Wednesday, May 22, 2013
SOUTH PORTLAND – Both candidates for City Council District 3 agree that South Portland will face some critical challenges and difficult decisions in the next few years.
Melissa E. Linscott
MELISSA E. LINSCOTT
PERSONAL: Husband, Brian; children, Jackson and Gabby.
ADDRESS: 75 Adelbert St.
EDUCATION: Attended Southern Maine Community College and the University of Southern Maine.
EMPLOYMENT: Co-owner, Linscott Real Estate
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None
ADDRESS: 30 Buttonwood St.
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree from the University of Maine in speech and language pathology, master's degree from the University of Maine in speech and language pathology.
EMPLOYMENT: Adjunct professor at Southern Maine Community College, guardian ad litem and family court mediator.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: South Portland City Council, 2003-06, 2009-present.
Rosemarie DeAngelis, the incumbent, and Melissa E. Linscott, who is making her first run for political office, said that deciding what to do about the city's two middle schools and whether to build a costly new public works garage are likely to be the biggest questions the winner of the race and the rest of the council will face.
Both acknowledged that deciding those issues will be complicated by the fact that taxpayers are just starting to pay off a $48 million bond for a major renovation and addition to South Portland High School.
"I'm not sure we can put another bond before our residents too quickly," said DeAngelis, who is completing a second, non-consecutive term on the council.
"I am definitely a big-picture person and I want to see us making common-sense decisions with our tax money," said Linscott, who co-owns a real estate business with her husband.
South Portland currently has two aging middle schools and it's expected that the next board of education and city council will have to come up with a plan for the future of those buildings, including whether to combine the schools.
At the same time, the city's current public works garage is considered inadequate to house all of South Portland's equipment, but one proposal for a new garage comes with a $17 million price tag.
Neither candidate would commit to any specific course on the schools or the garage, saying more work needs to be done before the city can make a decision.
DeAngelis said she wants to make sure the city considers residents' quality of life while making spending decisions.
"That's a delicate balance" to strike, she said.
Linscott said she wants to attract more economic development to the city to keep property taxes low. But she would also like to see some services expanded, such as a property tax break for the elderly.
DeAngelis said she sees herself as a voice for constituents who aren't comfortable speaking out themselves. She also said she would provide some needed continuity on the council. One member of the council isn't running for re-election and another councilor plans to step down in January.
"Having eyes and ears with experience is critical to us right now," she said. "There's a steep learning curve."
Linscott said that she's running because she feels it's time to get even more involved in the community.
"I've stood on the sidelines for a long time," she said. "I've seen that we have very few people stepping up to represent the city and I felt like it was time for me to put my foot in the ring."
South Portland also has an uncontested race for City Council District 4, where Linda C. Cohen is the only candidate, as well as the Board of Education District 3, where incumbent Richard T. Matthews is uncontested, and Board of Education District 5, where Tappan C. Fitzgerald II is the only name on the ballot. No one filed for the Board of Education seat in District 4 and the city clerk's office said that seat will be awarded to the top write-in candidate.
Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: