August 17, 2011

Candidate won't divulge much about platform, will talk trash

By Edward D. Murphy
Staff Writer

We already know about the mayoral candidate who doesn't want to win. Now we have one who won't talk about what he would do as mayor of Portland.

At least not his whole platform, and certainly not all at once.

Peter Bryant, a 68-year-old retired merchant seaman, said he's following the advice of a couple of employees of TrueBallot, the company that's supplying the ballots and vote tabulating system for the ranked-choice voting in November, when Portland residents will elect their mayor for the first time since 1923.

Bryant said he told those employees his entire 10-point platform while waiting for them to demonstrate the system at City Hall earlier this year.

"They said, 'If you want to win this thing, keep your mouth shut until it starts coming out in the paper,' " Bryant said.

The workers said other candidates – there are now 20 in the field – would steal his ideas – and his thunder – if he put his entire platform out at once.

So Bryant is following that advice, sort of.

He has let word leak that he supports reviving heavy-item trash pickup days. He put up a sign on Baxter Boulevard supporting the twice-yearly service – when residents can leave refrigerators, couches and other large items by the curb for city crews to haul away – when he set up a table this summer to collect signatures for his candidacy petitions.

"Trucks were stopping," Bryant said. "People would stop their car and come over and sign my thing."

Bryant said he would:

Retain the current system of allowing individual items to be picked up by the city for $7.50.

Repeal an ordinance that forbids people from picking up items left out by others ("I got a great golf bag out of somebody's trash one time," Bryant said.)

Allow any resident who reports someone for illegal dumping to keep the city's $150 fine as a reward.

That's just one part of Bryant's plan to make Portland great again.

"The second (part of his program) is as good as the first one, I can tell you that," he said, but as with fine wine, voters will have to wait a bit.

Bryant joins Jay York – the guy who doesn't want your vote – as a candidate who is taking a slightly different approach to the race for mayor. York said he wants to run a losing campaign because he thinks the full-time mayor's job that has been created will cost more but lacks any real power.


Bryant might have a hard time with a questionnaire that Portland Tomorrow plans to send out to determine who, if anyone, the group of business executives will support for mayor. The idea of the questionnaire is to elicit the candidates' positions.

The group was a major force last year in supporting the city charter change to elect a mayor. Now, the group is trying to decide what to do with the field of 20 potential candidates, said Jim Cohen, a Portland lawyer and former city councilor and mayor.

Cohen said the group is likely to meet soon to come up with its questions to help find someone who can offer leadership, consensus-building skills and balanced policies that will help the city grow.

Portland Tomorrow supported a popularly elected mayor, arguing that Portland needs someone who's accountable to a broad constituency. The leaders of the effort, which includes former Councilors Pam Plumb and Nate Smith, would also likely have the fundraising prowess to plow a considerable amount of money into the candidate they endorse.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Ethan Strimling

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Hamza Haadoow

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Jed Rathband


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Jill Duson

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John Eder

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Nicholas Mavodones

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Ralph Carmona


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