Portland’s government could be described as mayor, City Council and city manager. Some want to change this to a new system, perhaps called mayor, mayor and mayor. This is on the ballot on Nov. 8.

How this would give citizens a better seat at the table, increase debate, avoid corruption and promote consensus is hard to see.

Municipal governments provide basic services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: ambulance service, streets plowed during a blizzard, trash collected responsibly, safe neighborhoods even while we are sleeping.

Voters will see an item on the November ballot, under the bland heading of “Question 2 – Governance,” attempting to put a mayor in charge of all city operations. This is a fork in the road for Portland: One branch leads to good government, the other to politics. Thoughtful voters will check the box marked “no.”

Tom Valleau

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