Okay, so that's not exactly how John Lennon put it (and apparently Lennon wasn't even the one who first said it). But life did happen at our Health & Human Services and Public Safety committee meeting on Tuesday night, and it has altered our course as we seek to select a site for the new Homeless Services Center.
On Wednesday, September 4th, the City released several documents related to the new Homeless Services Center being planned for Portland. You can find these new documents (and many more) here.
Some of this information was covered at the Community Forum held at USM on September 8th, but we'll also be discussing these documents at the next Health & Human Services and Public Safety (HHS & PS) Committee meeting (Tuesday, September 11th, 5:30pm, City Hall, Council Chambers).
Since it's tough to tell what all the documents are without opening them, I've created an annotated list of the ones we'll be discussing on Tuesday. Hope this is helpful!
Early conversations about homelessness and the need for an improved shelter facility predate my election to the Council. But I'm proud to have played a role, alongside stakeholders, in moving this conversation forward over the last two and a half years. We're now poised to select a site for a new, state-of-the-art facility that will allow city staff to fully implement best practices and move people from homelessness to permanent housing as quickly and efficiently as possible.
This new facility is just one step in a long-range plan to address homelessness in Portland, but it is a very important step.
Here's a brief overview of the Micro-Timeline to Date* and how I expect the process to unfold from here.
Over the last ten months, the City Council's Health and Human Services & Public Safety Committee, which I chair, has been discussing a proposed Earned Paid Sick Leave ordinance. The proposed ordinance was drafted by the Southern Maine Workers' Center and the Maine Women's Lobby and brought forward to the Council by Mayor Strimling.
To date, the HHS & PS committee has held four workshop-style meetings (November 14, 2017; May 8, June 12, and July 17, 2018) and a public hearing (April 24, 2018) on the topic. We've made some progress, but we still have much to do before we're in a position to make a recommendation to the full Council. Here's what you can expect from the committee as we move into Fall 2018.
When an item is considered by the City Council, there is always an opportunity for the public to weigh in. In fact, there are often several opportunities.
Items usually work their way through one or more other bodies, such as the Planning Board, the Historic Preservation Board, a Council Committee, or another board, committee, or task force, before coming to the Council, and public comment is accepted throughout the process.
The City Council itself takes public comment on items in a few different ways.
Here's a primer on when you can expect opportunities for public comment before the Council or a council committee, how a public hearing or public comment period works, and how to contact councilors directly if you don't wish to testify in a public setting.
Or rather, don't bring the noise, as many of my constituents have requested over the last two years. Whether we're talking about concerts on the Maine State Pier, nightlife in the Old Port, or tunes outside tasting rooms, I've heard a lot of concerns about noise in the city over the last two years. It's because of these concerns that I've been pushing for a rewrite of the City's code as it pertains to noise.
The good news is that a rewrite is in process. The bad news is that it's more complicated than just tweaking a few decibel levels and calling it good.
Since November 2017, the City Council's Health & Human Services and Public Safety (HHS &PS) Committee has been working its way though a proposed mandatory paid sick leave ordinance. For a little background, check out my April Paid Sick Leave Update.
To find out where we are in the process now, read on.
I’ve been getting a lot of email about the school budget this year. Some people are expressing concern that the Council is making deep cuts that will be detrimental to education, while others are concerned that the Superintendent’s proposed budget is too high and that the increased spending will cause them to be taxed out of their homes.
Below are the most common concerns I’m hearing, addressed in a Q&A format. I want to thank Councilors Kim Cook and Justin Costa for their contributions to the answers. They both allowed me to lift large chunks of text from emails they’ve been sending to help explain the budget process to their constituents, and for that I am grateful.
A lot of people have been asking about the proposed mandatory paid sick leave ordinance being considered by the Portland City Council's Health & Human Services and Public Safety Committee. Considering the implementation of such a policy is a very complicated task, especially as we contemplate the potential impacts for people living, working, and employing others in and around the Portland area. As the chair of the HHS & PS Committee, I'm pleased to say that the committee realizes this, and that we are working to proceed in a highly transparent and inclusive manner. To that end, here's an update of where we are in the process, and where I expect it to go from here.
On April 24, 2018, the Portland City Council's Health & Human Services and Public Safety Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposed mandatory paid sick leave ordinance. For more about where the committee is in the process of reviewing that ordinance, see my April 19th Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Update. To find out how the public comment period will work, read on!
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