October 27, 2013

Letters to the editor: Families need help from SNAP

I live in Westbrook with my two children. I have an incurable medical condition and receive Social Security Disability Insurance.

It’s not enough to live off, so I work part-time to keep the roof over my family’s head.

I don’t receive a lot from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but every little bit helps. I use SNAP to buy nonperishables, so I only have to worry about finding the money to buy meat, milk and bread.

If SNAP were cut, I would have to buy food that is cheaper and less healthy.

In school, my children are being taught to make better food choices.

If we can’t afford to buy this better food, what are we really teaching our children?

I’m afraid that if SNAP is cut from families, our children are going to either eat unhealthy food because that’s all families can afford, or children will go without food entirely.

To those who want to cut SNAP, please think about my children and other children. They are our future.

Trina Townsend


Biennial selection process was implemented ethically

In his recent review of the 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piece Work (“PMA biennial overlooks paintings but otherwise excels,” Oct. 13), art critic Daniel Kany accused the curator of contemporary and modern art and the Portland Museum of Art of acting unethically in our artist selection process for this exhibition.

While I appreciate Mr. Kany’s efforts to keep us on our toes, I strongly disagree with his characterization of the selection process for artists, in which the museum widely solicited entries via its website, advertisements, word of mouth and via letter to dozens of artists asking them to apply.

Casting a wide net in the hopes of soliciting many entries does not “rub against the ethics of a ‘juried’ show,” as Mr. Kany says; instead, it reflects the PMA’s mission to aggressively seek the best possible work for its audiences and to be inclusive and forthright in its efforts to engage artists.

Institutions and exhibition programs change over time, a necessary and sometimes challenging reality. At the PMA, we are deeply proud of the 2013 Biennial and all of the participating artists. We welcome public dialogue and are grateful to critics like Mr. Kany for the care and attention they pay to the art in our galleries.

Mark H.C. Bessire

director, Portland Museum of Art


Time Warner Cable strives to be consumers’ top choice

In its one-sided coverage of our company (“Time Warner Cable’s reputation tarnished,” Oct. 6), the Maine Sunday Telegram missed the point completely about the state of competition and customer service in the cable industry.

There is, in fact, widespread, vigorous competition among pay-TV providers in Maine and nationwide. The overwhelming majority of consumers we serve in Maine can choose among three TV providers and multiple Internet and phone providers.

Exclusive cable franchises were outlawed in 1996. Since then, competition, innovation and investment have exploded. High-speed Internet is available in all communities that we serve. Local businesses have their first real choice for telecommunications services. Last year alone, we spent $4.6 million extending our Maine network 180 miles – bringing advanced technologies within reach of even more local residents and businesses.

It’s fair to say that in the past, our innovation and investment might not have been matched consistently by our investment in customer service. But that has changed meaningfully.

Customers use our services more than ever, and have a wider variety of choices for interacting with us: phone, email, live chat, social media, mail or in person at one of our 12 Maine cable stores. We offer one-hour appointment windows. We’re hiring for 30 new jobs at our Portland call center. Competition demands that we continually improve customer service, and we are.

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