Portland’s November poll will probably be dominated by a slate of progressive financial proposals, together with one that might bump the minimal wage to $18 an hour, after organizers mentioned they’ve turned in sufficient signatures to place these measures earlier than the town’s voters.
The Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America turned in 2,000 signatures for every of its 4 questions on Thursday, mentioned Wes Pelletier, a marketing campaign organizer for the group. That may be a snug margin above the 1,500 signees wanted to place a query on the poll and a fast turnaround for a marketing campaign launched earlier this month.
The town is within the technique of finalizing the signature counts, based on the town clerk’s workplace.
The 4 questions targeted on renting, wages and tourism strike on the coronary heart of the financial questions that Portland has confronted lately. Entrenched enterprise advocates are already getting ready to oppose the referendums. They are going to certainly dominate the native political season with rising rents and a good housing market stressing folks’s capability to remain within the metropolis and a profitable monitor document for the Democratic Socialists of America’s previous effort to extend the native minimal wage.
“The thought is that individuals who work right here ought to be capable of keep right here,” Pelletier mentioned.
One query would search to bump Portland’s minimal wage to $18 an hour and repeal the minimal wage of $6.50 for tipped staff. Maine’s present statewide minimal wage stands at $12.75 per hour.
One other would restrict the capability of cruise ships allowed to go to the town to 1,000 in an effort to cut back congestion and environmental impacts.
The marketing campaign additionally seeks to provide renters extra protections via one other query requiring extra discover earlier than a no-cause eviction and eliminating utility charges.
One other query would cut back the variety of short-term leases by limiting them to only owner-occupied duplexes and requiring the town to inform neighbors when a short-term rental has been accredited inside 500 ft of them, Pelletier mentioned.
These proposals will probably face stiff opposition from pursuits representing companies and landlords. Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Quincy Hentzel mentioned progressive advocates’ prior efforts to extend hazard pay and cap lease will increase to the speed of inflation had prompted financial uncertainty within the metropolis throughout robust instances.
“We can not belief the Democratic Socialists of America to craft insurance policies behind closed doorways,” she mentioned.
There may also be one other rental-focused referendum introduced by a “free group” of short-term rental house owners, mentioned Chris Korzen, a software program improvement supervisor and short-term rental unit proprietor in Portland.
That measure will not be meant to compete in opposition to the DSA’s proposal, he mentioned. It will ban companies from proudly owning short-term leases and require house owners of these properties to reside inside 20 miles of Portland or have a neighborhood contact to reply to complaints. It features a grandfather clause for present operators who don’t meet these necessities.
The query would additionally increase penalties for individuals who lie on their purposes to function a short-term rental and attempt to stop property house owners from evicting long-term tenants to allow them to convert their items into short-term leases. The initiative would put a one-year wait on getting a short-term rental license for any property proprietor who points a no-cause eviction, Korzen mentioned.
That proposal obtained 1,800 signatures and has been verified by the town.
“We wish to guarantee that the aim of short-term leases is in service of the town, not folks from away capitalizing on it on the expense of residents,” he mentioned.