Petition Drive Supporting Fishing Industry Citizen Initiative Begins Soon

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Willie Spears, Keith Lane and Bill Coopersmith at City Meeting with the City Manager Jennings   & Bill Needleman Last October 2017.

VOTE Tomorrow for AG Janet Mills!

Members of the fishing industry are weary of empty words and broken promises from city hall.   Vehicular traffic along Commercial Street has increased and large developments continue to be built in the area – all making access to the waterfront almost impossible to find.  So, the industry has decided to go directly to the voting public and present its case rather than let it languish at city hall.   It’s not the first time it’s gone to voters, but maybe the last time.

Late last month a nine page application for a citizen initiative was filed with the city under the leadership of attorney Orlando Delogu.  Karen Snyder, a Hill activist, is one of the signators.

“The amendments restore as fully as possible the water dependency requirement for permitted and conditional uses in these three zones as originally provided in a citizen initiated referendum approved by the voters of Portland in 1987, which ordinance has since been amended several times resulting in an increasing number of non-water dependent uses in these three waterfront zones,” is the language in a summary of the Amendments to the Zoning in the application filed by Orlando Delogu.  Delogu is a former city councilor and a professor emeritus at Maine Law, where he taught for more than 50 years.

In a week or so, the petition drive to obtain 2,500 signatures of registered Portland voters is slated to begin.  They are needed within a 80 day timeframe.  The volunteers will be looking for opportunities such as holiday festivities in which to gather names for the Initiative.  Volunteers had hoped to be available at the polls tomorrow to gather signatures, but the petitions were not ready yet.

Last October 24, 2017, an ad hoc coalition of three representatives from the fishing and lobstering industry met with city manager Jon Jennings and Bill Needleman, waterfront liaison, at city hall.  Following the one hour meeting, the three, Willis Spears, Keith Lane and Bill Coopersmith, left the meeting  feeling good. “He listened and heard our concerns.  He guaranteed us that our needs will be met,” said Spears before the coalition of three left city hall.  Confident. Reassured.  (See above left photo).

Just  over a year later, industry representatives have filed an application for a citizen initiative.

For more information, please email Orlando Delogu at: orlandodelogu@maine.rr.com.  In the October 4, 2018 issue of Maine Lawyers Review, Delogu wrote a detailed article – “Portland’s Working Waterfront – Under Siege Again.”

For more information on that city hall meeting, please read post herein dated October 24, 2017.

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