South Portland voters elected two tar-sands ban supporters to the City Council and returned two incumbents to the School Board on Tuesday.

They also approved two referendum questions – on marijuana use and sewer and stormwater improvements – and rejected two charter amendments.

The battle over blocking Canadian tar sands oil from flowing through a pipeline to the city’s working waterfront continued to influence local politics as voters considered candidates in two contested City Council races.

In District 1, incumbent Michael Pock – the only councilor who voted against the city’s ban on exporting crude oil – was solidly defeated by challenger Claude Morgan – a former councilor and mayor who supported the ban and said he believes the city should take additional steps to redevelop its waterfront. The vote was 6,182 to 3,634 in favor of Morgan.

In District 5, where Mayor Jerry Jalbert didn’t seek re-election, Brad Fox, a political newcomer, narrowly defeated Alan Livingston, a former councilor, by a vote of 4,988 to 4,680. Both said they supported the waterfront zoning changes in July that blocked crude oil exports.

Protect South Portland, a grassroots community group that promoted the ban known as the “Clear Skies Ordinance,” endorsed and campaigned for Morgan, Fox and incumbent District 2 Councilor Patti Smith, who ran unopposed. Morgan and Fox also received campaign contributions – totalling $1,475 and $750, respectively – from individuals who supported the ban.

The Clear Skies group’s leaders said they wanted to ensure that the council protects the ordinance if opponents file a threatened lawsuit. They also hope the council establishes an air-quality monitoring program for existing fuel storage facilities and a more rigorous development review process to assess potential air quality impacts for proposed industrial and marine uses.

In the School Board election, incumbents Karen Callaghan, a library aide, and Mary House, vice president of an engineering and management consulting firm, retained their seats with votes of 4,987 and 4,821, respectively. Christopher Hershey, a U.S. State Department official and the sole challenger in the three-way race for two seats, received 3,296 votes.

Among the referendum questions, the vote was 7,782 to 3,689 to authorize borrowing $3.5 million to make sewer and stormwater system improvements in the Thornton Heights and Pleasantdale neighborhoods. The vote was 6,326 to 5,755 to approve a citizen-initiated effort to allow people ages 21 and older to possess or use as much as one ounce of marijuana and related paraphernal at home.

The vote was 5,800 to 4,572 against a charter amendment that would have eliminated voting-district representation on the Board of Assessment Review and the Civil Services Commission. The vote was 6,913 to 3,841 against another charter amendment that would have eliminated the requirement to have a polling place in every voting district and allow wardens and ward clerks to be appointed rather than elected.

Kelley Bouchard can be reached at 791-6328 or at:

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