City councilor urged to set up Parkside meeting on housing
(This letter was directed to City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau regarding possible West End/Parkside Meeting, Housing Committee.)
The Parkside Neighborhood Association board has authorized me to inquire if it may be possible for the City Council Housing Committee, upon which you serve, to consider holding a public forum in our West End, possibly in the Parkside Neighborhood Center, as the Council considers the challenges and stresses of the housing situation in our city?
As you know, the Parkside/Bayside neighborhoods are the most densely populated and diverse single square mile of Maine. In the best of times, safe, adequate and affordable housing is at a premium here, as in much of Portland.
This situation has been thrown into stark relief by the mass evictions on Grant Street earlier this very week.
Holding a public session of the Housing Committee in the very middle of this neighborhood, and all it symbolizes, may present a useful opportunity for the committee to see and hear firsthand from those most affected by every angle of Portland’s housing dilemma.
If the Housing Committee agrees, the Parkside Neighborhood Association may offer the neighborhood center at 85 B Grant Street as a possible venue. Many city HCD meetings have been held here. The space has proven adequate and 85 B Grant Street is also a neighborhood policing center.
Would you please explore this opportunity with Housing Committee Chair, Councilor Jill Duson and your fellow committee members, and share their ideas and responses with us?
Thank you for your attention to this, and for your service to the city on this important and far-reaching committee.
Parkside Neighborhood Association
Governor LePage should release Housing Bond funds
Despite passage months ago, the Housing Bond funds earmarked for older Mainers in need of affordable housing have yet to be released. Maine State Housing Authority awaits word from Governor LePage. Meanwhile, older, vulnerable Mainers, many of whom have been kept in limbo for years, continue to wait for a home they can afford.
Maine’s senior housing shortage is at a crisis point. Nearly 9,000 older Mainers are waiting for affordable housing options in their communities. Some are being told it will be at least five years before they will have a home. Without action, the shortfall of affordable housing will grow to more than 15,000 by 2022.
Surveys consistently show that Mainers want to remain in their own homes and communities as they grow older. The Housing Bond will begin to enable more Mainers to do just that by building new, affordable homes for older Mainers and dedicating funds to home repair and weatherization of existing homes, some of the oldest in the country.
Last year, a broad coalition of more than 150 organizations including aging and housing advocates, developers and construction workers, came together to pass bipartisan legislation and then took the issue to the voters. The people of Maine strongly supported the measure with close to 70 percent voting in support of the Housing Bond.
High housing costs force millions of low-income older adults to sacrifice spending on other necessities including food, undermining their health and well-being. In fact, 37 percent of those aged 80 and over pay more than 30 percent of income for housing.
The Governor must take action on behalf of the people of Maine. From Ft. Kent to Kennebunk, people are looking for housing they can afford so they can remain in their own communities as they age. AARP Maine calls upon Governor LePage to release the Housing Bond funds immediately.
AARP Maine State President
Note to a Senator: Changing the law for political whims
To Kelly Ayotte and your disregard for the Constitution. In the nomination of a Justice to the Supreme Court in case of vacancy it clearly states it is the duty of the president whoever at that time of occurrence to nominate a candidate and submit it to the senate for approval. It does not say if a particular president has less than this much time left he must wait for the next election. It states he is the trigger to the process as duly elected president.
You say he should wait and forego his responsibility because he is not of your party. You sound like all those in the Senate and House who have refused to vote on anything he has proposed regardless of the cost or consequences. If the process were to be move forward this time, does that mean that next time to suit an opponent’s whims on a party opposite to the then president it should be moved forward 18 months or two years, and on each time one opposition refuses to work with the other.
It doesn't mean that, but it is clearly written in recognition of the power bestowed on the office of president as commander and chief and initiator of this process at the time of any occurring vacancy. It is further intended to implore the three parties of government to work together in this process and realize that they are individually not going to everything to their needs but must learn to work together with the enemy, which in these days has seemed to have become the mode of many in the Congress.
As a voter and believer in this great government, I believe it is inherent to follow the Constitution and show some respect for the office of president and let him dutifully carry out his responsibility, not option, and consider and submit a nominee to the court.
If you and others stop this bickering and criticism and allow him to fulfill this duty and obligation, you may be surprised in the end at the selection. Most presidents through history have shown a particularly adept hand in this particular process and maintained the integrity of the Supreme Court. I see it as sad that many have at times slighted the office because they might not agree with a particular president’s beliefs. They are only depriving themselves of the honor of meeting the president whoever in the White House. Perhaps they should select an ordinary voter to go as a sub in future cases, therefore sending someone honored to meet him, because regardless of particular persuasion he is president of all when elected. The seemingly forgotten premise in this country today.
John Flynn Sanford