As someone who recently applied for the Portland Charter Commission, I urge the City Council to not waste any more time in setting the date for the election of Charter Commission members.

At the council meeting Aug. 10 I learned that the election for commission members cannot occur at our next municipal election in November because the council has not yet directed the city clerk to furnish the nomination papers. This omission is causing unnecessary delays to the voter-mandated process of amending Portland’s city charter.

The council and clerk should have had the foresight to begin the nomination process in June – 127 days before November – in case Question A (creating the Charter Commission) was affirmed in July’s election. Unfortunately, it seems the councilors did not expect the ballot measure to pass. Their failure to stay closely attuned to the people of Portland has cost us the opportunity to use a highly representative November election to select our Charter Commission members.

The only option left is to designate a special election. State law clearly offers three possibilities for electing commission members: at the same election as the initial ballot question; at the next scheduled regular election, or at the next special election. Since it’s already too late for the first two options, the council should move quickly to declare the special election.

One hundred twenty-seven days from the next council meeting, on Aug. 31, is Tuesday, Jan. 5. Tell the clerk to come prepared with the nomination papers. Let’s not delay this election any longer.

Charles Skold


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