August 28, 2013

Letters to the editor: 'Plain-spoken' LePage must own his words

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Both my wife, Sharon, and I wish to applaud Greg Kesich's column ("Giving up part of city park might make public space better," Aug. 21) on what we gain by giving up part of Congress Square, in that for the first time someone has given us a clearer perspective on the matter, a sense of reasoning that most of us can accept.

In other words, we are not losing anything by allowing this sale to go through but gaining a more attractive, accessible and, hopefully, usable area for the city.

This area has been begging to happen for as long as I've been here, and a relatively close neighbor to Congress Square. With neighbors like our world-class Portland Museum of Art, WCSH-TV, a major player in the broadcast industry, several nationally acclaimed restaurants and now a renewed Eastland Hotel, the area should be alive with activity -- and not just for tourists, but for everyone, all year-round.

Congress Street should once again be a boulevard of fine shops, good restaurants, overall entertainment, clean and safe sidewalks for resident strollers and an inviting atmosphere for new businesses. 

I believe that with a new Congress Square and a restored Lincoln Park, all things in between these two landmarks and beyond will create a renaissance for Congress Street, as well as for Portland.    

Frank E. Reilly

Panhandlers practice form of 'free enterprise welfare'

Legislating beggars off city medians in order to "protect" these individuals from the "danger of injury" from passing traffic is the height of the disingenuous.

The removal has much more to do with the fact that these folks make the rest of us uncomfortable with the realities of life in America today. There is not enough work out there for these folks to be self-supporting, and our social safety net is full of holes.

Many Republicans and tea party types want to ensure that government (at any level) does not make the mistake of depriving these poor folks of the opportunity to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and get on with realizing the American dream.

Unfortunately, begging on city medians is the only recourse for many of these people. Perhaps the far right should be doing more to support begging.

After all, standing in traffic in any weather for hours at a time is difficult physically (and emotionally). The far right should be more supportive of what they might characterize as "free enterprise welfare."

Ron Leeking


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