Sometimes doing the right thing is almost too simple. Requiring publicly funded construction projects to produce no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions is one example: it’s hard to find the down side. By David Morris… Read More
Far from becoming obsolete, public libraries still operate at the heart of their communities. In addition, they’ve taken on new roles such as"Guide to the Internet," and "Champion of Equal Access." Now they’re struggling, on behalf of their patrons, to prevent private companies from passing legislation that restricts the right to read free of charge. By Harriet Barlow, Karen Hering and Stacy Mitchell… Read More
As Time Warner begins the process of renegotiating its franchise agreement with the city of Portland, much of the coverage in the Press Herald has focused on cable television. And for good reason.
City residents have no cable choice but Time Warner, and since 1996 the cost of its service has risen three times faster than inflation.
But a far more serious long-term issue for Portland residents and Maine’s economy is Time Warner’s stranglehold on broadband cable Internet service.
The front of the poster shows Uncle Sam with his arms embracing a store owner and a shopper, superimposed over an outline of the state of Iowa and a drawing of Main Street. The back lists ten reasons to support independent businesses. Number one: Money spent at a local business stays in your community. … Read More
The Locally Owned Business Organization (LOBO) of Grand Junction, Colorado celebrates its first anniversary this month. In a year’s time, LOBO has grown from a handful of founders to 52 dues-paying members, ranging from retail stores to contractors, banks, and media outlets. … Read More
Faced with a gap in the local retail base—no pharmacy or bookstore, for example—city officials almost invariably try to lure a national chain into the community. There often seems to be little alternative: how exactly does a town go about establishing a new independent business to fulfill an important function? While there’s no obvious path and it may well prove more difficult than attracting a chain, officials of Orono, Maine recently demonstrated that it can be done.… Read More
The Irish government has made permanent a temporary cap on the size of retail stores in effect since 1998. The new law restricts stores in the Dublin area to 3,500 square meters (38,000 sq. ft.) and applies a 3,000 square meter (32,000 sq. ft.) limit to the rest of the country. The policy also requires that new retail stores be located in town centers. … Read More
At a hearing held in mid-November, residents of New Rochelle, New York were finally given an opportunity to comment on a proposed 308,000 square foot Ikea furniture store. They gave city officials an earful. More than 400 people packed City Hall, while hundreds more stood outside. So many wished to testify that the city was forced to extend the hearings over five nights, taking 18 hours of testimony from more than 200 residents. All but a handful opposed the project. … Read More
Small business owners and neighborhood activists were elated in November when Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy decided to drop his controversial downtown redevelopment plan. The $522 million project involved demolishing 60 historic buildings and condemning 120 mostly locally owned businesses. In their place, Murphy sought to build a massive retail complex, anchored by a Nordstrom department store and several dozen national chains. … Read More