I read “Bayside at rock bottom: A neighborhood under siege” (May 6) with sadness, having worked for years with nonprofits in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods prior to moving to Maine. What’s described in Bayside conjures memories of where things could be headed for our beautiful city if we don’t soon take strong action. The solution is not rocket science.

As studies have shown for years, lack of education, poverty, poor health and drug use are very often linked (and costly). The good news is that by investing in basic supports such as food, shelter and health care, early childhood education and better schools and supports for immigrants, we can break the cycle of poverty and all that comes with it. This requires prioritizing solutions (health and education) over punishments (jails) and forgoing tax cuts for longer-term, communitywide returns.

Today’s youth will become tomorrow’s self-sufficient adults and parents, as will their children. A more educated and skilled population will attract businesses and jobs, drug us will diminish and our collective quality of life will improve. This is generally true today for our more affluent families, and by giving all Maine kids the same opportunities, we’ll all be better off and our neighborhoods won’t be under siege.

Steve Mortimer


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