District 1 seat is Portland's only City Council contest
PORTLAND — The three City Council seats up for election on Nov. 3 generated little interest from candidates, with only one contested race.
Four residents of Peaks Island are also running unopposed to serve on the Peaks Island Council. Marjorie Phyfe, a Sandpiper Road resident, and Ruth Heller of Seashore Avenue are running for three-year terms. Suellen Roberts, also of Seashore Avenue, and incumbent Tom Bohan of Pleasant Avenue, are seeking one-year terms.
City Councilor Nick Mavodones is running unopposed for a fifth term as an at-large councilor. In his 12 1/2 years on the council, Mavodones, 49, has been mayor twice and served on the Finance and Community Development committees. He is interim general manager at Casco Bay Lines and is a resident of Chenery Road, where he lives with his wife, Kelly Hasson.
West End and Parkside Councilor David Marshall is also running uncontested. Marshall, 31, is an artist and can often be found in the Arts District. He runs an art gallery and in his first three years on the council devoted much time to creative economy and sustainability issues and policies. Marshall is a Pine Street resident.
In District 1, the only contested race, incumbent Councilor Kevin Donoghue is being challenged by political newcomer Charles Bragdon.
Bragdon, 41, is a lifelong Portland resident and a graduate of Deering High School. He owns a taxi service and said he decided to run for council because he believes he can ensure the concerns of constituents will be heard.
Bragdon said the city is facing an overwhelming number of unemployed or under-employed people, and an ever-increasing number of homeless people. He said he would work to help local businesses grow and be able to hire more people through use of Community Development Block Grant money. That money in Portland is typically handed out to social service agencies and nonprofits, but can be used for economic development, Bragdon said.
The city should revisit its re-use plan for the former Adams School, Bragdon said, and discuss with the neighborhood whether the project is the best use of Neighborhood Stabilization funds.
He said he does not believe the current vision for redevelopment of Franklin Arterial has enough provisions to ensure current neighborhoods will be preserved.
Bragdon, who is married to Jennifer Bragdon and has two children, said mainland parking and the cost of ferry tickets for Casco Bay Lines are issues plaguing island residents.
He said the city dropped the ball on Eastern Waterfront development, and whatever future development does happen there, it is important to preserve land for island residents' parking, cruise ship use and the Narrow Gauge Railroad.
The Munjoy South resident also said he would like to see the Charter Commission recommend a "strong," elected mayor.
Donoghue, 30, is finishing up his first term as the councilor in a district that includes Munjoy Hill, Bayside, the islands and the Eastern Waterfront.
He said he is running on the same platform he did three years ago – affordable housing, transportation and community development. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School.
In the area of transportation, Donoghue worked to bring the car sharing program U-Car to Portland and also created designated moped and motorcycle parking downtown.
"You'll find a lot more access ramps in District 1," said Donoghue, who is married to Krista Mitschele. "It has become much more accessible to handicap and disabled residents."
In East Bayside, Donoghue helped the neighborhood organization create a neighborhood plan. He said his next goal for that area is to use Community Development Block Grant funds to improve the roads, sidewalks and Peppermint Park.
Increased crime and homelessness are separate issues that should emerge as high-priority discussions for the council, the Beckett Street resident said. He said he has frequent communication with Preble Street, the Police Department and others who work with the homeless population.
"I'd like to better define the complex problems there," said Donoghue, who works as a conference coordinator for The Spectrum Cos. "I'm very encouraged by the Police Department as an agency of change. We've done a great job hiring a great chief."
Donoghue said he is happy the city went back and did a public input process for the Maine State Pier and Eastern Waterfront. He said he believes there is room for hotel and condominium development on the city's land along the waterfront.
"We need to protect and improve the Maine State Pier," he said. "I think we learned the pier isn't in such bad shape."
On Peaks Island, Donoghue said he'd like to continue the discussion of an affordable housing zone. In Bayside, he said, the vision has languished and needs rejuvenation.
"We need to maintain diversity in the housing stock on Munjoy Hill," he said, "so it doesn't become gentrified into oblivion."