My thanks to Christine Arsenault for daring to write the truth about conditions in Bayside [Op-ed, April 2017]. Contrary to the spin city officials and the mainstream media would like you to believe, the situation in Bayside is not all blooming roses, as they neglect to discuss the thorns beneath. While there has been a transformation over the years from an industrial area to residential/shopping/office utility, under the veneer of shiny new buildings lies the rot in the hardwood beneath.

Arsenault has the courage, or perhaps the sheer frustration, of being a resident of the area and having to deal with the aggravation that living and working there causes on a daily basis. Like many residents of the city — and, like myself, former residents — she has had a bellyfull of empty promises by city officials to clean up her neighborhood. With the focus of the city on promoting tourism, residents feel neglected while basic services and resources are diverted to “more significant” areas and concerns. Arsenault hangs in there, hoping for change. My wife and I voted with our feet and, after 40 years, left Portland and moved to Westbrook. We actually see the street sweeper more than once a year. And the staff at City Hall are polite and helpful. It’s refreshing, to say the least.

I also really appreciate the clear explanation of the tipping issue as presented by Chris Busby [“To Tip or Not to Tip?” April 2017]. Finally, I understand what all the fuss is about. So thank you, Chris, for blowing off all the fog surrounding the subject. It is nice to see a reporter actually report, rather than promote an agenda. Let the reader decide — just present the facts in an unfiltered, clear fashion. We are, after all, big kids out here, and actually can make reasonable judgments if given unbiased information.

Keep up the good work.

Robert H. Smith

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