Monday, November 14, 2011 Bennett Gets 17 Write-In Votes for Mayor Claims cover-up by City election officials. Republican Erick Bennett, the only official write-in candidate in Portland's recent mayoral election, received 17 of the 81 write-in votes cast in the election, according to Elections Administrator Bud Philbrick. Bennett was one of the early announced candidates in the race, but failed to come up with enough petition signatures to get his name on the ballot.
Bennett is claiming that City election officials are not counting thousands of votes that were cast for him. "They are denying your vote from counting," Bennett told his supporters on his Facebook page. "The reason they are doing this is because we crushed everybody else and they are trying to cover it up."
Bennett was the 'social networking strategist' for the election campaign of Governor Paul LePage. During his mayoral campaign, he said he would be Portland's first 'social media' mayor.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 BRENNAN ELECTED MAYOR Former State Senator Michael Brennan was declared Portland's first elected mayor in 88 years as a result of the city's newly-instituted ranked choice voting system. Brennan led fourteen other candidates after the first round of voting with about 27% of the first choice votes of Portland voters - 5,240 votes out of more than 19,000.
Brennan won the race with 8,971 votes, after thirteen other candidates were eliminated. Ethan Strimling finished second with 7,138. Current Mayor Nicholas Mavodones finished third with 4,075 votes. The results are unofficial pending further review by City elections officials.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 Mayoral Candidates Announce Support for Each Other's Candidacies Mayoral candidates David Marshall, Markos Miller, and Jed Rathband held a press conference this morning on the steps of City Hall to "highlight the new generation of leadership in Portland and present a clear choice to voters looking for an alternative to the status quo."
Several prominent endorsements have been awarded to each of these three candidates:
The top endorsement from the League of Young Voters; Maine Green Independent Party endorsement; Portland Phoenix: Environment and Creative Economy + Arts + Culture (Marshall),
The sole endorsement of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce PAC; Top 5, League of Young Voters, Portland Phoenix (Rathband),
Portland Education Association endorsement; Top-5 choice from the League of Young Voters; Portland Phoenix: Community/Neighborhood Development (Miller).
The three candidates highlighted their work in the community and in City Hall, saying that they can work collaboratively and efficiently to achieve progress on issues like education, economic development, transportation and overall quality of life matters. They are among fifteen candidates seeking the office. The election will be held this Tuesday, November 8th.
Thursday, November 3, 2011 Greens Endorse Marshall as Eder Bails The Maine Green Independent Party endorsed West End City Councilor David Marshall for Portland’s first elected mayor, just hours after Marshall's fellow Green-and mayoral opponent-John Eder threw his support behind another candidate, Democrat Ethan Strimling. The mayoral race is officially non- partisan, but most of the candidates have identified their party affiliations.
“Let there be no mistake about it, David Marshall is the Green choice for Portland’s mayor,” said Nate Shea, MGIP Chair. “His leadership on sustainable transportation, green development, and the creative economy places him among the strongest elected Greens in the nation.”
Eder, who, as the state representative from the West End, was once the highest-ranking elected Green Party official in the nation, said he will remain in the race, but felt his candidacy was slipping and Strimling shared some of his ideas about building affordable housing downtown and working on affordable health care. Strimling and Eder also served together in the Maine State Legislature.
In his campaign, Marshall has proposed creating a modern streetcar line in Portland, converting homes and businesses from oil to cleaner fuels, growing the population density to create a more sustainable city, as well as emphasising his longstanding commitment to helping constituents cut through city bureaucracy.
Marshall has been knocking on doors since his campaign began in February. He received the #1 endorsement by the Maine League of Young Voters, and two issue-based endorsements by the Portland Phoenix. He has been the West End's City Councilor since 2006.
Mayor Watch 2011 Whose Bright Idea Was That Anyway?! By WILL EVERITT
The transition from a ceremonial mayor to an elected one has transformed Portland. For the first time, residents of the biggest city in Maine are having a community dialogue about competing visions of our collective future. While the sheer number of candidates is overwhelming, the process of having fifteen people articulate the ways - great and small, visionary and concrete - that they want Portland to move forward, has created a number of bright ideas. No matter who wins the race, the new mayor should take advantage of the “idea bank” the election has created. Here are some of the best ideas, great and small, from leading candidates and dark horses alike.
-Mike Brennan’s bright idea is encouraging research and job training clusters between the University of Southern Maine, Southern Maine Community College, Maine Med, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. More than 40% of Portlanders have a college degree or better, and many of them are under- employed. By encouraging colleges to work closer with research institutions and businesses, we can better train our work force, create more jobs, and encourage innovation.
-Dave Marshall’s campaign has put forward so many ideas, it’s almost drowning in them. All of his ideas are centered around an issue few candidates are talking about: growing Portland’s population. If we grew our population by 10,000 people in the next decade, we increase our economic base and spread out our tax burden. One of his main ideas for encouraging this is a modern streetcar system connecting downtown and residential areas with the Outer Congress transportation hub. Businesses and housing investments are a natural outgrowth of permanent public transportation systems like this. But regardless of the various strategies available, City Hall has to focus on the goal of growing our city, and not losing families to South Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth, and the Cape. Another solid idea from Marshall is his “24 hour pothole guarantee.” This isn’t so much a promise to fill in our potholes, but the implementation of a system to track calls to City Hall and evaluate how much time it takes to address citizens’ problems. Other cities around the country have implemented such a program, making their bureaucracies a little more user-friendly.
-Markos Miller’s best idea is the one he’s been working on since long before the mayoral race: turning Franklin Arterial back into a city-scale street. Even if we just moved its four lanes together, it would open up acres of city land to development and usable open space and reconnect the East End with the rest of the city.
-John Eder’s idea of giving students free rides on our bus system shouldn’t get lost in mix. The Metro is a safe, environmentally-friendly, and under-utilized resource in our city. By encouraging our older students to use the Metro to get to and from school takes advantage of existing transportation infrastructure, helps schools save on transportation costs, encourages sustainable habits by our kids, and would increase ridership in our bus system. Eder’s idea for 1,000 affordable housing units in Bayside is also an important one. It’d help increase Portland’s population and keep the downtown’s density up.
-Jed Rathband’s idea for renaming Washing Avenue at the base of Munjoy Hill “International Boulevard” celebrates our immigrant heritage and recognizes the commercial, economic, and quality of life contributions of Portland’s diverse population.
-Chris Vail’s best idea is that politicians should act like adults. It’s a not-so- quiet reminder that no matter who wins on November 8th, the new mayor, sitting city councilors, and city employees will have to work together to get things done. This shouldn’t need saying, but it does.
-Hamza Haadoow’s best idea was simply running. True, his business and development ideas are similar to many candidates’ in the race. But Haadoow escaped civil war and refugee camps to come to the States, work his way through college and grad school, raise a family in Portland, and, eventually, run for mayor. His candidacy is a reminder that, even amid the worst economic breakdown in 80 years, the American Dream is still alive.
Bad Ideas are Out There, Too While there are many good ideas being pushed by candidates, there are also a bunch of bad ones that Portland should avoid. One of the worst is Peter Bryant’s call to put an end our blue bags. Portland’s “pay as you throw” garbage system is one of the most successful recycling programs in the state. By charging for garbage bags but providing free recycling, Portland has created a market-driven system for encouraging recycling. Hey Peter, if you don’t like the blue bags, use your blue bin more often.
Another bad one is Rathband’s plan to make 25 cold calls a day to out-of state- businesses. Besides the ridiculous logistics of having our mayor spend almost all of his/her time making 6,000 telemarketing calls a year, this approach to encouraging businesses to move to Portland is a reminder of failed 1970s style economic plans. Promising away tax incentives and pieces of Portland’s public property to get big businesses to locate here won’t help. A better idea would be investing in businesses that have already committed to being here in Portland (an idea Brennan, among others, have been trumpeting).
Ethan Strimling’s big bad idea is his politician-speak. Hypocrisy should be put in a blue bag and sent to the ecomaine incinerator. He continues to claim that City Hall sunk the Maine State Pier development, even though he was one of the few Portland legislators who didn’t raise a finger to save it. Some State House insiders have even suggested that he worked to kill Olympia’s chance to develop the Maine State Pier. He was against the pier before he was for it.
Nick Mavadones has a good idea, that is, at the same time, a bad one. His campaign mantra is “vote for me because I won’t blow the whole thing up.” Not blowing up Portland is a good idea (hey, we do have a great city). But more of the same doesn’t move the ball forward. City Hall needs a shake up and a leader who can put forth a vision.
Perhaps the worst idea, though, is Charles Bragdon’s opposition to Election Day voter registration and the Peoples’ Veto campaign to save it. Portland is full of apartment dwellers, recent retirees, young people, and people working two or three jobs just to get by. The thing all of these demographics have in common is that the ability to register to vote on Election Day makes their lives easier and their voices heard. Since Election Day registration was introduced 38 years ago, our state has enjoyed increased voter participation and had trouble-free elections. Electing a mayor is all about increasing representative democracy. Let’s all embrace this idea by ranking as many mayoral candidates as you like and by voting yes on state Question 1 to protect Maine voting rights.
--Will Everitt is a political nerd and a long-time proponent of an elected mayor. Did I miss a bunch of good ideas? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, October 29, 2011 On the Campaign Trail... David Marshall has the only quilted campaign sign in the city, sewn by supporter Lisa McNeil...John Eder dancing at Sudanese birthday party at the Root Cellar...Nick Mavodones at opening of new StoryWalk in Payson Park... Michael Brennan campaign rally at Empire Dine and Dance...Charles Bragdon compares Instant Runoff Voting with choosing you favorite ice cream flavor...Jed Rathband on the John McDonald show on WGAN... Markos Miller at Mama's Crow Bar with supporters...City Council candidate Zeke Callanan and new bride noshing at Shay's in Monument Square...Jodie Lapchick and Ralph Carmona at We Love Munjoy Hill Festival...
Friday, October 28, 2011 Mayoral Candidates to Hit Middle School Students at Lyman Moore Middle School will host an hour-long forum for Portland mayoral candidates on November 3rd at 8:45 a.m. in the café of the school, located at 171 Auburn Street. The public is invited to attend.
Seventh graders will introduce the candidates and conduct the forum. The format will include a segment at the beginning where candidates quickly answer questions by writing on whiteboards. Students then will ask each candidate a question.
Following the forum, candidates will stay on stage for 45 minutes to answer informal questions from Moore sixth graders, their parents and community members.
Seventh graders are learning about oral presentation skills, the media and local government. Sixth graders are studying government and public policy in a unit titled Election Connection. They are comparing federal and local governments and examining the recently updated Portland City Charter.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 Portland Chamber Endorses Rathband for Mayor Mayoral candidate Jed Rathband announced today that he has received the sole endorsement of the Portland Community Chamber Political Action Committee.
“This endorsement underscores what I’ve been saying since the start of this race. We need new leadership to bring the much needed economic development that will help Portlanders find jobs, address rising property taxes, and provide the tax base to improve our schools.”
Rathband is holding a press conference this afternoon at Tommy’s Park at the corner of Exchange and Middle Streets at 3:30PM. He will be joined by business leaders and individuals who support his campaign.
Saturday, October 15, 2011 Candidate Suspends Printing of Weekly Newspaper Portland Mayoral candidate Charles Bragdon has suspended the print edition of The Portland Weekly Gazette, the local newspaper that 'tells it like it is', which he started publishing in early July. Bragdon said he would resume publishing the paper after the election if he is not elected mayor. He will continue to publish the online edition of the paper.
Bragdon said that he was suspending the print issue of the paper so that he could focus on the last three weeks of the mayoral campaign. He also said that the print readership of the paper did not match the online readership. He says he printed between 2500 and 5000 copies of each issue, but had a return rate of about 40%. He says that he has 8800 readers of the paper online.
Bragdon used the paper to promote his mayoral candidacy, as well as to offer criticism of several of his opponents. The paper covers a variety of area issues, and has featured a number of guest writers and commentators.
Bragdon said that did not lose money on any of the of the print issues he produced, and actually turned a profit on a commemorative 9/11 issue. He said that it was not his plan to make money on the project.
Friday, October 14, 2011 Strimling Blows Off the West End Candidates Face a Barrage of Questions at WENA Forum Mayoral candidate Ethan Strimling was the only one of the fifteen candidates who was a no-show at the West End Neighborhood Association's Mayoral Forum on October 12th at Reiche Community Center. About fifty people attended the forum, and the candidates were asked questions dealing with everything from taxes and recycling, to the civic center and the Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Strimling, who lives and works directly across the street from the community center where the forum was held, cited a previous commitment for his failure to attend the most recent neighborhood forum. Strimling was attending a fundraiser and house party hosted by State Representative Denise Harlow on Kent Street in the Brighton neighborhood.
The candidates who did attend the forum were asked to prepare 90-second answers to the questions, and each candidate responded to two questions drawn at random from the list. Before the two rounds of questioning, each candidate had the opportunity to introduce himself or herself by answering some short questions, such as what was their favorite and least favorite thing about Portland, and whether they had a pet. Mike Brennan told the West End audience - with some hesitation - that the Eastern Prom was his favorite part of the city, followed closely by the Western Prom. Several candidates mentioned the cold winters as their least favorite part, including Hamza Haadoow, a native of tropical Somalia.
Mayor Nick Mavodones mentioned traffic at the intersection of Franklin and Commercial Street (where he commutes to work) as his least favorite thing. Markos Miller said that he hates the Franklin Arterial, Ralph Carmona revealed that he hates the Civic Center, and can't wait to see it renovated, and Dave Marshall expressed his dislike of uncleared sidewalks. There were a wide variety of pets, both living and dead, canine and feline, as well as Jill Duson's pet rock collection.
There were sample ballots available for people to practice ranked-choice voting, and WENA distributed a copy of each candidate's biographical information that had been submitted to them. Candidates were also invited to bring campaign literature and place it on the display table which was be provided. Refreshments for the event were provided by WENA and its members.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 Teachers' Union Endorses Mavodones Members of the Portland Education Association (PEA) have endorsed Nick Mavodones for Mayor as their #1 choice in the upcoming November elections. The Portland Education Association is comprised of educators in the Portland schools and represents over 800 employees in Maine’s largest school district. Mavodones is a former member of the Portland School Committee.
Educators from around the district participated in the screening interviews and endorsement process. All candidates were given an opportunity to appear before a panel of educators and to answer questions covering a range of topics. The PEA also endorsed Mike Brennan (2nd choice), Markos Miller (3rd choice) and Ethan Strimling (4th choice).
Portland Tomorrow Endorses Brennan Portland Tomorrow, an organization of local leaders, has announced its endorsement for Portland’s first elected mayor in more than 80 years. Following a series of interviews and meetings with the candidates, Portland Tomorrow has endorsed the candidacy of Michael Brennan for the November 8th election for Mayor of Portland.
“Our interview process focused on identifying one or more candidates who best meet the criteria for elected Mayor as described in the new City Charter,” says Pamela Plumb, member of Portland Tomorrow and former Chair of the Portland Charter Commission. “After careful review of all the candidates, Portland Tomorrow believes that Mike Brennan best meets this standard. He has proven success at bringing together different constituencies to forge a consensus, including during his tenure as a State Senator and Representative, a member of the Muskie School of Public Service, and years of service with the United Way. Mike also recognizes the need for economic development and job growth, and we are convinced that his leadership will enable Portland to prosper.”
Portland Tomorrow developed four key criteria to measure each candidate: (1) a strong vision for Portland; (2) broad support throughout the city; (3) a commitment to the job; and (4) an ability to build consensus and to govern and lead. Based on these criteria, Brennan scored highest among all the candidates.
According to Plumb, “While there are many candidates in the field with a wealth of civic and elected experience, as well as some promising future leaders, Mike Brennan stands out as the best qualified at this time to effectively lead the City of Portland forward.”
The November 8th mayoral election will be conducted using ranked choice voting, which allows voters to fill out ballots by ranking, in order of preference, some or all of the 15 official candidates. Plumb noted that the members of Portland Tomorrow will be ranking the candidates, in addition to a first choice, and encourages voters to rank at least five to six candidates. Portland Tomorrow notes that, for voters who do not rank enough candidates, there is a risk that their ballot might not be counted if none of the selected candidates achieve a majority in any of the early rounds.
Throughout 2011, Portland Tomorrow has worked to inform the public on how an elected mayor can best fulfill the new Charter and Portland’s needs. That process has included meeting with each of the official candidates, hosting a public forum at the new Ocean Avenue School, and asking each candidate to fill out brief questionnaires relating to their qualifications and views. The candidates’ responses to these questionnaires are available for viewing at www. portlandtomorrow.org.
Portland Tomorrow’s Steering Committee includes: Michael Bourque, President, Portland Community Chamber of Commerce; Senior Vice President for External Affairs at MEMIC; James Cohen, former Vice-Chair of the Portland Charter Commission and former Mayor and Portland City Councilor; vice-chair, Portland Regional Chamber; former president, North Deering Neighborhood Association, attorney at Verrill Dana; Kimberly Cook, principal of Government Strategies, served as the Treasurer of the “Elect Our Mayor, Yes on 1” campaign; Glenn Cummings, former Majority Leader and Speaker of the House of the Maine House of Representatives; President of Good Will Hinckley; Peter Eglinton, former Chair of the Portland School Board; Principal Associate at Abt Associates; Will Everitt, former Executive Director of the Maine League of Young Voters; Development Director at Friends of Casco Bay; Political commentator for the West End NEWS. Pamela Plumb, former Chair of the Portland Charter Commission and former Mayor and Portland City Councilor; co-owner of Great Meetings! Inc.; Nathan Smith, former member of the Portland Charter Commission and former Mayor and Portland City Councilor; co-founder of Portland Trails, attorney at Bernstein Shur; Kate Snyder, Chair of the Portland School Board; John Spritz, former member of the Portland Charter Commission; former president of the Back Cove Neighborhood Association.
Monday, October 10, 2011 Homeless Voters to Meet With Mayoral Candidates Preble Street Homeless Voices for Justice has invited all 15 candidates running for Portland mayor to a voter education forum for homeless voters at the Preble Street Soup Kitchen on Wednesday, October 12 at the Preble Street Soup Kitchen, 252 Oxford Street. A Breakfast Forum begins at 9:30am and a Lunch Forum begins at 1:00pm Candidates have been invited to share a meal with the people using Preble Street services, and participate in an open discussion and question and answer session.
Given the large candidate field, two sessions will take place, one immediately after the breakfast soup kitchen meal and one after the lunch meal.
The candidates’ forum is a key component of Homeless Voices for Justice ongoing voter education efforts, and gives candidates the opportunity to listen to people who are experiencing homelessness or poverty.
Preble Street is the leading provider of basic and essential services to Portland’ s homeless and low-income residents, and serves an average of 500 people each day, many of whom are already registered voters, representing a sizable cross-section of Portland.
Homeless Voices for Justice is a consumer advocacy program that conducts "You Don’t Need a Home to Vote" voter registration and education drives every year and has registered almost 2,000 voters.
Wednesday, October 12 Breakfast Forum, 9:30 a.m. Lunch Forum, 1:00 p.m. Preble Street Soup Kitchen, 252 Oxford Street, Portland
On the Campaign Trail... Still waiting for campaign signs from several of the candidates...John Eder will study in Ireland on a scholarship if he doesn't get elected mayor...Ralph Carmona looking for votes on India Street...Nick Mavodones and Dave Marshall (who wants to bring street cars to downtown) shoveling dirt at kickoff of the new Taylor Street Park...Candidates getting swamped with questionnaires from potential endorsers... Peter Bryant promises to end the blue bag trash collection system...Jed Rathband bumper sticker spotted in Massachussetts... Michael Brennan at Occupy Maine rally at Lincoln Park...
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 Absentee Voting for November Election Begins Starting Thursday, October 6th at 9:00 AM, all Portland voters can vote by absentee ballot for the November 8th election. Registered voters can request an absentee ballot by phone, fax, email, ,online or in person at the City Clerk’s Office. Voters voting by absentee ballot will receive a state ballot and one city ballot, and should review the instructions included with the absentee ballot before voting. All ballots in this election are double-sided.
Voters have the option of voting absentee in person at the City Clerk’s office during regular office hours, Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM until Thursday, November 3, 2011. The City Clerk’s office will extend their hours until 8:00 PM November 3rd to accommodate the change in state absentee voting laws.
Last November, City of Portland voters approved Charter Commission amendments, which called for a citywide election for the city’s Mayor through ranked choice voting. The first ranked choice voting election for Mayor will be this November. Ranked choice voting allows voters the opportunity to rank as many of the Mayoral candidates as they would like according to preference. Voters will rank candidates in order of 1st choice, 2nd choice and so on, until either the voter no longer has a preference or all candidates have been ranked. If on Election Day, no one candidate receives a majority (50% plus one) of the first choice votes cast, an instant run-off re-tabulation will be conducted the following day by the City Clerk with support from TrueBallot until a candidate receives a majority of the votes. Following the initial tally of votes, the candidate with the fewest first choice votes will be eliminated, and those ballots will be re-tabulated to the voter’s second choice candidate. Successive rounds of candidate elimination and re-tabulation will continue until one candidate receives a majority.
College students interested in voting in this election should consider applying for an absentee ballot. Parents visiting a college student may request a ballot in writing and bring it to their child at school. The ballot can be sent back with the parents after voting or returned by mail. When mailing an absentee ballot, make sure to post the ballot with enough time to ensure that it is received by the City Clerk by 8:00 PM on Election Day, Tuesday November 8, 2011.
To receive an absentee ballot, you must be a registered voter. To register to vote in Portland, you must bring identification and proof of Portland residency to the City Clerk’s office. A driver’s license or state identification card with the current address meets both criteria, otherwise, a checkbook, car registration, or a piece of personal mail addressed to the applicant at the current address will suffice. On Election Day, Portland residents can register to vote at their polling place.
For up-to-date information about voting this November, visit portlandvoters. com or call the city’s voter hotline at 874-8677.
City Clerk’s Office Hours, Room 203 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM City Hall, Portland
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 Candidates to Face a Barrage of Questions at West End Mayoral Forum The West End Neighborhood Association has sent the fifteen mayoral candidates a list of questions for the WENA Mayoral Forum on Wednesday, October 12th, at Reiche Community Center.
The candidates will be asked questions dealing with everything from taxes and recycling, to the civic center and the Narrow Gauge Railroad. For a complete list of the questions, click here.
There will be a short WENA meeting at 6:30, followed by the forum at 7PM. Both events will be held in the community room upstairs at Reiche at 166 Brackett Street. If the crowd is too large, however, it will migrate to the auditorium on the first floor.
The candidates have been asked to prepare 90-second answers to the questions. Each candidate will respond to two questions drawn at random from the list. No question will be repeated. Before the two rounds of questioning, Each candidate will have the opportunity to introduce himself or herself by answering some short questions.
Candidates have been invited to make written responses to the questions, and the public will receive copies of the responses after the forum. There will also be sample ballots available for people to practice ranked-choice voting.
WENA will distribute a copy of each candidate's biographical information that has been submitted to them. There will be space on this program for audience members to make notes on each candidate.
Candidates have also been invited to bring campaign literature and place it on the display table which will be provided.
Refreshments will be available, provided by WENA and its members.
Thursday, September 29, 2011 Promises and Precedents WILL EVERITT The official 15 candidates are: Charles Bragdon (publisher/editor Portland Maine Gazette), Mike Brennan (Muskie School of Public Service), Peter Bryant (retired merchant marine), Ralph Carmona (local activist, retired professor), Richard Dodge (business owner), Jill Duson (current City Councilor, Department of Labor), John Eder (former State Rep), Hamza Haadoow (local business owner), Jodie Lapchick (PR consultant), David Marshall (current City Councilor, Fine Artist), Nick Mavodones (current City Councilor, Casco Bay Lines), Markos Miller (Deering High teacher), Jed Rathband (PR consultant), Ethan Strimling (leave of absence from Learning Works) and Christopher Vail (Portland firefighter).
Mike Brennan promises to invest in our schools and build stronger partnerships between the city’s school systems and the colleges in our community. David Marshall proposes that we seek federal funding to bring streetcars back to Portland. Jed Rathband has promised to make 25 cold calls a day to out-of- state businesses to lure them to Portland (does he know he just promised 6,000 cold calls a year?). Ethan Strimling promises to be the city’s CEO. Nick Mavodones, the current ceremonial mayor, promises to keep Portland, well, Portland and “not blow the whole thing up.”
All politicians are full of promises. It’s their stock in trade.
When you hear a promise, the question a savvy voter should ask is just how do you plan on doing that?
What separates Portland’s mayoral election from nearly every other type of election we’ve had in this city over the past four-score and eight years is that there is no mayoral precedent to go on. When you read the U.S. Constitution, the powers of the President sound bare-bones. We needed a first president to set a precedent, to put flesh on the bones.
This election is Portland’s 'George Washington moment,' to borrow a phrase from John Eder, who borrowed it from me in the first place (and gives me a nickel every time he says it).
The Charter Commission’s final report about new mayoral position explains that it “is not an executive mayor, but rather is a ‘policy’ mayor who remains a member of the Council and has substantial influence over the policy direction of the City.”
So, are the promises our candidates are making even possible to accomplish under the authorities given to our new mayor under our new charter?
Ceremonial Mayor Mavodones likes to point out that the biggest difference between the new job and the old one is that the new mayor will serve for four years. To him, perhaps, this means four more years of ribbon cuttings and not blowing things up, easy enough promises to keep.
But there are other more important powers the new mayor has.
For example, the mayor is now charged with setting annual goals of the City Council and setting the agenda for the council’s meetings (a job done by the City Manager, currently). The mayor is also charged with giving an annual State of the City Address to report out on these goals. This means that, to a large degree, the new mayor will be able to steer the ship. But much like steering one of the ubiquitous cruise ships in our harbor, the City will not be able to turn on a dime; the mayor is still a member of the council and will need a majority of his or her colleagues to agree on any new direction.
Current councilors like Duson, Marshall and Mavodones certainly know a lot about this process. Those tax incentives Rathband will want to offer to some business from Texas in order to move to Portland will have to be voted on by the entire city council. The mayor does not have the power to unilaterally move policy forward.
The long-shot candidate Peter Bryant recognized this truth when, while answering a question at the League of Young Voters’ mayoral forum earlier this month that the “Biggest challenge, for me, will be working with the city council.”
There are a handful of candidates who have been embracing the role of consensus-builder inherent in our new charter.
“The job appeals to me because consensus-building is what it takes to get things done,” said Mike Brennan, pointing to his work creating the Cumberland County Affordable Housing Venture, where he worked with local governments throughout the county, the Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way.
“The new position of mayor calls for someone with collaborative skills - a consensus builder, someone who can define a common vision for the city,” says Markos Miller. A Deering High teacher and a community organizer, Miller sees himself as someone who can bring the city council together on issues that matter.
The new mayor position also changes the relationship between the Mayor and the City Manager. Under Portland’s Charter, the City Manager has full responsibility for hiring, firing and supervision of all City employees, except the city attorney and the City Clerk. In that sense, the City Manager, not the Mayor is the “CEO” of the City (sorry, Ethan Strimling). But under the new Charter, the Mayor is charged with the annual evaluation of the Manager and oversight of that process. If the process sets annual goals, then there will be a level of accountability for the City Manager and the staff under him. For those running to bring more accountability to City Hall, this is one of the levers of power.
The new mayor will also be charged with officially facilitating the passage of the school budget. While we have a separate school board to oversee our schools policies and implementation of the budget, it’s in this role of official facilitator that the new mayor can move educational goals forward.
A lot of candidates promise to increase Portland’s visibility and importance on the state and federal stage. This role is specifically called out by the Charter Commission’s final report: “Portland needs a popularly-elected leader who can represent our city in our interactions with other municipalities, the state and Federal governments, business interests, and the many entities that look for a unified voice speaking as the public face of local government.”
Once again, this is a point Brennan has been driving home.
“We lost $1 million in state aid this year and no one in Portland’s city government fought to stop it. I understand the state funding formula and the legislative process. As mayor, I’ll fight to ensure we get our fair share,” says Brennan.
Finally, the new mayoral position calls for more involvement and accountability regarding the city budget. Up through this year, it is the role of the City Manager to present the budget to the Council. Under the new charter, the mayor is called to provide policy guidance to the City Manager, who is required to use that guidance in his budget. If the mayor does not feel that the budget meets the needs of Portland’s residents, he or she could veto it. This guidance, threat of a veto, and the bully pulpit that comes along with being mayor are perhaps the most powerful levers of power the new mayor will have to direct his or her vision for the city.
So when you hear a promise from one of the 15 mayor wannabes, be sure to ask what lever they’re going to use to make that happen.
Another Ambiguity from Strimling A local political do-gooder pointed out to me the ironic ambiguity of Ethan Strimling’s slogan on his canary yellow signs: “He’s proven we can do better.” That we can do better than him? Hmm. It is unclear if upon filing his campaign expenditure reports, he has to report the signs as an in-kind gift to the 14 other candidates.
-Will Everitt is a political nerd and a long-time proponent of an elected mayor. Many thanks to former Charter Commissioner Nathan Smith for help with this article. Please send comments, complaints, and ideas to email@example.com.
Preamble to Portland Maine’s City Charter We, the People of Portland, Maine, establish this Charter to secure the benefits of local governance and to provide for the general health, safety and welfare of our community. In so doing, we build a government that meets the needs of the people it serves and whose character it reflects. Our government shall further cooperation, encourage leadership, solicit our input and support the active participation of our residents in their governance. Our government shall be effective and accountable and shall promote equal rights and representative democracy. Our government shall provide public education that enables all residents to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to participate fully in Portland’s civic, intellectual, cultural and economic life, in order to enrich and strengthen our community and our common future.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 Candidate Releases Animated Video Explaining Ranked Choice Voting Portland mayoral candidate Jed Rathband's campaign has released an animated video depicting two Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) scenarios to help voters understand how RCV works. RCV is gaining popularity across the U.S. as more voters want to see a clear majority elect their leaders, however confusion about the system has some voters turned off about it from the start.
“Voters in Portland are a little confused about the nature of Ranked Choice Voting so naturally they are distrustful of the process,” Rathband said “that’s why I’ve responded with a simple animated explanation of how RCV works in practice.”
The video lasts one minute and forty-three seconds, and depicts a scenario of four candidates. The first scenario shows one candidate winning on the first ballot with just over 50% of the votes cast.
In the next scenario the election goes down to the 3rd ballot, and shows how the second choice candidate is eventually the winner.
“It’s really a simple system and I encourage people to have a good understanding of RCV and the candidates as they head in to the election booth on November 8th,” Rathband said. To view the video go to www.jedformayor.com The link is at the top of the page.
