2016-10-14 / Front Page

Election 2016

It’s a packed race for city council

Maxine Beecher Maxine Beecher The race for South Portland City Council is a crowded one, with seven candidates vying for two at-large seats. The top two vote-getters on Nov. 8 will get the nod and, with Mayor Tom Blake unable to run for a fourth term due to term limits, the council will see at least one new face for its new session. The field includes a number of familiar faces, with current and past members of both the city council and the board of education among the hopeful.

Candidate survey forms sent by the Sentry to each candidate are provided below, in alphabetical order by last name. The surveys include contact information, should readers care to question the candidates further on their positions.

Name: Maxine R. Beecher

Age: 73

Address: Ridgeland Avenue

Rick Carter Rick Carter Phone: 799-8888 email: maxine@maine.rr.com

Occupation: Semi-retired beautician; part time bee keeper

Family: Two adult sons, six grandchildren, one greatgrandchild

Education completed: Golden School of Beauty Culture; bachelors degree in communication from the University of Southern Maine

Political experience: South Portland Board of Education (1982-1985); South Portland City Council (2003-2012, 2013 to present); mayor of South Portland (2005-2006)

Organizations and activities: Active member in Lincoln School PTA; Cub Scout leader; founder and officer of South Portland Community Advocates for Social Action; South Portland election clerk and/or election warden District 4 (1993-2002); medication collection project member (also sat as co-chairman); South Portland Zoning Improvements Committee (chairman, 2005- 2007); South Portland Comprehensive Plan Committee (chairman, 2007-2012); South Portland High School Renovation Committee; former member of ecomaine board of directors; South Portland Municipal Services Facility Committee; Mill Creek Master Plan Committee; Thornton Heights Renewal Committee, Knightville Plan Committee; West End Review/Renewal Committee; South Portland Land Trust Trails Committee. Named Maine Citizen Planner of the Year 2013 and New England Citizen Planner of the Year 2013

James Gilboy James Gilboy Top three issues:

1. First priority: Making South Portland a safe and sustainable community where residents are guaranteed a healthy place to raise their children. We need to be good stewards of our environment. Our new pesticide ordinance will protect Casco Bay. Pesticides are also killing my bees, which pollinate the fruit and vegetables we eat. Bees are also environmental “sentinels,” sounding the siren to imbalances in nature. We must pay very close attention to my bees. The Blue Skies Ordinance restricts the flow of harmful petroleum and prevents damage to the air we breathe. I’m proud to have moved that charge and passed those important ordinances.

Susan Henderson Susan Henderson 2. Continuing to keep South Portland safe, affordable and friendly for all our residents. No gimmicks: Just hard work, whittling down our annual budget and maximizing the services you get for your hard-earned dollars. A high priority: We must do a better job reducing and stabilizing the tax burden of our seniors. While no one wants a tax increase, bonding improvements at the high school was essential to keep our national recognition and school certification. Building the new municipal service facility offers a cost-effective way to consolidate services, reduce redundancies, and stack those facilities with money saving, high-tech equipment

Katherine Lewis Katherine Lewis – an investment for future generations.

3. Our city is unique and desirable. We’re made up of many unique villages and neighborhoods. I’ve worked hard to identify and maintain those distinctive features in these neighborhoods. Example: Thornton Heights was once blighted along Main Street. Now it’s a pleasure to drive through the main artery of the neighborhood. Knightville too. That neighborhood is now a fantastic combination of local business and housing on quiet residential streets. There is so much more work I look forward to completing – improvements at Mill Creek and Waterman Drive. The West End, long ignored, is teaming with much-needed diversity and challenges. This work never loses its luster for me.

Louis Maietta Jr. Louis Maietta Jr. Why are you seeking elected office?

I am running for elected office because I care, I listen and I act. I have sat in council chamber and listened to young people be disparaged by the inaction leading to no new building permits. I have never run away from problems. I look for solutions and I dare to commit to the work to make change for the better.

