Thank you Phoenix for your in-depth analysis and considered endorsements – mostly. As a progressive, and noting that you hold being progressive as an acknowledged preference in your endorsements, I want to take issue with two of them.
“As a wickedly smart, law degree-holding, LGBTQ son of first-generation immigrants, Marpheen Chann would be uniquely capable of voicing the concerns of underserved communities.” This is a description of identity, not track record. Mr. Chann, whom I like personally and is charming, until very, very recently is on record as an opponent of a $15 minimum wage (saying at one point $12 was too high), a supporter of Jill Duson (when I met him he was wearing a Duson button) who is arguably one of the most conservative members of City Council (second only to Justin Costa; more about that next); and who told the Portland Press Herald in his endorsement interview that he was opposed to thingsas being too “socialist” that he told the Democratic Socialists of Southern Maine, in his successful bid for their endorsement, that he supported. Most progressives are supporting Chann for the reasons you are; Craig Dorais has a proven and consistent track record of working hard towards positive progressive change for Portland.
Justin Costa about a year and a half ago told me that we should sell off City property with no conditions while the market is high. Since then, the Council has been busy doing just that, usually in closed-door, “executive sessions.” The drastic changes we see to the face of our city, the increase in the economic inequality of our inhabitants, the open-door to incomers who provide no work and the rapid exit of our workers, are all matters of policy decisions led by the youthful Mr. Costa and other conservative incumbents. Ms. Rich is richer in professional and life experience but by far a greater ally of the future – a diverse, sustainable and economically viable Portland. We can sell Portland to the highest bidder and see the empty storefronts we all remember return in 15 or 20 years, or we can vote for people with vision, compassion, and hard-nosed practicality.
Both Rich and Dorais live quietly successful middle-class lives. Neither is flashy; neither needs this job. Both have been inspired to step up in a time of change to offer a change in management. I don’t think they are political allies; I don’t think either are particularly good at “politics” with the schmoozing and scheming that we have come to expect for political success. But both will be top-notch at what the job of City Councilor requires, at its best - managing the nuts and bolts of our government with practicality and vision, and representing the people of Portland with honesty and integrity. I hope the Phoenix, and voters, will give them both a second look.
Gwynne Williams

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