November 6, 2011

Mayoral candidate Mavodones hosts "telephone town hall"

By J. Hemmerdinger jhemmerdinger@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Mayoral candidate Nicholas Mavodones answered questions from a group of Portland voters during what the campaign called a "telephone town hall" conference call Sunday night.

MORE ABOUT PORTLAND'S MAYORAL RACE

You can learn more about all the candidates in the Portland Mayor Race 2011 special section.

Mavodones, a city counselor who is among 15 candidates running for mayor, kicked off the call with an overview of his experience and accomplishments. He said he has helped the city attract $600 million in job-creating new investment in the last four years, noting projects like the redevelopment of Marginal Way, new hotels downtown and the $105 million Forefront project at Thompson's Point, which is currently under development.

He said job creation would be one of his top priorities should he be elected, and mentioned he will push for restoration of ferry service to Nova Scotia.

Mavodones said he is competing for mayor with "good people," but said the city risks losing momentum if an inexperienced candidate is elected.

Mavodones spent much of the call, which lasted about 40 minutes, answering about 20 questions from callers.

Some callers expressed frustration with what they described as a social services system so generous in Portland that it overburdens the city and its taxpayers.

Other callers asked how Mavodones will fix problems ranging from parking to graffiti to high property taxes.

David Loughran, a spokesperson for the campaign, said the campaign sent email invitations for the conference call to some 15,000 voters. The call was not open to the public.

Mavodones offered sparse, short answers in response to some questions while providing more details about his views on issues like education and economic development.

He said, as mayor, he will work with school officials to ensure public schools have adequate resources.

"The mayor should have a loud voice" on education and, through good communication with the superintendent of the school board, work to rehabilitate and modernize school buildings. Mavodones won a seat on the school board 20 years ago.

He also expressed support for the $33 million bond to fund renovation of the 6,726-seat Cumberland County Civic Center, calling the project an economic boost to the economies of Portland and all of Cumberland County.

Mavodones also said he will work to encourage commercial fishing boats to return to Maine.

In recent years, many Maine-based fishing boats moved operations to larger fishing ports, like Gloucester and New Bedford, Mass.

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