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!
On February 5, 2018, the Portland City Council unanimously approved a festival license for Waterfront Concerts, which allowed the company to begin booking acts for its 2018 concert series at the Maine State Pier. The Council approved this license despite the fact that the owner of Waterfront Concerts, Alex Gray, had pled guilty to domestic violence assault in October of 2017.
I’ve received a few requests to explain my original vote on this issue—a yes vote, approving the festival license—so here's an account of my reasoning leading up to that vote along with an explanation of my current thinking on this issue.
On Thursday morning (2/22), I was surprised to see the following information at the beginning of an article in the Portland Press Herald:
"Portland officials will hold discussions on whether to establish Maine's first safe-injection site for drug users. Councilor Belinda Ray said a council subcommittee will discuss the idea next week...."
I was surprised, because it's not true.
In December 2017, in response to the rapid pace of development and an increase in the rate and number of demolitions in the R-6 zone on Munjoy Hill, the City Council approved a six-month moratorium on demolitions in that area. That moratorium also included a 65-day prohibition on applications for new development in the R-6 zone on Munjoy Hill while planning staff crafted temporary regulations.
In January, I was appointed to serve on the school building committee that will oversee renovations to four Portland elementary schools: Lyseth, Longfellow, Presumpscot, and Reiche. These renovations are being funded by a $64 million bond that was passed by Portland voters in November of 2017.
Now, it’s no secret that I was opposed to the $64 million bond, and that has caused some people to wonder if I should serve on the building committee overseeing this work. To me, this is easy to reconcile.
This op-ed appeared in the Portland Press Herald on October 28, 2017.
Bonds tend to pass in Maine—especially when they involve transportation, research and development, or education. And that’s no surprise. We all want good roads, better jobs, and great opportunities for our kids. But if you’re a Portland voter who values education and wants excellent schools, teachers, and materials citywide, you should vote “NO” on the $64 million school bond (Question 3 on the local ballot). Here are four reasons.
On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, the City Council's Health & Human Services Committee will hold a public forum to discuss the design and planning for a new emergency shelter in Portland.
There are two shelter issues currently making their way through the Council's Health & Human Services Committee. The first concerns the design and planning of a new facility to replace the outdated adult emergency shelter on Oxford Street (the Oxford Street Shelter). The second involves making changes to the city land use code in order to allow smaller shelter facilities as conditional uses throughout the city. Here's why both of these initiatives are important for Portland.
It's been about a year since Positive Health Care patients at the India Street Public Health Center began transitioning their care to new physicians and practices. Here's a quick update about the services that continue at the India Street Clinic and how the city intends to follow up to find out how the clinic's former Positive Health patients are doing and what we can learn from this transition process.
I know: they’re huge. And they’re plastic. And they don’t exactly complement any particular style of home décor except, perhaps, “LEGO Chic.” Plus, they take up a lot of space, and they can be difficult to situate if you don’t have a spacious driveway or more than ten feet separating your house from the one next door.
But they’re going to be so good for the environment. And for the workers who’ve been hefting hundreds of bins each day for the past six years. And once you get over their size, color, and unnatural appearance, you may find that they have many benefits for you, too.
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