Portland City Council

A look at who’s running for City Hall
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  October 29, 2008

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Ed Suslovic
City Council At-Large

TINA SMITH
VOTETINASMITHFORCHANGE.COM | Smith is a Green Independent and community activist who formerly worked at the League of Young Voters, and now helps organize multi-genre creative events at the Empire Dine and Dance restaurant and club. She prioritizes Portland’s creative economy and wants to foster the city’s arts scene with some type of formal infrastructure.
TOP PRIORITY  “The first policy/piece of legislation I will be working to enact is reinstating voting rights to all legal non-citizen residents of Portland. If the voters decide to elect a Charter Commission, I will be pushing to get this into the new city charter. If we do not decide to elect a Charter Commission I will work at creating a city ordinance which will ensure all residents of Portland have a voice within the decision-making process.”

ED SUSLOVIC
Sitting councilor and mayor Suslovic gained a name for himself as Portland’s “swing vote” during the Maine State Pier process, in which he cast the deciding vote for Olympia. Suslovic says he’ll make “no promises” about potential cuts to the city budget in these difficult economic times, and stresses the concept of “sustainability” as it relates not just to energy and the environment, but also to the economy and Portland’s schools.
TOP PRIORITY “Weave the sustainability principle into the council’s decision-making on virtually every topic that comes before us.”

DORY WAXMAN
DORYWAXMAN.ORG | Waxman is a community organizer and former school board member who also served as Democratic City Committee chairman from 2002 to 2004. Waxman, who formerly worked as a “liaison” between Ocean Properties and the community, has made the Maine State Pier process a central point of her campaign — she disapproves of the contract with Olympia and thinks the city should stop and renegotiate with the company.
TOP PRIORITY “Responsible economic development — sustainable economic development, so that we can not keep raising property taxes.”

City Council District 4
CHERYL LEEMAN
The Republican incumbent has served 24 years on the City Council, and, perhaps surprisingly, wants another three-year term. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she has no opposition.

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Naomi Mermin
TOP PRIORITY “We need to continue with the development review process to try to create a system that creates more efficiency and is more consumer-friendly. We have great staff, but we need to look at how we are permitting things like deck construction. If you have a simple project, you should be able to come in and get a permit within 24 hours. [That ties in with] looking at ways we could expand the tax base. Time is money. If we cut down on the time it takes to review projects, we can get them on the tax rolls [faster].”

City Council District 5
JOHN COYNE

As school committee chair, Democrat Coyne dealt with budget woes and birth-control foes. The lifelong Portlander and probation officer, who has two children in Portland’s public schools, wants to address property taxes and the relationship between the school committee and the city council.
TOP PRIORITY “[R]elief for property tax. This would entail a thorough review of the budgeting process and a look at the services that our city offers.”

NAOMI MERMIN
NAOMIMERMIN.COM | A Boston transplant, Mermin chaired the Ocean Avenue Elementary School Building Committee and prioritizes upgrading Portland’s school facilities. The Democrat has professional experience working to increase energy efficiency, and with waterfront development. She has two children in Portland public schools.
TOP PRIORITY “Identify opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies in city service delivery. I would prioritize energy and water conservation opportunities across municipal buildings and fleets. I would speed efforts to identify and implement contracts with Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) for our municipal buildings. I would seek short-term savings opportunities for the city and help homeowners and businesses to get critical information on ways to save on energy this year.”

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