The stage at the State Theatre was the platform for fourteen of the fifteen mayoral candidates last night for the upcoming election November 8th. They were lined-up across the ample stage like the glamorous Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall in NYC.
The questions asked during the first part of the debate varied from the impact of the performing arts on downtown Portland, to parking in downtown, to noise levels from entertainment facilities, providing affordable live/work space for artists and whether or not the candidates supported the proposed development of Thompson’s Point.
The second half of the debate was the short answer session. Moderator Sam Pfeifle, asked the candidates how much money should the city spend on public art next year, to name a Portland actor, name a visual artist in Portland, name an event that has happened at the State Theatre within the last 6 months, should public money be used to provide live/work space in Portland for artists, and finally, how much do people spend in the First Friday Walk here in Portland every month? (The answer was $34.00)
Mayor Nick Mavodones and Councilor Jill Duson left before the debate was over to attend the Monday night city council meeting. Counciloror David Marshall stayed for the entire debate and then left for the city council meeting.
Following the debate, some in the audience did not seem particularly better informed because of it. Michael Leonard, a musician, said: “There was a lot of pandering going on. A lot of duplicitious policitical sloganing that showed a general lack of knowledge around the art scene. Council David Marshall, Ethana Strimling and Jodi LapChick were informed and had some real solutions.”
Richard Dodge, a Maine Guide, was working and could not participate in the debate.