Letters to the Portland editor: October 31, 2008

Get creative
By  |  October 29, 2008

Get creative
As I am making my way around this beautiful city, a day doesn’t go by when I don’t hear about our high property-tax burden. One of the reasons our taxes are so high is because our infrastructure costs are too big for our continually dwindling population. We have several great colleges and universities in this area graduating hundreds of highly educated professionals each year. However, we continuously fail to retain these talented young people because we don’t have jobs to keep them here.

When thinking about the local economy we need to focus on what we have here. Right in the heart of our Arts District is Maine College of Art, which graduates over 45 students each year. Many of these talented young people try to make a living here but the unfortunate thing is, they are forced to in jobs in our growing restaurant industry. This is not what they paid thousands of dollars to do and there are plenty of folks looking to replace them in these jobs should we invest in creating jobs for artists.

A few weeks ago the city released the Creative Economy Report which highlighted several recommendations for ways to boost our creative economy. Among them are a center of arts, low-interest loans for artists, and developing affordable artist space.

This is one reason why it’s important I’m elected this November. The last thing we need is for these recommendations to get tossed aside. I will work to bring these recommendations to fruition.

Tina Smith
Portland

Much obliged
Many thanks indeed for your review (see “On What Ground?” by Ian Paige, October 17). Well written, as usual, and insightful. We’re lucky to have the Portland Phoenix and we’re lucky to have Ian Paige writing about art.

I want to say again how very much I appreciate not only the reviews about shows in this gallery but Paige’s (and the paper’s) attention to what’s happening in art in this community. Very best wishes.

June Fitzpatrick
Portland

Stewardship vs. casinos
Who are the stewards of our communities? Is it voter responsibility to support of the values of their own communities? Can we tell, by reading in the Sun Journal about a proposed casino in Oxford County, that there is no foregone conclusion, that it is something yet to be decided by the lawful stewards? Below is a powerful quote voters might consider before casting ballots in favor of moneyed interests intent on bringing the values of gamblers into the communities of Maine.

From Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America (1977, Sierra Club Books):

“The advance of the frontier left behind families and communities who intended to remain and prosper were they were. ... Generation after generation, those who intended to remain and prosper where they were have been dispossessed... or subverted and exploited where they were, by those who were carrying out some version of the search for El Dorado. Time after time, in place after place, these conquerors have fragmented and demolished traditional communities. ...

“They have always said that what they destroyed was outdated, provincial, and contemptible. And with alarming frequency they have been believed and trusted by their victims, especially when their victims were other white people. If there is any law that has been consistently operative in American history, it is that the members of any established ... community sooner or later become “redskins” — that is, they become the designated victims of an utterly ruthless, officially sanctioned and subsidized exploitation.”

Susan Dorman
Bethel

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