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March 21-22 Letters to the Editor

Game ranch positives

Readers of Robert Fisk’s OpEd (BDN, March 13) should be aware that game ranches are several hundred acres in size with the perimeter fenced (at great expense). Many game ranches actually are farming operations that sell meat and breed stock. Offering hunting on the side helps pay the bills. Game ranches employ people and pay sizeable tax bills to the towns they are located in.

The last 20 years have seen a massive decline in the number of dairy and potato farms. This state should embrace nontraditional ideas such as game ranches. Hunters pump money into rural economies. It would also help prevent larger farms from being carved up into smaller parcels.

I do not see any documented proof of any problems with game ranches in Mr. Fisk’s column. It is at best antihunting speculation.

Rather than ban game ranches, the Legislature should increase the number currently allowed.

Jamie Main



Gender positive, negative

The bill proposed by Dennis Damon allowing same-sex marriage would make all laws in Maine gender neutral and is more harmful than helpful. This aspect of the bill is appalling, because gender is one of the largest parts of identity.

Since when is the anatomy of the human body something to be ashamed of? Are we going to wake up one day and find that we can no longer say we are women, men, mothers and fathers?

Look at the important roles mothers and fathers alike play in a child’s development and do not succumb to the level that excludes gender specific language.

Also, men and women both possess unique strengths and weaknesses that benefit society. Louis Markos, an English professor at Houston Baptist University, pointed this out quite clearly when he stated, “Though I celebrate the contributions of professional women, our nation (and churches, and families) are desperately in need of men (yes, males!) who are willing to assert themselves and to take leadership roles, but how can they be expected to do so when everything (including language) encourages them not to.”

The point of saying all this is not to denigrate the modern woman, but to exemplify and epitomize her by recognizing her strengths as well as her weaknesses, without omitting them altogether. Gender specific language is necessary as well as essential for a well-rounded world.

Abigail Wood



We love Smiley

We enjoy Sarah Smiley’s column in the BDN and truly hope she continues to write as long as she is in Maine. Reading her daily experiences is like getting a letter from a dear relative. She is certainly not whining. We love Sarah.

Edgar and Barbara Brown



Australian lobster method

As a midcoast lobsterman, I was dismayed reading the BDN’s March 13 editorial, “Fewer Traps, More Lobster.” No one actually knows how many traps are in the water. Numerous fishermen buy the full complement of tags (800), although fish only a percentage of those. Reasons for this vary: economy, age, and fear of further regulatory cut-backs. The majority’s sentiment is, buy the maximum, fish what you can.

In regard to the 2008 “effort reduction” questionnaire by the Lobster Advisory Council, yes, 56 percent responding were in favor of further trap reductions. However, the sampling represented only 2,381 of the 6,831 licensed lobstermen, which means 4,451 went unheard.

There would have been an industrywide outcry if we knew the purpose of the survey. I recently have completed an article on the Australian lobster industry (see: kellys-stuff.com/lobster). There are currently 395 boats actively fishing in Western Australia; a license costs $15,000 per year; to buy the fishing rights, an “entitlement,” to fish one trap costs $13,000 to $15,000. You need 63 “entitlements” in order to obtain a commercial license. To buy a boat with 100 traps costs approximately $4 million.

Adding further to the dilemma, the fisheries minister has imposed a 50 percent trap reduction, cut days down to four, and set a 16.5 million pound 2009 quota. They also save their whales and were the first industry to obtain certification from the Marine Stewardship Council.

Is this a good course for the Maine lobster industry? I don’t think so.

Jay Pratt



Media marriage proposal

It’s a fact of life that even large newspapers in the United States are dying. And no one has yet figured out how a daily newspaper can make a living financially online. In light of that, I urge the Bangor Daily to consider striking an alliance with Maine Public Broadcasting, which also is facing the financial squeeze of the times.

MPBN has the stunning content; BDN has the up-to-the-minute hard facts.

If they could share talents in substantial ways, even promoting each other, I think it would generate excitement and larger public involvement. OK, it’s a thinking-outside-the-box idea. But doing the same old, same old just might not work.

Robb Cook



Support Obama’s tax plan

Most Republicans and other factions oppose President Obama’s proposed minimal tax increases to the wealthiest U.S. taxpayers. These tax increases are necessary because their revenues will help fund worthy programs, such as medical coverage for all U.S. citizens, education upgrading, and refinement of Medicare and Medicaid coverage. These and other social programs have been underfunded during the past eight years, despite the previous administration’s accumulation of a $4 trillion increase in our long-term debt.

President Obama’s tax proposal rolls back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for the top portion of their earnings. These cuts, however, produce levels that are far below historical levels for the highest tax bracket. The truth is that at the end of Ronald Reagan’s first term, the wealthiest Americans paid on the top portion of their earnings 50 percent of their income. Under Richard Nixon it was 70 percent, and under Dwight Eisenhower it was 91 percent.

President Obama’s tax plan has other benefits. It cuts taxes for 95 percent of working Americans. It closes massive tax loopholes for oil companies, hedge funds, and corporations that outsource U.S. jobs overseas. These tax savings will allow us to invest in the priorities to revive our economy.

I urge the Maine voters to call Sens. Collins’ and Snowe’s offices asking them to support President Obama’s tax proposals.

Rich Stuart


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