By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,318)
With a penchant for lame jokes, grandstanding, a long-time vendetta against the Portland Fire Department he can’t control and a pompous demeanor, City Councilor Ed Suslovic has a lot of negatives to overcome if he is to convince anyone he should run for Mayor of Portland next fall. He has said that he’s considering a run against Mayor Michael Brennan, who he supported enthusiastically previously. Whether or not Suslovic can improve his image in time remains to be seen.
Perhaps he’s just taken a first step in recycling his public image as a softer and gentler Councilor – because he sometimes seems like more of an ally of Governor Paul LePage than an ally of the City of Portland. He is outspoken at times and has been reined in by city hall on at least several occasions. Grandstanding is not his strong suit, but he persists at it anyway. .
The law-and order Suslovic has done a complete 360 on the matter of a housing safety office for the City of Portland. Originally, Suslovic, who has strong ties to the real estate industry, was adamantly opposed to the idea saying it would be too expensive to finance. But recently, as chair of the Public Safety Health and Human Services Committee, he has embraced the idea of a housing safety office. It would employ a handful of people which has been a stumbling block for some in the real estate industry. .More than half of the city’s residents are renters.
Unfortunately, it took the Noyes Street fire last November 1, 2014, in which multiple young lives were lost, for the city to address the issue of safety. Former acting city manager, Sheila Hill-Christian, formed a Task Force over the winter, from which a number of recommendations, including the new office would be installed.
If approved by the City Council this fall, the office would become effective January 1, 2016. Qualifying landlords would be required to register with the new office listing contact information. There would be a charge of $35.00 per unit. Landlords who don’t register with the city would be fined $100.00 a day . Landlords who provide incorrect information would be fined $1,000.00. An appeal process would be provided as well. The income derived from these fees would pay for expenses of running a housing safety office from city hall.
Will the public likewise embrace Councilor Suslovic and send him to the Mayor’s office at city hall? What do you think?