Issues specific to the East End such as drastic cuts to LIHEAP and the future of Franklin Street were popular topics for discussion among the fifteen mayoral candidates who attended last night’s debate at the East End Community School on the Hill. That’s because all of the 15 candidates present were required to answer a question about either subject. The event was hosted by the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization.
Some of the highlights were as follows. Mayor Nick Mavodones said he strongly supported narrowing Franklin Street, slowing traffic and restoring it to a mixed use street. Christopher Vail said he’d like to see the land around Franklin Street utilized more than it is. Michael Brennan said Maine is the most dependent state on heating oil in homes. He’d try to convince President Obama to expand the Liheap program rather than cut it. Jodi Lapchick said that people need to learn more about how to save on heating by weatherizing, using curtains to block out the cold, etc. Current councilor Jill Duson pointed out that information about Liheap information is available and that an emergency hotline should be installed for people to report when they are out of heat. Richard Dodge, the only Republican in the race, said that Portland should “start thinking about Portland people and not people from away. Take care of our own,” he said. Hill resident Ralph Carmona said the if the drastic cuts to Liheap do go through, he’d consider it a natural disaster and set up “warming centers” for those in need of them. Regarding Franklin Street, Jed Ratband said it has divided the area and kept the community of E. Bayside “down.” It should be “moved together”, traffic slowed down and the land reclaimed for tax purposes. Hill resident Markos Miller co-chaired the Franklin Arterial Reclamation Authority which consisted of many meetings with city officials and ended up giving the residents of Portland three choices for redevelopment of what is now called Franklin Street, rather than Arterial. MDOT supports one of those choices.
Former State Senator Michael Brennan said, in response to an inquiry of the 15 candidates from mhn.com., that he’d visited the OccupyMaine encampment at Lincoln Park and talked to the leaders and given them a donation. He supports the goals of “OM” – opposed to corporate greed as does Markos Miller. Jed Rathband likewise made a visit to Lincoln Park, as has David Marshall.
Mayor Nick Mavadones said that the mayor’s job is a 4 year, fulltime job and he/she is not the CEO as some during the campaign have maintained. Rather, the mayor is a policy maker, …. a convener and a bridge between the city council, the city manager and others. The Mayor does not run the school board. Furthermore, Mavodones would bring a “lot of experience in representing the city, both in Washington, D.C. and Augusta. He’s developed relationships with those people and has a history of collaborating with different points of view.
The India Street Neighborhood Organization will host the last debate of this campaign season tonight at 7 PM., at St. Peter’s Church on Federal Street.