2016-10-07 / Letters

No new blood, re-elect longtime councilor

To the editor:

It’s been a rough year on the South Portland City Council. There have been long, protracted arguments on issues and procedures, disagreements about the role of city staff, resignations, personal attacks on city employees, lawsuits, and multiple scandals over how at least one city councilor may or may not be conducting public business in secrecy. Without going into the merits and demerits of all the candidates running for city council seats this election cycle – and I believe we should be very concerned about some of our choices – I want to say that, at a minimum, everybody in this city should be making one of their choices Councilor Maxine Beecher who is running for an at large seat.

Why? Well, besides Maxine’s long and distinguished service and being a devoted advocate for our city for years, she’s a known quantity. We know what she stands for and throughout this political season on the council she has brought reason, stability and much needed dignity (something she has a lot of) to the sometimes war-like atmosphere that have been our council proceedings this past year. Frankly, I don’t want new blood. I don’t want to see the council take a shift to the left or right of the political spectrum. After this turbulent year, for me, the goal is to get back to a council listening to residents, respecting those who work for them, and finding answers through conversations and compromise, rather through controversy. I’m not saying the other candidates won’t aspire to that ideal, but Maxine is the one proven candidate in this election with a track record on the council that proves she has always aspired to those goals.

My personal (and long) experience with Maxine on the council is that she is the proverbial steady hand in the middle. She has knowledge and experience that no other candidate in this race can offer. She’s accessible, reasonable, dedicated and has a proven track record.

For those of you who follow these things I’m sure you’ve noticed on Facebook recently the formation of a group called “Take South Portland Back.” Some of the candidates in this election have aligned themselves with that group. It takes direct aim at the goals and aspirations of the group that calls itself “Protect South Portland.” And some of the candidates in this election have aligned themselves with “Protect.” Well, in response, I’m forming my own group called “Everybody Calm the Heck Down and Let’s Deal With Our Problems in a Rational Way That Doesn’t Have Us Accusing Each Other or Getting Us Involved in Lawsuits South Portland,” and I’m recruiting Maxine Beecher to be our first president.

Look, it’s tough to focus on municipal politics. With the circus of Trump vs. Clinton in our front yards, I know it seems like the leaky bounce house out in the back yard. But the truth is that local politics matter and local government affects each of us in ways that presidential politics will never touch us. If you’ve attended council meetings you know it’s been a wild and not always productive ride this year. In this election we need to elect somebody we can trust, who has a track record on the council – not the person with the most signs, the prettiest signs, the person with the agenda or the person who will tip the balance of the council one way or the other.

I trust Maxine Beecher to listen, to be objective and do the right thing, to not bring an agenda to her deliberations. After all, it’s what she’s been doing all along. She deserves your vote.

Ross Little South Portland

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