Groups trying to defeat two citizen initiatives in Portland continue to outraise and outspend proponents by large margins.

Question 1 on Portland’s ballot Tuesday asks residents to adopt an ordinance that would limit rent increases to the rate of inflation, establish a rent board to oversee landlord-tenant issues and strengthen tenant protections.

Say No To Rent Control, the group opposing the measure, started off the reporting period that began Oct. 1 with nearly $106,600 in the bank and then raised an additional $89,500 before the end of the period on Oct. 24.

It received a $29,500 donation from the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors, plus $12,500 from the Maine Association for Realtors.

It spent $82,700, including $22,000 on direct mailers, $14,000 on unspecified research and $3,200 on polling.

Heading into the final days before election day, the group had $113,330, dwarfing the nearly $3,000 on hand for Fair Rent Portland, the group that drafted the ordinance and collected signatures to put it on the ballot.

Fair Rent Portland raised nearly $3,000 since Oct. 1 and spent a little over $2,000 on lawn signs and other literature. The group spent $250 on a keg of beer at Lone Pine for a fundraiser and has an outstanding loan of $1,790, according to the reports.

Opponents of Question 2, a citizen proposal to allow neighbors to stop rezoning proposals from moving forward, are also raising and spending significant sums.

The proposal would allow 25 percent of registered voters living within 500 feet of a zone change to stop it by signing a petition. The developer could overcome that by collecting signatures of a majority of registered voters living within 1,000 feet.

One Portland, which opposes the proposal, raised more than $58,000, including an in-kind donation from staff at the Maine Real Estate and Development Association, as well as individual donations from real estate developers and building contractors, to go along with the roughly $31,400 it had on hand.

The group has $21,100 headed into the final stretch, but also has $16,000 in unpaid loans.

It spent $13,300 on targeted phone calls made by Bushfire Strategies, based in Washington, D.C. Also, it spent $500 on translation service to convert a document into five languages. Mach3Media was paid nearly $50,000 for consulting and mailers.

Give Neighborhoods a Voice, the group that wrote the ordinance proposal and collected signatures to get it on the ballot, has not yet reported any financial activity this campaign.

Two competing school bond proposals also are seeing some investment.

Protect Our Neighborhood Schools is advocating for a $64 million bond to fix four elementary schools. Since Oct. 1, the group has raised $16,600, including $5,000 donation from Progressive Portland’s political action committee, which already had donated $20,000 to the effort, and $4,800 from a group called Citizens Who Support Maine’s Public Schools.

Protect Our Neighborhood Schools, which had more than $21,000 on hand, spent $21,600 during the most recent period, including nearly $9,000 on mailers, $1,900 on campaign literature, $4,500 on voter calls and $2,500 for a poll.

The four-school group has $16,600 to spend before Election Day.

Meanwhile, Better Schools, Better Way is advocating for a $32 million bond to fund repairs at Lyseth and Presumpscot elementary schools, while preserving the chance at state funding for Reiche and Longfellow schools.

That group took in nearly $14,300 this period, including $6,000 from Bayside Maine, a limited liability company headed by former Maine Sen. Justin Alfond. Other notable donations were $3,000 from Cyrus Hagge, $1,000 from Tom Watson of Port Properties Management and $100 from former Mayor Michael Brennan.

Correction: This story was updated at 8:33 a.m. on November 1, 2017 to correct Progressive Portland’s previous contribution to Protect Our Neighborhood Schools.


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