PORTLAND – Two incumbents who are seeking re-election to the Portland City Council say they want to follow through on unfinished business.

Jill Duson and John Anton are on the ballot for two at-large seats, challenged by Charles Bragdon and a write-in campaign by Councilor Dan Skolnik. The top two finishers in Tuesday’s election will win the seats.

Duson says the current council has a pretty good working relationship, even if the nine members don’t always agree, and says that dynamic benefits the city. “I see us as able to get work done,” she said.

Duson said she wants the city to continue working to support public education and programs to aid first-time home buyers, and trying to make the city a leader in environmental protection and sustainability.

“Portland is successful because it works at it,” she said, rebutting arguments that the city is a tough place to do business. The city has, in fact, streamlined its planning review and approval process, making it easier for developers, Duson said.

She acknowledged that there won’t be any break in the belt-tightening the city has done in recent years, as a struggling economy and likely cuts in state revenue sharing are expected to continue. “We’re doing the right things within our means,” Duson said.

Anton said he wants another three years on the council so he can stay on top of several financial initiatives he has led.

He said he plans to continue pushing the council to take a longer view with budgeting, such as crafting multi-year spending plans.

“I’ve been struck by the sort of myopia we have about how we do our finances,” Anton said. “We need longer-term, broader financial strategies so we can get some stability in spending and taxes.”

He said he also wants to see multi-year budgeting in the city’s capital spending plan so the council can follow a strategy, rather than just responding to needs on a year-by-year basis.

Anton said the city has committed to moving some public works facilities out of Bayside to free up land for further development, and that process must be monitored.

Bragdon, who owns A-Plus Family Taxi, is making another run for a council seat after losing in District 1 last year. In June, Bragdon lost the Green Independent Party nomination in Portland’s House District 120 to Anna Trevorrow.

He said the council needs someone with a fresh perspective, and he would offer that.

“We have lawyers on there, previous Planning Board members,” he said of the council. “Although they have experience experience can hurt because you look at things the same way.”

Bragdon would like the city to create a pool of resumes from the unemployed and tie financial aid for companies moving to Portland to commitments to hire a certain percentage of workers from that pool.

He also wants the city to focus more on solving homelessness. He said landlords should be barred from using credit scores as the sole basis for denying someone an apartment.

Skolnik decided this summer not to seek re-election to his council seat representing District 3. He has since decided to try to get elected as a write-in candidate for an at-large seat.

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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