Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Election '09: James Tranchemontagne on the Issues

James Tranchemontagne is the Republican Party's nominee for the Ward 4 City Council seat.

What are your three legislative goals if you are elected?
Fewer tax dollars wasted on legal fees from poor City Council decisions, controlled development, and a farmers' market in Riverbank Park.

How do you plan to implement those three legislative goals?
From taking a business owner approach: You must run for a profit.

Which city services do you think should be maintained or expanded?
I think we could harness energy from the Presumpscot River, compost food waste from our schools, and expand the police department to include bike patrols and a satellite station on Brown Street.

How will you make Westbrook a better place in which to live and work?
Organize more family events, such as a farmers' market that also allows anything made in Maine to be sold (artists, craft-makers, furniture, etc.).

Which city services do you think should be cut or eliminated?
I feel there is trimming that can be done across the board. I think we could lower the budget by 10%.

What are your thoughts concerning a Charter Commission?
It is time to seriously review the City Charter. All businesses have to look at themselves and see where we can improve, and there are laws that are over 100-years-old. We should look at not restructuring our government, but bringing it current. I also believe our Mayor should be paid a full-time salary.

Do you plan to vote "Yes" or "No" on Question 2 on this year's referendum ballot?
Still debating, but leaning yes.

What are your thoughts concerning the zoning conflict between Pike Industries and Westbrook Works?
I am for IDEXX. If it were between Blue Rock and IDEXX, then it may be different. But I feel there isn't much an of issue since Blue Rock was sold to Pike, because the sale eliminated any grandfather issues. IDEXX is the new S.D. Warren for Westbrook, and it would be a shame if they left.

Do you plan to vote "Yes" or "No" on Question 4 on this year's referendum ballot?
Yes, but it would have been better if Maine's legislative body had controlled itself. Now there is no debate, tax relief has to happen.

Cite at least one example in which you cooperated with a member (or members) of another political party.
I employ 18 people of all different walks of life and I sit of the board of Directors for Mission Possible, which is made up of different-minded people. I think the answer is to really listen to people to find the best solution to a problem.

What are your thoughts concerning the proposed Stroudwater Place development?
It will never happen, so let's focus on our downtown.

Cite at least one example in which you differed with your own political party.
I know the Mayor isn't in favor of a Charter Commission, but I am.

What are your thoughts concerning the fire department’s problems with sexual harassment lawsuits?
They owe the Westbrook taxpayers $188,000. Both sides are guilty, and their unions are an insult to the City.

Cite at least one instance in which you’ve agreed with your opponent.
I don't know what Dotty Aube has really done for this city. I've never met her, and she never introduced herself to me, even though I'm a business owner in her ward. I really like Mike Foley, though. And while we don't always agree, we do have really awesome conversations. They are polite, constructive, and we really listen to each other.

What are your thoughts concerning the Downtown Streetscape Plan?
Horrible, because it's the new "Urban Renewal" for Westbrook. Citizens should be more worried about this than the whole Pike vs. IDEXX debate. After three years, the report has not been completed and yet they voted to approve it.

What policy issue have you changed your mind about since becoming a politician?
I'm not a politician, I'm a business owner. Nevertheless, I have had some great conversations with Mayor Chuluda about selling real estate assets the city owns. He has given examples that show it may be better to wait for a better market or a bigger package.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
I'm glad you turned your site back on.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Election '09: Introducing James Tranchemontagne (October 20, 2009)

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