Click the 2019 City Council Scorecard cover below to see how the mayor and city council voted, or click here.
The goal of the Progressive Portland scorecard is simple: to provide Portland voters basic information about their councilors’ voting records. This information is critical to help voters be able to evaluate their councilors’ performance and to be able to hold them to promises they have made in the past or are making for the future. This transparency is critical to a functioning democracy.
We recognize that not everyone will agree with our view of what the progressive position is on every vote. That’s okay. You can read through the votes and decide for yourself which councilors best represent your views.
The scorecard has tremendous civic value. It does what our city staff should be doing for us: making councilor votes transparent, accessible, and easy to compare, so the voting public can hold our elected officials accountable to the promises they make during their campaigns. I save and refer to mine year after yearKate Sykes, Deering Center resident
The year 2019 saw Portland’s City Council take on some of the most consequential issues in the city and in the country.
Just months before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and after two years of careful committee deliberation, the council defeated a universal paid sick days ordinance by a single vote. Shortly after Portland’s ordinance was defeated, Gov. Janet Mills signed statewide paid sick days legislation that exempted an estimated 8,000-10,000 Portland workers. Because the state law preempted any future local action on paid sick days, the council’s vote against universal sick days was our last chance to provide protections to workers left out by the state.
In response to the corrosive influence of money in politics, Fair Elections Portland led a ballot initiative campaign to create a system of public financing in city elections, just like Maine has for state legislative races. After a massive grassroots effort, Fair Elections Portland collected nearly 9,000 signatures from registered voters in Portland, enough to force a vote on the November 2019 city ballot. However, the council voted to deny ballot access to the clean elections initiative, forcing Fair Elections Portland to sue the city in a lawsuit that has not been resolved at the time of publication.
On housing, the biggest issue facing the city before the outbreak of coronavirus, the city council voted to require hotels to contribute to the city’s housing trust fund when they build new hotel units, just like market-rate developers are required to under the inclusionary zoning law passed under Mayor Mike Brennan’s mayoralty.
On homelessness, the council rejected a homeless shelter cap that would have reversed the city’s 30-year commitment to never turning away anyone in need of housing. The council also selected a site for the long- debated new homeless shelter to replace the dilapidated and overcrowded Oxford Street Shelter. Unfortunately, after a contentious debate, the council selected the only location actively opposed by the homeless community themselves, at the corner of Riverside and Forest Ave., six miles from downtown.
As immigration dominated national headlines, the council unanimously rejected a proposal by City Manager Jon Jennings to phase out housing and food assistance for asylum-seekers.
Being an educated voter is essential, and having easy access to city councilors’ votes makes that possible.Abigail Fuller, North Deering resident and USM professor
On public schools, the largest single service provided by the city, the council passed the biggest increase in education funding in more than a decade. At the same time, they decommissioned Munjoy Hill’s Engine 1, eliminating firefighter positions and increasing response times.
Other major issues voted on by the council included using ranked choice voting for city elections, a proposed ban on racially biased facial recognition surveillance technology, and the future of Portland’s working waterfront.
In the November 2019 election, Progressive Portland issued our first-ever candidate endorsements, supporting Councilor Pious Ali and Mayor Ethan Strimling for re-election. While Councilor Ali faced no opposition — a remarkable achievement for an at-large incumbent — Mayor Strimling was successfully targeted for defeat by the Chamber of Commerce, the Portland Press-Herald editorial page, City Manager Jon Jennings, and a negative PAC funded by wealthy developers and run by a Republican political operative.
However, Mayor Strimling’s term saw an impressive series of policy achievements on education, pesticides, housing, workers’ rights, ranked choice voting, energy efficiency, public health, immigration, and more.
Our new mayor, Kate Snyder, now leads the council, and we look forward to working with her as we continue to advocate for great schools, a clean environment, and a City Hall that serves the least among us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
I love the Progressive Portland scorecard! It always answers the questions on each councilor that I am looking for. It’s a great tool. It saves me a lot of time and helps me understand who supports issues that I believe are really important for Portland.Mary Ann Seidler Gordon, India Street neighborhood association
Past City Council Scorecards
Click the 2018 City Council Scorecard cover below to see how the mayor and city council voted, or click here.
Click the 2017 City Council Scorecard cover below to see how the mayor and city council voted, or click here.
Click the 2016 City Council Scorecard cover below to see how the mayor and city council voted, or click here.