Monday, November 01, 2010

Vote YES on Question 1 on November 2nd for the Elected Mayor and increase our representation in City Hall. It is time to change our extremely bureaucratic system of government and make our Mayor directly chosen by the people. The new Charter, when passed by voters, will give Portlanders our only full-time representative in City Hall, more influence at all levels of government, and votes to choose our Mayor.

The old Portland City Charter says that the Mayor is the head of the City and is a City Councilor selected yearly by the Council and is only the Chair of the Council. The current Mayor position only has the power to run meetings and holds a part-time position with an annual stipend around $10,000 plus benefits. Our system of government is the most bureaucratic, the complete opposite from the strong Mayor forms of government seen in Boston and Westbrook.

The new Charter proposal says the Mayor is the head of the City and will be elected by the people with and a mandate for a four year-term, limited at two terms. The Mayor will be our first and only full-time representative in City Hall, will have veto power over the budget, and will play a central role in hiring the City Manager, Clerk, and Attorney.

Opponents say that the new Charter proposal has no more power and is too expensive. The naysayer’s propaganda says that the Mayor proposal will cost voters $87,000 more annually and $400,000 for a four-year term and the position is still ceremonial and adds another layer of bureaucracy. They say the Ranked Choice Voting system is too expensive to implement.

The naysayers are wrong for trying to scare us into believing that we cannot afford having a single full-time representative to be a witness for the people in City Hall. The extra expense is actually around $48,000 after subtracting the Mayor’s stipend and benefits under the old Charter. That is less than $200,000 for a four-year term, not over $400,000 as the naysayers suggest. Including the cost of the new voting machines to implement Rank Choice Voting, the added annual expense is less than 1% of the City Budget and will be worth every penny to have a full-time Mayor. The Mayor will be able to use veto power, or the threat of it, to save money in the budget. Additionally, the Mayor will have a popular mandate and four-year terms to lobby representatives in Augusta and Washington DC and get us the funding for our infrastructure and schools that we deserve.

Vote YES on 1 for the Elected Mayor on Tuesday November 2nd to increase our representation in City Hall. Vote YES on 1 for a full-time representative in City Hall. Vote YES on 1 to increase our influence at all levels of government. Vote YES on 1 to have our Mayor directly chosen by the people!

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