Monday, September 26, 2011 League of Young Voters Endorses Five Candidates in Mayoral Race Marshall, Brennan at the top of the list
The Maine League of Young Voters has endorsed five candidates in the upcoming mayoral race. The slate endorsement includes #1 David Marshall, #2 Michael Brennan, #3 John Eder, #4 Markos Miller and #5 Jed Rathband.
The League set its endorsements for the November 8th election at the annual Project Vote meeting last Thursday, September 22nd, at Zero Station. Dozens of members who volunteered at least eight hours of time in the last year were invited to vote on a slate of five endorsements in the Mayoral race, using Ranked Choice Voting.
Zeke Callanan’s campaign for City Council District 4 and Josephine Okot’s bid for the At Large School Board seat also received The League's endorsement. Justin Costa was also endorsed in his race for School Board District 4.
The League is already throwing weight behind the Yes on 1 campaign to save Same Day Voter Registration and urging a “No” vote on questions 2 & 3 about gambling. The League also supports a “Yes” vote on Question 4, the Constitutional amendment and a “Yes” on the County bond Question about revamping the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Full results and write ups will be printed in the 2011 Voter Guide set for release October 8th. The League of Young Voters will also be posting all questionnaires and interview materials online on October 8th at http://maine. theleague.com.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 League to Endorse Top Five Rank Choice Candidates The League of Young Voters will hold its Project Vote on Thursday, September 22nd, at Zero Station, 222 Anderson Street in East Bayside, from 6 to 8 PM. All League members who volunteered eight hours or more since the last election will be deciding on the League's endorsements for 2011. The seven-member Elections Committee has decided that the organization will be endorsing the top five ranked-choices for Mayor, mirroring the format of the actual election. Absentee ballots are also available by contacting Delia@TheLeague.com.
The League will also soon be publishing its 2011 Voter Guide. The Election’s Committee is currently sifting through questionnaires, doing interviews, follow- up interviews, and analyzing their recent candidate forum. To watch the candidate forum in its entirety, click here.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 Mayoral Candidate Pushes for Citywide Preschool Option Markos Miller, candidate for Mayor, has announced his support for Portland School District Superintendent Jim Morse‘s proposal to provide the option of public preschool to all 4-year-olds in the district.
Citing research conducted by University of Chicago Professor James Heckman, Miller noted that, “funding preschool actually saves the government money in the long run, provides a foundational education for our children, and is perhaps the policy investment where taxpayers get the most bang for their buck.”
Miller elaborated on the funding for this proposal saying that half the costs could be covered by the Federal Head Start program, the school district could pay a quarter of overall costs and then have that investment matched by State funding.
Miller is a public school teacher, part owner of a small family business, and a former President of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization.
Monday, September 19, 2011 Mayor Race Heats Up as Rathband Blasts City Leadership Mayoral candidate Jed Rathband has taken off the gloves in Portland's mayoral race, citing what he calls "the insufficient leadership by the current mayor and city government."
Rathband said that the recent approval of sixteen housing units at the former Adams School on Munjoy Hill "underscores the missed opportunity and failed policy initiatives that have come to define the approach our city makes when preparing for the future."
“There is nothing affordable about a project that so woefully under-utilizes such a valuable piece of land,” he said during a debate last week sponsored by the League of Young Voters.
“In this case sixteen units on nearly two acres of land on the most densely populated piece of real estate in the city is more than just poor planning, it’s failed leadership.”
Rathband has promised to make affordable housing and the effective integration of the business, non-profit and government sectors a central objective of his mayorship.
He also accused current Mayor Nick Mavodones of a lack of leadership and what he called a "half-hearted effort made by the mayor" to assure passage of the bond to revitalize the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Eder Makes Downtown Chain Stores an Issue in Mayoral Race Mayoral candidate John Eder says that the Portland City Council should bring back the anti-formula business ordinance. Eder's comments come in response to the news that the national clothing chain Urban Outfitters will be opening a store on Middle Street in the Old Port. "There goes the neighborhood!" says Eder. "The Mall of America descends on the Old Port!"
The City Council in 2006 adopted an ordinance that restricted the establishment of some formula retail stores and restaurants in the downtown and adjacent commercial areas, but it was repealed several months later.
City Councilor and mayoral candidate David Marshall was a sponsor of the repeal the Formula Business Ordinance. After its repeal, the Council created the Task Force for Business Diversity, of which Marshall was named co-chair. Its task was to try achieve a balance between locally-owned businesses and national chains, and maintain the character of downtown Portland. The Formula Business Ordinance had many legal issues, according to Marshall, including that fact that it was not reviewed by the Planning Board. After the repeal of the FBO, the two-year long task force was not able to find a legal way to ban formula businesses.
Friday, September 16, 2011 Two Neighborhood Associations to Host Mayoral Events On Wednesday, September 21st, the Back Cove Neighborhood Association is co-sponsoring a Mayoral Candidates' "Meet N' Greet" at the Ocean Avenue Elementary School from 7-9pm. This will be an opportunity to talk directly with candidates, ask questions, and circulate among the wide field of individuals running for the Mayor of Portland. Refreshments will be provided. Thirteen of the fifteen official candidates are expected to attend. • Wednesday, September 21, 7:00 – 9:00 pm • Ocean Avenue Elementary School, 150 Ocean Avenue FMI, contact John Spritz, 773-0872, firstname.lastname@example.org
The West End Neighborhood Association plans to host a mayoral candidates' forum at its October meeting on Wednesday October 12th. WENA is soliciting questions from the public, and will compile a list of questions that they will distribute to all the candidates. On the night of the forum, each candidate will be asked two questions drawn at random from the pool of questions. Questions can be submitted by e-mail to: ">email@example.com. Questions must be submitted by Wednesday, September 28th.
Reiche Community Center, 166 Brackett Street, Portland. Next one is Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at 6:30p.m.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 On the Campaign Trail... John Eder and his dog Angel at Congress and Park Street...Jed Rathband and supporters on the cruise ship Lucky Catch...Jill Duson talking to business owners in the West End...Dave Marshall campaigning by bike in Back Cove... Markos Miller at Hannaford's meat counter...Two City Councilors turned away from filled-to-capacity mayoral forum at Lucid Stage...Weird moment: Candidate Peter Bryant demanding to know if candidate (and City firefighter) Chris Vail has a license to drive a firetruck (Answer: Yes.)...One campaign volunteer called City Hall to ask if it was legal to work for two campaigns at the same time. (Yes, it's okay.)...Ralph Carmona said "I feel like a beauty queen" while spinning the wheel at League event...Jill Duson and Jodie Lapchick at West End Neighborhood Association...
State Theatre to Host Mayoral Candidate Forum on the Arts A Debate That Goes to the Heart of the Arts
The Portland Music Foundation (PMF) and the Portland Arts & Cultural Alliance (PACA) are teaming up to present a Portland mayoral forum focused on issues and policies related the city’s arts, culture and music community on Monday, October 3rd from 6 to 8 pm (doors open at 5 pm) at the State Theatre at 609 Congress Street. The event is free and open to the public.
All qualified candidates for the position of Portland’s first elected mayor have been asked to participate in a 90-minute session consisting of multiple rounds of questions pertaining to Portland’s creative community. Community members may submit questions to the candidates for consideration in advance by posting them on the Facebook page of either PMF or PACA, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, September 11, 2011 Candidate's Dispute With City Clerk Continues Mayoral candidate Erick Bennett, whose nomination papers fell five signatures short of the required 300 signatures, is vowing to continue his campaign for mayor despite his dispute with the City Clerk's office over how many registered voters signed his petition. On August 29th, Bennett submitted 392 signatures, but was told that only 295 were registered voters. After auditing the signatures, Bennett says that he discovered five signatures of people he knew personally who were registered voters, two of whom the City Clerk accepted, leaving Bennett's petition still three signatures shy.
One of those remaining signatures was rejected, according to City Clerk Kathy Jones, because the signer signed a different name than the name under which he is registered, and the other two signers did not appear at the City Clerk's office to dispute her ruling. (If the other two voters had been accepted, the petition would still have been one signature short.)
Bennett was informed that he could appeal the clerk's actions in court, a process that would last beyond the actual election. Bennett says he will continue in the race as a write-in candidate.
Friday, September 9, 2011 Brennan, Marshall Top League Poll in Mayor's Race Portland mayoral candidates Mike Brennan and Dave Marshall finished first and second in a poll taken by the League of Young Voters after its 'So You Think You Can Mayor' forum held on September 8th.
The event drew a capacity crowd of over 100 Portlanders to Lucid Stage, and featured all fifteen candidates. Candidates Markos Miller, Jed Rathband, and Nick Mavodones, also finished in the top tier of favorite candidates, voted on by people attending the event, who were handed a ballot to fill out at the end of the forum. 109 informal ballots were cast.
At the end of the evening, audience members were invited to submit an informal Ranked Choice Vote ballot for their picks for Mayor. In this poll, they were asked the question: "Given what you’ve seen this evening- If the election were tonight, how would you Rank Choice Vote the candidates for Mayor?"
INFORMAL COMMUNITY POLL RESULTS: 1. Michael Brennan 2. Dave Marshall 3. Markos Miller 4. Jed Rathband 5. Nick Mavodones 6. John Eder 7. Hamzaa Haadoow 8. Ethan Strimling and Chris Vail (tie) 9. Jill Duson 10. Charles Bragdon, Peter Bryant and Jodie Lapchick (tie) 11. Ralph Carmona and Richard Dodge
The format of the forum presented the candidates three at a time, addressing a wide variety of city issues ranging from City finances to public transportation to housing. The candidates were also allowed to directly address other candidates, and several used the opportunity to grill Mavodones, the current mayor, on policies he has pursued in his fourteen years on the City Council.
Highlights from the event included:
· Each candidate answered the question – What will be your biggest challenge as Mayor and how will you overcome it? Responses ranged from City Council, to improving Portland economy and changing zoning laws.
· Each candidate responded to one question from a diverse set of categories including: Neighborhood Development, Justice, Leadership and Advocacy and Housing.
The event will be rebroadcast on Saturday, September 17th from 7pm to 9pm on WMPG and will also be broadcast on CTN - date and time to be announced. The full video will be online and available at The League's blog by next week.
Friday, September 2, 2011 Candidates to Kick Off Campaign at Portland Club The Portland Club will be the site of the first mayoral event of the campaign on Tuesday, September 6th, from 7pm to 10pm. The Portland Club is located at 156 State Street, just down from the Longfellow statue, on the right before Mercy Hospital. The event is free to the public. There will be a photo op featuring all of the candidates together - all have indicated that they'll be attending - at 7pm sharp. After the photo op, each candidate will step up to the mic to deliver a three minute statement, presumably relative to why people should vote for them for mayor. Following that, the candidates will adjourn to individual tables in the ballroom to host the public and the media for as long as they wish. The candidates can get up from their tables and circulate throughout the mansion for further interaction if they wish.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 Bennett to Ask for Recount After He Falls Five Signatures Short in Mayoral Race Plans to Run as Write-in Candidate Mayoral candidate Erick Bennett has announced that he will ask for a recount, and that he will run as a write-in candidate, after his campaign came up five signatures short of qualifying him to be listed on the ballot.
Bennett says his Facebook page has received 60 thousand views in the last five weeks.
" We are going to proceed and I am going to run as a write-in candidate," said Bennett on his Facebook page. "My name is still going to be on the ballot because people are going to write it on."
The Portland City Clerk's office informed Bennett on Tuesday morning that his signature-gathering effort to be on this fall's ballot has fallen five votes short of the required 300 signatures. Bennett actually got 392 signatures, according to City Clerk Kathy Jones, but 97 of them were deemed invalid, bringing his final tally to 295.
Bennett was one of the earliest candidates to enter the race, having declared his candidacy in April. He is a Republican who worked of the electoral campaign of Governor Paul LePage.
"I am going to discuss a recount with (elections administrator) Bud Philbrick, for no other reason than quality assurance purposes," said Bennett. "Throughout my experience with the clerk's office, there have been multiple errors, and out of 400 signatures I passed in, to only fall five short, I want to go over every one of those 97 that were deemed invalid to make sure none were overlooked."
Jones said she was uncertain what the exact process would be for a candidate requesting a recount of his signatures, or if the administrator's initial decision could be changed or reversed after the deadline for turning in signatures had passed.
The City Clerk's office also reported that candidate Charles Bragdon turned in 315 validated signatures, qualifying him for the ballot. The signatures of candidate Richard Dodge were also validated by the end of the day.
Monday, August 29, 2011 Mayor Race Down to Sweet 16 The field of candidates in the race for Portland Mayor is set at 16, after candidate Richard Dodge became the last candidate to hand in the required minimum of 300 signatures just before today's final deadline. Dodge's signatures must still be verified by the City Clerk's office, along with the signatures of candidates Erick Bennett and Charles Bragdon. The other thirteen candidates, whose signatures have all been verified, include Mayor Nick Mavodones, City Councilors Jill Duson and David Marshall, former State Senators Michael Brennan and Ethan Strimling,Jed Rathband, Jodie Lapchick, Ralph Carmona, Markos Miller, Christopher Vail, Hamza Haadow, Peter Bryant, and former West End State Rep John Eder. Portland Sun columnist Bob Higgins, who just entered the race last week, failed to turn in signatures, along with several other declared candidates who had dropped out earlier.
Full House Expected for First Mayoral Forum Location of Event is Changed to Accommodate Larger Crowd The Maine League of Young Voters PAC has confirmed at least thirteen of the mayoral candidates for the 'So You Think You Can Mayor' candidate forum on September 8th. The League received a high volume of RSVPs from community members for the event, and was forced to change the location in order to accommodate all the candidates and guests. The location for the event has been changed to Lucid Stage at 29 Baxter Boulevard, Portland. Details below. The event will merge audience participation with moderated conversations with the candidates. The creative format of the forum is designed to delve into the candidate’s positions on the issues that matter most to Portland residents. Candidates will answer questions from a given topic in small groups and will also have an opportunity for conversation with each other. Audience members will be invited to submit questions for consideration. The League expects between 80 and 100 leaders from community organizations and neighborhood associations throughout the city. The program will be rebroadcast on WMPG, and the League is working on producing a Youtube video of the event. League of Young Voters PAC Presents: So You Think You Can Mayor – Candidate Forum When: Thursday, September 8th 2011 – 7pm to 9pm, Doors Open at 6:30pm Where: Lucid Stage, 29 Baxter Boulevard, Portland ** NOTE THIS IS A NEW LOCATION ** COST: Free and Open to the Public
On the Campaign Trail... Mike Brennan at the White House for community leader conference...Bob Higgins announced his candidacy on the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Bob... Candidate teams to bowl against each other in Mayoral Mixer at Bayside Bowl...Ralph Carmona endorsed by former mayor Esther Clennott...John Eder running mayor campaign neighborhood clean-up at the corner of Spring and Clark at Reiche School...Chris Vail to raise campaign funds with a lobster bake on Peaks Island...Charlie Bragdon shaking hands in front of Fresh Approach...Mavodones, Duson and Rathband at Back Cove block party...Last day for the remaining candidates to get their signatures in to the City Clerk's office...-Ed King
Monday, August 22, 2011 Jay York Drops Out of Mayoral Race Calls Elected Mayor process "deceitful" East Bayside resident Jay York announced this afternoon that he has decided to withdraw from the mayoral race in Portland, and took a few parting shots at the process as he separated himself from it. "When your campaign platform includes not wanting the office, it's best not to get on the ballot," said York. "I also could not in good faith sign and submit to the City Clerk the required consent accepting the nomination, agreeing not to withdraw and, if elected, to qualify." York thanked the people who signed his nomination papers, but said he was not surprised that most did not fully understand the duties and "powers" of the new mayor, and that the Charter Commission designed the office to limit and constrict the new mayor and to keep the existing power structure in this city unthreatened. "If you do not see this action by itself deceitful, keep in mind that the Charter Commission must have known that the main reason citizens in Portland wanted a popularly elected mayor was because they were dissatisfied with the City Council's governing, thus requiring a strong mayor. Last year's campaign for the city charter changes to allow this new position also used deceit by avoiding full disclosure of how the new mayor's duties differed from that of the existing mayor and other City Councilors." York charged that "no one questioned why City Councilor Cheryl Leeman's 'Vote No" side did almost nothing." "Councilor Leeman, like many others who have in the past opposed a CEO type mayor in Portland, knew that either way the charter change election went, they won. Many Portlanders now think they are voting for a major change in City leadership, but in essence are only voting for a full-time, at-large councilor with a salary." "The City of Portland needs far more in a mayor than it will be getting from this coming election. In my opinion, the candidate who most deserves to be elected should be the one that publicly acknowledges this and pledges to get the City Charter changed to truly represent what the Portlanders who voted for an elected mayor expected." York's exit from the race leaves nineteen candidates remaining. Over the weekend, candidate Zouhair Bouzrara dropped out, but was replaced by Bob Higgins, a columnist for the Portland Daily Sun.
