Two incumbents, a former city councilor and three newcomers have taken out nomination papers to run for the South Portland City Council.

Council seats in Districts 1, 2 and 5 are up for grabs this fall. The candidates each need 100 signatures from registered South Portland voters for their names to appear on the ballot in November.

In District 1, Councilor Claude Morgan plans to run for a second term in office. At press time, no one else had taken out papers to run in District 1.

In District 2, Councilor Kay Loring has not said whether she will run again. But two newcomers – former School Board member Steven Onos and businesswoman Patti Smith – have taken out papers at City Hall.

In District 5, Councilor Jim Hughes also has taken out papers to run for office. If elected, this would be Hughes’ final term in office, because of term limits. He may face competition from Planning Board member Mark Gandolfo and former City Councilor Brian Dearborn, who both have obtained papers to run.

Nomination papers became available at the City Clerk’s Office on July 30. They can be returned no earlier than Aug. 25 and no later than Sept. 8. The City Clerk’s office must review and validate the signatures before a resident’s name can be listed on the ballot.

The City Clerk’s office is recommending that candidates not wait until the deadline to turn in nominations, so there is time to add signatures, if not all can be verified as registered voters.

The citywide election is Nov. 4. Since this is a presidential election year, the City Clerk is expecting a large turnout of voters.

In District 1, Morgan said that if elected to a second term he would build upon his successes as a freshman councilor.

Morgan said he would focus on energy efficiency, after helping lead South Portland into the national Cool Cities program, which encourages municipalities to reduce their carbon footprint and lower energy bills. Morgan said he believes a strategy for South Portland in the future may be to purchase energy through a company that specializes in helping cities and towns reduce their consumption.

Morgan says that he also would work toward helping to boost the amount of money the city receives from revenue sharing with the state. He said South Portland is at a disadvantage in the school funding formula because of its healthy and diverse economic base.

Morgan, who lives on Fern Lane, is a collections manager at Ocean Communities Federal Credit Union in Biddeford. His district covers the Willard Beach neighborhood and Ferry Village.

In District 2, Smith issued a press release when she was the first candidate on July 30 to obtain nomination papers to run.

She directs human resources and wholesalesSales at Planet Dog in Portland. Smith holds a master’s degree in business administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa., and is the former head coach for the University of Michigan’s field hockey team.

According to her press release, Smith “aspires to bring her management and group facilitation skills to South Portland’s City Council.” Smith, who lives on Meeting House Hill, said she wants to focus on engaging residents in policy making and protecting the environment.

Onos has been a banker for 21 years. He is a former two-term School Board member who chaired the board in 2004. He is the brother of Kathy DiPhilippo, who directs the South Portland Historical Society.

“I have been planning to run for City Council for years,” Onos said. “I’m from South Portland and proud to have three kids in the school system. It worked out fine to finish out my last school board term (in 2007) and run in 2008. I come with an open mind and no agenda.”

District 2 covers neighborhoods west of Sawyer Street to Cottage Road and parts of Ferry Village.

In District 5, Hughes said he will continue to make easing traffic a major concern of his office. Hughes noted that he helped the city create written guidelines for departments to seek bids before making purchases. He also helped devise minimum standards for gas mileage, when the city purchases vehicles. He now is working with the city on a new purchasing program that allows vendors to make open bids on a Web site to provide supplies and services.

He also is involved on committees to make improvements to interstate Exits 3 and 4. He advocates the city developing an alternate truck route that would take oil tankers off Broadway, a residential road. Hughes noted he has pushed for sound barriers to be built on Interstate 295 to buffer neighborhoods off Broadway.

Hughes may face competition from Gandolfo, who is retired from the Coast Guard. Gandolfo has served for 18 months on the Planning Board. He said that he enjoys the post but has had a long-term plan to run for the City Council as a way to give back to the community.

Gandolfo, who lives on Sandy Hill Road, said he believes that voters “want the city to provide good services at a reasonable cost, and to (ensure) that the city is a viable and nice place to live.” He noted that he already has collected 50 of the 100 signatures required for his name to appear on the ballot.

He also has sat on the Recycling Committee, now called the Energy and Recycling Committee. Gandolfo was a member of task forces that looked at future uses for the Armory building and ways to ease truck traffic on Broadway.

Gandolfo noted he would resign from the Planning Board if elected to the City Council.

Dearborn, a former city councilor, also has obtained nomination papers. He’s the former owner of Bri’s Variety, which is no longer in business. He used to manage the sporting goods department in Wal-Mart’s. Dearborn did not return calls for comment.


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