If you're looking at your absentee ballot—or taking a sneak peek of what awaits you at your polling place on July 14th—you'll notice Question A, asking if you want a Charter Commission to be established to revise the City's Charter. So...what's this question about, and why is it on the ballot? Good questions.
At this point I'm sure many of you are aware that unprecedented numbers of people seeking asylum in the United States are arriving in Portland, Maine. I know there are disagreements about the role Portland should play in issues that ultimately require state and federal assistance and that people have different perspectives with regard to how the City should handle its Community Support Fund. We will be discussing those issues at our City Council meeting on Monday, June 17th, and public comment will be taken at that time.
Right now, however, we - as a city, a region, and a state - need to find a way to deal with the crisis at hand.
To that end the City of Portland is working with community partners, the American Red Cross, and the State Center for Disease Control & Prevention to operate a temporary emergency shelter at the Portland Expo. That facility opened on Wednesday, June 12th at 5pm.
Numerous people and groups have reached out to learn how they can help. If you are interested in volunteering or making donations to assist in this effort, here are some things you can do.
Thanks to all who have already reached out to learn how they can help!
One of the things I've always loved about Portland is how willing people are to get engaged with issues that are important to them. We are a tremendous community, folks. I'm very proud to call this City home.
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.
Last year, when the position of Special Assistant to the Mayor & Council was rolled out, it was quite controversial, and I heard from many constituents who were opposed to it.
At the time, as a new councilor, I was told the position would serve as an assistant to the entire council, not just the mayor, and I thought it could be helpful. However, I also said that if I found the position to be superfluous, I would not seek to have it funded for another budget cycle.
Well, here we are after a year of having the position in place, and I have, indeed, found it to be redundant. I have never required the services of this individual, and in fact the position only serves to place an additional layer between me and the information I seek to gather from city staff.
That's why I am proposing that the position be eliminated in the FY 2018 budget. I will be presenting an amendment to this effect at the May 15, 2017 City Council meeting. If you would like to express support for or opposition to my amendment, you can do so by contacting members of the City Council or by attending the May 15th meeting and speaking during the public hearing on the city budget.
The agenda for the May 15th meeting will be posted here by Friday, May 12th.
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