Miller Campaign to Hold Event at Mitpheap Market The mayoral campaign of candidate, Markos Miller plans to hold an event tonight at the Mitpheap World Market at 61 Washington Avenue from 5 to 7 PM, to give voters an opportunity to meet the candidate and share their concerns. Miller just returned from a family trip to Beirut, Lebanon, with his wife Heather, who is of Lebanese descent, and their son Oliver. Miller is a teacher at Deering High School, announced his candidacy on June 8th. He has been active in a number of roles in the East End community, including serving as President of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization.
Mayoral Candidate Takes Campaign into the Streets First event happening tonight, August 22nd, at 6:30PM on the corner of Clifton and Codman Streets, in the Back Cove neighborhood Jed Rathband, candidate for mayor, announced today on his website that he will launch a “street corner conversation” tour of Portland’s neighborhoods beginning tonight in the Back Cove neighborhood. Rathband said that his objective is to bring the election and his candidacy directly to the voters, and to promote proactive conversations with residents to effect change - street by street. Rathband plans to visit Portland’s neighborhoods and discuss the upcoming election, his candidacy, and answer questions on the minds of voters. " I hope these ‘street corner conversations’ which will consist of nothing more than engaged citizens and an upturned soapbox that will lead to greater discussion about what Portlanders expect from the new mayor.” The schedule of the campaign’s tour will include stops all across Portland - from Stroudwater to Parkside to Peaks Island. On average, Rathband will be holding two discussions per week, with the tour culminating with a pre-Election Day event in downtown Portland
Former Mayor Endorses Carmona Former Portland mayor Esther B. Clenott has announced her support for Ralph Carmona’s mayoral candidacy. Clennott is the former Portland Teacher Association president, city councilor, mayor and county commissioner. Clenott served as Portland's mayor from 1989 to 1990. She served as a Cumberland County Commissioner for sixteen years before stepping down in 2009.She initially opposed the need to elect the next mayor, but was mentioned early in the campaign as a possible candidate. Carmona’s candidacy, she concluded “gives new meaning to the position of mayor.”
Saturday, August 20, 2011 Bouzrara Out, Higgins In Mayoral Race Mayoral candidate Zouhair Bouzara announced yesterday that he is dropping out of Portland's mayoral race, He is expecting to become a first-time father in several months. He was one of the first announced candidates for the newly- formed municipal post. While Bouzrara was getting out of the race, Portland Sun columnist Bob Higgins was getting in. Higgins, 43, will have until August 29th to collect the 300 required signatures to become an official candidate. He says he will be in Monument Square this afternoon to begin gathering signatures. There are 20 candidates in the race.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 On the Campaign Trail... Mavodones, Duson, Bryant, Eder, Haadoow, and Marshall first ones to turn in their nominating papers...Jay York picking up a free newspaper (not this free newspaper) in East Bayside...Charlie Bragdon in favor of allowing private possession of fireworks in the city...Jed Rathband has the early lead in yard signs... Jodie Lapchick at India Street CBD...Mike Brennan talking politics outside the Muskie Center...Ralph Carmona in favor of restoring the Cumberland County Civic Center...Erick Bennett says that his detractors are 'lame brains'... -Ed King
Tuesday, August 9, 2011 Strimling Responds to Will Everitt's Maine State Pier Column To the Editor; Thanks to Will Everitt for agreeing with my assessment of the Maine State Pier debacle; “Strimling is correct that the pier could have been a powerful economic driver for the city. He is also correct that the pier was a victim of politics.” (See Who Really Killed the Maine State Pier? below) Most residents of Portland who watched the process are very disappointed by all the lost jobs, lost economic activity, and lost tax revenue. It was a moment that showed just how much we need strong leadership. Indeed, I expect the failure on the Maine State Pier is why we have switched to an elected Mayor form of government. However, the one point from the article I would like to address is Mr. Everitt’s thought that my campaign theme of economic development and easing the property tax burden could be interpreted as “a step to the right.” I am not sure who he is talking to, but most of the Democrats I speak to (from progressive to conservative) have always felt that job creation is vital and regressive property taxes hurt middle income families disproportionately. That is why when I was in the Senate, I worked to eliminate the tax on personal property, to allow municipalities to administer a local property tax relief program for those most vulnerable, and developed a bi-partisan bill to overhaul our tax system which would have doubled the Homestead Exemption for all Maine residents. Indeed, if reducing the property tax burden and creating jobs sounds “awfully close to the platform used by many Republicans last summer” I can understand why they were swept into office. Perhaps we Democrats need to take back the issues that hurt working families and small business, and stop worrying about the label someone might affix to our efforts. Ethan Strimling
League Schedules First Mayoral Forum So You Think You Can Mayor? The Maine League of Young Voters has scheduled the election season's first mayoral candidate forum, putting the 19 announced candidates on stage and demanding: So you think you can mayor?! Charles Bragdon and Jed Rathband were the first two candidates to accept invitations to the event. The evening of audience participation, civic engagement, political discourse and food and will be held on Thursday, September 8th, from 7 to 9 PM at Lucid Stage, 29 Baxter Boulevard. The League invited voters to attend what it called a "first-in-a- dog's-age, not-to-be-missed, once-in-a-lifetime (or,more accurately, every four years) event to help you determine who is best suited to steer Portland headlong into the future."
Who Really Killed the Maine State Pier? Ethan Strimling entered the mayoral race with a lot of bravado, announcing his candidacy from the Maine State Pier. By WILL EVERITT “A few years ago, proposals were put forth to turn this pier into a true jewel for the city,” said Strimling, proclaiming his mayoral bid. “But today, here it sits, a drag on the city’s budget, costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a year. It was a victim, not of the economy, but of politics and a lack of vision.” This is Strimling’s first race since coming in fourth in the Congressional primary in 2008, and he’s recasting himself as a force for economic development and business. A step to the right? Are we seeing a different Ethan from the fighter for social justice many Portland voters were used to hearing about when he was a state senator? As the Portland Daily Sun reported, his vision for the city sounds “awfully close to the platform used by many Republicans last summer.” The failure to develop the pier seems to be playing an important part in the narrative for why he’s running for mayor. Strimling is correct that the pier could have been a powerful economic driver for the city. He is also correct that the pier was a victim of politics. “When I’ m talk to voters at their doors, they bring up the pier and they’re still angry about it,” he said in a recent phone interview. “We had a $100 million development that the city council couldn’t find a way to say ‘yes’ to. Voters want a change from the status quo.” But is Strimling so different from the city council he’s lambasting? What role did he have, politically, in the death of the pier development? Let’s step back into time to find out who killed the Maine State Pier. It turns out there is metaphorical blood on a lot of politicians’ hands. In 2007, the Portland City Council began reviewing two proposals to repair and develop the pier. There was political maneuvering from the start. The process divided the city’s political camps into those who supported Kevin Mahaney and the Olympia Companies’ plan, and those who supported Tom Walsh’s Ocean Properties’. Both businessmen spent a lot of money in the community, and made campaign contributions to shore up support. Olympia had the better proposal and more public support, but Ocean Properties had deeper pockets, employed Governor Baldacci’s brother, and garnered the support of many prominent Democrats, including current mayoral candidates Jill Duson and Nick Mavodones, as well as current City Councilor Dory Waxman. After many months and a series of public meetings, the council said “yes” to the development by selecting Olympia as the developer du jour. Ceremonial Mayor Ed Susolvic was the deciding vote [he would pay a political price for his role in the process, losing his re-election bid to Waxman in a bitter fight]. In order to secure the necessary financing for the project, Olympia needed the state to lease the submerged land under the pier to the City for at least 75 years. So in 2008, Portland State Representative (and Speaker of the House) Glenn Cummings worked closely with the City and submitted a bill to do just that. The fate of the project was in the Legislature’s hands. This is where Ethan Strimling comes in: he was Portland's state senator at the time, and just beginning his run for the District 1 seat in the US Congress. Cummings’s bill, once again, pitted Olympia against Ocean Properties: if the bill went down in defeat, Ocean Properties would be the only company left standing, and the city council would have to work with them. The bill began moving in the legislature in March of 2008. Two months before (January 2008) Tom Walsh, Ocean Properties’ President, made a $2,300 donation—the maximum allowed by law—to Strimling’s campaign. The ten co-sponsors of the bill included numerous Portland legislators. But Strimling was not one of them. Cummings doesn’t remember Strimling being involved one way or the other with the bill. Strimling defends his revisionist history of the pier saying, “When I say the council didn’t say ‘yes,’ to this project, I mean they didn’t find a way to make it happen. No excuses, recession or not, there was no leadership from the City on this.” Is this the pot calling the kettle black? At best, Strimling was indifferent to the bill that could have saved Olympia’s plan to develop the pier. At worst, he was pursuing the pro-Walsh agenda of quashing the bill. Many Democrats were tying their future to Walsh and to Baldacci. The bill was opposed by Baldacci’s Department of Conservation (remember, the governor’s brother was a part of the Walsh team). The bill died in committee. The Baldacci administration and politics inside the state legislature killed Olympia’s chance to develop the pier. But the $100 million development project wasn’t down for the count just yet. By this time, Suslovic lost his council seat and it was Jill Duson’s turn to be the ceremonial mayor. Duson was a member of the committee that reviewed each company’s plans and knew what was at stake. She called Ocean Properties and asked if they were still interested. “I thought they were the right choice all along,” said Duson recently. “So I called them up personally. But they moved on to focus on their other investments.” By that time the world economy had begun its descent into the worst recession in 70 years and Ocean Properties did not want to take any gambles. If there’s a history lesson, it’s that whoever the future mayor is, he or she is going to have to focus the council on the greater good of Portland and not on the petty politics of parties, donors, and personal relationships. The challenge for voters will be finding the candidate who can do that.
Correction: Bragdon is a Publisher Charles Bragdon flagged me down on the street the other day. “You’ve got to correct your column,” he said. “I’m not a cabbie, I’m a newspaper publisher.” Bragdon moved on from his cab business earlier this summer to focus on publishing the Portland Maine Gazette, a free weekly paper. If you can’t find it at your favorite newsstand, you can look it up on Facebook. Huston Out of Race? Steve Huston, a one- time homeless activist with Preble Street who, according to anonymous sources who know him, has waged his own private wars with substance abuse, may be out of the race, having not yet picked up his nominating papers. Will Everitt is a political nerd and a long-time proponent of an elected mayor. Please send comments, complaints, and ideas to email@example.com.
Thursday, August 4, 2011 On the Campaign Trail... Charlie Bragdon threatening to sue letter writer for libel over emails to advertisers and distributors of his Portland Maine Gazette...Markos Miller visiting Lebanon with family...Dave Marshall selling paintings at Festival of Nations in Deering Oaks...Jed Rathband having coffee outside Washington Avenue CBD...Mike Brennan surveying voters on what they think are the most important issues...Erick Bennett says that as mayor, he will use a tank to run over the parking meters in town...John Eder giving a speech at Southern Maine Labor Council... -Ed King
Friday, July 29, 2011 On the Campaign Trail... Mayor Nick Mavodones at the grand opening of Foley’s Bakery in Monument Square...Jed Rathband at opening of Joe Lewis' new law office in Time&Temp Building...Mike Brennan at Hannaford's fish counter...Jodie Lapchick and John Eder at David Kaufman's Midsummer Party...Wonder if Mayor Mavodones gave Governor LePage any tips on how to deal with the media after their recent summit... Councilor Marshall upstairs at the Market House discussing policy with a constituent...Charlie Bragdon has the whole family helping with the distribution of his Portland Maine Gazette...Those are Rathband supporters jogging around the Back Cove in their bright yellow tee shirts on Wednesday evenings... -Ed King
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 Strimling to Run For Mayor Former State Senator Ethan King Strimling will announce on Tuesday, July 26th, that he will be the 19th candidate to enter Portland's mayoral race, according to the Portland Press Herald. Strimling is Executive Director of LearningWorks (formerly Portland West). Strimling served six years as the state senator from Portland. He gave up his senate seat in 2008 to run unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for US Congress from Maine's First District, a race won by the current Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. Strimling also ran unsuccessfully for the Portland City Council in 1999, his first run for public office. Strimling, 43, is a native of New York City. He lives in the West End with his wife Mary Beeaker. -Ed King
July 20, 2011 As of July 19th, there are 18 official candidates in the mayoral race: Erick M. Bennett (temp worker), Zouhair Bouzrara (taxi cab driver), Charles Bragdon (taxi cab driver), Mike Brennan (Muskie School of Public Service), Peter Bryant (retired merchant marine), Ralph Carmona (local activist, retired professor), Richard Dodge, Jill Duson (current City Councilor, Department of Labor), John Eder (former State Rep), Hamza Haadoow (local business owner), Steve Huston (homeless activist), Jodie Lapchick (PR consultant), David Marshall (current City Councilor, Fine Artist), Nick Mavodones (current City Councilor, Casco Bay Lines), Markos Miller (Deering High teacher), Jed Rathband (PR consultant), Paul Schaefer (WMTW videographer), Christopher Vail (Portland fire fighter), and John York.
