Renters Get Screwed by Portland City “Leaders” Year After Year Ad Nauseum


George Castanza, of Cape Elizabeth, Said he Knows that Portland Leaders Don’t Support the Working Class.  He and a Friend were Shopping at the Black Box Complex on Washington Avenue, on the East End of Portland.

The State of Maine Room at Portland’s City Hall Where In-Person Voting is Currently Underway.

Vote NO on A to be Sure That All Landlords Comply with the City’s Rent Control Ordinance.

“When I moved here 26 years ago, it was a much different place than it is now,” said Elizabeth Miller, a Portland resident, recently..  “I feel that the constant construction is for people from away rather than people living here.”  She continued that the city is supporting boutique hotels and  luxury condos.  “But I don’t see any effort to build affordable housing,” she added.  “If anything Portland should be building affordable housing.”

Rather, Portland leaders crave a wealthy community like other waterfront communities up and down the east coast., But the homeless population living in tent villages has gotten in Portland’s way of promoting itself to well-heeled out-of-staters.  City officials had clearly hoped that the homeless population would gp away or disappear as quickly as it developed – well before the public noticed its existence around the city..  The city failed to take the homeless crisis seriously just as it has chosen not to deal with the rental crisis  seriously.  Now city officials have egg on their faces – not a good look.

For many renters, their sentiment is the same;  the city of Portland does not want renters here.  More recently, some renters feel a bond with the homeless population in Portland. City “leaders” do not want them here either because they detract from the city’s effort to appeal to wealthy  out-of-staters.  Unlike renters who are forced to relocate without fanfare, the homeless population is very visible,   And sometimes very vocal. They camp in very visible places where city leaders can’t ignore them as they can ignore unorganized and displaced renters.

“I don’t need to live in Portland to know that the city doesn’t support its local population or the working class there,” said George Castanza, a Cape Elizabeth resident.  Referring to the upcoming November 7th ballot Question A regarding smaller landlords complying with the city’s ordinance, Castanza said:  “I do not think that smaller landlords should be exempt from the city’s ordinance.”

Recently this blogger received multiple unsolicited and unwanted requests for donations to  the Mayoral campaign of city councilor Pious Ali.   Maybe you did too.  The justification for his solicitation for donations was that he intends to make Portland a more “inclusive” city. Finally, following several requests for funding from his campaign, this voter wanted answers to important questions! This blogger, who supported Ali in his previous elections, asked him for details on his promises.  First,  how does he intend to make Portland a more “inclusive” city?  And second, specifically what has he done in the past, serving as a councilor, to achieve that goal? The silence was deafening!  Immediately, Ali’s campaign stopped requesting donations from this Portland renter and voter.  Ali had no answers, just empty promises.

In the past there have been rumors floating around that Ali did not support renters’ rights.  The explanation for that position was  because as a renter he doesn’t want to offend his landlord.  This blogger asked the Councilor to comment on the truth or inaccuracy of this rumor.   More silence.  No comment from the Councilor.  That is not how a leader is supposed to behave!

Since city “leaders” won’t initiate any protections from the greed of landlords  who go mostly unregulated in this city, it’s up to citizens like the Maine DemocraicSocialists  of America to initiate such common sense protections for renters.  Portland never has enjoyed a reputation as a forward thinking city; it’s well-past time that it update that reputation to a more competitive one to attract younger workers rather than to stunt city growth.

Yesterday this blogger went to the State of Maine Room at City Hall to vote-in person against Question A on the November 7th ballot.  The women working  the voting area said that the turnout for in-person voting had been unusually heavy for an “off-year” election..  Please join me in hoping that some of the incentive for the good voter turnout so far is voters wanting to vote NO on Question A!