October 15, 2013

Two running for open at-large seat on Portland Council

Former state Rep. Jon Hinck and businessman Wellington 'Wells' Lyons are vying for John Anton’s seat.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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As a small-business owner, Lyons said, he would focus on growing the local economy and supporting education. He would like the city to create financial incentives – whether tax credits or grants – for businesses that hire people who have a history of being homeless. He’d also like to explore changes to its parking system, such as reinstating the parking amnesty program (in which the first ticket every year is a warning) and possibly charging for parking after 6 p.m. in areas such as Commercial Street.

Both candidates support the legalization of marijuana, an issue that is the focus of a city-wide referendum Nov. 5.

Hinck said the council should “send signals” to police officers to respect the will of voters, even though the state’s prohibition of the drug would supersede a city ordinance. Lyons said he would need to examine how other cities have handled the enforcement issue.

Both candidates acknowledge that residents are near their limit in terms of property taxes.

Lyons said he would look for savings by consolidating the city’s human resources and finance departments with the school district’s. He also believes that the amount of overtime paid to firefighters – which recently topped $2 million – is a red flag and should be examined further.

Hinck, meanwhile, said he would ensure the city was run effectively and efficiently. Any department that is an outlier among its peers – including the fire department – would receive additional scrutiny.

Lyons has received the endorsement of Anton, City Councilors Kevin Donoghue and David Marshall, and school board member Sarah Thompson, as well as the Maine League of Young Voters.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @randybillings

 

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