As we discovered earlier this year during signature collection, Portland landlords have no qualms about working with Republican politicians in their attempt to kneecap rent control in Portland by passing Question A. This alignment with Republicans has only continued since our previous reporting, with the landlords now also paying David Wheeler, a member of New Hampshire’s Executive Council, $5,238.72 for “letter mailing.” If that name sound familiar, it’s because Councilor Wheeler has recently been in the news calling for (and getting) the removal of a historical marker in honor of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn in Concord, NH. A lawsuit may be imminent.
The Southern Maine Landlord Association has also continued to pour money into the pockets of David Boyer, the Republican state legislator and landlord from Poland, ME who we previously shared had been paid $9,000 for signature collection efforts that left many Portlanders feeling misled. Since then, this number has risen to an eye-watering $82,482 with the most recent payment made last week on June 2nd.
In total, that’s over half of their overall expenditures–or nearly a third if you include their massive unpaid obligation to Access Marketing as an expense–paid directly into the pockets of the sort of reactionary Republican politicians who are fighting to ban books, withhold healthcare, and further erode the vestiges of our democracy. In comparison, Maine DSA for a Livable Portland–the only other committee actively spending money in this election and which is affiliated with Maine DSA, the parent organization of Pine and Roses–has spent zero dollars in expenditures to politicians of any party.
Along with their troubling relationship with these culture war politicians, their campaign filings have also displayed a surprising level of inaccuracy. In April, they submitted a filing that was off by thousands of dollars. Upon request of Portland’s City Clerk, they submitted a corrected report. Their next filing appears to be correct, but the 11-day pre-election filing they submitted most recently was again off and required further amendment. This sort of behavior demonstrates a level of incompetence and/or noncompliance that bears striking similarities to the experience many tenants in Portland have with their landlords.
In short, Question A is poised to break rent control in Portland for everyone but the landlords, and in doing so the Southern Maine Landlord Association is funding and relying on people who the vast majority of Portlanders would never dream of supporting.
The Pine and Roses Editorial Collective urges all Portlanders to vote No on A to save rent control. If you’re already registered to vote, please vote on Tuesday, June 13th! You can find your polling location here. If you’re not yet registered to vote or have just moved to Portland, Maine allows you to register same-day by filling out a voter registration card at your polling location.