Hello everyone! Here’s a short list of some things that are going on in the Greater Portland area and beyond that hopefully will help you catch up on the local political situation, which includes an upcoming referendum election. Voting is only really that painful if you have to do all the prep work the day before, so do yourself a favor and get the information together now if you’re planning to participate. Good luck!
Portland Charter Commission (ongoing):
A town’s charter is basically it’s founding laws. The charter commission is going to be discussing changes to those laws in Portland, which will have a lot of long term effects. If you’re interested in what Portland’s going to grow into in the coming years, it’s worth researching this in more detail.
Portland City Council Meeting (September 20, 5:00 pm, ZOOM),
South Portland City Council Meeting (September 21, ZOOM, 6:30 PM):
City council meetings can be very dull but they are where most of the actual day to day work of running a city can be seen and you are totally free to listen in whenever you want. Decisions on zoning are deceptively boring, but they can be some of the most vital political issues of all. Zoning is just the legal way of saying ‘put this building here, put that building there,’ and it affects nearly everything behind the scenes. It’s worth learning more about zoning if you want to understand local politics better. It’s part of every major political topic from renewable energy, to marijuana legalization, to public transit, to education.
Referendum Election (November 2): Referendum elections are the ‘question’ issues. The phrasing of the questions is often very confusing, so even if you already know your stance on an issue, be prepared to carefully read each item. Political ads often try to play with this by changing a ‘yes’ to a ‘no’, making it worse. Just keep track of the double negatives and come prepared. It’s usually impossible to learn exactly what a question even means just by reading it so get as much context as you can to make your decision. This link also lists the three questions which we’ll be voting on.
If all goes well, you might see some coverage of these events in the Local Politics column. Keep an eye out if you’re interested.