South Portland is my home and its growth and change matter. Our city is unique and beautiful and I want it to be more than a destination for shopping at the mall, or visiting the beach or lighthouses. I want it to be the community where folks choose to live, work and raise their families. Right now we have a very divided council. This division has seemingly caused all building and development to be nonexistent. Economic development is just a word. Right now we are not open to allow building of new homes nor to be a business friendly destination. We can and must change this. I want to be part of the solution, one that welcomes economic development and one that goes way far to help folks to build homes and a future here.

Michael Pock Michael Pock If you could change one thing about South Portland, what would it be and how would you do it?

As I have talked with folks here in the community they often mention the huge numbers of oil storage tanks just blocking views and taking up space. If I had the money and authority to change one thing in South Portland, I would remove many of the big oil storage tanks that sit empty. This would change our skyline and offer land for much new development, desirable development as well as offer more access to the ocean. It would also allow for additional housing especially to bring young people back to our home city to invigorate it. If you don’t say it out loud it will never happen. I care. I listen. I act.

Name: Rick Carter

Age: 54

Address: Thompson St

Phone: 767-7179

Email: rchcart@aol.com

Occupation: Retail operations manager (location not specified)

Family: Married with two adult sons

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree in economics and history from the University of New Hampshire

Political experience: South Portland Board of Education (2004 to present, four years as chairman)

Organizations and activities: South Portland Comprehensive Plan Committee

Top three issues:

1. Restoring civility and balance in local government. The residents of South Portland have watched, at times in disgust, the way the city council has behaved over the past two years. They have not treated each other, or those that disagree with them, with respect. I believe that every problem has a solution and that we reach the best solution by talking with and working with everyone, including those who don’t agree with us. By doing so, we also eliminate the feeling that city government is being controlled by an organized, vocal minority.

2. Maintaining our excellent schools. I have been fortunate to serve on the South Portland School Board for the past 12 years, including four years as chairman. Over that time, we have seen tremendous improvement in student achievement, we have built an outstanding new South Portland High School, and we have maintained budgets that reflect the needs of the community, including years with no tax increases, because of the difficult economic conditions of the time. We achieved this by working together with parents, staff, community members and the city council. We need to continue working together to support our schools as we look to future budgets and a potential middle school project.

3. Balancing the needs of taxpayers and renters with the needs for services. South Portland has excellent city services that have been generously supported by the taxpayers over the years. We also have older residents living on fixed incomes who can’t afford increases in taxes. Renters can also be adversely affected by tax increases as tax increases often lead to rent increases. So how do we protect those who can’t afford tax increases, while maintaining the services that make South Portland a desired community, where property values continue to grow? We do that by strengthening protections that will keep people in their homes when faced with tax increases.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I am running for the city council because while South Portland is facing some major issues in the coming years, let’s not forget that we currently have a great city with great city services. We are facing ongoing lawsuits. We are discussing a significant solar project at the landfill. We are looking at a major middle school project. These are just examples of the issues that we already know about. There will always be additional unforeseen issues that will arise. Then there is our most important job as a city council, the day-to-day operations of the city: Our police, firefighters, public works, parks and recreation, and everyone else that makes our city work need our support. We can’t get so focused on special projects that we lose focus of our daily responsibilities. I have spent the past 12 years on the school board successfully balancing the day-to-day operations of the school department with issues and major projects, such as the building of the new high school. If elected, I will bring that same balance to the city council.

If you could change one thing about South Portland, what would it be and how would you do it?

The number one thing that I would like to change in South Portland is the direction and the tone of the city council. Many people feel that the council doesn’t represent them, that it has moved to the extreme. As a city councilor, I will focus my efforts on the day-to-day city services and schools that affect and improve the lives of the people of South Portland. When an issue does come up, I will reach out to all sides to ensure that everybody’s voice is represented. There will always be times that someone won’t agree with a decision, but they should never feel ignored, or worse, insulted. I will always fight for what I feel is best for South Portland, but will do so in a civil, respectful way.

Name: James H. Gilboy

Age: 48

Address: Barnstable Road

Phone: 767-4211

Email: jhgboy@maine.rr.com

Occupation: Certified real estate appraiser (firm not specified)

Family: Married, with four children

Education completed: Weymouth North High School (attended two years at University of Massachusetts)

Political experience: South Portland Board of Education, District 4 (2003-2015)

Organizations and activities: South Portland American Little League (president)

Top three issues:

1. Taxes – The city of South Portland is a service-based community, in which the population of people coming into the city grows during the day for people’s employment, shopping and continuing education at SMCC or Kaplan University. We need to make sure that the city benefits from this and that our state government returns our fair share in the taxes and revenue generated from within our city but also shares in some of the costs involved with being a service based community. We need to ensure our city’s police and fire departments have the training and tools to protect our community every day. We have to continue in the goal of having all of our schools being recognized for having high achieving students and to enhance and support students and buildings which maybe having challenges. We need to ensure that our taxes and fees being collected are spent and saved wisely. We as a community need to ensure that our elderly and retired property owners can stay in their homes without being taxed out from their homes. We need to have a plan for affordable housing in the city.

2. Education – We have made some great changes and improvements with our school system, from the classes being offered to the newer buildings that we as a community have provided to the students in the past 15 years. We need to continue to expect and require results for all of our students but this needs to be a community effort. The city council needs to continue the efforts of open and honest communication between the two boards, so that there are no unexpected issues when it comes time each year for budgets.

3. Community – We need to come together again as one city with one goal to improve the lives of all that call the city of South Portland home. The city is at a turning point in which the leadership from the city council is needed and each member needs to be the voice for everyone in the city. We have amazing businesses in the city and we need to do a better job promoting each and every one, since when these companies succeed, the city also succeeds with keeping our commercial base strong and bringing in new companies, continued employment opportunities and the ability to allow families to live and work in the city of South Portland.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I want to be able to provide my ability to listen and be a part of the process of finding solutions to the city’s needs and issues that are preventing us as a community to improve and succeed in all that we as a community want to accomplish. I want our city to be a leader in public education and to be a leader in promoting Southern Maine Community College and other companies within the city that provide post graduate classes and programs. We need to ensure families that live in our city that have a need for services in regards to mental health, substance misuse and domestic violence to name just a few, are able to receive support and direction, so that they are able to access these services and support. I believe I’m the candidate able to help guide our city within these issues.

If you could change one thing about South Portland, what would it be and how would you do it?

We all live in the city of South Portland for a number of different reasons but this is our city. It is not my city, it is our city and how I could change it is that I would listen and not judge, or have a predetermined way in which I would vote. I believe by being able to listen, you can hear clearly both sides of the issue and represent the voters of South Portland on the city council.

Name: Susan Henderson
Age: 74
Address: E Street
Phone: 799-6350

Email: shenders@maine.rr.com

Occupation: Retired as professor emeritus from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine department of nursing.

Family: Widow with four adult children, seven grandchildren

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey; bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing, New York City; master’s in nursing from New York University; master’s in public policy and management from the Muskie Institute and the University of Southern Maine

Political experience: None

Organizations and activities: Member of the American Nurses Association-Maine (president 2005-2009); member of St. Albans Episcopal Church; Protect South Portland (supporter); Advisory Council, Maine Quality Forum, Dirigo Health (member); Red Cross Health Services (volunteer)

Top three Issues:

1. Develop more high paying jobs based on new technologies in South Portland

2. Improve our environment by increasing open space and protect our future by decreasing threats from toxic emissions, use of pesticides and excessive greenhouse gases.

3. Increase affordable housing for those with low and moderate incomes

Why are you seeking elected office?

