What a good idea the state of Maine has come up with this time. Now the state has decided to make a lottery for the elver/eeling fishery (“Four licenses and 5,200 applicants for Maine elvers,” Feb. 14). Which one will be next?

I and others have been commercial fishermen all our lives. 

We have been paying taxes and buying commercial fishing licenses in Maine and putting up with the increases in fees every time they wanted more money and did not want to officially raise taxes.

Some of us pay thousands of dollars to obtain the many licenses needed to make a living in a year. Sometimes we can’t afford all the licenses we need, so we have to make choices on the ones most valuable for us in a specific year — never thinking we would then lose licenses forever if we skipped a year on just any one.  

This, because the state’s Department of Marine Resources only lets you know of the loss after, not before, with this excuse: “When the fishery can handle it, you can then get back your license.”

This has led to a lottery system instead and opens the fisheries to anyone, not just to fishermen who have fished all their lives. 

Fishermen depend on being able to fish from fishery to fishery to make fishing work and to make their livelihood and, therefore, to be able to pay their fees and taxes.

To be fair, then, why don’t we make all state jobs a lottery system also? 

It cost $27 to get into the elver/eel lottery that gave you a chance to be a commercial fisherman. What would lottery tickets be worth for the governor’s job and for the jobs of his Cabinet members? How about for other state jobs? 

We could hold a lottery once a year for all the state’s jobs. This would more than likely do away with taxes, as money would roll in when the state jobs board was posted. 

What the jobs were paying could be run on the news channels to ensure lots of public participation.

Then maybe career commercial fishermen would be considered as having a real job, like state job holders are! 

Dale Witham


Writer in no position to urge candor from permit holders

Regarding the editorial “Our View: State should not seal concealed-carry records” (Feb. 20): I would think that the person who writes “your” editorials wouldn’t mind signing his name to them.

Oh, and while he’s at it, how about his address and phone number?

I mean, after all, if concealed-carry permit holders should have their feet held to the flame, why not the same for Press Herald editorial writers?

Apparently, the Press Herald misses the point. When the public is allowed to have access to this information, you risk burglaries at their home to get guns, along with everything else they can lug away. So let’s be fair.

News media people are notorious for letting the cat out of the bag when it comes to releasing privileged information anonymously.

Don’t preach the First Amendment to me, either, because if it weren’t for the Second Amendment, there wouldn’t be the First!

So if the Press Herald writer doesn’t have the brass to sign his editorials, he should pack it up and leave.

Richard A. Aspinall Sr.


To support women and girls, reauthorize anti-violence law

One Billion Rising, an international Valentine’s Day campaign, will be remembered as a unifying force to end the epidemic of sexualized violence worldwide.

An estimated one in three women will be sexually assaulted by an intimate partner over the course of her lifetime, and approximately 1 billion women worldwide are abused by a man each year.

Yet, despite the pervasiveness of this violence, rarely do we collectively bear witness and take responsive action.

On Feb. 14, millions of people around the world rallied and danced, demanding an end to discrimination and violence against women and girls.

In Delhi, Hong Kong, Paris, New York, London and thousands of small towns in between, feet stomped and voices rose.

In Portland, a flash mob, rally and march gave way to hours of testimony from victims, advocates and change makers about the essential need to end violence against women — today.

The intersection of joyful dancing “reclaiming of our right to freedom from violence” — along with an extensive speak-out about the horror of experiencing violence — reminded us of the significance of sexual violence in individuals’ lives and the resilience of the human spirit.

Most of us are not perpetrators of violence. How do we support the girls and women in our lives, nation and world?  

The Violence Against Women Act funds victim services and prevention and education programs, yet reauthorization has stalled in Congress, potentially eliminating vital services.  

In January, Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King showed leadership and supported reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the Senate. The bill is expected to have a tough fight in the House.  

Raising our collective voices to ensure adequate support for basic services is a small effort that can yield a great gain.

Drew Wing

executive director, Boys to Men


Altered benefits calculation would take toll on veterans

A little-understood proposal to cut federal spending would demand sacrifice from our nation’s veterans, including those with severe disabilities and elderly survivors of World War II.

The proposal, known as the chained Consumer Price Index, is touted by some in Washington as a more accurate way to compute cost-of-living adjustments to federal benefits than the current inflation index.

Unfortunately, that’s not true for older Americans, including many veterans and people with disabilities, whose hard-earned benefits would no longer keep up with inflation if this proposal takes effect.

Even more troubling, permanent adjustments to the cost-of-living index take a bigger bite over time. The effect would be a stealthy and growing benefit cut for the rest of a veteran’s life.

In Maine, we have approximately 133,000 veterans.

If the chained CPI proposal goes through, collectively, Maine veterans will lose almost $95 million in benefits over the next decade. Reductions would build up for Social Security benefits, which millions of veterans nationwide depend on.

Under a chained CPI, a retiree who lives to age 92 would actually lose a month’s worth of benefits each year.

Budget decisions should be fair, and promises should be kept. Reducing the cost-of-living adjustment by shifting to an improper formula falls short on both counts.

AARP, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and more than a dozen other veterans’ organizations oppose the chained CPI.

A chained CPI is out of touch with our daily lives. Let’s keep it out of the law.

Dick Eustis

Old Town

Tribute to skating pond gets its astronomy wrong

In “Maine Observer: Winter’s chill reveals pond’s perfection” (Feb. 17), the writer claimed that from a particular spot on Chebeague Island, one could witness the natural marvel of the rising waning moon in the east while the sun set beautifully in the west. 

Ummm, that description may sound lovely, but it just ain’t so. The only waning moon in the east occurs after the second quarter (full moon) when the sun is already well down. In fact, the only time the waning moon is at half (third quarter) is when the sun is approaching the eastern sky to rise. 

This basic (and obvious to anyone who is observant of such matters) error makes me doubt the authenticity of any other details in the account. 

Sorry to call that out, but a fact’s a fact, and astronomy is not poetry (unless you’re Walt Whitman or Robert Frost, but they would have gotten the details right).

Robert L. Petrillo