Tuesday, September 05, 2006

LETTERS September 1-12
Strimling’s WENA Appearance

Dear Editor:

While we agree with Ed King’s recollection of “some tough questioning and strong disagreement” during the question and answer period that followed Portland West Director Ethan Strimling’s presentation at the August 9th meeting of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA), our Executive Committee feels that the overall tone of the gathering was quite cordial. WENA’s Board of Directors had agreed in July that Mr. Strimling should be invited to discuss recent changes in Portland West’s Community Outreach Program. President Robert O’Brien then invited Mr. Strimling to appear as the community guest speaker at our August meeting—an informational, not political, venue.

After Director Strimling reviewed Portland West’s history and the many program changes now underway, he responded to questions and concerns about the changes from the audience. Mr. Strimling was asked by Ed King, WENA member and publisher of The West End News, about Portland West’s relationship to the City Manager’s Policy Advisory Committee (CMPAC), a group of community representatives that makes recommendations to the City Manager about the expenditure of federal Housing & Community Development (HCD) funds.

WENA’s Executive Committee agrees that this was a fair and relevant question since WENA has serious concerns about the controversial way in which many of CMPAC’s recommendations were overturned last spring. The Committee feels, however, that Mr. King should have identified himself in his article as the source of the initial question and of subsequent questions regarding the reassignment of the West End’s CMPAC representative from Portland West to WENA.

WENA’s Executive Committee regrets any misunderstanding that may have arisen from media coverage about the nature and content of our August 9th meeting.


Jo Coyne, Secretary
West End Neighborhood Association
Time Bank is Alive and Well

Dear Ed,

I read the recent article in The West End News about the neighborhood meeting and some of the comments made about the closing of the Portland West Time Bank with some interest. I work for Maine Time Banks and the Portland Time Bank, in particular, and I want to offer some positive words on the topic.

The Portland Time Bank has just completed incorporating all of the more than 200 active members of Portland West’s Time Bank into the larger group of East End Time Bank members in our directory and lists of services offered.

We are sorry that the Portland West Time Bank had to cease operations, but we want everyone to know that the Time Bank is still going strong and people are still joining and exchanging services as much as ever. Thanks to Ethan Strimling, who understood the importance of Time Banking to the local neighborhood, we were able to ensure a smooth transfer of responsibilities and documentation.

Portland Time Bank wants all of its members on the West End of Portland to know that we embrace you, your talents and your skills. We encourage you to come to Portland Time Bank events and social gatherings wherever they may be held.

It is important to note that our 800- plus active members come from all over the City of Portland and beyond. Our headquarters may be at 47 Portland Street in the Bayside neighborhood, but we strive to service our members, no matter what neighborhood they live in. Indeed, one of the questions we ask new members is the neighborhood where they live. Soon, our Time Bank members will be able to access needs and opportunities by neighborhood.

We at the Time Bank recognize that frustration often comes with unwelcome change. One of the goals of the Time Bank is to lessen isolation and loneliness, to develop marketable work skills and creative talents, and to support a vision for a prosperous and healthy future for each of our members. Together, we can continue doing this quite well.

Christina Feller
Maine Time Banks
Fund Development Coordinator
Poster Boys
Dear Editor:

The West End's David Marshall has, in recent months, become a Friday night feature near the corner of Pineand Brackett Streets, where he displays his paintings.

Of late, a colorful poster has appeared, with his name in glowing yellow letters across an image of one of his paintings. The poster is an announcement of his candidacy forCity Council.

Downtown, in the window of Zarra's coffee shop in Monument Square, another political tyro, Kevin Donahue, has his attractive, self-designed poster pushing his District 1 Council candidacy. The black, green and white poster, while in a more traditional mode, is well above the usual. approach.

Next thing to look for is the content lying behind their images.
Robert Solotaire


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