Thank you for your recent article about the state of the Portland Press Herald [“What Maine Reads?” April 2010]. I have been noticing for some time that the quality of the news in the Press Herald has been going down. A few weekends ago they ran a story about strip clubs opening up in the ski mountains area and they put a picture of an erotic dancer on the front page of the Sunday paper! That to me is just plain trashy.
The reporting in the paper has also taken a very conservative bias. The coverage on gay marriage issues has been very slanted on the conservative side.
I agree with your article that if the Press Herald continues this loss of integrity it will be a loss for the whole community.
— Chris Uraneck, Portland
Confused on Congress Street
I am writing because I am a bit confused as to how you came to the conclusion that myself and my husband “contend downtown needs more people who have money to spend at restaurants and art galleries.” [The Bollard’s View, “Ugliness in the Arts District,” March 2010]
The interesting thing is, neither one of us believe that theory, nor have we ever told anyone anything similar. Another interesting thing is we do not remember being interviewed by you or anyone on your staff, so I would say you took quite a bit of liberty in your writing. I did speak with Tom Bell from the Portland Press Herald, however, it was very brief, and I certainly never said anything that resembles your words. If you wanted to know our opinion, you should have come to ask us, in person, in order to be sure your editorial was accurate.
What I did tell the reporter, who bothered to interview me, was that I did not have all the information, therefore I was reluctant to give a blanket statement regarding my position about the project. I did tell him I was concerned with the project and how it would affect my business, my investments, and my employees. I was concerned, not necessarily by the type of housing, but by such details (that were strangely never addressed in your editorial) as parking, construction, and other factors that would be an issue with any 40-unit building. I am also concerned by the idea that the units are all the same small size, not leaving any room for families.
Finally, we are, of course, concerned with who the residents are going to be. Our research indicates that low-income housing, and housing in general, is not a present issue in Portland. I think it is fair to say that anyone who has put their life-savings and their every ounce of energy and time into their business would have similar concerns. However, we are certainly not focusing our worries on whether or not those 40 people will be able to eat at Five Fifty-Five! As a matter of fact, did you know that we own 553 Congress Street, which houses four apartments where the rent starts at $635 and tops at $850 for a two-bedroom?
I encourage you to dig a bit deeper into this story and not take the easy way out by doing a gloss-over version of “us vs. them,” “good vs. evil,” “rich vs. poor.” It is really not that simple.
I think the writer of this editorial should be ashamed.
—Michelle Corry, Scarborough; co-owner, Five Fifty-Five