Fire Fighter Wins Fight for Nomination Papers A little- known provision in Portland employees’ contracts prevents them from running for municipal office while they are working for our fair city may now be null and void. In a June 24th memo to the City Clerk, Gary Wood, the City’s attorney, wrote: “You have asked whether a City employee can seek or accept nomination or election to any office in municipal government. . . .The answer to this question is ‘no’.” Wood goes on to quote a section of the City’s personnel policies that states: “City, employees are to refrain from seeking or accepting nomination or election to any office in municipal government.” Under this reading of the City’s rules, Portland firefighter Chris Vail was initially denied nomination papers. “I have spent the past week with Attorney David A. Lourie working to get my packet, begun collecting signatures and moving forward with my campaign,” said Vail subsequently in a prepared statement. “After great work [my attorney] succeeded in convincing Portland’s Corporation Counsel that I do have the right to run for mayor.” At a recent City Council meeting, Councilors confirmed Vail’s right to run by doing away that particular part of the personnel policy. Meanwhile, Deering High teacher Markos Miller, didn’t face the same dilemma because he’s an employee of the School Department, not the City. Apparently, the personnel policies of school employees read differently. “It is my understanding of state law and the school policies, based on some brief conversations today, that a teacher can run for the Mayor or Council but you should confirm that conclusion directly with the school department,” wrote Wood, the City's attorney, in response to an email on this issue. “If elected, a teacher would have to resign his position as a teacher, under the longstanding prohibition in our Charter, both old and new, that says no member of the Council can be an employee of the City or School Department during the term for which he or she was elected.” -Will Everitt
July 9,2011 ...On the Campaign Trail... ...Ralph Carmona marching in the Sudanese Independence Parade...Jill Duson at Harlan Baker's 'Jimmy Higgins' performance at Lucid Stage...Jed Rathband collecting signatures at downtown post office...City Councilor Dave Marshall holding fundraiser at home of Green Party's Anna Trevorrow...Mayor Nick Mavodones accosted by petition gatherers at First Friday Artwalk...Former state senator (and still undeclared mayoral candidate) seen knocking on doors in District 3...Markos Miller meeting with City Councilor Ed Suslovic at Hill House garden on Munjoy Hill...Firefighter Chris Vail back in the race...Charlie Bragdon's new Portland Gazette making some serious accusations against candidate Erick Bennett... Zouhair Bouzrara running into some serious legal problems... - Ed King
July 4, 2011 Mayor Watch 2011 Mayoral Candidate Must Choose Between Job and Campaign Says City Attorney By WILL EVERITT As of July 1st, there are 16 official candidates in the mayoral race: Erick M. Bennett (temp worker), Zouhair Bouzrara (taxi cab driver), Charles Bragdon (taxi cab driver), Mike Brennan (Muskie School of Public Service), Peter Bryant (retired merchant marine), Ralph Carmona (local activist, retired professor), Jill Duson (current City Councilor, Department of Labor), Hamza Haadoow (local business owner), Steve Huston (homeless activist), Jodie Lapchick (PR consultant), David Marshall (current City Councilor, Fine Artist), Nick Mavodones (current City Councilor, Casco Bay Lines), Markos Miller (Deering High teacher), Jed Rathband (PR consultant), Paul Schaefer (WMTW videographer), and Christopher Vail (Portland fire fighter). July is when the rubber hits the road in the mayoral campaign. July is when candidates have to officially take out papers. Candidates will have nearly two months, starting July 1 and ending August 27, to collect 300 signatures from Portland voters in order to make the ballot in November. Up until this point in the race, candidates merely had to register if they were planning on fundraising for their campaigns. This means that the list of candidates, which has ballooned to 16 mayor-wannabes in recent weeks, will likely shrink, but also grow. Shrink and grow? What? Three-hundred signatures is not a lot of signatures. A good petitioner can collect 15 to 30 signatures in an hour. If a candidate has friends, family, and volunteers working for him or her, the nomination papers can be completed in a day or two. But some candidates won’ t have the attention span, desire, skills, or campaign machinery to finish the job. Some candidates might have a hard time finding 300 Portland voters that think they should be on the ballot. [For example, I probably wouldn’t put my John Hancock on the nomination papers of any candidate that has called my West End News publisher a punk - and has been convicted of assault. Hi, Erick Bennet!] The list of candidates may shrink for another reason, too. A little- known provision in Portland employees’ contracts prevents them from running for municipal office while they are working for our fair city. In a June 24th memo to the City Clerk, Gary Wood, the City’s attorney, wrote: “You have asked whether a City employee can seek or accept nomination or election to any office in municipal government. . . .The answer to this question is ‘no’.” Wood goes on to quote a section of the City’s personnel policies that states: “City, employees are to refrain from seeking or accepting nomination or election to any office in municipal government.” This means that Portland firefighter Chris Vail may have to consider whether or not it is worth it for him to quit his job to be on the ballot. “The city attorney and I have a difference of opinion on this matter,” says Vail, who believes he has the right to both run and keep his job. “I’m seeking representation on this matter. I am also working through the City Council to get clarification to run.” Meanwhile, Deering High teacher Markos Miller, doesn’t face the same dilemma because he’s an employee of the school department, not the city. Apparently, the personnel policies of school employees read differently. “It is my understanding of state law and the school policies, based on some brief conversations today, that a teacher can run for the Mayor or Council but you should confirm that conclusion directly with the school department,” wrote Gary Wood, Portland’s city attorney, in response to an email on this issue. “If elected, a teacher would have to resign their position as a teacher under the longstanding prohibition in our Charter, both old and new, that says no member of the Council can be an employee of the city or school department during the term for which he or she was elected.” So the list of candidates will likely shrink. But the list of candidates is just as likely to grow, too. July is when all candidates, whether they are fundraising or not, have to come out of the shadows. Will former State Senator Ethan Strimling run? Will John Eder, who said he plans on running but hasn’t registered to fundraise up until this point, really jump in the race? Are there independently wealthy candidates (who do not need to fundraise and therefore have not had to register up until this point) step forward? The answer to some of these questions is sure to be “Yes,” adding more aspirants into the mix. On to the new crop of candidates! Ralph Carmona officially entered the race this week, it seems like he’s been running for months now. Which some may find funny since Ralph moved to Portland from California last July, living here just shy of a year. Over the past 365 days, he’s helped the League of Young Voters push to re-establish voting rights for legal immigrants, was named to the police department’s community affairs advisory board, joined the board of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization, started a Portland’s Future program through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, joined the Unitarian First Parish Church as an usher, and was voted Vice Chair of the Portland Democrats, helping to organize their annual Truman Dinner. A retired college professor, Ralph has become a social- change gadfly. “My chief focus will be fostering sustainable economic growth, promoting quality of life issues, and providing a mayoral leadership that is accessible, responsive, listening to all Portland residents and getting things done,” replied Carmona, when asked why he was running. He doesn’t think being a newcomer to the city will affect his chance. “In a nation of immigrants, it is not where you come from that matters, it is what you can do. For many, my accomplishments and Portland sensibility are of someone who has been here a lifetime.” Hamza Haadoow is a Somali immigrant and a local businessperson that feels like he is living the American dream—a dream that he feels is threatened. “I enjoyed the freedom that we have and I would like to practice and participate,” he wrote on why he’s running for mayor. “Our youth are dropping out [of] schools, our businesses are loosing their share of the market, and our tourists are not spending what they would like to spend in our town.” Will Everitt is a political nerd and a long-time proponent of an elected mayor. He is a former state director of the League of Young Voters. He lives at Longfellow Square. Please send comments, complaints, and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 2, 2011 Mayoral Candidate Publishes New Weekly Newspaper Portland mayoral candidate Charles Bragdon has begun publication of a new weekly newspaper, The Portland Maine Gazette. Bragdon is shown above in front of Paul's Market on Congress Street, posing with his new publication and another well-known local rag. The Gazette will be free and will feature news, articles, obituaries, restaurant reviews, events, schedules of goings-on in Portland, and more.
Miller Campaign Plans Fundraiser, Barbecue The Committee to Elect Markos Miller will hold a backyard BBQ cookout and fundraiser for Miller's mayoral campaign this afternoon, Sunday, June 26th, between 4-7pm, at 17 Atlantic Street on Munjoy Hill. Miller , who is a teacher at Deering High School, announced his candidacy on June 8th. He has been active in a number of roles in the East End community, including serving as President of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Association. Wednesday, June 15, 2011 Chipman Delays Campaign Contribution Increase Concerned about contribution limits changing in the middle of the campaign, and the impact this could have on Portland's mayoral race, State Representative Ben Chipman successfully added an amendment to L.D. 856 that will delay any changes until after the November election. Without a delay, L.D. 856 would have doubled contribution limits for Portland's mayoral candidates - six weeks before Election Day "We should not change the rules in the middle of the game. I am opposed to increasing the contribution limits but if they are going to be increased, it should not happen six weeks before Election Day," said Chipman. Current law limits campaign contributions for local and county candidates to $350 per individual. L.D. 856 would increase this limit to $750 per individual. If the bill had passed as drafted, it would have taken effect 90 days from the day the legislature adjourns, which would allow the change to take effect sometime in mid- September. It will now take effect on January 1, 2012. "This change would drive up campaign fundraising and spending, and could have a huge impact on the elected mayor's race in Portland," said Chipman.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 Mayoral Candidate to Publish New Local Newspaper Portland mayoral candidate Charles Bragdon has announced plans to begin publication of a new newspaper. The new publication, called The Portland Maine Gazette, will be free and will feature news, articles, obituaries, restaurant reviews, events, schedules of goings-on in Portland, and more. It will be published either daily or weekly, according to Bragdon.
"As soon as the first issue is published, Portland will have a paper dedicated to fair and accurate reporting, without holding back details that may be considered personal or off-limits by other papers," said Bragdon in announcing the new publication.
"One of the main reasons I am launching this paper is that I feel that some of the local papers have become so biased that they do not give us accurate stories all the time, as they fail to include comments and statements made by interviewees that may have relevance but that they feel is out of step with their pre-conceived notions of what they were writing about," said Bragdon.
Bragdon said that he is still working out details such as when the first issue will be printed, how many copies will be printed, and where it will be distributed. -Ed King
Monday, June 6, 2011 Markos Miller to Run for Mayor Veteran Munjoy Hill activist and community leader Markos Miller announced today that he will be a candidate in this fall's mayoral race. Miller filed papers declaring his candidacy earlier today, and will formally announce his candidacy at 5:15 PM this Wednesday, June 8th in Lincoln Park, at the corner of Pearl Street and Congress Street. Miller holds a B.A. in Spanish, a M.S. in Education, and has completed courses of study with the Urban Institute and Harvard's Executive Education program. He is 42 years old and lives with his wife and son on Atlantic Street.
Miller began serving the community as a member of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization, serving as a two-term president for the MHNO, which is credited with playing a key role in the revitalization of Portland's East End. He has also served on City task forces to restructure the Community Development Block Grant system, and to develop inclusive zoning housing policies for the city. In addition, former City Manager Joe Gray appointed Miller to the interviewing team during the search for Portland's Police Chief, which resulted in the hiring of Chief James Craig. He has also led strategic planning sessions for local non-profit organizations.
While Miller calls the Portland peninsula home, he also has a strong affinity for the Deering neighborhoods, where he teaches at Deering High School. Miller coordinates Deering's Unity Project, an anti-bullying and harassment program recognized for its success in building positive school cultures. In 2010, his work as recognized by the Center for Preventing Hate. He also serves on a task force charged with redesigning the district's professional evaluation system. Miller was awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship in 2002.
According to his initial campaign press release, Miller believes it’s time for the next generation of local leaders to step up, move beyond the divisions of the past, and chart out a new direction for Portland. Miller envisions a more nimble municipal government, facilitating the broader efforts of the public, non-profit, and business communities to tackle the challenges of today and to seize the opportunities of tomorrow. Miller says that given ever shrinking resources, increasing costs on residents, businesses, and government, and the imperative to develop sustainable solutions to our local and regional challenges, Portland needs a Mayor with the ability to communicate clearly, foster creative problem solving, and build consensus. He aims to show voters that he is just the man for the job.
Miller states that he has a proven track record of fostering inclusive, transparent processes that engage the public in identifying their goals, creating the social capital needed to act, and harnessing the strengths of our community to take concrete steps to make those goals realities. He also says he understands how to build the constructive, honest relationships with elected officials and staff at the local, state, and federal levels that are needed to produce results. He says he is proud to be a member of such a rich community, which inspires his dedication to public service, as a professional, a community volunteer, and an engaged citizen.
"Portland's vision for itself rings loud and clear as you read through our guiding documents: a strong urban center that serves as the economic and residential hub for the region, offering a high quality of life for all, with vibrant neighborhoods, sustainable housing and transportation choices, strong social and educational institutions, and a rich cultural context," says Miller. “However, there has been a real disconnect between our stated goals and much of our policy decisions and practices. Few have had the sustained courage or energy to see these through. When I speak with residents, I hear our collective aspirations, I get the big picture, and see how we can be connecting the dots to reach our policy goals. Our resources our too limited to have City government be muddling through by the grace of quality staff and the occasional heroic efforts of a few city councilors. I have the ability to work with the council, the new city manager, and the rest of our community to translate our goals into tangible steps to move us closer to where we want to be as a community".
Miller says he believes that in each of the challenges facing our community, we can find the kernel of that problem’s solution, citing his work as chair of Portland's Franklin Street Redesign Committee, which is working to improve traffic flow along the Franklin Street corridor, while also redeveloping acres of unused land for public open space and mixed use development, generating much needed long-term tax revenue for the city. "Our citizen-led effort has successfully changed the discussion regarding Franklin; there are now opportunities, where before we saw only problems," commented Miller, who worked with a diverse stakeholder group, including the Maine Department of Transportation on the effort. The Phase 2 Feasibility Study of the Franklin design alternatives is expected to begin in the coming months.
June 4, 2011 Mayor Watch 2011 The Times They Are A-Changin’ By WILL EVERITT As of June 1st, there are 12 official candidates in the mayoral race: Erick M. Bennett (temp worker), Zouhair Bouzrara (taxi cab driver), Charles Bragdon (taxi cab driver), Mike Brennan (Muskie School of Public Service), Peter Bryant (retired merchant marine), Jill Duson (current City Councilor, Department of Labor), Steve Huston (homeless activist), Jodie Lapchick (PR consultant), David Marshall (current City Councilor, fine artist), Nick Mavodones (current City Councilor, Casco Bay Lines), Jed Rathband (PR consultant), and Christopher Vail (Portland fire fighter). Ralph Carmona (retired professor) is likely to run, although has not turned in fundraising registration papers as of the writing of this column.
The race it is a-changin’. The well-knowns are beginning to enter the race.
City Councilor Dave Marshall’s announcement last month began a new phase of mayoral race. Voters are beginning to hear names they’ve heard before, as previously elected officials and experienced pols are throwing their hats into the ring.
Mike Brennan is the highest-ranking previously elected official to announce so far. Brennan represented Portland as a State Rep for 8 years, and a State Senator for 5 years.
Brennan is a native Portlander, His grandmother emigrated from Ireland in 1909. Ironically, it was an influx of immigrants like his grandmother that spurred a backlash in our city that did away with neighborhood city councilors and the elected mayor back in the 1920s.
Brennan has been a strong voice for immigrants and working people over the years. He was on the petitioners’ committee that put the immigrant voting rights charter amendment on the ballot back in November (the proposal was narrowly defeated). Now that voters have re-instated the elected mayor, Brennan is proud to run for the office.
Mike is known as a grass-roots campaigner. He came in third in a six-way race in the Democratic primary for Congress back in 2008—the seat Chellie Pingree won. In that race, he raised more than $250,000 from more than 360 different individuals, many of whom were from Portland.
Political World Two of Dave Marshall’s city council colleagues have joined the mayoral fray: current un-elected mayor Nick Mavodones and at-large councilor Jill Duson.
Mavodones was re-selected as the ceremonial mayor by the city council after Cheryl Leeman mysteriously turned down the job. Mavodones has served on the council for more than a decade, and was unopposed in his last run for an at-large seat in 2009.
