We need to move forward in a careful, thoughtful, honest, pragmatic, non-ideological manner that respects the rational middle
I’ve lived most of my life in Portland. Lately, I’ve been dismayed.
The clear lack of affordable housing, the odd paradox of a school system where enrollment is in
decline but budgets and the creation of non-teaching posts seems to keep going up, the sea-level
rise that floods the waterfront and encroaches on other city neighborhoods, the proliferation of
panhandling even as businesses across the city cannot find enough people to work, the move to
write the non-partisan city manager out of the city charter and replace it with a partisan political
mayoral office, these are just some of the problems we face.
I’ve seen enough to know that none of these problems is particularly long-lived. They all stem
from decisions we’ve made in the relatively recent past. We need to revisit some of those
decisions, reverse them even. Let’s build more affordable housing for moderate-income working
and professional people, especially families with children, to balance out the boom in luxury
condos. Let’s shrink the school budget in keeping with the declining enrollment, while remaining
mindful that the key to learning is always that the number of students in any particular classroom
needs to be small. Let’s be as tenacious in defending the environment as we would be in
protecting our grandchildren’s homes, because there is no Planet B; and let’s reserve the
waterfront primarily for maritime uses for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is that
those businesses will not be ruined when they get wet. Let’s stop luring a purely transient
population with the expectation of easily obtained benefits. Let’s not vote ideology into office but
keep the non-partisan city manager. Let’s ratchet down the stridency and listen to each other.
As I said, I’ve lived my life here. There’s hardly a street that doesn’t resonate for me with some
memory. But as a history teacher at Cheverus High School for eighteen years, I know that
history only moves in one direction. So, when I say we need to revisit decisions of the past, what I
mean is, we need to move forward in a careful, thoughtful, honest, pragmatic, non-ideological
manner that respects the rational middle.
That is the best to ensure we respect everybody.
For that, I ask your support on November 2nd.
We need strong leadership on the council to ensure a more balanced approach to community decision making. As councilor at-large I will stand up for all neighborhoods and city residents to see that our city government is working for our collective benefit.
Portland is my hometown. This city council seat is not a rung on a ladder to some higher office for me, it’s about restoring confidence in Portland residents that good governance can change lives for the better. In an election cycle that will see turnover of three seats and the loss of decades of experience, I will be a strong leader for Portland on day one, poised and committed to serving all neighborhoods and all residents.
In today’s world it’s not such a common thing to say, at 68 years old, I still live in my hometown.I have lived in Portland for more than 60 years. I was a child in Portland, a student in Portland’s classrooms from elementary school at McClellan (now Reiche) to law school at The University of Maine School of Law, a parent, then a grandparent, and now I am a senior in Portland. A lifetime built right here gives me a unique perspective on our city and I see that we are at an important crossroads.
My professional experience - from the courtrooms of Portland as a public defender to the classrooms of Portland as a teacher of History and Government enhances my view of what is possible. As a teacher of History and Government, I know that episodes of heightened political discord, hostile rhetoric, and hyperpartisanship are nothing new. In fact they mark the points in time when meaningful change is possible. I know that when communities come together they are capable of Golden Ages. The question before us now is whether we can harness the power of insight that stems from the friction and conflict to actually do the things we are capable of doing here in Portland to promote the common good.
I’m running for Councilor-At-Large because I want to make headway for the people of Portland and not because I want to make headlines for myself. We need strong leadership on the council to ensure a more balanced approach to community decision making. As councilor at-large I will stand up for all neighborhoods and city residents to see that our city government is working for our collective benefit.
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