Government Watch / Politics

Maine Becomes Battleground in the Democrat Party Assault on the Suburbs

AMAC Exclusive – By Sam Adolphsen  


Throughout the country, radical politicians are waging war on the American Dream by attempting to eliminate a staple of American life – the single-family home in a safe residential neighborhood in the suburbs. Already, far-left governments in places like California, Oregon, and Minneapolis have banned single-family zoning, setting the stage for the transformation of formerly single-family neighborhoods into high-density urban areas, which is likely to wreck property values of current homeowners while enriching property developers. Now, the anti-suburb zealots have set their sights on Maine, threatening both local control over zoning decisions and the new construction of in-demand single-family homes in one of the nation’s most beautiful states.

The effort in Maine is being led by Democrat House Speaker Ryan Fecteau, along with members of Democrat Governor Janet Mills’s office and their “non-profit” housing developer allies. In June of last year, Governor Mills used emergency legislative powers to fast-track the creation of a commission to “increase housing opportunities in Maine by studying zoning and land-use restrictions.” The commission met several times last year and recently released its final report detailing the commission’s official recommendations for legislative action in the upcoming legislative session this month.

The recommendations forwarded by the commission are openly anti-suburban and straight from the Obama-Biden playbook that is now being followed in liberal states and cities around the country. The commission even highlighted housing and zoning policies from California, Connecticut, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Minneapolis in their discussions, making clear that they hope to turn Maine into a similar style of socialist dystopia.

While the commission talked endlessly about “affordable housing” and “racial equity,” implementation of the commission’s recommendations would deal a direct and fatal blow to single-family home neighborhoods and local control of zoning laws in Maine. It would not just open the door further to multi-unit developments, which most Maine residents do not want, but also actively force acceptance of these projects in all suburbs and small towns across the state.

For example, the commission’s recommendations include the abolition of local control over housing project decisions, with the creation of a “state-level housing appeals board” to “review denials of affordable housing projects made at the local level.”

The report also details a “density bonus,” which would throw out current rules restricting population density in certain areas. Also discussed by the commission was the idea of “relaxing height restrictions” in order to allow taller housing complexes, something the city of Portland is already doing. But the commission is clearly interested in statewide mandates on such policy, which would usurp local decision making, something Maine’s left-wing media is already advocating.

The commission also suggests creating a “state financial reward” for local municipalities, bodies which are prone to bend the knee immediately to the woke housing scheme. In other words, Democrats in the Maine state government are hoping to bribe local leaders into embracing their radical agenda against the wishes of their constituents.

Despite the stated purpose for the commission being primarily about housing availability, the final report issued by the commission was especially focused on “racial equity” after using a portion of their first meeting to hear a presentation on “the racial history and impact of the law and policies that resulted in zoning laws.” That was followed by a lengthy presentation in the third meeting titled “history on racism and discrimination in Maine,” which was presented by the communications director for a major labor union in Maine.

Why any of this means that current Mainers cannot be allowed to live in neighborhoods with single-family homes is far from clear.

The makeup of the commission has also raised some eyebrows, as critics have pointed out that it is stacked with Democrats, including Democrat Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s daughter Hannah Pingree. Jeff Levine, another commission member, has worked in urban development in Portland, Maine, and in Massachusetts, where he focused on “equity planning.” Levine appeared to drive many of the commission recommendations, based on the letter he submitted to his fellow participants at the very first meeting.

Another member of the commission, Anthony Jackson, works for the “Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine” which, when not rallying for “abortion justice” or “supporting Palestine,” also dabbles in housing policy. At their “housing justice, Maine retreat” planning meeting in October, the center listed “harass politicians” as a strategy. Jackson was appointed to the commission thanks to the requirement that the commission include a representative from an “organization promoting civil rights that has racial justice or racial equity as its primary mission.” That requirement includes no provision that said representative has any knowledge of housing policy.

Even more problematically, other members of the commission also appear to stand to gain financially from the elimination of single-family zoning in Maine. Commission members with their fingers in the “affordable housing” pie included Dana Totman, president and CEO of Avesta Housing, and Erin Cooperrider, former executive for Community Housing of Maine, which is now a developer for multi-unit housing projects across the state.

Avesta housing (which came under investigation in recent years for massive failures in Section 8 housing standards) and Community Housing of Maine together hold hundreds of millions of dollars in low-income housing assets and are huge recipients of tax credits for housing projects. Governor Mills recently signed into law additional state tax credits for low-income housing projects, just before the commission was established – which means a potentially giant payday for Totman and Cooperrider if the recommendations they helped write are implemented.

Whether the commission’s recommendations are an offshoot of the far-left’s efforts to turn American suburbs and small towns into urban living centers, a radical effort to achieve so-called “racial equity,” a get-richer-quick scheme for “affordable housing” developers, or all the above, one thing is very clear: the battle for the suburbs has come to Maine.

However, if these recommendations gain traction or even become law in Maine, Janet Mills and her Democrat allies may face a reckoning with voters over their anti-suburbs stance. Such voter backlash appears to have played a role in Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s loss in the Virginia governor’s race, where one particularly damaging ad highlighted McAuliffe’s far-left position on housing policy. The suburbs of Virginia, which were key to President Biden’s 10-point victory there in 2020, swung dramatically against McAuliffe just a year later.

Maine families who have built strong and safe local neighborhoods and have created retirement nest eggs with their homes won’t stand by while their neighborhoods are turned into Portland, Oregon, Minneapolis, or San Francisco, despite the efforts of radical-minded Democrat politicians.

