August 21, 2012

I love Maine and hate elitist dinks from away who run crap magazines

Open letter in response to this, from my friend Rob Korobkin:

Dear Person Flipping Through Vex Magazine,

The conflict over the future of Congress Square is NOT - as the noxious know-it-all New York elitist fuck-head Mort Todd would have you believe - a battle between people living on the street and the "good" citizens of Portland. It's a battle between greedy investment bankers from Ohio who want to buy up the big open public space at the center of our fair city and sell it off to a multinational hotel conglomerate who would kick us ALL off of it and throw up an ass-ugly building so rich yuppies from away can drink $15 martinis, eat Sysco pigs-in-blankets and listen to shitty commercial pop music - and those of us who actually live here and would prefer not to lose our park.

Yeah, we know Congress Square is a concrete hole in the ground with few benches and even fewer trees - but, god damn it, it's OUR concrete hole in the ground! We're not saying we think it's perfect as it is - we're saying we'd rather keep it this way, for now, than lose it altogether. Even in its current form, it's still a wonderful place for outdoor punk shows, juggling, steel drummers, art sales and taking little kids to ride tricycles. We want to see it improve and become a fun place where everybody in Portland and beyond is welcome to hang out and enjoy being downtown. And, yeah, by everybody, we mean kids on skateboards, immigrants, families, travelers, seniors, people who don't always have a roof over their heads, you know, everybody! That's what it means to have a community.

This is Maine - we aren't pretentious twerps - our state was built by loggers and mill workers who didn't need sensitivity trainings in political correctness to know that communities like ours only get a say in the decisions that affect us when we stick together. As long as we're squabbling with our neighbors, saying nasty things about people down on their luck and staying buried in our own little rabbit holes - nobody in Power will give a shit about us.

If, on the other hand, we want to live in the kind of world that we can feel good about bringing children into, we need to start coming together and saying things like, hey, there's a fairly large, centrally located piece of land at the center of our city that has the potential to be a really nice public space. If we worked together and used some of those municipal dollars coming out of our rent checks, parking tickets and property tax payments, we could do something awesome! The city budget is about 160 MILLION dollars a year - that's our money, and we have every right to spend at least a little bit of it on making our city as pleasant as possible for us to live in. Whatever happens to the square, it should be a decision that we make together as Portlanders - not one that gets made for us by fat cat business interests looking to make money off the hospitality industrial complex. We have zero obligation to be "hospitable" to anybody who doesn't respect us and our city.

Or we could just be assholes. We could print condescending comics that depict how funny it would be if we all ganged up on Portland's street population - many of whom are veterans suffering with trauma and mental illness the likes of which most of us can't even imagine. We could turn our neighborhoods against each other, devolving our entire public discourse into a pathetic mishmash of chest-thumping and bleating, completely ignoring the very real threat that global institutions of private capital pose to our independence and basic liberties as a free city of hard-working, open-minded Mainers. The choice is yours.

Save Congress Square!


  1. Can we have permission to print this in our comments section in the next issue of VEX? We like to have all sides of the conversation!

  2. Make sure you freely edit out all the boring parts so as to not take up too much Vex real estate.

  3. I talked with Rob. If you'd like to print the letter, you can print it in full.

  4. I guess freedom of speech only applies to who you agree with! The Nazis would have loved your book burning ways. Wake up!!!!! We are held hostage by CAREER politicians..not VEX

    Talk about not knowing where to aim. Go OCCUPY washington if you wanna do something Patriotic...

    Stop watching NBC CNN ABC CBS CNBC MSNBC NPR ... the onion...move

    No wonder you have no don't hear others opinions...

    1. Who said anything about burning books?

      This was simply a letter to the editor from a friend pointing out discrepancies between the Vex article and well... reality.

    2. Censoring material is a half step away from burning books. They stole the papers and altered them which would make Karl, Adolph and Che proud!

    3. I'm not sure what you're talking about. But I love the extra attention my blog is getting.

    4. I love it...Ummm Im not sure what you're talking no "They went that away"

  5. You know that Mort was born in Maine, right?

    1. But you published it and take no responsibility?

    2. I published it, yes. But I didn't write it. What responsibility should I be taking? You yourself advocate for Freedom of Speech just one comment up. I'm working to facilitate that freedom of speech.

      Would you like me to publish the article written by Mort Todd in Vex as well?

  6. How "Away" do you think Mort is from?

    How "Elitist" do you think he is?



  7. Free speech is overrated... Especially if you can get the guv'mint to pay for everything!

  8. Actually, if you don't like GOVERNMENT you should move to Somalia, which has a VERY SMALL central government. Or Papua New Guinea, which in places, has none at all.

    As far as my "idiotic hippy bullshit" that is costing people jobs? What are you referring to?

    And I actually excelled at Social Studies in grade school. But that was a long time ago. It seems, based on your comment, and the writing level displayed here, that the distance between today and middle school is on the scale of weeks rather than years.

  9. Although I admire your meddle, Punk Patriot, and normally I agree with someone such as yourself on most occurred to me that if there was a convention center there it would house Comic-Con which was run by Eastland Hotel last time I went to one. That could be a reason for Mort Todd to want it there. He was a speaker at the Comic-Con I went to in 2011. Now, if Eastland is cool enough to host Comic-Con, then that means there could be other Conventions there as well like the Star Trek Convention or the Star Wars one or something. I am a fan of Comics and Science Fiction and so therefore would enjoy that and also I think that it would bring out of town business to Portland. I certainly would like to keep Monument Square, though, and Deering Oaks. Sorry to be poopy, but, that comment about "elitist dinks from away" is mistaken about Mort Todd and his intentions and also assumed he was not a Mainer. He grew up in Portland, Maine. Also, I think we need more homeless shelters and maybe some place for people with mental illness to get help.

    1. They aren't building a convention center. They are building a ballroom. Congress Square is rather small, and would not host a very large convention center.

      Besides that, the Eastland already HAS a ballroom.

      And besides that, there is a convention center being built just a few minutes drive from there at Thompson's Point. Plus we've got the Civic Center, the State Theater, the Holiday Inn, the Ramada Inn, all of which already have convention areas.

      And they all mostly sit empty.

      We don't need another empty convention center in Portland.

    2. Rockbridge Capital has a history of renovating large hotels and flipping them for a profit. The only reason they want to add on another ballroom onto the Eastland is to sell it to yet another outside investment firm to make some skrillah and bust outta town. They are not interested in "investing" in the Portland Maine economy. Furthermore what new jobs will be created that won't end as soon as construction for the Eastland is over? Also and most importantly! If we are going to build anything on Congress Square park it should be a homeless shelter. People complain about getting the homeless off the street and into programs that will help them, but the places that do offer support are overflowing and these people have nowhere else to go. Portland should NOT be focusing its energies on a ballroom when so many people in the city are suffering and have no roof over their heads!

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  11. I was at the Meg Perry Center last night, and a met a woman who had just become homeless that day.

    She lost her job, struggled to find employment, fell behind on rent, and was evicted. She was living in an apartment in Standish.

    She came in to use the bathroom and find out where the homeless shelters in Portland were. She'd visited one already, and they were already full.

    Ironically, the Eastland Hotel used to house low-income people. Now it's empty.

    1. empty... for RENOVATIONS! That means repairing an aging building.
      I am curious about how much needed to be repaired because of the low income people who were living there who, I might add, have an alarming tendency to treat absolutely everything and everyone in their environment with disrespect.

  12. To quote Rob Korobkin,
    "We have zero obligation to be "hospitable" to anybody who doesn't respect us and our city."


    This is why the dirty, disrespectful, habitually-drunken, spare-change-demanding, vagrants who fight over street drugs, scream profanity in public and throw their garbage all over the city DO NOT get to have a say in what happens to any part of the city!

    This also includes you, you Occupy clowns.
    The garbage and mess that you left in the Court House Park and all over Monument square during your little occupy rallies clearly demonstrates that you do not respect anything or anybody.

    All you people care about are getting your free handouts from the system while doing absolutely nothing to give back to that system.
    You don't even make any effort to contribute!
    You just stand on your little soap box and whine about how unfair the cruel system is, then demand that you be given handouts. You are indeed the 99%, because 99% of you are spoiled children with an unrealistic sense of entitlement that sorely needs to be readjusted.

    In response to Kaye Kunz, the reason Portland has such a huge, overflowing even, homeless problem is because they flock here from out of town and out of state, because they heard how good and plentiful the freebies are here.

    If you people want to talk about "out of state assholes who make life in Portland unpleasant" then you need to take a much closer look at the source of the homeless problem and attack that.

    Maine just loves to coddle those who are unwilling to contribute their fair share, but heaven forbid that someone who lost their job and needs help to get back on their feet should request a little assistance! Oh no, the system says! You don't have the requisite thinly-defined-politically-sensitive-all-new-and-trendy medical condition (aka I just love to snort/smoke/shoot/ingest oxycodone), we couldn't possibly help you find a new job, nor would it be appropriate for us to create a functioning economy or create any jobs!

    If you want to complain about the system, complain about how upside down and broken it is. How it functions really nicely for those with absolutely no intention of contributing to society and how terribly it functions for those who actually want to contribute but need a hand getting started or getting back up after a fall.