I am seeking elected office as councilor at large on the South Portland City Council because local government has a direct impact on the quality of our lives. I have lived in South Portland for 39 years and want the city to be the best it can be. We will be facing difficult decisions that will affect housing, jobs, education and the quality of our air and water. I believe that my experiences and knowledge give me the ability to serve our citizens on the council. I have the ability to listen well, to analyze complex situations and to realize that good solutions are not easy to find. I have the ability to engage in collaborative problem solving and focus on issues and desired outcomes.

If you could change one thing about South Portland, what would it be and how would you do it?

If I could change one thing about South Portland, it would be our polarization and inability to listen and have empathy for each other. Every individual in our community is worthy of dignity and respect. I will work to grow a community that provides the basic foundations for health for all: jobs, housing, education, adequate food, clean water and air and freedom from violence.

Exploration of affordable housing must be continued. I would strive to further diversify our economy so that it is well positioned to adapt to future changes. Work and the ability to contribute to a community are components of human dignity. Businesses and educational institutions can be helped to strengthen collaboration to develop a work force with needed skills and more opportunities for life- long education. Existing businesses can be grown and new ones sought by offering a variety of incentives and creative opportunities.

We, as a community, are intricately bound together even as we differ. Compassion and concern for all residents are necessary to build a better community for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. I will work to help us hear each other and respect our differences while we plan a secure future together. It is critical to understand that the issues are difficult. I call upon us all to work together.

Name: Katherine W. Lewis

Age: 40

Address: Mussey Street

Phone: 780-1660

Email: katewhitelewis@gmail.com

Occupation: Director of development at Greater Portland Landmarks

Family: Married, with one child

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont

Political experience: None

Organizations and activities: South Portland Land Trust (vice president); Association of Fundraising Professionals, Northern New England (past president); American Camp Association, New England (board member); Maine People’s Resource Center (treasurer); member of Cathedral Church of St. Luke

Top three issues:

1. Green and open space. We are fortunate to live in a city that has green and open spaces of varying sizes that give character to our neighborhoods and recreational opportunities to our residents and visitors. With development pressure strong throughout the region, I will champion plans to conserve green and open space as necessary components of a livable city. We need to proactively inventory our open space and set priorities for protecting it in ways that benefit all residents, while emphasizing smart design and redevelopment of industrial areas.

2. Forward-looking economic development. South Portland is a city that can continue to thrive economically by embracing cutting-edge, healthy green industry and local businesses that support the people who live here. We talk about and plan for “economic development” regularly, and I am in favor of developing our economy based on critical questions like: How will this business support the city’s tax base relative to the amount of land it uses? How many local residents are employed with living wages at this business? What city resources will this business require because of its effect on traffic and infrastructure?

3. Quality schools. While ensuring quality education is mostly the work of the school board, few elected officials in any part of city government are parents with kids in the schools, as I am. The city budget passed annually by the council affects education, and we have looming questions about how to update our middle schools. I feel strongly that my experience – as both a professional fundraiser that must create buy-in for large, expensive plans, and as a parent and taxpayer in South Portland, makes me a strong advocate for the public as we address these issues.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I want to represent a constituency of people who have been disconnected from the work of city government and how it is impacting their lives. South Portland is right now making decisions that will have local and global effects that last for decades. Because of the desirability of living and working here, we have both development pressure for growth, and a responsibility to our residents to keep their quality of life strong and intact – in quality housing, recreation opportunities, education that is responsive to kids of all abilities, clean air and water, and even aesthetic environment. I want to shape a positive future for our 25,000 residents on these 13 square miles we call South Portland. I want to represent hard-working people who are too busy making ends meet, or juggling busy family schedules with kids and grandkids to make their voices heard often enough.

If you could change one thing about South Portland, what would it be and how would you do it?