While Nick has largely served as an uncontroversial councilor, his mayoral announcement is a case statement of high irony. Voters may remember that Nick opposed the elected mayor proposal. He didn’t have the vision to see the positive aspects of having voters elect their mayor, yet believes he is the best guy for the job. In his last mayoral acceptance speech, Nick promised a council listening tour through the neighborhoods of Portland, centered on city issues. Now that he has announced he is running for mayor, maybe the listening tour will commence.
Jill Duson has served on the city council since 2001, and did a one-year stint as the ceremonial mayor three years later. She was briefly a candidate for congress in 2008. Unlike Mavodones, she supported the elected mayor proposal. Jill coyly announced her candidacy through a recent Facebook photo of her registration papers.
With 33% of the city council running for mayor, will it affect the council’s ability to get work done? East End councilor Kevin Donoghue (who is not running for mayor) is optimistic that it won’t. “My greatest hope,” he said, “is that the positive nature of ranked-choice voting will have the campaign manifest more positively in our work. It may promote purposeful action and shared success over grotesque grandstanding. All of the incumbents benefit if we have a successful run as a City Council leading up to the election in November.”
Forever Young Many of the candidates are depending on young campaign managers to lead them to the promised land. Mike Brennan, Dave Marshall, and Jed Rathband all have campaign managers who are 26 years old or younger. As you might expect, all three of these young political strategerizers are idealists, working for candidates who inspire them and who, they feel, will make Portland a better, brighter community. What you might not expect is that these young-uns got the jobs because of their deep campaign experience at both the local and the national level.
Matt Winner (as a campaign manager, can you have a better last name?) is Marshall’s field marshal. “I'm proud to be working to elect Dave as the Mayor of Portland,” says Winner, “because I think his vision for Portland of promoting sustainable development, creative economy, and local businesses, is the right direction for our city.” Matt met Dave when they both were canvassers for marriage equality during the 2009 No on 1 campaign. A graduate of Democracy for America's Dean Corps program, he worked on Ohio Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy's campaign in Ohio last year. While the Republican tidal wave washed out that campaign, Matt came back to Portland to apply some lessons learned to the mayoral contest
Sam Lowry is Mike Brennan’s campaign manager. Sam is a product of the Brennan campaign team, having volunteered heavily for Mike during the 2008 congressional primary. “I have always been inspired by Mike's expertise on large issues, such as education and health care,” says Lowry. “When it comes to addressing these and other needs, he's been ahead of the curve. He would bring the same foresight to the mayor's office. An unflappable quality of Mike's is that his decisions are based on the past, present, and future.” Sam’s other campaign experience includes a Minnesota initiative to reduce the impact of a highway expansion.
Simon Thompson is the manager of Rathband’s campaign. “Although many of the candidates are thoroughly qualified to be mayor,” Simon says, “Jed is the only pro-business candidate who stays true to his progressive values. It doesn't matter if you're Republican, Independent or Democrat- if you have a good idea, Jed wants to hear it. That is one of the most important aspects I look for in a leader- a desire for an inclusive government.”
Having just finished his freshman year at Harvard, Simon is the youngest of these three young guns, yet may have the most campaign victories notched on his belt. He managed city councilor Ed Suslovic’s campaign last year. He’s also been a volunteer with the League of Young Voters.
“It's exciting that so many young people are being asked to run these campaigns,” said Hilary Frenkel, State Co-Director of the League of Young Voters. “It speaks to the important role young people have played in shaping local Portland politics for several years now.”
Will Everitt is a political nerd and a long-time proponent of an elected mayor. He is a former state director of the League of Young Voters. He lives at Longfellow Square. Please send comments, complaints, and ideas to wm.a. email@example.com.
May 16th, 2011 Brennan to Run for Mayor Former State Senator Michael Brennan announced on May 16th that he is a candidate for the election for Mayor of Portland that will be held in November. He made the announcement at Ft. Allen Park on the Eastern Prom.
For the past 10 years, Brennan has worked as a Policy Associate at the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine. He has also worked for Coastal Economic Development Corporation, the United Way of Greater Portland, and as the executive director of the Cumberland County Affordable Housing Venture. He has also been an adjunct faculty member at the University of New England.
In addition to working at the Muskie School, Brennan served as a State Senator in the Maine Legislature representing Portland, Falmouth and Westbrook. He was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and was elected Senate Majority Leader in 2004. Prior to being a State Senator, he was elected to the House of Representatives for four terms between 1992 and 2000. While in the Senate, he chaired the Health and Human Services Committee and the Joint Select Committee on Health Care Reform. As a member of the House, he chaired the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, and was a member of the Business and Economic Development Committee. Brennan also ran for the US Congress in 2008.
He has served as a Commissioner on the Portland Housing Authority, on the Boards of Friends of Evergreen Cemetery, Casey Family Services and the Southern Maine Economic Development Council. He is a native of Portland who has lived in the city for the past 35 years with his wife, Joan Martay, and his two sons, Travis and Ryan.
May 10, 2011 Mayor Watch 2011 Wanna Party? By WILL EVERITT As of May 6th there are nine official candidates in the mayoral race: Charles Bragdon, Jed Rathband, Zouhair Bouzrara, Erick M. Bennett, David Marshall, Christopher Vail, Jodie Lapchick, Steve Huston, and Peter Bryant.
Currently, there are three Democrats (Bryant, Lapchick, and Rathband) in the race, one Republican (Bennett), one Green Independent (Marshall) and four candidates who are not enrolled in any party (Bouzrara, Bragdon, Huston, and Vail).
Do these party affiliations mean anything?
The mayoral race, like all of our city and county races, is officially nonpartisan. Strictly speaking, this means that when you go into the voting booth and look at the ballot, you won’t find the words “Democrat,” “Green Independent,” “Republican,” or “Independent” next to their names.
No matter what the ballots say, the mayor’s race is going to be de facto partisan.
The statewide Green Party has made the Portland’s mayor race a priority this year, inviting Dave Marshall to speak at its annual convention earlier this month.
Not to be outdone, the Portland Democratic City Committee has made the mayoral race a focus of its annual Truman Dinner (held on May 13th this year). The city’s Democrats have stated that the funds raised at the dinner will be used, in part, to distinguish their party’s aspirants “from other candidates in [Portland’s] non-partisan election.”
Partisanship shouldn’t be the dirty word it’s become in some circles. Parties have an important role to play in our community. They are one way people of somewhat similar views about the role of government can share information (and share gripe sessions). Yet another role they play is in turning out voters.
Independent candidates benefit from parties, too, as they stake out political ground to the left, right, or middle of issues brought forward by party platforms.
But on another level, the partisanship might not mean much at all—locally, at least. In 2009, Fernando Ferreira and Joseph Gyourko, two University of Pennsylvania economists, analyzed 400 direct mayoral elections in cities across America [Portland was not included in the study, because we haven’t directly elected our mayor in 87 years!]. They found that, at the local level, when looking at Democratic mayors and Republican mayors city-by-city, party labels do not affect the size of government, the allocation of spending, or crime rates of those cities. As they not-so- eloquently theorized, “There is a relatively high degree of household homogeneity at the local level that appears to provide the proper incentives for local politicians to be able to credibly commit to moderation, and discourages strategic extremism.” In other words, by and large, local politicians have views similar to the voters who put them in office, no matter what party they belonged to.
Their study also found there was a “large political advantage to incumbency in terms of the probability of winning the next election,” regardless of party affiliation.
What’s this mean? It means that all of us as voters should get it right in November, because whoever wins has a good chance of winning again four years later.
The First Woman When Jodie Lapchick entered the race, her press release announced proudly that she was the “first woman” to declare. When asked if being a woman in the race had any special significance, she replied, “While I think it might be important to some particular voters, no, I don’t think it’s important. It does give me an edge in that right now I’m more identifiable from the rest of the field.”
Emerge Maine has a slightly different take on the importance of women running for office. Emerge Maine is an organization based in Portland that helps train Democratic women for public service, providing an intensive course on how to run for office. “As a percentage, women are very far from parity with men at all levels of government, from the local level to Congress,” said Katie Mae Simpson, a Portlander and the organization’s Executive Director.
Lapchick isn’t an Emerge Maine graduate and isn’t being endorsed by the organization, but Simpson offered that, “Diversity on the city council, in the state house, in all elected bodies is critical. When there are more different voices at the table, whether they’re women, people of color, or the economically disadvantaged, better public policies are put forward.”
Ex-Marine Enters Race as the Non-Gung-Ho Candidate Peter Bryant recently entered the mayoral race. A political newcomer, he’s a former U.S. Marine and a recently retired merchant seaman.
Bryant is not about having a big vision for Portland; he’s running on a minimalist campaign platform, focusing on fixing potholes, garnering visibility for any local businesses that want it, and getting to the bottom of any questions residents have about their city’s government.
“I’m telling people I’m the ‘one call does it all’ candidate. You want to open a shop, I’ll walk you through City Hall to find the right person to talk to. Need a pothole fixed? I’ll go down to City Services and make sure it’s on their radar,” he explained. “I’ll be there for people. It’s not a big deal. I’m not going to come off as a gung-ho Marine to City staff, I’m just want to get things done to help people.”
Homeless Candidate? Steve Huston recently registered as a mayoral candidate. The problem is, he doesn’t seem to live where he registered.
His registration form didn’t list a telephone number or email address, so I did what old-school journalists had to do back in the day, and went and knocked on his door. A woman answered the door and informed me that Steve has not lived there in a very long time. She was understandably distressed that someone would register to run for mayor using her address.
I still haven’t found Huston to talk to first-hand, but asking around, I’ve found that he’s been homeless for much of his life. At some point, he became an advocate fighting poverty, and has even helped organize other homeless people with Preble Street’s Homeless Voices for Justice.
Does his lack of a real address on his candidate registration form mean he’s homeless once again?
First Ethics Charge Put to Bed but More Questions than Answers As reported last week in the WEN, Candidate Charles Bragdon filed a complaint with the Maine Ethics Commission against another mayoral candidate, Erick Bennett. Bennett has been less than forthcoming when asked about whether or not he’d been paid for the work he did (or did not do) on Paul LePage’s gubernatorial campaign.
The Ethics Commission looked into the matter and found that an “Eric Burnett” was paid $450 to manage LePage’s Facebook page. Upon the Commission pointing this out to the LePage campaign, the governor’s staff claimed that “Eric Burnett” is Erick Bennett and that the discrepancy is because of typographical errors.
Bennett seems to have adopted LePage’s free-form attitude to filling out paperwork, having to recently file a new candidate registration form with the City Clerk because he listed his name as “Erick M. Bennett I” rather than his actual name, which doesn’t have the regal suffix. He still doesn’t seem to know his own telephone number, though, listing it incorrectly once again on the new document.
While this ethics charge seems to have been put to bed, some voters have been wondering about Erick Bennett’s past criminal charges. He was convicted of assault in 2003. When the blog, WhiteNoiseInsanity.com contacted Bennett about the charge he refused to answer any questions.
Will Everitt is a political nerd and a long-time proponent of an elected mayor. He lives at Longfellow Square. He’s belonged to the Democratic Party and then to Green Party and then the Democratic Party and then to the Green Party. . . you can invite him to your party, or send comments, complaints, and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marshall Jumps into Mayor Race City Councilor Dave Marshall has officially thrown his hat into the ring for Elected Mayor of Portland. He has registered with the City Clerk's office and can begin fundraising for his campaign. At a news conference in front of City Hall on Monday, March 28th, Marshall, backed by about two dozen supporters, became the first current City Councilor to announced his candidacy and outline his vision for Portland. Marshall highlighted his accomplishments in his five years on the Council, including work on the creative economy, the elected mayor issue, chairing the Skatepark Committee, relocation of the West End Community Policing Cente rto the Reiche Community Center, creating Green Building Codes for municipal buildings among other initiatives. Marshall had expressed interest in serving as Portland's mayor in the last two elections held by his fellow councilors, who chose current Mayor Nick Mavodones instead. Marshall owns a home on West Street in the West End, and is the owner of Constellation Gallery on Congress Street. He finished his news conference by weighing in on the labor mural controversy in Augusta. He said that the mural should stay where it is, in the Labor Department offices in Augusta. Marshall originally supported a plan to bring the mural to Portland's City Hall. Republican Erick Bennett also announced his candidacy on March 21st, joining other announced candidates Zouhair Bouzrara, Charles Bragdon, Jed Rathband and Christopher Vail. Nomination papers will be available on July 1st, requiring each candidate to collect 300 signatures by August 29th to qualify for the election.
Mayor Watch 2011 Looking for L.O.V.E.? As of April 9th there are six official candidates in the mayoral race: Charles Bragdon, Jed Rathband, Zouhair Bouzrara, Erick M. Bennett I, David Marshall, and Christopher Vail.
Who is Chris Vail? Have you heard of him? I couldn’t find anyone in my circles who knew him. So I went down to City Hall and got a copy of his candidate registration papers (cost: $1).
Turns out, Chris is one of Portland’s bravest. He’s been a Fire Fighter since 1999.
“I grew up on Peaks Island since I was four,” he said. “I lived here in the 1970s and '80s when Portland looked a lot different, was more working class. Things have changed for the better, you could say, since then, but I want to be sure we stay neighborhood- focused.”
Chris, an Independent, is new to electoral politics, and this is his first race. “I’ m working on my website and Facebook right now,” he said. As a current City employee, he’ll have to give up his fire fighter job should he win. “That’s going to be the tough part. I love my job.”
Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places Erick M. Bennett I (his candidate registration form regally proclaims himself the first of the Erick M. Bennett line) might have a hard time finding love on the campaign trail.
Bennett claims to have been a “New Media and Social Networking Strategist” for Paul LePage. He’s not listed in LeGov’s campaign expenditures report— but Bennett has a lot of pictures of himself holding LePage signs on his Facebook page. Facebook photos also reveal a passion for taking self- portraits while shirtless. I asked Bennett for an interview and he suggested we meet at the Dunkin Donuts on Congress Street.
He shared that the big issues his mayoral candidacy is focusing on right now are charging property owners for graffiti removal, and having tougher disorderly conduct laws. When I asked questions that were off-script, he took a page from LePage and refused to answer.
Me: So why are you running for mayor? Bennett the First: Thousands of people told me to. Me: So you worked for Paul LePage? Bennett: I did everything I could to get him elected. Me: You said you were a new media consultant. Bennett: Yes. Me: Were you paid by the campaign? Bennett: I’m only answering questions that are about my campaign. Me: So you weren’t paid? Bennett: I’m not answering that question, I’m only here to talk about my campaign. Me: Are you for marriage equality? Bennett: If people want to know that, they can call me up and I’ll talk with them personally. Me: Won’t it be rough running as a LePage supporter in a city like Portland? Bennett: I have 1,807 supporters right now [on a private email list], including business owners, Democrats, Republicans, and Greens. Me: Who are some of your supporters in the business community? Bennett: That’s confidential.
He added at one point that his campaign was going to be about listening to Portlanders, not about listening to campaign consultants. As a Portlander, I’ll offer Erick some free advice and recommend that he Google “Republican Representative Chris Lee, NY” and, perhaps, take down the shirtless pics.
L.O.V.E. isn’t a Four Letter Word City Councilor David Marshall is all about the L.O.V.E. He is running on a platform of Loyalty, Optimism, Vision, and Experience. But will he find love from the voters?
