The Chamber is involved in many aspects of public policy at City Hall. This newsletter keeps you abreast of what we see coming, and helps you understand what you might have missed in the papers. It also gives you connections for getting involved, or for merely sharing your opinion. Please circulate among your staff.
Below are some City Hall goings-on that you and your staff should find informative and helpful.
The Asylum Seeker Issue. Are you Confused?
Seth Koenig at the Bangor Daily News has done another great job of explaining a complicated issue about which everybody knows, but also almost everybody doesn’t fully grasp. Check it out here.
Anti-Development Referendum this November
As you know, another anti-progress referendum will be on the Portland ballot this November. At tonight’s City Council meeting, the question will be put out to the voters. A hearing will occur if you’d like to chime in. The proposal would not only be bad for a specific project, but for untold others that might never be planned. To read about it, click here. To support the effort to defeat this referendum, click here.
Minimum Wage - Should Portland Go It Alone?
A group has submitted enough signatures to put a $15 minimum wage referendum question to Portland voters this November. The Chamber is all about prosperity, of course. But since the Mayor proposed a city-only minimum wage a year and a half ago we have said it would be wrong for multiple reasons if Portland gets into wage regulation. Meanwhile, the City Council has already shown support for a lesser minimum wage (although they still have issues to iron out before they fully adopt it). While the Council version would set the minimum wage lower than the referendum would, either one would make Portland an outlier, with minimal benefit to workers because very few Portland workers earn the minimum wage. The Chamber opposes both city-only wage proposals because wage regulation is for state and national governments. Only about a dozen cities in America have tried wage regulation, and most of those cities are much larger than Portland. While it’s unlikely, Councilors can still abandon the effort If you’d like to contact Councilors, click here. If you’d like to be involved in the fight against $15 this November, click here.
Mayor Brennan Running for a Second 4-Year Term
Mike Brennan announced he wants to be re-elected. See his web site here. In addition to Mayor, Portland will also be replacing Councilors Kevin Donoghue (District 1) and Dave Marshall (District 2). The At-Large seat now held by Nick Mavodones will also be on the ballot. Candidates are gathering signatures now, and must turn them in late this month. The Chamber will be engaged in the upcoming election. Let me know what you think.
You Can Get a Bike Corral at your Business
Speaking of transportation, the City has begun a program that helps you accommodate bicycle parking in an orderly fashion. Check out how you can get a Bike Corral here.
Anticipate your new Sewer and Storm Water Charges
Starting in January the City’s new billing system will commence. To calculate the new charges for your property, as well as to learn ways you might reduce your charges, click here.
Got Graffiti? Get Rid of it!
A few years ago the Chamber’s Crime Prevention Task Force identified graffiti as a contributor to streets that lose their “clean & safe” atmosphere. Some folks in town see it as valuable street art, while others just plain call it vandalism. Whichever camp you’re in, if you want to get rid of it, there is a Graffiti Buster program that only operates during warm season. Click here to connect with the program.
Portland Chamber History
Did you know that your Chamber is one of the longest-running trade associatioins in America? It began as the Board of Trade not long after Massachusetts let Maine go free. Check out this fascinating publication, and see if you recognize some of the founders’ names!
Cranes in the Air – What’s Being Built in Portland?
Ever wonder who’s building what? Curious what that massive hole in the ground is going to be? Check out this list of Portland construction projects.
Have a Crime Tip? Portland PD Makes it Easy
To provide information anonymously, community members may contact police by text, internet, or phone.
Mobile phone users can text the keyword “GOTCHA” plus their message to 274637 (CRIMES).
Submit tips by clicking Submit an Anonymous Crime Tip.
Anonymous phone tips can be left on the PPD’s Crime Tip line: (207) 874-8584.
Are You Bullish on Portland?
Do you like living and working in Portland? Like to talk up your town? Consider yourself a connector? Take a minute and check out this link.
If You Liked That One…
…Look at this site. The Chamber is a major sponsor of this initiative. If your business is recruiting people from away, you should know about this.
Watch City Council Meetings on CTV or Streaming Online
You can watch City Council meetings live on CTN Channel 5 or streaming online. Click here to see how.
Fix It Portland
Got ideas for how something in Portland can work better? See a nasty pothole that needs fixing? Submit your thoughts to the city here.
Chris O’Neil is the principal of O’Neil Policy Consulting, Inc. He has represented the Portland Community Chamber at City Hall since 2006.