Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Media Literacy group wants The Commons protected from commercialism

In a post two weeks ago, I wrote about the Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation's proposal to sell naming rights to our public parks facilities in exchange for corporate money.

Are you really willing to accept the The Pepsi Community Center in Gabriel Park?

Now the board of the Northwest Media Literacy Center has taken a position against PPR's proposal and sent a letter of opposition to the City Council. I’m on the board and helped draft the proposal.

Unless you really intend for your tax dollars to provide billboard and other logo and slogan space for the likes of Nike, Pepsi and The Gap, I urge you to write the council (Mayor Potter and Commissioners Sten, Salzman, Leonard and Adams) as well as Parks Director Zari Santner to oppose the measure. The public comment period ends Friday, Feb 23.

Here’s what the NMLC board resolution says:

The Board of the Northwest Media Literacy Center (NMLC) urges the Portland City Council to reject a Portland Parks and Recreation proposal to legitimize and allow corporate sponsorships and commercialism in our parks and public facilities. The proposed policy would result in the selling of naming rights to public-owned park property and would allow commercial messages in our parks and recreation facilities.

• The NMLC board believes that parks facilities are part of the public Commons, which should be a “safe haven” from intrusive and rampant commercialization.
• We further believe it is the responsibility of the Portland City Council and the City’s bureaus to safeguard the entire Commons from commercial display, including sponsorship announcements, corporate naming, trademarks, logos and other commercial messages.
• NMLC is committed to teaching people—including public servants—to critically assess media messages in order to understand their impact on our communities, our society and our planet.

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