November is a long way off. More candidates will announce soon, no doubt. One could argue, though, that with only a field of dark horses around him, Dave is the first viable candidate to get in the race. West Enders might remember his initial run for office in 2006, when he defeated a more well- known and deep-pocketed candidate (Cyrus Hagge). He was unopposed when he ran for re-election in 2009. He has political campaign experience, has notched his fair share of policy achievements, and knows the ins and outs of City Hall. Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation recently gave an award to one of Dave’s signature policy achievements, the Creative Economy Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, which sets aside tax money from the downtown arts district to be dedicated to arts and culture in the city.
“I got the Creative Economy TIF idea when I first ran in 2006,” said Marshall. “I worked to get the legislature to change the law so we could do that. Our creative economy is a job builder. Statewide, these jobs are growing by 25% a year and in Portland this is a good place to jumpstart our economy.”
But it ain’t easy being Green. While the mayor’s race is officially non- partisan, party politics can find its way into local contests (anyone remember the “Greens Cause Chaos” signs a few years back?). Greens have had a rough go in garnering votes off-peninsula. And that’s what Dave will need to do in order to move from the district council seat he enjoys now to the mayor’s chair at the head of the dais. It remains to be seen if Greens like Dave can raise enough funds to run a competitive city-wide race: the party’s gubernatorial candidate last year only raised $14,000 statewide.
Perhaps a bigger problem Dave might face is that he is already sitting on the city council. Many voters felt like a change was needed at City Hall, and the elected mayor proposal provided a way to voice that change.
“No one can ever say I’m the status quo candidate,” retorts Marshall. “That’s why I worked to support a Charter Commission and worked to get an elected mayor.”
Will Everitt is a political nerd and a long-time proponent of an elected mayor. He lives at Longfellow Square. In the interest of full disclosure, he owns a Dave Marshall painting. You can send comments, complaints, and ideas to email@example.com.
April 1, 2011 Political Collateral Damage or Mayoral Candidate? -City Councilor Dory Waxman will lose her seat on the Council to the Elected Mayor By WILL EVERITT If only there was a feminine version of the word “avuncular.” That’s what I was thinking as my two-year old daughter and I sat down over a cup of coffee with At-Large City Councilor Dory Waxman. Dory is like that passionate great aunt every family seems to have: the one who’s energetic, artistic, and passionately political. She doted over my daughter, reminisced about raising her own kids, and talked about her new apron-making business.
We met up at my suggestion because her story is one that hasn’t gotten much attention. “People don’t really know or understand that I won’t be on the council,” she said when we sat down. Waxman is the elected mayor martyr— except martyr isn’t quite the right word. Is there a word for someone who makes an unwilling sacrifice? I would use the word “victim,” except that definitely doesn’t describe Dory. The Pentagon would probably just label her as political collateral damage.
That’s because Waxman’s city council seat is being eliminated to make room for our new elected mayor. There is a certain degree of irony to this political story. Three years ago, Waxman faced off against Ed Suslovic for the at-large council seat. The race was hard fought. With the debate regarding the Maine State Pier fresh in voters’ minds, passions ran hot. Ultimately, Waxman defeated Suslovic, the then-sitting un-elected mayor. Now she is being defeated by the new elected mayor—whoever that may be.
“It’s disappointing,” Waxman said. “There’s so much work to be done. I’m just disappointed that I won’t be able to finish what I started.” As last year’s Charter Commission debated the powers and role of the elected mayor, they also had to decide on when Portlanders would actually cast their ballots for the position. Some argued that the election should be in a presidential or gubernatorial election year since more people vote in those races. After a vigorous debate and public input, the Commission voted 7 to 2 that the election should be held in an off-year so voters could focus on city issues without being distracted by the larger “up ballot” races.
The first year available for the mayoral election coincided with what would have been Waxman’s re-election campaign. While she is frustrated that her seat is being eliminated, she understands that the Charter Commission was just doing what it was elected to do. “I think they did the best they could do in their situation,” she said philosophically.
The irony runs deeper. Twenty years ago, Waxman and a number of other Portland activists had pushed for a popularly-elected mayor but were defeated by advocates of the status quo, led by City Councilor Cheryl Leeman. Yet, last year Waxman joined Leeman, who reprised her role as the demonizer of a popularly-elected mayor, and voted against the Charter Commission’s recommendation.
“I think we should have a strong mayor and get rid of our city manager style of government all together,” she explained. The elimination of her seat also played into her opposition. Of course, Waxman could stay on the Council if she were to run for mayor—and win. “I haven’t ruled out running for mayor,” she said with a smile. “I love serving on the council. At first I thought that I could run for the at-large seat that Nick [Mavodones] or Jill [Duson] has,” she said, “provided they ran for mayor, but then I found out that sitting councilors don’t have to give up their seats to run for mayor.”
There are a lot of variables in play. If another sitting at-large councilor [for example, Mavodones or Dusonl] runs for mayor and wins, there will be a special election to fill their regular seat, opening up a chance for Waxman to return to the job she loves. Another variable is her personal life. She’s launching a new business venture: Maine Apron Company. Her first two clients are Rosemont Bakery, and the church-turned-upscale-restaurant, Grace.
“I’m not sure if I will have the time to commit to running,” she said. “Whoever ends up being mayor,” she said, “will have to pull together residents to create a vision for the city. We have to go straight out to the neighborhoods to hear peoples’ dreams for what they want and how they want to see Portland moving forward.”
When pressed about what issues she sees as the most important ones for a city about to pick a new city manager and elect its first mayor in 88 years, she has a quick answer. “Education is the most important issue. Then economic development and housing,” she says. Waxman is proud of her work on the Council. She gets excited when describing the task force she’s putting together that will craft a 10-year plan to help solve Portland’s homelessness problem. She also speaks enthusiastically about working closely with Councilor Dave Marshall on energy and sustainability efforts. She’s even enjoyed collaborating with her one-time foe, Ed Suslovic, who returned to the City Council last year.
“The council really works collaboratively and I love that,” she said. “Everyone brings a different strength to the council.” Our conversation came to an end. Dory had to run off to pick up supplies for her apron business. But not before giving a warm good bye to my daughter.
Mayor Watch 2011 is a bi-weekly non-partisan column dedicated to following Portland’s first mayoral election since 1923. Will lives at Longfellow Square and is NOT running for mayor but is in a 12-step program for political junkies. The former State Director of the League of Young Voters, he has been a long-time advocate for a popularly elected mayor. Complaints, comments, or suggestions? Email Will: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: Rosa Scarcelli contributed $497,745 not $1 million. Former Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Rosa Scarcelli contacted Will Everitt to correct the campaign contribution total in his column two weeks ago. Scarcelli made 12 loans to her campaign totaling $503,800. All but $6,054.14 of these loans were "forgiven" by the candidate, making her contribution to the campaign $497,745, not $1 million as reported. The error is due to the fact that the Ethics Commission double-listed her donations as both contributions and as loans to herself.
March 12, 2011 No New Candidates in the Race, So Let’ s Talk About Money By WILL EVERITT Charles Carpenter is an interesting guy. His company, Historic Map Works, is kind of the historic Google Earth. He started a foundation that builds playgrounds for kids in Afghanistan, Haiti, and Somalia. He lives in a spacious loft whose finer amenities include views of Casco Bay, a tubular elevator to a music room, rare 15th century copies of Aristotle, and a nearly two-story pulpit from a gothic church.
But I didn’t show up at his loft because I was writing for Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors—I met him because I heard he was running for mayor. It turns out that he’s not an official candidate yet.
“I’m still thinking about it,” Carpenter said. “I’m opinionated. If I ran, I recognize I couldn’t win because I’m not politically correct.” What do you mean? What’s politically incorrect about you?
“Portland can have more economic growth if it’s a desirable place for more middle class people to live an work,” he said. “That’s difficult because of the congregation of social services right in our downtown. Much of Congress Street is slated as non-market rate housing. We can’t have an economically viable city if the buildings are non-market rate.”
He went on to express frustration at seeing so many people being let out on to the streets by social service agencies downtown. “It doesn’t work to take hundreds of dysfunctional people and turn them out on the streets every day.”
To be honest, my first thought about Mr. Carpenter was that he’s right, he probably couldn’t win an election in Portland rallying people against our downtown social service agencies. Then again, looking at the luxurious surroundings of his loft, and having heard about the people he got to invest in his tech-savvy map company, I thought that if he could have a big impact on the race if he threw money into it.
“I’ll only run if I find enough endorsed support,” Carpenter said. He assured me that if he ran, he would finance the race through people he inspired to donate to his campaign. For now, Carpenter is just one of the many “possible” candidates out there. But meeting him made me wonder how campaign finance rules applied to our city races. After all, money is a necessary evil in campaigns. Candidates have to pay for mailings, websites, fact sheets, pizza for their volunteers, and those annoying commercials. Is it possible for wealthy donors “buy” a candidate? Can a candidate “buy” the mayoral race? How will money spent on the mayor’s race be tracked? Will the money spent on the race become a political issue?
The rules of the game are a combination of local, state, and federal laws. The state limits individual campaign contributions to municipal candidates to $350: that is the maximum someone running can accept from one person over the course of the campaign. This amount is lower than most states, and limits the degree to which a candidate can be “beholden” to a donor. To look at it another way, if it takes $25,000 to truly run a citywide race, a candidate will need at least 72 people to donate to his/her campaign. Unless, of course, the candidate is independently wealthy. If that’s the case, s/he could “donate” an unlimited amount to his/herself.
For example, in the Governor’s race, Eliot Cutler gave himself 297 donations totaling $597,360 and Rosa Scarcelli gave herself 24 donations totaling just over $1 million.(Correction: Rosa Scarcelli contributed $497,745 not $1 million. Former Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Rosa Scarcelli contacted Will Everitt to correct the campaign contribution total in this column. Scarcelli made 12 loans to her campaign totaling $503,800. All but $6,054.14 of these loans were "forgiven" by the candidate, making her contribution to the campaign $497,745, not $1 million as reported. The error is due to the fact that the Ethics Commission double-listed her donations as both contributions and as loans to herself.) We can thank a federal Supreme Court decisions that equate spending money with free speech for this campaign contribution loophole: the more money you have, the more free speech you can make.
Campaign loopholes exist, too, around Political Action Committees (PACs). PACs are committees formed by interest groups to raise money for their favorite political candidates. There is no limit to the amount an individual may donate to a PAC. Fortunately, Maine has some of the best laws allowing everyday citizens to track where political donations come from and how that money is spent. It took me a grand total of three minutes to look up the donations I mentioned above regarding Cutler and Scarcelli by going to www. mainecampaignfinance.com.
Maine’s tracking system is such an efficient model that two years ago Senator Justin Alfond worked to pass a bill that marries municipal campaign reporting to the state Ethics Commission’s database. The goal was that citizens would be able to shine a light on who was giving what to whom in local races. We would be able to easily search donations in the state system. At least, that was the intention.
Unfortunately, the Ethics Commission hasn’t gotten around to expanding the system to apply to city races like Portland’s yet.
“It’s disappointing,” said Senator Alfond. “With the mayor’s race, this year would have been the perfect year to have the transparency this system would provide.” Instead, the Ethics Commission will simply be posting PDFs of mayoral candidates’ fundraising and spending reports. While this is better than the current municipal system, it doesn’t easily allow the everyday Mainer to be an investigative journalist.
“It’s too bad that we’re still using 20th century technology during a 21st century campaign,” said Alfond, who is planning to see how we can speed the process up. While the Ethics Commission struggles with technology, tech-savvy locals may find a solution in the short-term.
“A few enterprising volunteers could take the PDFs, extract the information, and provide a public, searchable database as a service to the public,” says Jack Woods, a Portland activist and supporter of Alfond’s bill. “We deserve to know where our next mayor's money is coming from, and a simple workaround like this could serve as a stop-gap until the state fully implements the intention of the law.” No matter how much money is spent on the mayor’s race, ultimately it will be decided by the voters not by a checkbook. Just ask Eliot Cutler and Rosa Scarcelli.
Will Everitt is the former State Director of the League of Young Voters and is a long-time proponent of an elected mayor. He lives at the corner of West End and Parkside. He’s not accepting any political donations, but you can send comments, complaints, and ideas to email@example.com.
Rathband: City Rushing Hiring of New City Manager East Bayside mayoral candidate Jed Rathband is calling on the City to halt its search for a new City Manager until after Portland elects its new mayor in November. In an op-ed piece in the Portland Press Herald on February 17th, Rathband said that the Portland City Council is rushing to fill the soon-to-be- vacant city manager's position before the clock runs out on the old system, instead of waiting to let the new mayor direct the search.
Rathband said that hiring a manager before hiring the chief executive will sandbag the new mayor's efforts to move the city forward, and limit Portland's ability to attract top-tier candidates for the manager's position. Instead, said Rathband, the new mayor should lead a comprehensive, nationwide search to attract the best and the brightest candidates in the field to help implement the mayor's vision and run the day-to-day operations of the City. City Manager Joe Gray retired from his post in early February, after ten years in the position, and more than forty years at City Hall, Rathband said that past efforts to fill the post have been hampered by a lack of time available on the City Council, often leading to hiring from within for the sake of expediency.
February 24, 2011 Strange Bedfellows [Or how I slept with the Chamber and still loved politics in the morning.] By WILL EVERITT Politics, as the saying goes, makes for strange bedfellows. In Portland, none have been stranger than the connection between the League of Young Voters and the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce. These organizations are among the most politically active groups in the city. What they decide to do— and not to do—will likely have a big impact on the mayor’s race. (Disclosure #1 of 3: I worked with the League of Young Voters as its State Director through the election season last year. So, neighbors, you can take this week’s column as an insider’s view of this strange bedfellow relationship. . .or take it with a grain of salt.)
The League of Young Voters works to inspire 18 to 35 year-olds to get involved in the political process. Having fought for marriage equality and for re-establishing voting rights for immigrants, the League could be described as one of the most progressive organizations in the state. During any given election season, they can marshal several scores of volunteers to hit the streets and talk to voters.
The Chamber represents business interests. The Portland Chamber could be described as one of the more conservative groups in the state, as it endorsed the so-called Tax Payer’s Bill of Rights while the statewide Chamber did not. If Chamber members were inspired to, they could invest a lot of money into a campaign. On the face of it, it would seem like the League and the Chamber would have little in common, politically speaking. I called Chris O’Neil, City Hall Liaison for the Portland Community Chamber, to talk about the mayor’s race. (Disclosure #2 of 3: Chris and I worked together on the elected mayor issue.)
“You don’t find your traditional political lines in Portland,” said O’Neil, when asked about the Chamber working in coalition with the League over the years. “I like to say that because of Portland’s quality of place and the creative economy here, the Chamber here is not a bunch of cigar-smoking businessmen in dark suits.” It is precisely because these two organizations represent such a large political gap that, when they decide to stake out common ground together, the earth moves. For example, the two groups worked together to support Olympia’s bid to develop the Maine State Pier. While the Great Recession ultimately de-railed the project, working together, they convinced a majority of the City Council to vote their way, defeating a billion-dollar company connected to Governor Baldacci. And, of course, the Chamber and the League worked together to make an elected mayor a reality.
So how will these two groups approach the mayor’s race? For the Chamber, all cards are on the table. “We have yet to decide how we’re going to be involved in the race,” said O’Neil. “Obviously, we want a mayor that understands business issues. Whether we will recruit a candidate or not, work on issue education with all candidates, or be involved in the race in a more political way - that remains to be seen.”
But the Chamber was so involved in the elected mayor campaign—it must have had someone in mind for the job. “The news flash is there’s no Chamber candidate. We really only thought as far as winning the elected mayor,” said O’Neil. “We accomplished that goal and are just beginning to process what’s next. Who will be mayor is important— and just as important, who will be city manager.”
