Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Bollard

November 17, 2006


Meet the new boss... : Incoming Portland Mayor Nick Mavodones (photo/courtesy Mavodones)

Greens make Mavodones Mayor of Portland
"Awkward" political horse-trading determines post

By Chris Busby

City Councilor Nick Mavodones will be Portland’s next mayor, thanks to Councilors-elect Kevin Donoghue and Dave Marshall.

Marshall and Donoghue were the swing votes in the city’s most hotly contested mayoral showdown in recent memory.

Granted, that’s not saying much – past mayoral selections have been largely a matter of course, the post determined by seniority on the nine-member body and amicable turn-taking. This year’s outcome was determined shortly before the brief caucus at which councilors select who among them will run the meetings, appoint the committees and cut the ribbons. The vote was unanimous, the comments brief and boring.

But the contest between incumbent Mayor Jim Cohen and recently reelected at-large Councilor Nick Mavodones was either man’s to win after last week’s election. Councilor Donna Carr, who would be next to ascend to the post according to the body’s traditional order, opted not to seek it, citing work commitments associated with her day job at UnumProvident.

There’s been a flurry of private politicking over the past 10 days, as sides aligned and all eyes turned to the two young Greens – either of whom, according to Marshall, could have given Cohen an unusual second consecutive year with the gavel. Councilors Cheryl Leeman, Ed Suslovic and Dr. Carr were presumably willing to support another term for Cohen; Councilors Jim Cloutier and Jill Duson were presumed to be in Mavodones’ camp.

So until Donoghue and Marshall – who are friends and former housemates – both agreed to support the now four-term councilor, Mavodones didn’t have the votes for his own second term (he last held the post six years ago).

To win the two over, both Mavodones and Cohen offered Donoghue and Marshall the committee assignments they wanted. Donoghue said he’s been assured seats on the Community Development Committee, the Housing Committee and the Transportation Committee, which he hopes to chair. Marshall hopes to chair the Public Safety Committee, and wants seats on the Finance and Appointments committees.

Each councilor generally serves on three of the three-member committees and chairs one. Mavodones is expected to make his committee assignments in the coming weeks.

Donoghue, the incoming District 1 Councilor (the East End, downtown and islands), said he decided to support Mavodones because he was elected by the entire city, not just the voters in one of the five city electoral districts. (Cohen represents District 5: the Deering, North Deering and Riverton neighborhoods.) Donoghue supports a change in city government that would allow voters citywide to elect the mayor. Unless and until he himself wins a citywide City Council race, Donoghue said he would not accept the post.

Local Green party politicians have made it a point of pride to champion open government and eschew the kind of backroom political deal-making that can put personal ambition over the public’s best interests. Donoghue, co-chair of the city Green Independent Party, said he did feel “uncomfortable” taking part in the horse-trading that led to Mavodones’ mayorship.

“That was awkward, but at the end of the day, I feel the rationale I chose speaks to ideals I hold for the city and where I want the city to go,” he said, referring to the elected mayor idea.

Mavodones, 46, is a divorced father of three, currently partnered with the principal of the elementary school on Peaks Island. He is the incoming president of the Maine Municipal Association, the statewide association of towns and cities that lobbies state lawmakers. By day, he works as the operations manager for Casco Bay Lines, the island ferry service that's been rocked by internal discord and management unheaval of late. [Full disclosure: this reporter's wife, Bollard contributor Meghan Busby, works for Mavodones at CBL.]

Like Cohen, Mavodones has a reputation as a mild-mannered, thoughtful decision-maker. Cohen nominated him for the mayorship himself at tonight's caucus, and the two amiably shook hands following the unanimous vote.


Chris Busby is editor and publisher of The Bollard. He can be reached at editor@thebollard.com.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Portland Phoenix

Young guns

K-Don and Dave on being city councilors, playing politics, and what Wharf Street should look likeBy: SARA DONNELLY

11/15/2006 6:43:37 PM

NEW ADDITIONS: Marshall + Donoghue

When Kevin Donoghue and Dave Marshall are sworn in to the Portland City Council on December 4, they’ll be more than a decade younger than the youngest of our sitting councilors.

Marshall, 28, and Donoghue, 27, will also be the first Green Independents to sit on this nonpartisan board, this in the wake of Greens on the school committee throwing their budding party heft around, and they’ll head into their new jobs as longtime close friends who encouraged each other to run. Marshall and Donoghue shared campaign literature (including an “East Side/West Side” postcard portraying them as hippie political thugs), held campaign launch parties in tandem, and intend to represent the voice of young Portland in the council chambers.

The Portland Phoenix sat down with the incoming councilors from the east side’s District 1 (Donoghue, a grad of USM's Muskie School) and from the west side’s District 2 (Marshall, a painter) the Friday after Election Day, to talk about politics, the Greening of Portland, and how sweet it is to be the swing vote.

You both pulled something of a coup winning your council seats. Kevin, you beat Will Gorham, an incumbent who’s spent years as a community leader on Munjoy Hill, and dave, you won in a three-way race against an opponent (Michael Patterson) who’d received the outgoing incumbent’s backing and another (Cyrus Hagge) who’s a well-known power player in Portland.
How did you win?

Kevin Donoghue I think platform matters. I think we put the issues forward that the voters think needed looking at. The housing crisis has been suffering from gross inaction. Issues of sustainable development and the creative economy have been spoken to, yet I think voters are looking to move on these issues rather than merely acknowledge these issues.

Dave Marshall I really targeted young voters and I’m in charge of the youngest district in the city, probably in the state (the West End and Parkside). I’ve been in the district for eight years; I’ve been a long time community builder and advocate and I knew the youth vote would give me the swing vote I needed. When I was doing doors, I just connected with everybody. I knew that the youth vote was important, but I really found inspirational the number of people across all demographics that were behind my campaign and had confidence in it.

You are both active members of the Green Independent Party — Kevin, since 2004, Dave, since 2000. The City Council is ostensibly nonpartisan, but do you plan to push a Green agenda anyway, like Greens Stephen Spring, Ben Meiklejohn, Jason Toothaker, and Susan Hopkins sometimes did on the Portland school committee?
DM We have very similar viewpoints and very similar values but I don’t think that we’ll end up having the same position all the time. But for the issues that over the years have come up, we’ve been able to see eye to eye on most of them, or compromise.
KD We think really well together, so when we begin speaking about an issue, it may come from different directions, but I think our thought processes are really complementary so that we can reach reasonable conclusions between one another.

Does that mean you are a team, that you will work together?
KD It’s an intellectual friendship.

Have you heard from the state or city Green parties? Do you expect they’ll pressure you to push the party platform?
DM We have very little connection with the state party. As far as pressure, I just think that we have values that are consistent with the values of the state party in that way. They’ll be there but I don’t see any pressure on what we’re doing. Kevin and I are really the leaders of the Green Independent revolution at this point.

You are?
KD Well, compared to . . .
DM We no longer have a higher ranking Green in the country.

You mean former State Representative John Eder?
DM We’re two out of nine [city councilors]; [Eder] was one out of 151 [state representatives]. It was a very difficult position for him to be in. He got beat up every time he was there. We’re two of nine.
KD And we’re the swing votes.

Swing votes? But you said you won’t necessarily work as a team.
KD There are identifiable factions [on the council], not parties, and these factions are clearly played out in who’s lobbying us to be mayor.Let’s talk about that. Traditionally, the councilor with the most seniority who has not served as mayor gets the ceremonial position; that would be donna carr. But word is jim cohen might want it for a second term, and nick mavodones, who served as mayor years ago, might want another crack at it.

Have you already gotten phone calls from city councilors about who should be next?
DM Yeah, on the morning of the eighth, I had turned off my phone [after the results were in] and when I woke up I had eight voicemails — one from the city manager’s office, wanting me to go in and meet with them; one from [city councilor] Jim Cloutier, his secretary saying that he wants us to go to his community development committee meeting; and that night I had a call from Cheryl Leeman. [Also] Karen Geraghty. Actually it was Jim Cohen who was the first one to pull the trigger.
KD Nick [Mavodones] did call me the same morning. Councilor Cohen called. Neither of them mentioned the mayor, but it was clear to us from the get-go that we choose the next mayor because Cohen was relying on [outgoing councilor Will] Gorham’s vote to be mayor.

You’ll need to help the council choose a mayor. Have you decided who you want to vote for?KD We’ll decide after we have a date for the caucus.
DM I haven’t had a chance to talk to Nick yet. We talked to Cohen this morning and he told us his interests and we talked about potential committees and so...

So you’re going to use this to lobby for committee appointments?
DM Yeah, well, there are certain committees that we’re interested in having seats on. So it’s a good chip to use. So I’d like to speak with Nick. Certainly Cohen has values — based on sustainability of Portland, transportation, creative economy — that we see eye to eye on. But I want to hear from Nick to see where we see eye to eye on.

City councilors serve on three committees and chair one. What committees do you want to serve on?
KD I hope that we are not put on inconsequential committees because we are new. I hope that our talents are recognized and we’re given the opportunity to use our talents for the city of Portland and that means meaningful committee assignments.

Which ones?
KD Community development, housing, transportation. And I’ll chair any one of them, even community development.
DM My experience working with youth offenders gives me the experience to be chair of the public safety committee, which now has an opening. And I’m also interested in being on the finance committee and, also, appointments. As Cohen said, he wants us to have a good idea of who we’re voting on before we go in. I think he just wants to avoid a circus in front of the public. We’re holding our cards close.
KD Sort of.
DM We told him and we told Nick what committees we want to be on and we’ll see what plays out from there. I’m certainly not going to spill the beans before that meeting.
KD Because we can get public commitments of committee assignments at that meeting if we are not confident that we got what we need.

Ok, before i let you go, i want to ask what the two of you think should be done to encourage Portland’s nightlife. Kevin, you ran against councilor Will Gorham, who made a name for himself by pushing a tripling of the seat tax on bars in the Old Port and in general operated on the premise that the bar scene after hours is dangerous and needs to be contained. No one on the council seems to have much of a clue about what the 30 and younger crowd wants for nightlife. What do you think should happen?
KD I’d repeal the Old Port overlay zone, no more seat tax.

You'll get free drinks forever.
KD Yeah, what else is new?

You'd get rid of the overlay altogether?
DM Altogether.
KD I’d even consider changing the way we clear out the Old Port as well. I believe that our 1 am policing strategy creates drunk driving. Fist fights are a lot less dangerous than drunk drivers.
DM Yeah. It doesn’t matter how many cops you put on the streets, it doesn’t matter if you put them in riot gear or not . Even if you put 100 cops down there at 1 am, even if you have 1000 drunk people coming out into the street, there’s still going to be the same issue where [the police are] not going to be able to handle it. The real key is to spread out when those people leave the bars so they’re not all leaving at the same time. You know, going to the Old Port and having a beer at 12 o’clock and you have to get it down by 12:30 and then they turn on the lights and start screaming at you to get out the door. You get out the door, there’s 13 cops standing across the street with their arms folded, and you take a step onto the street and you get hosed down by the city’s street cleaner. That’s just not the best way to handle nightlife.
KD It’s a good way to make people not want to come back to our city. It’s poor marketing.
The Forecaster

New ruling class; A younger generation gets into local politics
By Kate Bucklin (published: November 16, 2006)

PORTLAND – Kevin Donoghue and David Marshall decided they were going to run for City Council in March.

Shortly thereafter, Marshall kicked Donoghue out of his Pine Street home.

“I found him a new place to live,” Marshall, 28, said this week as he and Donoghue relaxed and talked at Sebago Brewing Co. in the Old Port.

Donoghue, 27, moved to Munjoy Hill and began preparing to run for the District 1 council seat. Across town, Marshall plotted his campaign for the District 2 seat. Both of them won, and are among four young, political neophytes elected last week who have the potential to change the face of Portland politics and government.

The others are newly elected School Committee representatives Robert O’Brien, 27, and 32-year-old Rebecca Minnick.

Both Donoghue and Marshall are active in the local Green Independent Party, which Donoghue is credited with helping to resurrect, but their decisions to run were more personal.

For Marshall, who grew up in Augusta and whose prior elected office, he jokes, was president of his eighth-grade class, the decision to run was made when the council OK’d a series of statues outside Hadlock Field.

“That made me angry enough to run for council,” Marshall, an artist, said. His gripe was with the council’s rejection of a Public Art Committee recommendation against accepting the bronze statues depicting a family going to a Portland Seadogs game.

“They put together this group of community members, from the arts community, and then largely ignored them,” Marshall said.

Donoghue said he did not have a specific moment of clarity. Instead, he had an urge to do what he went to school for. “Maine gave me an excellent education, but no opportunity to use it,” said the recent Muskie School of Public Service graduate.

“Kevin creates new bus route maps in his spare time,” Marshall said with a laugh. Only he wasn’t joking. Donoghue has created a new routing system for Metro. And he has plans in the works for other city services and land, too.

Their approach to campaigning was grassroots. Marshall knocked on 70 percent of the doors in the West End, asking people to vote for him. Donoghue, a Beverly, Mass., transplant, also toured his district and gained visibility by getting a seat on the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization board.

When voters went to the polls Nov. 7, they overwhelmingly supported the two young men who now represent Portland’s entire peninsula.

Marshall beat Cyrus Hagge and Michael Patterson for the West End and Parkside seat. He received almost 1,900 votes – 500 more than Hagge.

In District 1, Donoghue upset incumbent Councilor Will Gorham by about 600 votes, 1,815 to 1,218.

Marshall said he is excited to represent his district, and especially to try and make local politics interesting for a new generation.

That is a goal for Donoghue, too, who said he wants to make what is happening in City Hall relevant to the twentysomethings living on Portland’s peninsula.

“The Portland Peninsula is my whole world, and I want to shape my environment,” he said.

For the past few days, the two have been enjoying their newfound authority. The morning after celebrating victory at Brian Boru, Marshall said he had eight voice-mail messages on his cellphone from people who had never bothered to call him before.

Since then, Donoghue said, “we’ve been having fun watching our cell phones race across the table.”

“We’ve been celebrating for days,” Marshall said.

“I’ve been keeping my eye on the Old Port,” Donoghue joked. “It’s my district now.”

School Committee

The youth trend extended to the School Committee races as well, at least in the West End.

Robert O’Brien, who turned 27 this week, pulled an upset in District 2, beating incumbent Stephen Spring by fewer than 200 votes.

O’Brien is a sixth-generation Portlander, but the first in his family elected to office.

When he decided to run for School Committee this summer, the Muskie School student and Central Maine Power Co. employee didn’t know if he’d have time to wage an effective campaign.

“Then the fever takes over,” O’Brien said. His first public debate was a little unnerving. But he went with common sense, the Bates College graduate said, and also advocated for Reiche School every chance he got.

O’Brien is president of the West End Neighborhood Association and lives on York Street with his fiance, Stephanie Dickens. He does not have children, but O’Brien said he is comfortable with school issues.

“Some people are older in years, but they lack the naivety and youthful energy that is sometimes needed,” he said.

Donoghue, Marshall, O’Brien and Minnick are scheduled to be sworn in Dec. 4.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net.
The Forecaster

New ruling class; A younger generation gets into local politics
By Kate Bucklin (published: November 16, 2006)

PORTLAND – Kevin Donoghue and David Marshall decided they were going to run for City Council in March.

Shortly thereafter, Marshall kicked Donoghue out of his Pine Street home.

“I found him a new place to live,” Marshall, 28, said this week as he and Donoghue relaxed and talked at Sebago Brewing Co. in the Old Port.

Donoghue, 27, moved to Munjoy Hill and began preparing to run for the District 1 council seat. Across town, Marshall plotted his campaign for the District 2 seat. Both of them won, and are among four young, political neophytes elected last week who have the potential to change the face of Portland politics and government.

The others are newly elected School Committee representatives Robert O’Brien, 27, and 32-year-old Rebecca Minnick.

Both Donoghue and Marshall are active in the local Green Independent Party, which Donoghue is credited with helping to resurrect, but their decisions to run were more personal.

For Marshall, who grew up in Augusta and whose prior elected office, he jokes, was president of his eighth-grade class, the decision to run was made when the council OK’d a series of statues outside Hadlock Field.

“That made me angry enough to run for council,” Marshall, an artist, said. His gripe was with the council’s rejection of a Public Art Committee recommendation against accepting the bronze statues depicting a family going to a Portland Seadogs game.

“They put together this group of community members, from the arts community, and then largely ignored them,” Marshall said.

Donoghue said he did not have a specific moment of clarity. Instead, he had an urge to do what he went to school for. “Maine gave me an excellent education, but no opportunity to use it,” said the recent Muskie School of Public Service graduate.

“Kevin creates new bus route maps in his spare time,” Marshall said with a laugh. Only he wasn’t joking. Donoghue has created a new routing system for Metro. And he has plans in the works for other city services and land, too.

Their approach to campaigning was grassroots. Marshall knocked on 70 percent of the doors in the West End, asking people to vote for him. Donoghue, a Beverly, Mass., transplant, also toured his district and gained visibility by getting a seat on the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization board.

When voters went to the polls Nov. 7, they overwhelmingly supported the two young men who now represent Portland’s entire peninsula.

Marshall beat Cyrus Hagge and Michael Patterson for the West End and Parkside seat. He received almost 1,900 votes – 500 more than Hagge.

In District 1, Donoghue upset incumbent Councilor Will Gorham by about 600 votes, 1,815 to 1,218.

Marshall said he is excited to represent his district, and especially to try and make local politics interesting for a new generation.

That is a goal for Donoghue, too, who said he wants to make what is happening in City Hall relevant to the twentysomethings living on Portland’s peninsula.

“The Portland Peninsula is my whole world, and I want to shape my environment,” he said.

For the past few days, the two have been enjoying their newfound authority. The morning after celebrating victory at Brian Boru, Marshall said he had eight voice-mail messages on his cellphone from people who had never bothered to call him before.

Since then, Donoghue said, “we’ve been having fun watching our cell phones race across the table.”

“We’ve been celebrating for days,” Marshall said.

“I’ve been keeping my eye on the Old Port,” Donoghue joked. “It’s my district now.”

School Committee

The youth trend extended to the School Committee races as well, at least in the West End.

Robert O’Brien, who turned 27 this week, pulled an upset in District 2, beating incumbent Stephen Spring by fewer than 200 votes.

O’Brien is a sixth-generation Portlander, but the first in his family elected to office.

When he decided to run for School Committee this summer, the Muskie School student and Central Maine Power Co. employee didn’t know if he’d have time to wage an effective campaign.

“Then the fever takes over,” O’Brien said. His first public debate was a little unnerving. But he went with common sense, the Bates College graduate said, and also advocated for Reiche School every chance he got.

O’Brien is president of the West End Neighborhood Association and lives on York Street with his fiance, Stephanie Dickens. He does not have children, but O’Brien said he is comfortable with school issues.

“Some people are older in years, but they lack the naivety and youthful energy that is sometimes needed,” he said.

Donoghue, Marshall, O’Brien and Minnick are scheduled to be sworn in Dec. 4.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MAINE VOICES

Portland gets a pair of city councilors it needed

By Victoria Mares-Hershey
Portland Press Herald

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

While standing in Reiche School watching the new voters line up to register and vote for the first time, I thought it was David Marshall's time to win.

He is my 28-year-old neighbor on Pine Street. He started campaigning in Portland, door-to-door, hand-to-hand on July 10. He knew that his young face and his profession as a fine artist could present some stereotypes that would challenge his ambition to become a city councilor.

He embraced all of it, passed out cards with his campaign information on one side and en plein air (painting in the open air) art scenes from around Portland on the other.

Teens came to help pass out literature and put up signs. He talked to them about all the issues, including his stand against TABOR, which lost.

As David said, "Matt Baldwin, who works in this pizza joint, said he found himself explaining TABOR to people. He said, 'I heard myself speaking like you, Dave.' If he was empowered to feel he could make a difference, that makes me feel good."

WATCHING THE VOTE
David stood in Reiche until the very end of the voting night. He saw twentysomethings and people of every color. Down the hall were some teens with their hats on sideways, greeting him like he was a rock star.

They knew him as the Dave who directs Service Works for Portland West, where adolescents can do community service as required by the court for first-time, nonviolent offenders.

He knew the elderly woman in the rectangular rain hat and the guy wearing sandals in November, the parents, the teachers, the neighbors. He had taken community service teens to shovel the walks of the elderly, clean sketchy spaces and make them habitable, clean the graffiti off walls and deliver toys and coats to people in need in the middle of winter.

He said, "When I was standing in Reiche between 5 and 8 p.m. and the voter registration line had 50 to 100 people in their 20s, I felt good."

Wednesday morning I received an e-mail from Maine native Sandy Wright, sending out the message on his list-serve to friends his age from Maine who are scattered around the country. He had read that Kevin Donoghue in the East End and David Marshall in the West End had won their City Council races.

"We didn't weigh into this fight like we should have," wrote Sandy. "We should be thinking about reaching out to the new City Council players. They are both in their 20s and may be some help."

David and Kevin have come to the end of one long journey, the election campaign, and the beginning of another. Seated in the art gallery of the small, historic house on Pine Street that he renovated with his own two hands, David called up when he started thinking about running.
He had been active in speaking out against the war and frustrated as it just became worse in human costs abroad and at home in local communities stripped of valuable, if meager safety net programs.

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

Then it got very local for him after a City Council hearing where many people turned out to speak.

"That's how it started. We had come from a City Council meeting, where we felt that the process and the people were not being respected by the council. Kevin said, 'Dave, are you angry enough to run for City Council?' I said yes. Elected officials are not listening. We need input."

By Wednesday, David Marshall and Kevin Donoghue had sat in on their first council event, a meeting of the Community Development Committee. David knows something about that. He was a poor art student when he decided he would buy the dilapidated house where he had an apartment.

He had watched rents going up and feared he would have to leave Portland. Saving every dime from his job and eating beans and rice for months, he arrived at the closing looking as if he were starved.

He brought out a self-portrait, signed with the year 2000, to prove it. He was gaunt. "At the closing the owner said, 'You look a little thin there,'Ý" laughed Dave.

His father, who had told him that starving himself to buy a broken-down house was a foolish move, came from Augusta to work the phones and the streets on his son's behalf.

"I spent less than $100 on catering," said David about his Friday art/campaign parties, "and one night I raised $1,000 from artists, truck drivers, people of every age."

Sounds like we need this city councilor.

Victoria Mares-Hershey is director of development at Portland West. She also is a member of the Maine Arts Commission and is a founder and the director of the Institute for Practical Democracy.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The West End News

Marshall Wins West End Council Seat


Local artist David Marshall was elected on November 7th to represent the West End (District 2) on the Portland City Council. Marshall received 1,893 votes (45%). Cyrus Hagge received 1407 votes (34%), and Parkside Neighborhood Association president Michael Patterson got 874 votes (21%).

Marshall replaces longtime Councilor Karen Geraghty, who chose not to run and who supported Patterson in the race.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Bollard

November 8, 2006

Vote or Quit Bitchin' 2006
Local election coverage

Detail from a joint piece of campaign literature this year: Incoming Portland City Councilors Dave Marshall (left) and Kevin Donoghue.

Young candidates win big in city races
Eder loses historic state House seat

By Chris Busby

The Portland City Council will never be the same. Portland's delegation to the state Legislature, however, looks much like it did years before – Green Independent John Eder, the first elected Green in Maine government, lost his bid for a third term representing the West End to Democrat Jon Hinck; and veteran Dem legislator Anne Rand held off a strong challenge in the East End by Green school board member "Zen" Ben Meiklejohn. But more on the state races in a minute.

Next time you're in Council Chambers, take a look at the portraits of past mayors lining the wood-paneled walls. With few exceptions, these people are all over 40. Most look like they've never been to a rock show, much less a punk rock show, and none of Portland's mayors over the past 40 years has been registered in a political party that starts with "G."

Now consider that two registered Green Independents, ages 27 and 28, are about to take seats representing the heart of Maine's largest municipality on the City Council. Kevin Donoghue, 27, has won the District 1 City Council seat, representing Munjoy Hill, Bayside, the Old Port and much of downtown, as well as the islands in Casco Bay. Across town, his friend Dave Marshall, 28, has taken the District 2 seat, representing the West End, Parkside and neighborhoods near the University of Southern Maine.

You'd have to go back to the late 1990s to find two councilors of such relative youth serving simultaneously on the nine-member body. Perhaps by no accident, those councilors, Peter O'Donnell and Karen Geraghty, represented Districts 1 and 2, respectively. But they were in their mid-to-late 30s at the time.

Donoghue bested incumbent Will Gorham, 57, by almost 600 votes, taking over 47 percent of the total to Gorham's nearly 32 percent (all results are unofficial as of this writing, but are not expected to change significantly). The third contender in this race, Kirk Goodhue, 54, mopped up the remainder – though, notably, he won on Peaks Island, where he's well known as an island real estate broker and past resident.

Marshall got over 45 percent of the take in his three-way race against Cyrus Hagge, 53, and Michael Patterson, 41. This seat became open when Geraghty made a last-minute decision not to run for a fourth three-year term. Though Hagge and Patterson both got a late start as a result of Geraghty's timing, Geraghty said last night she didn't think the timing of her withdraw was a significant factor in the race.

The sentiment among city officials and other observers at post-election gatherings last night was that Marshall simply worked hardest for his votes, as did Donoghue – they knocked on more doors, made more phone calls, and sent out more postcards than their more experienced opponents.

The results were similar in the Districts 1 and 2 School Committee races, though age wasn't likely as much of a factor. In District 1, first-time candidate Rebecca Minnick, 32, bested Mavourneen Thompson, 60, by taking about 60 percent of the vote. This contest may have had more to do with geography, as Thompson is a Peaks Islander (like Goodhue, she won the Peaks vote), and Minnick a mainlander who lives on Munjoy Hill, where the bulk of the District's voters reside.

Robert O'Brien, who just turned 26, beat District 2 incumbent Stephen Spring, 42, by just over 200 votes. Spring's opposition to weighted grades in high school class rankings, an unpopular stance that led to a rare school board policy reversal, may have been a factor in his defeat, in addition to O'Brien's persistent door-knocking and status as a neighborhood organization president.

In the at-large races – covering the entire city, not just parts of the peninsula – youth was not a factor. City Councilor Nick Mavodones cruised to a fourth Council term with 54 percent of the vote. Challenger Christina Feller got about 30 percent, and Andy Verzosa had about 15 percent of the tally.

Sarah Thompson was elected to succeed at-large school board member Jonathan Radtke, who backed her bid. Thompson took just over half of all the votes cast, with former District 4 School Committee member Teri McRae finishing second with 30 percent, and young Green Kevin Gardella getting almost 20 percent in his first run for office.

Gorham's loss puts Portland's mayorship in serious contention, with at least three councilors vying for the largely ceremonial, but politically significant, post. If Gorham had won, there was talk that Mayor Jim Cohen, the District 5 Councilor, might serve a second year in that position. The councilor with the most seniority, but who has yet to serve as mayor, is customarily chosen for the post in a Council caucus held shortly after the election – though custom is not the only factor at play. Gorham had spoken of deferring that honor until 2009 for reasons related to his volunteer work.

With Gorham out, that makes District 3 Councilor Donna Carr the next in line, and Carr intends to pursue the post for what will be her third year of Council service. Problem is, Mavodones, a former Portland mayor, is interested in wielding the gavel again next year, and Cohen hasn't necessarily given up the idea of extending his reign. Donoghue and Marshall are in for a crash course in city politics over the next couple weeks, as councilors jockey for influence over the mayorship and their preferred committee assignments.

Though both the Council and School Committee races are officially non-partisan, party politics has played a big role of late on the school board, and may well again when that body caucuses to choose leadership next week. The board's four-to-five Green-to-Dem ratio didn't change with yesterday's election – Spring lost but Minnick, co-chair with Donoghue of the Greens' city political committee, won. Meiklejohn, now the board's most senior member, is gunning for the board chairmanship. His success or failure in that effort could well be a sign of how partisan the new board will be.

Meiklejohn came within striking distance of denying Anne Rand a ninth term in Augusta, collecting 43 percent of the vote to Rand's 57 – a difference of about 400 votes in District 120, which includes the East End and most of downtown. Rand now returns to the House of Representatives, where she began her lengthy run in state government two decades ago.

Eder's four-year run as the state's first and only Green lawmaker ended in a close contest with Hinck, a Donkey Partier with a strong environmental record and similarly liberal views on social issues. The unofficial results in District 118 gave Hinck the edge by just over 100 votes – 1,630 to 1,532, or about 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent. This will be Hinck's first term in Augusta, though he's already had ample experience lobbying and working with state legislators on eco-issues.

Veteran Dem legislator Herb Adams nearly lost his seat representing Parkside and Bayside this year. Before the absentee ballots were counted, Adams led Green challenger Matt Reading by a handful of votes, less than 10. But his lead widened considerably when the absentees were tallied, and Adams finished with over 150 more votes than Reading, a first-time candidate. Conservative Republican Jason LaVoie got creamed in District 119, taking about 8 percent of the vote.

There were no big surprises in the off-peninsula House contests or the state Senate races, where every Democrat won handily except District 113 incumbent John Brautigam. Brautigam was in a close race against Republican David Elowitch, who nearly defeated him three years ago. Portland's results show Brautigam leading with nearly 53 percent of the vote, but he's less than 200 votes away from Elowitch, and this district contains part of GOP-lovin' Falmouth, where results were not yet available. (That said, Brautigam, a Falmouth resident, won that part of his district last time, albeit by 16 votes.)

Longtime legislator Joe Brannigan is on his way back to the state Senate after his latest stint in the House (he's already got four House and four Senate terms from last century on his resume). He was leading Republican challenger David Fernald 70-30 in Portland's part of District 9 (the district also includes part of Westbrook, but Fernald would have to have gotten every Westbrook vote and then some to make this one close).

Portland's other state Senator, Ethan Strimling, also won handily, with over 67 percent of the vote to GOP challenger David Babin's 18 percent and newcomer Green candidate Kelsey Perchinski's 14-percent take.

Democratic State Rep. Boyd Marley rolled over Republican Sharon Forbis in District 114; Dem Party leader Glenn Cummings crushed Green Murrough O'Brien and Melinda Loring of the Elephant Party in District 115; Charlie Harlow made quick work of GOP contender Jan Gauger in District 116; and Anne Haskell cruised to victory over Green John Safarik and the GOP's David Pelletier in District 117.

Less than 10 hours after polls closed, it was not yet clear whether Democrats retained majorities in the state House and Senate. But it was clear that they retained the Blaine House. With 85-percent of precincts reporting, Democratic Gov. John Baldacci was nearly 10 percentage points ahead of his nearest challenger, Republican Chandler Woodcock, and had claimed victory. Independent Barbara Merrill was third with just over 21 percent, and Green Pat LaMarche had almost 10 percent. Independent Phillip Morris NaPier Thu Peoples Hero hadn't broken the 1 percent mark.

Portland voters gave Baldacci just over 50 percent of their votes, with Merrill second (18 percent of Portland) and Woodcock third (16 percent). LaMarche got 14 percent of the Forest City vote, and NaPier half a percentage.

The statewide citizens' initiative known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, went down to defeat statewide by a 55-45 margin. Portland voters rejected it 65-35. The ballot question asking Maine voters to clarify the rules for submission of citizen initiatives, Question 2, was approved 55-45 statewide and citywide.

Portlanders helped U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe and Congressman Tom Allen retain their seats. Snowe had 73 percent of the statewide total with most precincts reporting, and Allen 61 percent in Maine's First Congressional District. In Portland, Snowe took 57 percent to Dem challenger Jean Hay Bright's 35 percent and independent Bill Slavick's 7 percent. Allen got 73 percent of Portland's tally, with GOP challenger Darlene Curley taking 17 percent and independent Dexter Kamilewicz about 8 percent in Portland.


Chris Busby is editor and publisher of The Bollard. He can be reached at editor@thebollard.com.
Press Herald

Greens gain seats in Portland voting

By KELLEY BOUCHARD, Staff Writer Portland Press Herald
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The Green Independent Party gained ground in Portland's municipal elections Tuesday, winning two seats on the City Council and maintaining four seats on the School Committee, according to preliminary results.

The city's elections are nonpartisan, but the Greens have made strides in recent years at the local level in Maine's largest city.
Results at press time did not include Cliff Island.

Two district seats and one at-large seat were open on each nine-member board.
District 1 City Councilor William Gorham, a Democrat, was unseated by Kevin Donoghue, a Green Independent, by a vote of 1,811 to 1,214. A third candidate, Kirk Goodhue, received 791 votes.

The council, like the city, is largely Democratic.

"Finally, the council has a chance to represent the people who distinguish Portland as a great city," Donoghue said. District 1 includes the East End, Bayside, the Old Port and the islands.

In the District 2 council race, David Marshall, a Green, received 1,889 votes while Cyrus Hagge received 1,404 votes and Michael Patterson received 873 votes. District 2 includes the West End and Parkside.

Councilor-at-large Nicholas Mavodones Jr. won re-election with 12,241 votes, while challenger Christina Feller received 6,872 votes and Andres Verzosa received 3,449 votes.

Mavodones, one of four at-large councilors, and Mayor James Cohen said they look forward to working with the first Greens elected to the council.

"We look forward to having two new members on the council," Cohen said. "I hope we're able to all work together on issues of importance to the people of Portland."

In School Committee races, Rebecca Minnick, a Green, won the District 1 seat with 2,064 votes; her opponent, Mavourneen Thompson, received 1,415 votes.

"I want to open the committee to a lot more public input and look for creative ways to keep our neighborhood schools open," Minnick said.

Meanwhile, District 2 committee member Stephen Spring, a Green, received 1,730 votes and was unseated by Robert O'Brien, who received 1,944 votes.
The open at-large seat on the committee went to Sarah Thompson, who received 10,378 votes, while Teri McRae received 6,270 votes and Kevin Gardella received 3,982 votes.

"I'm ready to serve and make sure the community is heard," Thompson said.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

View District Two: A Work in Progress in a larger map