Scarborough: Wood and Roy

When voters go to the polls on Election Day, they will have a choice in every local council race. That’s good news, because it’s not always the case. Many seats often go uncontested, leaving little room for debate or democracy.

Nowhere is that increased level of political involvement more apparent than in Scarborough, where six candidates are vying for two, three-year seats on the town council. It’s great to see so many candidates interested in running for office. While we feel confident that many of them would serve voters well, we would like to offer our picks.

One candidate that stood out was Mike Wood, who would bring his nine years of experience on the planning board to the town council. Because of that experience, he is familiar with many of the challenges Scarborough is facing as it grows rapidly, both residentially and commercially. He is familiar with the town’s comprehensive plan, which will shape the way development will occur in town. Wood also seems to have a common-sense approach and a level head that would be useful when he faces difficult or contentious issues as a councilor.

Our second choice would be Judy Roy, who wants to get involved in town government again after her time as a town councilor in the 1990s. Roy strikes us as a straight shooter who is well versed on many of the issues facing the town. She knows the town well and wouldn’t be afraid to speak out if she felt it were necessary.

Cape Elizabeth: Lynch and McKenney

In Cape Elizabeth, our endorsements go to incumbent town councilors Mary Ann Lynch and Paul McKenney. Both have done a good job, and we see no compelling reason to replace them. They come to meetings prepared and use sharp critical thinking to evaluate the issues in front of them.

Lynch was one of the councilors to hold firm on a spending cap, when councilors were facing pressure to exceed it to accommodate the budget recommendation from the school department. The schools and the town could very well be benefiting from that difficult stance now as they’ve had to justify to the state why Cape Elizabeth schools should not be forced to merge with another district.

A financial planner, McKenney has also demonstrated a commitment to fiscal responsibility. He has tried to balance the needs of the schools against the needs of residents who cannot afford large tax hikes. McKenney, who has been serving on the town council since only 2005, has less experience than Mary Ann Lynch, but we believe he deserves another term.

South Portland: Boudreau and Blake

In the race for two South Portland City Council seats, our endorsements go to five-term City Councilor Linda Boudreau and political newcomer Tom Blake. When asked at a recent candidates forum whether they supported the $56 million renovation of the high school, they offered direct answers: The project is too costly. While we agreed with their answers, what was more important was their willingness to give them so forthrightly. It’s a difficult question to answer because any answer is liable to alienate some voters. It’s easy to say the people should decide. Leaders let people know where they stand, as these two candidates did.

Leadership like that was in evidence Monday night as Boudreau questioned other councilors, who were about to put their stamp of approval on moving City Hall to the old armory. Boudreau urged councilors to make more of an effort to involve the public in the process, and she was right to do so. The city didn’t do enough to involve the public when it was purchasing the building, and it shouldn’t make the same mistake now. It is because of decisions like these that we hope voters will continue to support Boudreau.

Blake appears to be a candidate that could offer similar leadership as a councilor. The theme of Blake’s campaign has been community involvement. Although he doesn’t have much political experience, Blake has been heavily involved in the city he’s called home for the last 55 years. Blake, who recently retired as a paramedic-firefighter, helped found the South Portland Land Trust in 1987. He is now president of the group, which just opened a new hiking trail around Clarks Pond. With his experience as a firefighter, volunteering for the land trust and as a lifelong resident, Blake could serve the city well.

More endorsements next week.

Brendan Moran,

editor


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