Saturday, March 8, 2014
I have been a general construction professional for more than 30 years and have been integrally involved in more than 1,000 New England projects, with a 2013 inflation-adjusted dollar value exceeding $10 billion.
The Bayside development called “midtown” could be built without changing city zoning to allow 165-foot towers in the neighborhood, a reader says.
2013 File Photo/Gordon Chibroski
During that time, I have also served as a town councilman, planning board member and committee participant in a number of local endeavors. This aggregate exposure has given me a well-developed sense of good architectural and construction practice, along with an established understanding of effective public policy-making.
The current Bayside design of 165-foot-tall skyscrapers straddling gray parking plugs will obliterate the graceful skyline of downtown Portland as viewed from the west for hundreds of years.
There is a simple solution to this design inanity, if developer Federated Cos. and the Portland Planning Board would open their ears and eyes.
Looking at the three-dimensional graphic printed in the Press Herald ("Portland board gets behind taller buildings in Bayside," March 22), based on Perkins Eastman Consulting's concept plan for the development along Somerset Street, it struck me how considerable the length is of the six-story parking garage structures running along the street side.
It should be a matter of architectural simplicity to alter the building massing by transferring the top five stories of each abutting apartment structure onto the tops of the adjacent parking garages.
The result would be a several-block-long project averaging 11 stories tall continuously that stays within the current zoning height guidelines.
By utilizing a tasteful blend of concrete, stone, steel, wood and glass of varying shapes and textures, the integrity of the skyline can be maintained, and Federated can move forward in providing the requisite community service of economic development needed in the area.
Public carry permit backers want to confiscate firearms
I see "Our" has written another erroneous letter without signing it ("Our View: Concealed carry permits are public documents," March 14).
Concealed-carry permits should not be public documents. Maybe property settlements in divorces, STD tests at the doctor, colonoscopies and, of course, "Our" expense accounts should all be public record, because the public is qualified to know if they were done properly, just as the media can judge if a concealed-carry permit has been approved properly.
The fact that concealed-carry permits have been public record surprised many (myself included), but it wasn't brought to the forefront until a New York newspaper publicized some.
By the way, I noticed "Our" didn't comment about the fact that one of those people in New York was a battered woman with a protection order against her ex. She had bought a gun for protection (because it works better than a piece of paper), and the authorities gave her address to him by printing it.
As newspeople, you have a right and an obligation to print the news, provided it's true. When "Our" drops his liberal bias and tells it like it is (probably never, unfortunately), pigs will fly!
And no one is trying to take our guns away? Be serious!
Richard A. Aspinall Sr.
School staffer relishes kudos for participants in 'Millie'
As a staff member at South Portland High School, I am deeply indebted to Bill Nemitz for his column on the high school musical ("Give our regards to Broadway. Wait, make that South Portland," March 24). Tickets are still available for performances of the musical the weekend after Easter.
These young people, along with those on all our sports teams, the Drama Club, the robotics team and other extracurricular activities, put their lives on hold for four to five months a year -- and this effort demands our respect and admiration.
In an age where public education is downgraded, people tend to forget we send students to every great university in the country, and many go on to have productive lives in this society.
As for the Ogunquit Playhouse, I intend to boycott this theater as well as all Ogunquit establishments for the rest of my life.
Anti-weapon ban politicians should have careers cut short
"Military-style assault gun ban is dead, says Reid" was a Page 1 headline March 20. So should be the political careers of all those on Capitol Hill who are comfortable with that.
Emily R. Chaney
Boehner, Ryan seek budget that serves needs of rich
Rep. Paul Ryan and House Speaker John Boehner do not want the rich guys to pay taxes on the same level that existed during the Reagan administration.
They want the oil company, Wall Street and banking executives who have hoarded their multimillon-dollar, post-bailout funds to continue to hoard rather than invest in our country.
My question is: If the government didn't make the investment, who would have?
As I am certain, the hoarders understand that you have to spend money to make money, and that is what the government was forced to do to stimulate the economy.
Rather than laud the accomplishment of our economic recovery or cut federal spending for loopholes, subsidies and reduced tax rates for the rich, Mr. Boehner and Mr. Ryan propose cuts in spending for the elderly, disabled and poor.
No doubt, I know it is a lot to ask Mr. Boehner and the other millionaires in Congress to increase their own tax rate. They get paid well for working only 100 days a year and passing the fewest legislative measures in history.
With all the federal health insurance, life insurance and lucrative retirement benefits they get for their part-time employment, why do they find the need to continually whine and criticize the work of those better-educated in fiscal matters and who have worked night and day to turn our economy around?
It is just depressing every time they get into the media to pass on their self-serving message. After spending billions of dollars and failing in back-to-back elections, one would think they would have gotten the message that the voting public don't buy it.
The longer the political stonewalling goes on, the longer it is going to take us to get out of the debt they put us in.