The best man for the job may be a woman. In Portland, the best candidate is Jill Duson.

Jill knows Portland, loves Portland and has worked tirelessly for Portland in a myriad of ways. Elected four times to represent residents from all parts of the city, and twice as honorary mayor, she has also served on boards representing everything from Mercy Hospital to the Portland Community Chamber. She knows the key players needed to get results.

At the same time, she directed the State Bureau of Rehabilitation Services with 150 staff, reversing years of fiscal and service deficiencies. She knows how to guide a public entity to provide better service to its constituents.

What Jill is especially known for is her collaborative leadership style: she honors all viewpoints and believes that solutions to problems come from others as well as herself.

At the same time, I have been impressed with her willingness to be candid when she disagrees with someone, clearly and calmly presenting her reasons why. She does not pander.

Jill not only talks the talk, she walks the walk. Whether it’s an AIDS walk, or serving regularly at a soup kitchen or supporting a community arts benefit, Jill is there. She listens, she leads.

She is the best candidate.

Todd Remage-Healey

Peaks Island

Inasmuch as I interacted with each of the candidates in the course of planning and moderating the Portland mayoral election event held recently at the Portland Club, I have been asked frequently, by candidates and others, which candidate I myself will be voting for.

I was very pleased to have many of the candidates remark that they didn’t perceive any partiality on my part during the process, but now that the event has been held I feel that it is appropriate for me to identify the candidate that I favor.

The truth is that I favored Ethan Strimling long before the Portland Club event was planned, but I was determined to keep an open mind and change my allegiance if, after interacting with all of the candidates and becoming familiar with their stands on the issues, another candidate impressed me more. That proved not to be the case.

As the editor of Good Neighbors, the neighborhood newspaper published by Portland West, the predecessor of Learning Works, of which Ethan is the CEO, I worked closely with Ethan and found him to be passionate about serving low-income families and disadvantaged young people.

The leadership qualities he showed by turning the troubled agency he inherited into the dynamic organization it is today propelled him to the state Senate, where he demonstrated that he is as adept at operating in the public sector as he is in the private sector.

Ethan understands that economic development and job creation need to be the priorities of Portland’s new mayor, and after having been a first-hand witness to his own capacity for hard work and his extraordinary ability to inspire others, I have no doubt that he is the person most qualified to produce those results.

Cliff Gallant

Portland

It’s not hard for a Portland native like myself to decide who to vote for in the upcoming mayor election. Michael Brennan stands heads above the rest. His qualifications blow the rest of the field away.

He was well liked and respected by members of both parties for the many years that he served in Augusta. He maintains these friendships, which will come in handy given the recent “alleged” comments made by Gov. LePage about his love of Portland.

Brennan has always been a fair and responsive person. Mike would also do a good job keeping a close eye and rein on our City Council, which loves to spend our money frivolously on pet projects.

Strange how many of these councilors who were against an elected mayor are now running for the position. These are the same people that have kept us in the doldrums for several years with the same old “We have to raise taxes and cut services” year after year.

I will always remember them as the council that, in my opinion, bargained in bad faith with the city’s Fire Department, causing the layoffs of six full-time firefighters because “it was easier to get their jobs after negotiations were over.”

This is the same group of people that decided to go with this “shady” way to vote for the mayor, probably hoping to shift votes around so one of “the gang” wins. Need I say any more? What’s wrong with the one with the most votes wins?

You can’t go wrong by casting your vote for Michael Brennan. He is fully qualified, he really cares for this city and he can get us growing again. If it’s the only vote you cast, they might not be able to steal the election.

Don Burdwood

Portland

My vote for mayor of Portland goes to Michael Brennan.

As former state Senate majority leader, chair of the Education Committee in the state Legislature and commissioner of the Portland Housing Authority and executive director of Cumberland County Affordable Housing Venture, Michael has the broadest and most in-depth experience of all the candidates.

His experience has already produced concrete results, such as funding of the Ocean Avenue and East End schools.

Proof that Michael also has the personality and temperament (mentioned in the Sept. 22 paper, “Candidates woo voters”) to do the best job is demonstrated in his winning the candidates’ debate on Sept. 8 by a vote of the 100 participants. My late husband Francis and I have long recognized and admired Michael’s many gifts.

They include passion for justice and a strong commitment to the common good.

Elaine G. McGillicuddy

Portland

Spring St. fix: Demolish civic center, Holiday Inn

The Portland Society of Architects’ Sept. 20 meeting to discuss how to improve the Spring Street corridor centered around the Cumberland County Civic Center and Holiday Inn By the Bay should have been a very short conference indeed.

The obvious solution is to tear those two offensive buildings down to the ground.

Why should Portland voters even consider voting on a bond issue valued at $30 million-plus to renovate the civic center? It seems like pearls-for-swine spending.

I say relocate it to Bayside where open space abounds to build anew (and where $30 million could be put to better use) and available parking is plentiful rather than to continue to allow logjams that occur on this unfortunate byway whenever there’s a civic center event. Besides, the usual hooligans who attend these affairs would be far happier along Marginal Way.

As for the Holiday Inn, if only the city could condemn it as a hopeless eyesore that has maligned our urban skyline long enough. Instead, we need a sophisticated developer to come into town and build a significant piece of urban architecture to take its place.

All these other tiddly-piddly proposed projects elsewhere in the city are ill-conceived compared to a great opportunity staring us in the face.

This important piece of urban landscape needs more than just a facelift. I say, give it the full Monty. Anything less is just more folderol.

John Golden

Portland

 


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