October 29, 2013

Letters to the editor: Cleeve controversy begs many questions

Maybe Portland’s city officials should concern themselves with more important issues than 'rumors.'

My brother was in town this past week visiting from California. During his stay, the Press Herald ran an article about one of Portland’s founding fathers, George Cleeve (“Portland’s torn past on slavery re-emerges,” Oct. 21). The story mentioned how city officials had refused to accept a statue of Cleeve simply because he was “rumored to have owned a ‘colored servant.’ ”

This statue of George Cleeve, one of Portland’s founders, stands on private property at Portland Yacht Services. A writer suggests that decisions about public art should be based on fact instead of rumor.

2013 File Photo/John Patriquin

My brother was unfamiliar with our city’s history and rejection of a piece of art based on “rumor.” We both agreed that a city should base such decisions on fact. We discussed renaming Washington Avenue in Portland because we’re completely sure that Washington owned slaves.

I also suggested that Portland should do away with any parking meters that still accept quarters and nickels. Again, because of the whole Washington and Jefferson slave ownership dilemma. One- and two-dollar bills would obviously be excluded from city-owned or city-run vending services also.

I could go on, but I think that by now you see where I’m going with this. Maybe Portland’s city officials should concern themselves with more important issues than “rumors.”

As Benjamin Franklin once stated: “I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all good I know of everybody.”

Jay Lawrence

South Portland

Blue Sky Plan a big boost for UMaine Homecoming

On behalf of Fill the Steins (fillthesteins.com) and our hundreds of loyal followers, I would like to offer a salute to University of Maine President Paul Ferguson for supporting a fan-focused Homecoming Weekend.

A 2001 graduate of the school and a lifelong attendee of Homecoming, I can say that the atmosphere and excitement surrounding the weekend have taken on new meaning in recent years. Since Ferguson rolled out his Blue Sky Plan, attendance at both pre-game and post-game gatherings has increased and has been more positively received.

Even with the torrential rains and flooding in 2012, the fans came out in masses to battle the elements and support their beloved Black Bears.

This year we were impressed to see nearly all of the tailgating lots and stadium seats full for the Oct. 19 football game; Mother Nature providing a near-perfect day didn’t hurt either.

And while there are still some unnecessary limitations on tailgating and pre-game events, we are encouraged by President Ferguson and his administration’s effort to grow the game day experience. We look forward to working with the president to further improve the weekend and to provide a uniquely Orono experience in the years to come.

Congratulations to all of the teams in action during Homecoming Weekend, and we look forward to seeing everyone back at “the college of our hearts always” for Homecoming Weekend 2014!

Adam Henckler

York

Tea party misrepresented by media and opinion polls

There is a high-tech lie that is being pushed by mass media – TV, print and the Internet – that the tea party shut the government down. I don’t know of any Republican congressperson who voted to defund the government. If you can prove that, let’s hear it. The only ones who would not vote to fund the government were Democrats and the president.

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