Thank you for your excellent article “The Ways of the Gun” [May]. I am the founder of StopTrafficNewEngland.org, a citizens-action effort to encourage the legislatures of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont to require background checks and waiting periods for all gun sales, including private sales and gun-show sales.
A poll conducted by Strategic Marking Services found that more than 62 percent of Maine citizens feel that laws covering the sale of firearms should be made stricter. Likewise, 65 percent of New Hampshire voters favor stricter handgun controls or placing limits on the sale or possession of handguns, a Northeastern University poll found. But a firearms licensing bill, gun-show loophole bill, assault weapons ban, and waiting period for gun purchases have been repeatedly voted down in the Maine legislature, in large part due to the powerful NRA lobby.
StopTrafficNewEngland.org is therefore calling for a boycott of goods and services from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont to publicize the problem of interstate gun trafficking in New England; to stimulate discussion among the Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont citizenry; and to illustrate for state lawmakers, who may be swayed by the strong anti-regulation gun lobby, that continuing to vote against reasonable gun control legislation can have an economic downside and political repercussions.
I’m originally from Maine and am embarrassed that our antiquated laws are letting dirtballs flog guns in Boston for fun, profit, and the deaths of young people.
Sheila Leavitt, M.D.
Joe Keohane’s story suggesting that commuter rail fares be raised [“Fare and Balanced,” May] has to be one of the more obnoxious examples of irresponsible journalism I’ve read in years. Mr. Keohane appears to be a Bostonian T rider who is ready to “start flipping over buses” because he has “suffered enough,” but he clearly does not commute from the suburbs where delays and late trains are an accepted fact of life. So much for the “sterling service” he claims we have. His assumption that commuter rail riders are all well-heeled and thus capable of absorbing an 80 percent fare increase indicates hubris or stupidity or both. I make less than $55,000 annually, and any increases in any fees mean I have to cut back on food because there’s nothing else left to cut back on. And I’m hardly the only commuter railer in that position.
Keohane’s suggestion that the T is “such a disaster” because it caters to suburban commuters fails to mention that those same commuters already provide the lion’s share of the T’s ticket revenue. I question Keohane’s math. Increased fees would still be cheaper than driving into Boston? Even if that were true, the last fare hike forced many commuters back onto the Mass Pike when one of the stated purposes of commuter rail is to keep people from doing that very thing.
One thing he was right about, strangely enough: The Boston area is one of the most expensive places in the nation to live. Keohane apparently wants to make it even more expensive. Spare us your suggestion of complimentary Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to offset commuter anger over an 80 percent fee increase. Tell ya what, Joe: You pay the 80 percent increase, and we’ll let you have all the free coffee, donuts, or other “incentives” you so generously want to share with us.
Your insightful “Buyer’s Market” [May] brought home a point few people outside the real estate sector are discussing: For the first time in recent years, homebuyers are beginning to purchase just that—a home. Many Bostonians had regarded their houses as investments rather than as shelter for themselves.
Art gallery owners sometimes offer this advice to their patrons: The painting may or may not increase in value, but it is still a good buy if you enjoy it on your wall. In today’s real estate market, the same holds true for the walls themselves.
Constantine A. Valhouli, principal
The Hammersmith Group
If Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Justice Department official Deval Patrick wishes to avoid any political harm caused by his past advocacy of racial quotas [“Saint Patrick and His Devils,” May], all he has to do is declare that he was wrong to support constitutionally impermissible forms of “affirmative action,” officially apologize to Sharon Taxman (the white New Jersey teacher whose claims of discrimination Mr. Patrick rejected more than a decade ago), and proclaim that all forms of racial bias—including old-school discrimination against blacks for purposes of prejudice and new-school discrimination against whites for purposes of “diversity”—are evil and harmful to American society.
He can do that today. The question is, does Mr. Patrick have the guts?
D. R. Tucker
You could have knocked me over with a sheet of nori when I read your write-up of Fuji 1546 Restaurant and Bar [“Eating Suburbia,” April]. The writer suggests that the South Shore didn’t have any decent sushi restaurants until Fuji came along. I disagree! Has your reviewer never walked just a few doors down to Kagawa? Sure, Kagawa is missing a karaoke machine and loud music, but when it comes to sushi, my main concern is the quality of the fish, and Kagawa beats Fuji hands down. The maguro is such a beautifully translucent rose color, it’s enough to make the heart of any sushi lover skip a beat. The only department in which Fuji beats Kagawa is the bathrooms—the TV in the mirror is pretty cool.
You should spend the extra gas money to head beyond Hingham. Without a doubt, the South Shore’s best restaurant is Solstice in Kingston. Resembling something you would expect in Napa Valley, the food is wonderful and the atmosphere cozy and chic. Service is on par with the best Boston has to offer, unlike so many other South Shore restaurants.
Eric S. Goldman