I am writing in response to the April 11 editorial on Shipyard Brewery (“Shipyard Brewing and Portland should settle old bill”) and the ongoing sewer rate discussion between Shipyard and the city.

I have known Fred Forsley for a very long time and know him to be as generous and giving as any person I have ever met. I also know him through his business. As an attorney, I have worked with Fred for years. I am not unbiased, and I offer my response from that vantage point.

Shipyard paid the sewer charges that it was billed. A respected, independent counsel has reviewed the historical erroneous billing and not found any type of bad conduct (but, really, that a mistake occurred).

Just like any person who pays his sewer or tax bill (or any other bill, for that matter), Shipyard makes plans based on its costs. In operating its business, Shipyard relied upon the sewer rates that were imposed.

Now that the rates have been corrected, Shipyard pays an extremely high rate, as do other Portland brewers.

As Maine’s largest brewer, Shipyard competes nationally. It goes without saying that there are many cheaper alternatives; however, Shipyard and Fred have made the decision to be in a tight location, paying very high rates, because there is a strong belief in the city of Portland and its people.

We know that Shipyard cannot go back and charge its customers higher prices because of this mistake. Why is it fair to charge Shipyard?

John F. Barnicle



Riverside clubhouse plan merits no further delay


In 1969, I caddied in the inaugural event that celebrated the opening of Riverside Municipal Golf Course’s South Course. Word then was that a nice clubhouse would be built soon. Then the city dropped a little cabin there to serve as a place to check in.

Now, after 43 years, the city finally has a solid plan in place to build a nice clubhouse.

Last week, a letter writer took issue with the experts over exactly where the clubhouse should be built, and then ran through a list of other imagined ills at Riverside (“Portland loses revenue over actions at golf course”).

Where this person sees conspiracy, I see hardworking city employees getting things done on a shoestring, and making Riverside better than it’s ever been.

Please don’t block this plan, or it may be 43 more years before another one comes around.

Will Bartlett



Sen. Collins pays attention to constituent’s concerns


I am disappointed to see another letter in print by Gary Phillips suggesting that Sen. Susan Collins has not been responsive to his concerns, a claim that is simply not true and has been refuted in the past (“Past models of bipartisanship abound,” March 19).

In fact, over the course of four years, Sen. Collins has responded to a dozen of his letters, and members of her staff have spoken with him on numerous occasions. Mr. Phillips even thanked her for her responsiveness.

Sen. Collins’ highest priority is to be responsive to her constituents. In addition, she shares Mr. Phillips’ view that the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision unfairly penalize retired public employees in states like Maine, and working with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and John Kerry, has led efforts to repeal this unfair law. Despite meeting resistance in Congress related to these efforts, she continues to work to overturn this law.

Jen Burita

deputy chief of staff, Office of Sen. Susan Collins



Paper’s Zimmerman arrest coverage displays bias


A problem for the newspaper is the choice to publish the biased Associated Press coverage of the arrest of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin (“Zimmerman accused of 2nd-degree murder,” Page A1).

The article represented the public outrage at the police’s decision not to arrest Zimmerman as “furious”; this suggests that the desire for justice in the case of a black man is irrational, and that only in the case of a white person is such a call for justice logical and understandable.

The article also states that the prosecutor, Angela Corey, resisted public pressure in her decision to charge Zimmerman, whereas it was only through the heroic efforts of Martin’s parents that any attention was paid to this case whatsoever.

The question-and-answer segment accompanying the article also chooses not to mention that the lead investigator in the case wanted to arrest Zimmerman immediately.

Others more acquainted with the particulars in the case could probably point out other lapses in the article; I would expect there to be several, given the problems I point out above.

Cristina Malcolmson



Need for greater security boosts cost of Obama visit


I write in response to readers who noted the street closings that forced businesses to shut down during President Obama’s recent visit. I sympathize with the loss of commerce during these closings, and during any presidential visits. At least Maine is on their radar.

Obama is the target of about 30 potential death threats per day – a sad commentary on our citizenry. Since he took office, assassination threats have increased by 400 percent from the 3,000 a year under President Bush.

Their sworn duty to protect the president and the time spent in pursuit of these perpetrators have increasingly overburdened the Secret Service, which must also contend with the growing number of threats against all government officials.

It seems obvious to attribute this threat increase to the ongoing drumbeat of those who continue to demonize Obama as a socialist, tyrant, secret Muslim (whatever that means); use racially disparaging terms; and suggest that he was ineligible to be president. (And does it not occur to people that a real Muslim would not hold a blues concert at the White House, belt out a blues number or hold an Easter egg roll?)

Dawn Leland