District 1 City Council Candidate Paula Guillemette Agopian’s Questionnaire
1. What’s most at stake in this election?
The minimum wage issue.
2. Portland is growing and changing quickly. What are the potential negative outcomes from that growth that the city council should work to avoid? What should the council do to guide growth in a positive direction?
Negative outcomes to growth are rising property values thus raising property taxes. The city should connect with The Council of Governments on an annual basis to review demographic trends to encourage and promote development primarily for the people that live here now. Development should be in the economic and affordable housing sectors simultaneously, they work hand and hand.
3. People without wealth are finding it more and more difficult to get by in Portland and live comfortably. What should the city council do to ensure that Portland continues to be a livable city for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds?
Be vigilant in studying changes in demographics in order to promote appropriate development.
4. What are two of your favorite local businesses?
Micucci’s & Maine Hardware.
5. What should the city council do to sustain a local economy that supports the growth and creation of businesses like the ones you mentioned in the last question?
These are both well established businesses with a broad customer base. The should support and foster new businesses with guiding them to programs already in place and connecting them with the appropriate sources. (Economic Development)
6. How often do you use forms of transportation other than driving (bicycles, bus, train, uber etc.)?
I use other forms of transportation for mostly recreational purposes i.e. bicycle, canoe, kayak. I take the bus or train to Boston when I fly out and take a taxi when I fly out of Portland.
7. Does our local/regional public transportation system need any improvements or changes?
There is always room for improvement. I think the bus system is always evolving to meet the needs of the general public and I thought the use for high school students was brilliant. I think the bus system has tried to be environmentally and economically responsible by utilizing propane. Not sure if electric has been looked at but may be a future option. The system should continue to collaborate with other local communities to provide efficient services to outlying areas.
8. Which grocery store(s) do you shop at most?
Micucci’s, Hannaford, Shaws, Farmer’s Market.
9. What should the city council do to support the local food economy?
As much as they can. Just starters mandate a certain % of local/state food sources used in taxpayer funded facilities. Encourage large food providers i.e. MMC to use local food sources.
10. Which local arts or entertainment institution do you visit most often?
I don’t have much disposable income so I do not spend much on entertainment. I don’t even have cable. I would say I utilize the Portland Museum’s Friday’s and rarely go to the movies.
11. What can the city council do to strengthen the local arts community?
I think the city does a fairly good job i.e. 1st Friday Art and having artists, craftsmen and musicians at the Farmers Market is nice. Perhaps having more art events for local artists and craftsmen would be nice.
12. Would you have voted to continue General Assistance for asylum-seekers earlier this year (following cuts to state funding)? What do you think the city should have done to deal with that crisis?
Yes, I think they did as much as they could given the circumstances.
13. Are you voting for or against a $15 minimum wage?
It’s not perfect yet $7.50 is far from a working wage. I do support $15.00 for non seasonal workers and is appropriate since it will be done in stages but I do not support that for tip earners. I am not voting for it this time but they should try again and I would support an adjusted model.