Mayor's race kicks off

Getting to know you
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 26, 2011

Last week, the first three mayoral candidates filed their paperwork. So begins Portland’s first elected-mayor campaign in more than eight decades. We asked these early birds some questions — may as well get to know them sooner than later. You can read our questions, and answers from Charles Bragdon, Zouhair Bouzrara, and Jed Rathband online at

Charles Bragdon
43 | former owner of A-Plus Family Taxi, now a full-time mayoral candidate and part-time taxi driver for ABC Taxis | Lives on Munjoy Hill; lifelong resident of Portland

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO RUN? I lobbied for it from the beginning of the Charter Commission meetings . . . I believe my vision is in line with Portland’s future and that is when and why I decided to run.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE TOP THREE ISSUES FACING THE CITY? Economic sustainability through local economic and community development
Homeless re-employment through business partnerships and local business development grants
Making Portland a more walkable city with alternative transportation options that complement the walk-ability not hinder it.

WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR DEALING WITH ONE OF THOSE ISSUES? My strategy for dealing with homeless re-employment is to first access the skill sets of those who are or have been unemployed or homeless for an extended period of time by using a voluntary resume database. The information acquired through this could be used to reach out to local business and potential business developers to create incentives and grant programs that take advantage of these skill sets. I would also like to pass a resolution to stop landlords from excluding potential tenants based on credit histories as most people have been affected negatively by this economic crisis we have been in and will likely have questionable things in their credit. There are many people who are homeless for this reason and this only perpetuates the homelessness issue people are facing . A permanent address can play very heavily on a potential employer hiring you or not.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT PORTLAND? Portland is so ethnically diverse and a friendly, welcoming city where everyone can feel safe taking advantage of the many amenities offered by this cultural diversity including the many galleries, restaurants, taverns and shops.

DO YOU HAVE ANY BIG-NAME SUPPORTERS ON BOARD? I am running as an independent so people know that I am completely independent of any parties and special interests. I am not seeking any endorsements to ensure people that every decision I make will be based on what I feel will benefit the majority of the people without undue influence of anyone but the people. I will accept the endorsements of individuals but have yet to accept any.

Zouhair Bouzrara
49 | Playwright | Lives on Stevens Ave; 15 years in Portland; 23 years in the United States; originally from Morocco

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO RUN? I’m just sick and tired of the local, national, international nonsense. I’m tired of watching idiots make decisions for us. I just decided I want to make a change and give myself to public service.

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