City should look after its poor and hungry before funding arts

No money whatsoever should be spent on culture by city hall until the basic needs of all Nanaimoites are brought up to livable standards.

To the Editor,

Re: Arts funding fair, Letters, Dec. 9.

It shocks me to see ads and letters in the newspapers touting Nanaimo is “not that poor” so arts and culture should receive heaping helpings of tax dollars.

Some Nanaimoites are evidently so wealthy they did not care to read the Vital Signs report which said 38 per cent of residents in our city were not earning a living wage as of 2010.

Before pro-culture supporters speak of entitlement to city taxes and dictate arts enriches lives, all Nanaimoites must have a life to live first and be able to survive foremost. No money whatsoever should be spent on culture by city hall until the basic needs of all Nanaimoites are brought up to livable standards. That means focusing tax money directly on basic city services without the arts trimmings.

J.C. BroderickNanaimo


To the Editor,

Re: Arts funding fair, Letters, Dec. 9.

The letter writer declares that man shall not live on bread alone, but many Nanaimo families are having a hard time doing just that, keeping a loaf of bread and other staples readily on the kitchen table.

R.C. StearmanNanaimo


To the Editor,

Re: Arts funding fair, Letters, Dec. 9.

Do I read the letter correct that the writer thinks “it is unreasonable to expect that [artists] should also have time, money, energy and skills to administrate and promote their work?”

The Vital Signs report clearly spells out that 17 per cent of Nanaimo lives below the poverty line and 38 per cent were not earning a living wage. Forcing these people to subsidize the theatre is wrong.

Only in Nanaimo would seniors on fixed incomes, single parents with two or three children and the working poor be forced to subsidize the elite theatre attendee’s entertainment tickets.

The Port Theatre claims 100,000 tickets per year. Raising the average ticket price by $10 would generate $1 million year. I am certain the average theatre attendee can afford it much better than the average attendee at the food bank.

The new city council has to put a stop to this stupidity.

Tim McGrathNanaimo


To the Editor,

Re: Arts funding fair, Letters, Dec. 9.

Exemplifying how easy it should be for council to simply allocate taxes for the arts, the scribe to your paper incorrectly utters “Nanaimo community, as a whole, is not that poor” and declares “man shall not live on bread alone.” This cannot go without a response.

Last week the Loaves and Fishes food bank appeared before council asking for funding to buy a larger building since more Nanaimo residents are starving. In the last month the society said 3,000 people needed help and in the last year 7,000 people came looking for food just to survive.

Nanaimo is hardly a city whose residents are well off and can afford the finer, extra things in life.

I wish the Bulletin would not publish letters from people who live outside the city tax collection base and tell the rest of us how our money should be spent.

George OliverNanaimo

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