“These are punitive restrictions,” said Economic Development Committee chair David Brennerman, referring to the proposed changes to the “TIF” program initiated by Mayor Ethan Strimling and presented at the Committee’s June 6th meeting.
These amendments, ones that could help veterans, immigrants, high school graduates and others who are unskilled develop skills that would lead to employment opportunities while also relieving the well-documented and serious shortage in Portland’s work force, received no positive feedback from either Councilors Spencer Thibobeau or Nick Mavodones representing city manager Jon Jennings at the meeting.
Rather, there were questions from Councilor Mavadones, designed to emphasize the negative rather than the positive of the Mayor’s “TIF” changes. City staff person for the EDC meeting is Greg Mitchell, director of the Economic Development office at city hall.
Thibodeau, a real estate attorney is a minority as well. It would seem likely this program would appeal to him. No such indication from him. Thibodeau has not yet taken a position on the controversial Americold cold storage warehouse in his district, either. Can it be that complicated for a person of his education and experience to figure out where he stands?
On April 18, 2017, conservative Brennerman chaired a meeting in which those testifying in support of the Mayor’s proposal outnumbered those who opposed it easily – by a margin of 2 – 1 during a three-hour meeting. The Mayor said his amendments would “retain and create equality employment.” He asserted this was good public policy in exchange for TIF’s given by the city council. Many deem TIF’s a free giveaway to those who need it the least. (Please visit April 19, 2017 post herein for more background information on the April 18, 2017 meeting.)
During that April meeting District 1 city councilor Belinda Rae, who is a book-keeper for a tiny construction company, peppered the Mayor with questions about his proposal. Unfortunately, the conservative Rae did not attend the June 6 “EDC” meeting to hear responses to her numerous questions to the Mayor. (Conservative Rae has been very public about her incompatibility with the Mayor’s liberal policies.)
During a four member panel segment of the meeting Denis Landry, co-owner of Landry/ French Construction Co., mumbled his way through answers to questions that were barely audible to anyone but himself and the Committee before him. But he did manage to mumble louder to make it understood that he opposed the changes to the TIF policy that would convert unskilled local workers to skilled workers providing a local benefit in exchange for the city’s controversial TIF policy.
Landry said that if these changes were added to the TIF policy, his company would not construct any buildings in Portland ever again! (That was the same “line” mhn.com heard over and over again when the city chose to adopt the “Inclusionary Zoning” policy; a sham policy in and of itself.) Most probably other construction companies will gladly step in and take up the construction left by Landry/French, if Landry’s threat is to be believed. Even, “i’m under investigation for firing James Comey, Lyin’ Trump supported an “earn while you learn” similar program to the TIF program proposed by Mayor Strimling.
It’s not surprising that the EDC would not support a policy initiated by Mayor Ethan Strimling. The city council, including councilors Brennerman, Mavadones and Thibodeau voted against funding the Mayor’s assistant position for another year. Councilor Thiboedeau representing District 11 launched a personal attack on the Mayor that was unprecedented since mhn.com has been attending city council meetings. The defunding of Jason Shedlock’s position was largely seen as punishment for the Mayor’s failure to fall into line with the conservative policies of most of the City Council and the City Manager, Jon Jennings.
It was Greg Mitchell who worked with Councilor Brennerman to determine who the panel members would be – without any input from Mayor Strimling. No bias there, right?!
Councilor Brennerman has announced that he will not run for re-election this fall.