Sunday, March 9, 2014
Taxes, open space and the town’s public library are top issues for an incumbent and two political newcomers who are running for two open Cape Elizabeth Town Council seats in the election Nov. 5.
The candidates are Councilor Caitlin Jordan, 30, Imad Khalidi, 61, and Martha “Molly” MacAuslan, 54.
Jordan is a lawyer who manages her family’s Alewive’s Brook Farm. She’s seeking a second three-year term on the seven-member council.
“I represent a different segment of the community that’s not otherwise represented on the council as it is,” said Jordan, who is single and has no children.
Jordan said she initiated an effort to staff the central fire station with a paid paramedic during the daytime as a way to augment public safety provided by the town’s volunteer emergency crew.
Jordan said she hopes to be part of the ongoing effort to upgrade the Thomas Memorial Library. Last year, voters rejected a $6 million proposal to build a new one.
She also said she wants to help find a solution to the lingering dispute between members of the Spurwink Rod and Gun Club and residents of the Cross Hill neighborhood, who are concerned about noise and stray bullets from the club’s shooting range.
“It’s one of the oldest rod and gun clubs in the country,” Jordan said. “We need to make sure it’s allowed to continue.”
Jordan said she’s concerned about the draft 2013 Greenbelt Plan submitted last month by the Conservation Commission, which developed the proposal over many months. The council is expected to review the plan before adopting the document, which includes a map showing some trails that would be extended across private property.
“I think the commission should have talked to the landowners first,” Jordan said.
Khalidi is CEO and a partner in Auto Europe, a Portland-based international car-rental company with 500 employees in North America, Europe and Australia.
Born in Jerusalem, Khalidi was a teenager when he moved to France, where he lived for 30 years before coming to the United States in 1990.
“I came to this country with nothing and this country has given me everything,” Khalidi said. “It’s time for me to give back to the community that means so much to me.”
Khalidi said he would support tax relief for senior citizens who cannot afford their property taxes.
“They built this town and I don’t believe we should increase their taxes,” he said. “If we must, increase taxes on the wealthy. A $50 increase on a $250,000 home is a lot, but $50 on a $2 million home is nothing.”
If elected, Khalidi said, he would be a strong advocate for education. He and his wife have two children, who attend the town’s public schools.
“I believe the best asset my children and all children can have in life is a good education,” Khalidi said, noting that he would support efforts to make sure the town’s schools are safe and free of drugs and violence.
Khalidi said he supports modernizing the library to meet the needs of current and future generations. However, he said it’s more important to upgrade the contents than the building. “A nice library without good contents is not a library,” he said.
Khalidi said he also supports land preservation efforts. “I want Cape Elizabeth to continue being a small town with open spaces and local farms,” he said.
MacAuslan is a real estate consultant who is married and has two children, one who attends Cape Elizabeth High School and another who graduated from the school.
“I have a little bit more time on my hands, but I’ve always been pretty active in the community,” she said.
MacAuslan is a library trustee and chairwoman of the town’s Library Planning Committee, which is developing a long-range plan for the library that’s on track to be delivered to the council in November.
“It will be a smaller-scale project, certainly, with a smaller price tag,” MacAuslan predicted. “Whatever the recommendations are, it has to be the right solution for our library needs for the next 25 years.”
MacAuslan said she would like to help resolve tension between the rod and gun club and its neighbors. She said she also would use her experience in real estate sales and management to help the town make tough decisions when spending tax dollars on capital projects, including the library, school buildings and road paving.
“I’m all about stewardship and managing the tax implications of maintaining and improving town resources,” MacAuslan said.
Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: