City officials against social ballot referendums in Portland
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — There’s no backing from most elected officials in Portland City Hall for a series for referendums on minimum wage, affordable housing, construction practices, rent control and short-term rentals.
Portland Mayor Kate Snyder and seven members of the City Council all have come out against the questions, dubbed A-E, on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The mayor and seven councilors said they're not necessarily opposed to the policy goals but they're concerned about unintended consequences. Also, the language cannot be altered for five years without another referendum.
Councilor Kim Cook called the five proposed ordinances “an abuse of our citizen initiative process.”
The mandated minimum wage increase to $15 per hour and overtime of $22.50 during declared emergencies “would likely have devastating impacts on both small businesses and employees in Portland,” Snyder said.
While the intentions may be good, “these ordinances clearly fail to take into consideration the complexity, as well as long term unintended consequences, associated with each topic,” said Councilor Nick Mavodones.
Questions A-E are being put forward by ballot question committee “People First Portland,” which partners with the Maine Democratic Socialists of America. Organization volunteer Kate Sykes says the questions are a direct reflection of the will of Portlanders.
“What we’re doing is giving people the option to directly say ‘yes’ to a future in Portland that puts people first,” she said.