Christopher P. O’Neil, a former lobbyist for the Portland Chamber of Commerce, takes predictable issue with the recent democratic response to the rapid gentrification of our city in his Aug. 7 Maine Voices column. His misrepresentation of the Fair Rent Portland campaign as an unnecessary and anti-development “rent control” ordinance needs to be addressed.

Fair Rent Portland is not rent control, as Mr. O’Neil claims. Rather, it proposes rent stabilization for large landlords: rent increases limited to changes in the rate of inflation, property taxes and improvements made to properties. It does not set a price for rent but instead prevents the arbitrary increases that have displaced thousands of residents. This common-sense approach has worked in many other communities, where it has allowed for growth while preventing its worst effects.

Mr. O’Neil claims that “Portland has already responded … heroically” to the need for more housing. However, the newly constructed units are almost entirely unaffordable for the servers, artists, teachers and New Mainers who make Portland the vital city everyone wants to preserve. Fair Rent Portland’s proposal would do what all that construction has not: keep rents stable.

Mr. O’Neil’s misinformation regarding this reasonable approach to keeping Portland affordable risks confusing the democratic process. If voters do their own research on Fair Rent Portland’s proposal, they will discover just how sensible it is for our city.

Sarah Shmitt

Portland