If you had done any math for your front-page article (“From caught to bought, all about lobster economics,” Aug. 12), you would have discovered that 1 pound of lobster in the shell does not equal one lobster roll price, but since you did not do the math, I have done it for you:

I buy lobsters from my local lobsterman. I pay him more than $3 a pound for new-shell lobster.

One hundred pounds of new-shell lobster ($325) yields about 15 pounds of lobster meat ($22 a pound), not including labor.

Dealers of lobster meat are charging $24 a pound, for a gross profit of $2 a pound, not including labor.

Restaurants typically put $8 to $10 worth of lobster meat in each roll, not including the labor of making the roll.

So, for a $16 lobster roll, the restaurant’s cost of goods is almost 50 percent, which is extremely high and does not include labor.

There is a reason that lobster rolls, with picked lobster, dressed, in a toasted bun and served, cost $15 or more.

Lobsters may be inexpensive, but labor is still not cheap. Only by picking my own lobster meat can I even afford to sell my lobster rolls for $11.99.

I would have expected a local paper to be more realistic about the true cost of lobster rolls, not the shoddy piece that you printed.

Pete Leavitt

Leavitt & Sons Deli


Recession, not high taxes, small firms’ big roadblock

Opponents of equitable taxation often claim that raising rates slightly on wealthier Americans to pay down national debt and restore valuable public investments would somehow hurt small business and prevent job creation.

Well, as an owner of one of those job-creating small businesses, I have an important message for my “defenders”: The idea that taxes are preventing us from hiring is nonsense. Nothing in the tax code is keeping us from taking on employees; what’s holding us back is a lack of consumer demand.

It’s the recession that’s been brutal on small business, not current or anticipated tax rates.

Between 2006 and 2010, our retail sales fell sharply. My husband and I haven’t taken real salaries out of the business in years.

The reason is clear: Our area was hard hit by the real estate collapse, and the tourism industry on which so many of our neighbors rely was flattened by the ensuing economic downturn.

What could put some money back into our potential customers’ pockets and restore our local economy? One way is to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than a quarter million dollars a year — which means 98 percent of all households.

Another is to use the revenue raised by letting the high-income tax cuts expire not only to pay down debt but also to make smart, targeted investments in our communities and people.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will have a central role to play when this tax issue is debated in Congress at the end of the year.

Will they stand with the middle class and ask the most fortunate among us to pay a little more to restore our national credit and prosperity? I certainly hope so. Maine’s hard-pressed small businesses will be watching.

Pamela Edwards


Tax assessment system perpetuates major inequity

On July 31, residents of the city of Saco rejected the school budget and authorized exploration of withdrawal from Regional School Union 23.

Seems that the 18 percent increase in property taxes in Saco took its toll.

As a resident of Saco, I was as shocked as anyone when I saw my $700-plus increase in the mail. I don’t pretend to know the answer to the tax problem, but something has got to give.

One thing that puzzles me is why there is no uproar about why there is reliance on property taxes because of the inequity of it.

No matter how good your municipal assessor is at his or her job, there is no way for them to produce equitable assessments.

I reviewed five sales in Saco from the past year, and their assessment ratios (assessment divided by sales price) varied from 78 percent to 109 percent. That means some people pay way too much, and others way too little.

The system for obtaining equity through an appeal is deeply flawed in my experience, so there is no real way to ensure equity through property tax assessments.

I know that there are flaws in the income tax system and resistance to reliance on it for taxes, but I think it is a far better system for equitable results and progressive taxation than property taxation.

I also recognize the problem with leaving out-of-state owners out of the loop without property taxes.

How about a flat tax on property, and more emphasis on the income tax?

I know, I know. It’s more complicated than that, and what do I know about it anyway?

George Koutalakis


Earth’s problems remain after Mars mission succeeds

If we can send a rover to Mars, execute a near-perfect landing and gather all sorts of important information, why then can’t we figure out a way to capture or absorb excess water on our planet, clean it and ship it to where it is needed?  

Just curious.

Susan Ferrante


Obama’s attitude takes away from achievers’ triumphs

I certainly hope the American Olympic medalists are not feeling too proud about their “accomplishments”!

They didn’t win those medals by themselves! They had a coach or even coaches who helped them perfect their skills. They used the bridges and roads to get to practice each day. They used all the wonderful infrastructure of America that the government provides to gain their medals.

They did not work harder or smarter than the other athletes; those others worked just as hard and smart as they did. So let neither them nor us celebrate their medals too much. The whole country is responsible for their success.

Is my logic twisted? Am I talking nonsense? President Obama does not think so.

Gerald Caruso