There is need to debate the ongoing friction between the city of Portland and its skateboarding populace.

The city of Portland’s general view seems to be that skaters in their entirety are immature, soliciting, unemployed vandals. This, my friends, is far from the actual case.

As a skateboarding young man, I have witnessed firsthand the general distaste displayed by city officials when dealing with the skateboarding community.

I say it is unjust to point the finger at one group out of the many self-transporting denizens of Portland. There is a rich and enchanting underbelly beneath the surface of simply skating, and it is one which I feel has been largely ignored.

Skateboarders are born from all walks of life. There is no one pre- determined social condition that births all skaters. Skating is more of a middle ground between the diversity of situation.

The wonderful thing about riding is that no matter how different two boarders may be, there is an instant connection through skateboarding. Skateboarders are people, and in that right, do any infinite combinations of the things all people do. Skaters work, pay bills, go to school, eat and sleep.

It is time to disregard the notion that one who skates is unemployed, uneducated or unacceptable. We are individuals. We are not out to spread discontent. Skateboarding is love, and love is not a crime.

stifling a skateboarder with labels and certainties, you are stifling life. For many skaters, skating is a ventilation system. Skating is a sweet escape, or a taste of freedom. Often times it is used as a way to avoid trouble, rather than seek it.

At the same time skating is a way to feel as if you are a part of something much larger than yourself (which if you do, then you are!) while maintaining independence.

The entirety of the skateboarding culture lies in the belief that one may act as an individual. One is not defined by the actions of others, rather strives to create a new action.

Skateboarding is an artistic expression which utilizes the power of kinesthetic as a medium. The greatest feelings achieved when multiple individuals join together and share each other’s unique interpretation.

Skateboarding is not destruction, it is the antithesis: Skateboarding is creation.

Scott Alvin Grant

South Portland

Guy M. Zaczek’s letter of Aug. 27 has some great ideas for our waterfront, including a proposal to “(p)ut an L.L. Bean outlet store with limited stock on the harbor …“

Sadly, however, he’s too late with this one; as we all know, L.L. Bean has decided to abandon Portland and close its outlet on Sept. 26. Bean’s action shows a cavalier attitude toward Maine’s largest city and to those of us who like the convenience of being able to shop downtown rather than traveling to a mall.

At the time L.L. Bean announced its decision to close the store, I wrote to our former mayor asking that she intervene to try to keep it open. She didn’t respond. I guess our elected officials don’t care either.

Ellen D. Murphy


Despite the shrill rhetoric of anti-government groups like the Maine Heritage Policy Center, I fully support the Portland City Council in regulating public transportation services on Peaks Island and elsewhere.

Fair and equitable oversight and regulation of public services to meet minimum safety and fair-commerce standards is a no-brainer.

Parties that cry “foul” are simply wishing for the unregulated Wild West days when citizens died in fires due to poor building codes, and food-borne illnesses were rampant.

For those who wish to waive the protections of a modern civilization, I suggest they flee to a place such as Somalia and experience true “freedom.”

Steve Ryan


Columnist correct about deplorable lack of manners

I so enjoy reading syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts. His Aug. 25 piece on “So, what happened to civility?” really hit home.

He talked about the “olden days” when manners mattered. I have found that even the word “manners” seems to be an old word. I rarely hear that word used anymore.

I do get to see human kindness play out during a day of travels. Whenever I do, it stops me in my tracks and I actually stand there and enjoy it. It gives me hope that there are people out there that still have common sense and decency. Why would we want to verbally attack someone, or even worse strike someone like the JetBlue incident?

Leonard’s story about the cable company is more the norm these days. Where and when did the stage of “entitlement” begin? Moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles and everyone, let us start to bring back manners with our children first and human kindness will follow.

Growing up, I remember hearing that word daily from everyone who cared about my future.

Yvonne Graffam


Mechanics’ banners saved, delighting former librarian

I am delighted to see an interest taken again in the beautiful banners at the Mechanics’ Library, and that they have been acquired by groups that will care for them (“Group’s purchase will keep banners together in Maine,” Aug. 31)

When I was librarian there in the 1980s and ’90s, I was always so proud to show them to anyone who asked. However, I was not so proud of the condition most of them were in, stacked 17 deep in a shallow box, getting more wrinkled by the day.

At one point I invited a materials conservator to look them over and advise what could be better done with them, as I was afraid the silk was rotting. She was quite dismayed by their condition, and said they should be both air- and light-controlled.

This is probably expensive and was perhaps more than MCMA can do.

Both the Maine Historical Society and the Maine State Museum are among the groups preserving them as priceless antiquities.

A representative from Houghton-Mifflin Publishing Co. came to take pictures of them for one of their American History books for a section on the rise of trade unions.

At an open house we had once, they were all hung and were a beautiful sight. However, the only place to hang them was from the sprinkler system, which naturally did not sit well with the Fire Department, and they had to be taken down the next day.

I am glad these groups came forward for the best disposition of these historic treasures.

Elinor J. Reynolds

South Portland