Greg Kesich got called “Rubber Legs” as a kid, and I’m sorry. (Try being a pudgy kid whose name rhymes with “fatty.”)

But when we use the word “progressive” to describe Portland, it’s not just a name. It stands for a set of values. Portland is a diverse and welcoming city, a place where the environment matters, where people matter even if they’re poor or sick, where schools and libraries matter, where sustainable economic growth matters more than short-term profit.

When a small group of local activists started Progressive Portland in January, we were committed not only to those values, but also to listening to voters. We didn’t just take it on faith that city voters are progressive; we polled them to be sure, and organized our priorities based on what we heard.

Then we went about trying to learn whether our city’s leaders were accurately representing the voters’ values. We ran into a roadblock: City Council votes are not always reported in the Press Herald and other local media, even on important issues, and they’re not posted to the city’s website until the minutes of the meeting are approved, usually two weeks later. Even then, the documents are difficult to wade through and find out who voted for what.

This got us interested: How did our councilors vote last year? And thus our City Council Scorecard was born.

Here’s how they stacked up on 19 votes included in the Progressive Portland scorecard:

Ethan Strimling: 82 percent.

Belinda Ray: 47 percent.

Spencer Thibodeau: 67 percent.

Ed Suslovic: 37 percent.

Justin Costa: 56 percent.

David Brenerman: 44 percent.

Jon Hinck: 78 percent.

Jill Duson: 56 percent.

Nick Mavodones: 42 percent.

Note that this represents the 2016 council. Councilors Hinck and Suslovic were not re-elected. You can see the full vote tally for yourself at our website,

We’re very clear that a high or low score does not represent the whole of a city councilor’s performance. Some councilors, for example, excel at constituent service, or at community involvement.

Votes are the hard data we have available, so we used those as a tool to help voters understand and make up their own minds.

Kesich disagrees with us about what positions are “progressive,” and that’s fair. Once you know what all the votes are, you can score them in keeping with your own values.

For instance, we gave positive rankings to councilors who voted for two measures meant to address the city’s affordable housing crisis. Those measures – a ban on discrimination against Section 8 tenants and extending the notice period required for no-fault evictions – both failed, which we consider a blow to the city’s poor and working-class renters and a favor to developers and gentrifiers.

We also gave positive rankings to some measures that passed unanimously, such as removing transgender restrictions from the city’s health plan and establishing a solar array at the Ocean Avenue landfill.

It’s not divisive or unfair to tell the voters how elected officials vote on public issues in public meetings.

They should expect to have these actions reported, discussed, praised and criticized. It’s not name-calling to measure a public official’s performance against a set of values. Voters do that every time they go to the polls.

If you share our progressive values, great! Your voice and your energy are needed to fight the pressures on Portland from outside.

Some of our other actions include the recent buy-in to support Muslim-owned businesses, helping to protest the presence of conservative troll Larry Lockman at the University of Southern Maine and advocating for fast-tracking body cameras for city police officers.

If you don’t share our values or just plain don’t like us, hey, that’s your right, too. The door is wide open for you to do something better – more progressive, if you will. If you do, we’ll be the first to applaud.