I read Janet Daigle’s recent letter (Oct. 31), advocating changes to the Portland City Charter, with great bemusement. She recommends that, among other requirements, an individual must be at least 40 years of age and own a home in order to stand for election to the City Council.

If the author had her way, voters would be unable to elect a 35-year-old city councilor, regardless of their homeownership status. We could, however, provide that same individual with a four-year lease on the Oval Office.

In all seriousness, the writer echoes dangerous historic precedents that were used for generations to restrict eligibility for public office to wealthy, Caucasian men and disenfranchise women, minorities, immigrants and the poor. Barring the 65 percent of Portland residents who rent from serving on the City Council is not only morally repugnant – it is also unconstitutional.

Also troubling is her implication that City Councilor Brian Batson is unqualified for his position simply because of his relative youth. The author even denigrates the millennial generation as being merely “classroom smart.”

Far from possessing limited “life experiences,” young people have proven their leadership time and again in the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ rights movement, among other causes. As a millennial, Councilor Batson provides a unique viewpoint on the council that might not otherwise be expressed.

We do not need to rewrite the City Charter to keep millennials and renters off the City Council. If Portland voters are leery about young people and non-homeowners serving in public office, they are more than able to express that opinion at the ballot box.

Kevin MacDowell

Portland