October 31, 2013

Letters to the editor: Push back at polls against Portland councilors who favor selling city

I encourage residents, families, artists and lovers of Portland’s culture to stand up against the sale of Portland’s peninsula by the City Council.

click image to enlarge

The sale of part of Congress Square Plaza, above, is an example of efforts by the City Council “to turn Portland’s peninsula into an amusement park where no one can live,” a reader says.

2013 File Photo/John Patriquin

Everywhere you look in Portland, residents are bombarded with the construction of four new hotels, several events centers and luxury condos at the expense of affordable housing and community spaces.

Our current City Council approves tens of millions of dollars in tax cuts every year for out-of-state developers, all while our schools are falling apart.

As a member of the school board, I am extremely disturbed that classrooms have caught on fire, as with the case of the Hall School last year, and children in our district are in classrooms without running water.

While Portland schools are in desperate need of safe and affordable classroom space, the City Council has sold the Nathan Clifford School to a private developer for $1.

Our City Council has gone so far as to sell public parks to developers in order to clear more space for hotels. It appears as though the ultimate goal of the council and developers is to turn Portland’s peninsula into an amusement park where no one can live, the schools are neglected and the economy is completely tied to frivolous and seasonal spending.

Thankfully, there is a renewed push by residents of Portland to save our peninsula. Several residents are suing the city over the sale of Congress Square Park, and an initiative called Keep Portland Livable has been launched to counteract a 14-story complex in the Bayside neighborhood.

I am encouraging Portlanders to speak out at City Council meetings or, better yet, vote out members of the council who have spent a decade or more making sweetheart deals with out-of-state developers.

Holly Seeliger

Portland

South Portland voters urged to support services facility

I am a retired 34-year South Portland Public Works employee, and I would like to urge the voters of South Portland to please vote “yes” for the proposed new municipal services facility on Highland Avenue.

I have seen first-hand how very much needed this facility is. The buildings are old and have outlived their useful life. Some are in total disrepair. The bays where the mechanics work have no ventilation at all, and the doors have to be kept open year-round and ceiling fans run to help clear the air of all fumes.

The city doesn’t have adequate space to properly store or care for the expensive equipment needed to maintain our beautiful city. The proposed facility will pay for itself in the long run, with the idea that the life of the equipment will be extended and therefore will not have to be replaced as often.

The new facility will be a safer place for employees to work and for citizens to visit. This is a need, not a want.

South Portland voters have always showed their support on needed projects in the past, and I am asking for their support now. Please vote “yes” for the new municipal services facility.

Russ Lunt

South Portland

Dissolving RSU 23 will aid Saco educators, taxpayers

On Nov. 5, Saco voters will have the last real opportunity to right a wrong that has negatively impacted our children’s education, our teachers and our taxpayers.

The Regional School Unit 23 Withdrawal Committee has negotiated an agreement that, if approved by the voters, will enable us to increase opportunities for our children and reduce cost for our taxpayers.

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