“No Chamber Candidate” doesn’t exactly make for a juicy headline. So I called Hilary Frenkel, interim co-Director of the League. (Disclosure #3 of 3: Hilary and I worked together when I was at the League.) “We’ve been out talking to young people all over Portland. Jobs and the economy are on people’s minds,” says Frenkel. While economists may be saying that the Great Recession is over, it turns out that the same economic conditions that derailed the Maine State Pier project three years ago are still wreaking havoc on the everyday lives of young people.
“A lot of young people are worried about how they’re going to pay the rent next month,” said Frenkel. “They care a lot about Maine and love living here in Portland, so for us the big issue is how can we create good jobs that will keep them here.” Leaguers plan to talk to all candidates about this issue and will, as they have in the past, put out a voter’s guide that endorses the candidates that most closely align with their volunteers’ political perspectives. “It’s not just jobs, but the economic reality young people have to deal with.
Consider transportation costs,” she continued. “It costs about $8,000 a year to own a car when you throw in insurance, gas, and taxes. A lot of young people can’t afford that. At the same time, some are afraid to ride their bikes because if they take a spill, they don’t have health insurance to cover the costs. Jobs, healthcare, transportation—to the League, these are all social justice issues.”
Wait a second: the Chamber is talking about Portland’s creative economy and our quality of place while the League is talking about jobs and the economy? Will the Chamber ultimately endorse a creative economy guru? Will the League form a “The Rent is Too Damn High” Party? Or will the two groups shack up together behind one candidate? Stay tuned.
Mayor Watch 2011 is a bi-weekly non-partisan column dedicated to following Portland’s first mayoral election since 1923. Will Everitt is a politically junkie and was a long-time advocate for a popularly elected mayor. He tries to fully disclose his political connections when they pop up in a column. You can disclose your complaints by emailing him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 18, 2011 Bragdon Rebuts Everitt's Mayor Column By Charles Bragdon Unlike Will Everitt, I am not a big fan of rumors, as I think they are lacking more in truth and facts than they are speculation and innuendo.
In this recent article published in The West End News, Will Everitt claims to be writing from a non-partisan perspective while his bias is clearly evident. He starts off by telling us how his fellow columnist Jed Rathband is running and has a better chance than the rest because he can hold to a deadline. He states that Jed is clearly running ahead of the pack, as he has run other campaigns, so this makes him more qualified than the rest.
I don't think running a campaign company makes one more qualified to win than anyone else. I don't recall seeing Jed Rathband at any City Council meetings lately. For that matter, I don't recall seeing him at any City meetings lately, and I would know, as I attend most of them. If he is such a campaign expert, wouldn't he know that if the people are going to elect him to represent them, maybe, just maybe, they would like to see him stand up for them once in awhile.
He points out himself that this side of politics is all new to him, and he agrees with me on at least one point. Portland is indeed a rising star as far as cities go, and that is why we need someone who can truly lead us into that future.
Will points out that I have lost three bids for office in the last two years. He is right on all three, but he left out that I was a political newcomer myself when I ran against Kevin Donoghue for District 1. He also failed to mention that in my last race for City Council At-Large, I garnered 9,445 votes in a three-way race against two popular incumbents. I didn't truly expect to win any of these races, especially the run for the State House primary, as the Green Party railroaded me into a primary they claimed they had no candidate for, and then decided to run Anna Trevorrow, the State Chair of the Green Party, against me. This is what prompted me to step away from all political parties, as I saw the Green Party to be no different than their respective counterparts when it came to dirty politics.
I thank Will Everitt for pointing out all the run-ins with the law that Zouhair Bouzrara has had, as this brings out early something that people would certainly have wanted to know about a candidate for an office of such significance. I also want to thank him for pointing out that John Eder is going to run to build up the Green Party. I can now honestly state that I am the only true independent running who will have no party affiliations or ties to any special interest groups. John Eder and David Marshall (if he chooses to run) will both be pushing the Green platform.
I should also point out something that Will forgot to mention about John Eder. When John Eder served as a State House Representative for the West End, he didn't bring his own agenda to the table. He actually submitted bills to the House that came straight from the National Green Party. Ralph Nader himself called to congratulate him and then sent him the model legislation he submitted. A quick search in Wikipedia will reveal this truth.
Regardless of who decides to run for Mayor this year, the one thing you can count on is that I will still be true to my integrity and principles, and I will continue to fight for a stronger, more localised sustainable economy, homeless employment, truly affordable housing, a more walkable city, greener city buildings, tenant rights, a working waterfront - and continue to be a true independent voice of the people in City Hall.
February 15, 2011 Rumors and Other Truths By WILL EVERITT “I love rumors! Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing.” –Colonel Hans Landa, in the opening scene of the film “Inglourious Basterds"
Who’s running for mayor? Who’s not? As rumors swirl around Portland like snow storms, there are still only three candidates running for mayor—at least according to the Acting City Clerk: Jed Rathband, Charles Bragdon, and Zouhair Bouzrara. Having registered with the City, they can legally raise money for their campaigns.
All three are dark horse candidates. Rathband, an occasional columnist for the West End News, and known in these parts as “Deadline Jed,” has the best chances of these first-registrants. He runs Stone’s Throw Consulting, a public relations and campaign management firm located here in Portland.
“While this side of the political divide is new for me,” says Rathband, a first- time candidate for elected office, “the arena itself is something I'm well - acquainted with. Portland is a rising star among elite small cities in America, and voters want a leader who can harness that momentum and use it to implement a vision that will stimulate further progress.”
Jed may have more time on his hands to work on his campaign as the Maine Green Energy Alliance, the nonprofit he has been working for since November, is going belly-up. Charles Bragdon has the distinction of losing three campaigns for office in two years. He put up an unsuccessful bid for the East End City Council seat in 2009, lost a primary for State Rep in the spring of 2010, and rounded out the year with a loss in a three-way sprint for two At- Large seats on the City Council in the fall of 2010. He was registered as a Democrat, a Green, and an Independent in those races, respectively.
Bragdon claims these losses were all part of the grander plan to run for mayor. “I’ve built some name recognition and gained some really strong supporters through those races,” he insists. We can surmise that Bouzrara won’t be the law and order candidate. A quick google reveals that he has had as many run-ins with Portland’s men in blue as Bragdon has had electoral losses in the past few years. He’s been arrested for allegedly obstructing a public way and for allegedly refusing to submit to arrest, and theft. You’ll probably want to avoid his political phone-calls as he has been charged and fined for telephone harassment.
While these three candidates provide more local color than a box of crayons, other contenders are sure to make official announcements soon. Rumors that Ethan Strimling, the Executive Director of Learning Works, will run, seem to be false:
“At this point,” he says, “I don't have any plans to enter the race. But I would like to see Portland elect a mayor who has strong leadership skills; someone who can articulate a viable and hopeful vision for Portland and then hold the City accountable to that vision.”
Three years ago, Strimling came in fourth for in the Democratic Primary for Congress. In Portland, Mike Brennan edged him by 100 votes for second place in the City, while Chellie Pingree took the gold. Not surprisingly, Brennan, who has strong social-service credentials, has been mentioned as a possible candidate, too, but has yet to officially announce.
What about Rosa Scarcelli, the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate? “I haven’t considered a run for mayor,” she says, “but am very interested in who is running. . .I believe we need a mayor who has vision, passion, and the ability to rally Portland.” Perhaps she will wait for the furor over her husband’ s involvement with “The Cutler Files” to die down before she considers running for public office again.
The Greens may have at least two aspirants: City Councilor Dave Marshall and former West End State Rep John Eder. Officially, Marshall is still mulling over whether or not to throw his hat into the ring.
“I’m thinking about it,” he said. “Running for mayor is a huge commitment and has a lot of responsibilities. I want to be certain I can be up to the effort, and certain about what is best for the City.” He sees the top issues the new mayor faces as being jobs and protecting our environment and quality of life.
John Eder has not registered as a candidate yet, but does plan to run in order to build the Green Party.
“I’m proud to be a founder of Portland’s green movement,” he said. “I am running for Mayor on a green platform, at the intersection of imagination and common sense. The local level is the front line for innovation. We can no longer depend on the federal or state government. The cavalry is not coming and honestly, I find that thought exhilarating.” Stay tuned. More snow, rumors, and announcements are in the forecast.
Mayor Watch 2011 is a bi-weekly non-partisan column dedicated to following Portland’s first mayoral election since 1923. Will Everitt lives at Longfellow Square. The former State Director of the League of Young Voters, he has been a long-time advocate for a popularly elected mayor. In the interest of full disclosure, he’s friends with some of the people mentioned in this column—so if you have any complaints, comments, or rumors, email Will: wm.a.everitt@gmail. com.
February 1, 2011 Friends Let Friends Run for Mayor By WILL EVERITT I’ve got a problem. Already, two close friends and four other acquaintances of mine have told me that they’re thinking of running for mayor of Portland. None of these people have run for City office before. While these folks are passionate (and compassionate) people, to be honest, most of them probably don’t have the qualifications to be dogcatcher, much less mayor. One of the acquaintances that approached me is a carpetbagger from York County, planning to move to the “big city” to run. Obviously, my problems is, I’m friends with too many people who aspire to be politicians. But maybe you have this problem, too. In a small city like Portland, with only one or two degrees of separation, it’s highly likely that you, too, know someone who’s planning on running for mayor. Why are people crawling out of the woodwork to run for mayor when these same people wouldn’t even consider running for a “regular” city council seat? Part of the answer is that being a city councilor is a thankless job. City Councilors voluntarily spend 20 to 40 hours a week in seemingly endless meetings and responding to constituents’ concerns. In return for a small stipend, and healthcare if they need it, they act as our community punching bags. They’re blamed for everything from the number of potholes on any given street to how crappy the new blue city trash bags are. But ultimately, no matter how often you might disagree with them, those nine people are doing the rest of us a huge favor by serving on the council. That’s why so few people run for city council. The last time West End City Councilor Dave Marshall ran for office, he ran unopposed. Cheryl Leeman has run unopposed several times over her 27-year career on the council. On the other hand, the new city charter was designed to inspire people to run for mayor. A $66,000 salary, healthcare, a well-appointed office, veto-power over the budget, and the chance to be our first elected mayor since your great grandmother earned the right to vote—all this was meant to rouse the best and brightest among us to throw their hats into the ring. It’s possible that we’ll see 10 to 20 people on the ballot for mayor. Yikes, you may say, the more people who run, the more likely that we’re going to elect someone on the dumb and dumber side of the spectrum rather than the best and brightest side. After all, at this time last year, no fewer than 24 people were in the governor’s race. In the end, a teabagging, potty-mouthed, fringe candidate won that race with 39% of the vote. What if that happens here? In the governor’s race, and, indeed, in every elected office in the state - save for Portland’s mayor - the system is based on plurality, where it isn’t the majority that rules, it’s the one with the most votes. Under plurality, if enough people run, you can win even if six out of every ten people voted against you. Under plurality, the more people who run, the more likely we are to elect a fringe candidate. Ah, lucky for us, Portland’s Charter Commissioners designed a system that helps weed the garden. Our mayor will be elected via instant runoff voting. In this system, we will rank our preferences just as we rank flavors at an ice cream stand: I prefer Candidate Chocolate, but if I can’t have her, I prefer Candidate Vanilla, and if I can’t have him, then I’ll settle for Candidate Strawberry. In an instant runoff voting election, a flavor—er…—candidate wins only if the majority of voters feel as if s/he is worthy of the job. Fringe candidates will be eliminated, as they will receive too few votes to make it to the runoff counts. So when your friend or neighbor comes over and says, “Hey, I’m thinking about running for mayor,” simply say 'good for you', even if they don’t have the credentials to be dog-catcher. Heck, even if your friend is a potty-mouthed fringe candidate, in the mayor’s race, it will be the more, the merrier. Mayor Watch 2011 is a bi-weekly non-partisan column dedicated to following Portland’s first mayoral election since 1923. Will Everitt lives at Longfellow Square and is NOT running for mayor but is in a 12-step program for political junkies. The former State Director of the League of Young Voters, he has been a long-time advocate for a popularly elected mayor. Complaints, comments, or suggestions? Email Will: email@example.com.
January 15, 2011 The Race is On The ethics commission complaints have been filed. There’s even a Wikipedia page [see: Portland, Maine Mayoral Election, 2011] to make it official: this year marks the first year since 1923 that Portland will have a popularly- elected mayor. The race is on. This is the “Hot Stove League” part of the campaign. Pundits are wondering who’s going to throw their hat into the ring. Would-be candidates are already pulling together exploratory committees around their kitchen tables. Current city councilors are admitting to local reporters that they are thinking about running [Hi, Jill and Nick!]. Chances are, you have a friend or neighbor who has said they’re mulling over a run at the job. Except for a few dozen potential candidates, most of us aren’t thinking about the mayor’s race yet. Most of us don’t turn on our political antennae until after Labor Day. But sure as the Patriots out of the playoffs, the mayor’s race has begun. Before friends and other strangers invite you to a house party to meet “Candidate X,” now is the time to think about what issues are important to you, and what you’re looking for in a candidate. Flush with new powers and a full-time salary, the mayor will be showing up for work in City Hall just like the City’s other employees. What kind of mayor do you want returning your phone calls and emails? What should his or her priories be? All the candidates will pay at least lip service the predictable trinity of taxes, jobs, and education. While those issues may be the “big three,” voters will be looking for more than just platitudes. They will be looking for candidates to articulate a real vision for the city. This is something that Christina Feller, President of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization, has thought a lot about lately. “My central question to candidates,” said Feller, speaking for herself and not the Neighborhood Organization, “is ‘How do you interpret the 2010 census data, and turn that analysis into a persuasive argument to Augusta and Washington in support of Portland?’” Feller points out that, demographically, Portland is incredibly different today than it was just five years ago. One out of three students in our school system is a child of immigrants. In another five years it’s projected that as many as half of our students will be from immigrant families. Many immigrant families are buying their own homes here, running local businesses, and taking part in the local economy. For Caitlin Gilmet, a West Ender who runs Picara Creative, her own consulting business, an issue that will make or break her vote will be candidates’ visions of the creative economy. “I want to know what their vision for Artside [the Arts District] is,” says Gilmet. She has a good point. Our creative economy is what makes Portland so distinctive. Fifteen minutes down the turnpike, there’s a little city that, from the outside, looks much like ours. It has quaint brick buildings right on the water like we have. Plus the rent is cheaper. But Biddeford hasn’t (yet) attracted the artists, musicians, cultural nonprofits, and the young workforce that Portland can boast. It’s easy to forget that artists and musicians are, in essence, small-business people, and are critical to our local economy. Will the new mayor cast a vision for the city recognizes what Portland is becoming, or will he or she view the city from a lens of how it used to be? Will the new mayor understand that helping business means supporting our creative economy? Will his or her vision build on what’s made us a different—and more vibrant—community than other cities in Maine? Will we have a mayor who looks forward? Or looks backward? Or something in between? Only time (and a marathon campaign season) will tell. What kind of mayor are you looking for? This year, you get to decide. Mayor Watch 2011 is a bi-weekly non-partisan column dedicated to following Portland’s first mayoral election since 1923. Will Everitt is a political junkie and lives at Longfellow Square. The former State Director of the League of Young Voters, he has been a long-time advocate for a popularly elected mayor. Complaints, comments, or suggestions? Email Will: wm.a. firstname.lastname@example.org.