2013-10-25 / Letters

Fire union is misinformed

To the editor:

On Oct. 15 I attended a press conference called by union members of the South Portland Fire Department. Their serious concerns about their future ability to respond to fires and EMT emergencies were all based upon economist Charles Lawton’s report based on a hypothetical question of the impact if all the operators of oil terminals and the pipeline were to shut down their businesses, which the working waterfront group has expanded to all businesses being shut down.

Our men and women firefighters are honest, hardworking, life risking, protectors of our community; it is very sad that they have been brainwashed by the Working Waterfront group into believing the Lawton projection of economic collapse as reality. Firstly, we all should know that changes in zoning laws, such as adopting the Waterfront Protection Ordinance, do not and cannot close down existing businesses. Existing businesses have the legal right to continue operating, they are grandfathered when zoning laws change. The Waterfront Protection Ordinance can’t stop any businesses from continuing doing their businesses and it won’t stop oil companies from maintaining or repairing their equipment and it certainly won’t stop the city of South Portland from collecting the taxes that support the public services we depend upon, including the fire department.

Please vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance on Nov. 5 to protect our waters from potential tar sand spills and toxic ballast water discharges and our air quality from added tar sand chemicals. Protect our tax base.

Linden Thigpen
South Portland

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