The suggestion in the Oct. 11 front page article (“E-mails paint conflict on the waterfront”) that the renovation of the old Cold Storage Warehouse will be a win-win deal for all parties involved is right on the mark.

Through its lease, Pierce Atwood is essentially funding the renovation of a 100-plus-year-old warehouse into brand new space on the waterfront, the net effect of which will substantially increase taxes now paid on the building to the city.

The firm and the Portland Fish Exchange also agreed that an area in front of the renovated building should continue to be used, as it has been for many years, to dry fishing nets and otherwise support the commercial fishing fleet.

When it appeared that an unexpected change of use adjacent to the building would scuttle the deal, we were indeed surprised, but we worked collaboratively with all involved parties to find a creative, win-win solution.

As a result, a major investment in Portland will move forward, taxes collected by the city will increase substantially, our bait company neighbor will have premises that are well suited to its operation and in compliance with local site laws, the Fish Exchange will receive added funding, and the local fishing industry will continue to have a dedicated area set aside for drying and repairing nets and related activities.

Pierce Atwood is recognized as a leading law firm in Maine. We work with businesses throughout Maine that seek to preserve our unique Maine lifestyle while also creating the types of economic opportunity that will allow that lifestyle to thrive in the 21st century.

Our 176 employees look forward to supporting the vitality of a mixed use waterfront that is an essential part of our city’s future.

Gloria Pinza, Esq.

Managing Partner, Pierce Atwood LLP

Portland

 

Early childhood education makes difference, says chief

 

In their recent commentary, Mercy Hospital CEO Eileen Skinner and Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Godfrey Wood noted that high-quality early education programs can play a critical role in helping Maine businesses develop a smarter, more competitive work force.

As South Portland’s chief of police, I would also like to add that investing early in quality education for our youngest citizens, birth-to-five, is also proven to reduce later crime.

There are two well-known national studies on this topic. One study of the Perry Preschool in Ypsilanti, Mich., followed the outcomes of young children who attended this high-quality preschool for 40 years. The study found that children left out of the program were five times more likely to be chronic lawbreakers as adults than similar kids who did attend.

A separate study of the Chicago Child-Parent Centers found that at-risk children from the same neighborhoods not participating in the program were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by the time they reached 18 than children who did participate.

From a cost-benefit analysis: the cost of high-quality early education is minimal when compared to later public safety and correctional costs.

High-quality early education makes smart business sense. It also reduces crime.

Edward Googins

Chief of Police

South Portland

Immigrants personify the American dream

 

I just spent $6.05 at the American dream.

It’s a little convenience store down the street from a big box store I used to work at. The family is Korean and have run the store successfully for seven or eight years now.

It’s been six years since I worked in South Portland, but I was on an errand from my new big box to my old big box.

I stopped in. There was an unspoken recognition. Like running into an old friend even though we never shared that level of intimacy.

Sadly, I know people who would criticize their success. “They came here and took away jobs.”

To this I say, “No, they came here with a vision. They worked hard, saved money and bought a business. You could have done it had you tried or been willing to work for it. The world owes you nothing; we shape our own destinies.”

To those who say, “This is America, learn the language or go back to where you came from,” I say, “If you look back at history, Spanish, English, French, Italians, etc., all came here from someplace else. Do you speak any Native American language? Learn one or go back. Hypocrisy.”

We are a nation of immigrants. If you must judge others, judge them for their actions, not their heritage or the actions of others.

If we as a species are ever going to find peace amongst ourselves, we must teach diversity, tolerance and respect for all people.

I believe in a world without conflict. Will we achieve it? As optimistic as I try to be, corruption is one of the many prices we pay for freedom.

The world’s a messed-up place. Only we can fix it.

Alva Fleming

Falmouth

 

Mill Creek Park, sadly, has been going to the birds

 

The city of South Portland just completed a lovely new bandstand in Mill Creek Park.

The community sponsors Music in the Park there, and people get married at the site.

It is a lovely spot, with flowers, benches and a pond, things for all to enjoy.

The negative aspect is that by people feeding first the ducks and now seagulls, the grounds are covered with feathers and droppings, and you cannot enjoy a lunch without being bothered by the obnoxious birds.

Little children play and roll on the ground, but it is not a healthy place for families.

Sure, it is fun to take kids and feed the ducks and seagulls. But much of the park near the pond is black and white with birds waiting for feeding time.

Signs should be put up stating “Do not feed the birds,” and enforced. They had to do that at Sebago Lake near the Portland Water District outflow, where boats were launched, because of birds fouling the water.

People do not mean to change the way nature teaches these birds to fend for themselves.

But by feeding them. they throw a monkey wrench into these birds’ natural instinct telling them how to feed themselves.

Janet E. Romano

Portland