Portland Mayor Michael Brennan on Friday released a detailed policy agenda for a second term in office that largely seeks to continue projects launched over the last four years.

Brennan’s policy document touches on economic development, affordable living, education, healthy food, effective government, transportation, substance abuse and keeping Portland a welcoming place to people of all colors, orientations and nationalities.

“The most important bond between the voters and an elected official is trust,” Brennan said in a written statement. “When I ran four years ago, I listened to voters and outlined the issues I intended to work on if elected – improving the city’s economy, strengthening our public schools, making city government more user-friendly, and giving Portland a more effective voice in Augusta. These issues have been my top focus since I took office.”

Brennan faces two challengers on Nov. 3.

Tom MacMillan, the leader of the Portland Green Independent party, said Brennan’s document contained laudable goals but falls short of changes the voters of Portland would like to see in its government.

“Portland voters are calling for a bigger change than that and they’re calling for a bigger vision,” MacMillan said. “We need a leader who has a bigger vision than making the status quo a little bit better.”

Ethan Strimling’s campaign manager responded by saying that Strimling, a former state senator, has been listening to voters and incorporating their ideas into proposals he is discussing in campaign events.

“A few of the highlights include targeted property tax relief for our elderly and most needy, universal pre-K for Portland schools, citywide broadband access for our economy, five 30-unit scattered site ‘Housing First’ projects to reduce homelessness, and investing more resources into English language classes so immigrants to Portland are better able to move into jobs,” Stephanie Clifford said. “A complete rundown of the vision Ethan has heard Portland residents want implemented will be unveiled in the coming weeks.”

Among the details in his plan, Brennan said he would like to expand Creative Portland, a nonprofit that is trying to recruit young professionals who can contribute to the city’s creative economy – arts, dining, architecture and designing professions, among others. He also wants to increase Portland’s support for renewable energy, primarily solar energy.

The goals include expanding language classes and job placement programs for new Mainers, streamlining licensing and educational procedures for new residents and working with Maine’s congressional delegation on immigration reforms.

To address affordable housing, Brennan would like to provide city-owned land to reduce development costs, while partnering with the private sector to provide low-interest development loans. He also wants to develop cooperative housing models, as well as adopt an inclusion zoning ordinance, which would require some developments to include a portion of middle class housing.

He would also like to establish a stand-alone parks department and expand online services and community gardens.

Brennan’s campaign said it did not have cost estimates for the various proposals in the plan.


filed under: