disingenuous or that the city has somehow colluded is nothing short of muckraking. People need to wait for the facts before jumping to conclusions, and newspapers should not gin up stories by publishing pure speculation.

Shipyard Brewery is an integral part of Portland and a force behind the city’s renewal. Shipyard employs people, pays $100,000 in real estate taxes, puts $4 million into the local economy and millions more into the Maine economy. It has helped make Portland one of the top 25 brewery towns in the world. Over 15 years, there are few charities it has not donated to. The list goes on.

Shipyard Brewery has proved it is a good corporate citizen and I have not encountered a better advocate for Portland than Fred Forsley.

Dan Steele

Portland

 


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