By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,126)
Yesterday Mayor Michael Brennan met with constituents in the second of a series of meetings since he took office – called Meet the Mayor – at City Hall.
The Mayor announced that on Monday, July 21st, at 5:30 pm, the City Council will take up issues surrounding the recent victory at the polls by the Friends of Congress Square Park and its oversight. The Council will “work through issues” brought up by this vote. The city’s corporation counsel will present a “roadmap” of options that the city council can pursue. Does the City Council want to put the issue of the sale of Congress Square to RockBridge to a referendum – it so, that would likely come in November.
The Old Port House of Jerky received its business license yesterday afternoon. It came about because the co-owners, Jeff Gagne and Matt DiBenedetto, agreed to a plan to implement a fire sprinkler system in their jerky store at 13 Exchange Street in Portland’s Old Port. The jerky store had expected to open last month, but because the landlord, Joe Soley, was not in compliance with the city’s fire sprinkler ordinance, the business was unable to open. But, just before Memorial Day, the store did open – illegally – to take advantage of the increased foot traffic in the Old Port. Apparently, the city worked out a deal with the House of Jerky that did not include landlord Joe Soley. Huh?
The Mayor also announced that the City of Portland will continue to pay General Assistance to undocumented immigrants against the instructions of Governor Paul LePage in Augusta. There are various cities in Maine with a large immigrant community. Portland is one of them. The others include Lewiston, Westbrook, and Augusta. Bangor is not as affected by this ruling as the aforementioned places because of a smaller immigrant community. Mayor Robert MacDonald, of Lewiston, is in agreement with the Governor’s decision, however. Depending on whether or not the Attorney General rules that this policy change is constitutional, the City could institute a lawsuit against the policy, the Mayor said.
One Portland resident at the meeting with the Mayor expressed concern about the noise from motorcycles. City Councilor Ed Suslovic, chair of the Public Safety Committee, offered to put the matter on his agenda for a July meeting. A man said to be representing Joe Soley asked the Mayor if the city would be interested in installing LED lights in the Old Port and sharing the cost with Soley. Soley believes it would cut down on the amount of criminal activity in the area. He was referred to the Public Services Department.
The Mayor said he will hold another similar meeting, but no date has been set for it.