I would change and improve the level of collaboration between the city and its distinct neighborhoods. Too often in the last decade, I’ve seen neighborhood groups and local concerned citizens react negatively to highly impactful decisions that have come before the council as nearly-done deals without enough opportunity for input from the public and neighborhoods. The city has too often been unresponsive to attempts from residents to communicate about needs and plans. As an at-large city councilor, I would work much harder at communicating with and supporting our dedicated neighborhood organizations and the people they represent. I plan to regularly connect with neighborhood groups, residents and local businesses in all areas of the city to proactively hear about their needs, so that we can be responsive and inclusive of those needs when making council decisions. I plan to show up, listen and open up better communication channels so that we are truly representing the best interests of all South Portlanders.

Name: Louis B. Maietta Jr.

Age: 60

Address: Elderberry Drive

Phone: 838-6656

Email: louie@maietta.com

Occupation: Self-employed (business not specified)

Family: Married (40 years) with three adult children, five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren

Education completed: Associate degree in fire science from Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute

Political experience:

South Portland

City Council


Maine House of



Organizations and activities: South Portland call firefighter (rose to rank of captain); South Portland Board of Appeals; Full-time fire department dispatcher; South Portland Civil Service Commission; South Portland Elementary Schools Facilities Committee; Western Avenue Fire Station Committee

Top three issues:

1. I want to be a part of unifying the city council and do the business that we are elected to do. I want people to know that their opinions do matter and will be heard. It’s very important not to go into this position with an agenda of your own, and to accept the vote of the people whether I agree with it or not. The people of South Portland need to know that they are our boss and that they can be and should be heard as individuals without feeling that their issues aren’t important.

2. I want to help make South Portland a place of destination for new businesses that want to come here and offer our citizens good paying jobs and with their commitment to come here knowing that the city appreciates them, as well as existing businesses.

3. I want the citizens to enjoy having a great school system and the best city services such as fire/rescue, police, public works, parks and recreation, and be proud of all of the city staff, and I want to work with the school department to combined services that can save money to make it possible to avoid cuts to programs.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I have previously been elected to the city council and the Maine House of Representatives and I know that I can do the job that citizens expect from their elected officials. I want the elderly and the young people starting out to be able to afford to stay in South Portland.

If you could change one thing about South Portland, what would it be and how would you do it?

I would do my best to keep the city from unnecessary lawsuits and use that money for cutting taxes. Everybody says they want to cut taxes, I want to be one of those who actually does it. I would do that using common sense in the best interests of the city.

Name: Michael R. Pock

Age: 69

Address: Grand Street.

Phone: 799-5462

Email: pockcarpentry@maine.rr.com

Occupation: Semi-retired, selfemployed carpenter

Family: Married (48 years) with two adult children

Education completed: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Westbrook College

Political experience: South Portland City Council (2013-2015)

Organizations and activities: Member of First Evangelical Free Church; Fleet Reserve Assoc. #344; Waterfront Alliance; National Rifle Association; Spurwink Rod & Gun Club; American Legion Post #35 (Sergeant-at- Arms); board member of Maine Taxpayers United and South Portland Historical Society; treasurer for the South Portland Republican Municipal Committee (treasurer); delegate to the Cumberland County Republican Committee; American Red Cross donor

Top three issues:

1. Conservative approach in establishing city budget.

2. Re-establishment of “business friendly” status to the city of South Portland.

3. Cooperate with other council members to help to restore proper decorum and discipline to city council meetings.

Why are you seeking elected office?

I am running for the elected office of city councilor because I feel the city council is being led off course by a small vocal minority who do not represent all of the citizens of the city of South Portland. I believe I would bring a voice of common sense back to the council.

If you could change one thing about South Portland, what would it be and how would you do it?

What? Re-establish Business Friendly status. How? I would work with South Portland city staff to meet with city and businesses to apply for “Business Friendly City” for 2017. Review what South Portland had prior to the “Clear Skies Ordinance” and do whatever it takes to encourage businesses to come to South Portland. A larger tax base, from business, means a smaller amount that has to be made up by non-business taxpayers

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