Sam Adolphsen is the former chief operating officer at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. He currently serves as the policy director at the Foundation for Government Accountability and lives in Maine.

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Denise Ledford
8 months ago

Brainless idiots voting in brainless idiots. Duh! Meanwhile, be sure to get your third, fourth, fifth, whatever it is up to now, Wuhan virus vaccine like a good little sheeple.

Richard Minetti
8 months ago

Stupid people of the state of Maine voted these ridiculous radical Democrats into their government, now they will pay the price! We reap what we sow really holds true so I’ve with your stupid decision!!!

8 months ago

This is the purpose of the new Destructive Party, once the DNC. This started with Clinton and has progressed bite by bite into the more easily controlled areas across the US.This slow poison won’t stop until Americans shut it down permanently. The only way to do that is to talk with the people in your neighborhood, city, county, state and federal represenatives monthly, weekly, daily or hourly to stop the power and money grab of the elitist DNC across America.President Trump spent way to much time with tweets when he should have been securing seats in the government to keep the Republic together for all, not a mob rule that succeeded last November. Action, not just words, is the only thing that can stop these power crazed and money hungry people from sealing America from Americans and giving it to the Chinese for profit.I did spend the time to respond here, but I am working when and where I can to directly connect with people and identify to them the danger that exists to our Republic form the false narrative of inequality the Destructive Party pushes. The truth is that America is the only country in the world that has and is balanced for every American citizen, equal. That’s why voter ID and In-person voting is so important. AMERICANS VOTE IN AMERICAN ELECTIONS, NOT RESIDENTS!!! Goodluck in your connections and God Bless!

8 months ago

Will George W. Bush donate the family estate to this project. Lots of tall buildings could be built there. How about Biden in Delaware? Pelosi in California? Meghan Markel in California? Oprah in California?

Mario Capparuccini
8 months ago
Reply to  George

They are the privileged class. They do not have to follow their own poison. We have to have our lives ruined by them however.

Denise Ledford
8 months ago
Reply to  George

You forgot Obummer in Martha’s Vineyards.

8 months ago

Death to the Democrat Marxist Pigs.

Mario Capparuccini
8 months ago

Please remember that Democrats do not care about people. They care about themselves only. They will stop at nothing to amass totalitarian power. They must bring complete ruination to the middle class in order to achieve their agenda. The sad thing is that so many people are duped by their lies and nice sounding phrases. Who in their right mind would not oppose racism. But, the Democrats are the most racist people on the planet.

Glenn Helm
8 months ago

This is an continuation of Agenda 21 under a different name. The purpose is the same; to transfer property rights from us to “NGO’s” They use buzzwords like “racial equality” to enrich themselves while demonizing private developers & landowners. The useful idiots goosestep to Communistic sloganism. This should end up in court. They must protect their property rights.

8 months ago

tear up neighborhoods to put the scum crossing the border in housing. make everywhere except where these politicians live of course into slums, banana republic housing areas where you don’t have to work for a living the government will “take dare of you”

8 months ago

Evil George Soros financed democrats aren’t happy unless law abiding, hard working home owners live amongst crime, trash and traffic problems so they can have “equity” while they have private security to protect themselves!

8 months ago

my word, I hate democrats….

K. Martin
8 months ago

Gotta find someplace to put all those illegals the Dems are bringing in.

8 months ago

The DEMs do not want to make life better for anyone. They only want to remain in power; they are self-serving. It’s all about THEM and more BIG government. Why don’t so many see it for what it is? I don’t understand democrats; what fools.

Yvonne R Bechtold
8 months ago

Scattered site housing developments here in Omaha, NE, have been a train wreck for the most part. People who knew nothing about keeping weed trees cut down nor edging sidewalks created new ghettos. They had never been taught about not throwing their watermelon rinds on the street or alley attracting roaches and rats (I saw this! Two different individuals, one walking in our alley, the other in the street in front of my house), nor that littering makes places unattractive. I worked for our housing authority here and the nastiness inside some of these nice homes could have made a less strong-stomached individual gag or even get sick to their stomach.

RJ from Az
8 months ago

Crap never ends, does it

8 months ago

Speaking of Democrap partisan conquests … I wonder … is Del Aware that the state of Delaware where De Law Are subverted the full control, whims, and political needs of the Democrap Party. One has to likely guess “not”? How can any true Constitutional Democrat system of governance be so ignored to allow wholesale vote rigging and send an incompetent crook and self/partisan serving jackarse like Biden to represent them election after election for decades? Maybe Delaware should be more Del a-wary that their (and the Nation’s) Constitutional Democratic rights are being grossly ill served by their hair-sniffing, China appeasing, demented, Commie-thinking crook.

8 months ago

Hmmm! The Democrap Party is trying to make their next conquest by Bounding Maine … that must hint at the Democraps are going to stir up a political storm??? I don’t think Maine will appreciate that partisan trickery which the Democraps are so committed to embrace.

Larry W.
8 months ago

Terrible idea but do the progressives care? They are not going to live in these crowded buildings. These are not homes, they are compartments with people under you, on top of you and beside you. One of our children lived in these “units” and waited for a bullet to come through the walls at any time.
Could it be that the Democrats need a place to “shack up” all their illegal immigrants?

8 months ago
Reply to  Larry W.

I wonder how many of those “crowded buildings” are in Del-unaware?

8 months ago

I’ve seen this happen in Maryland and in Charlotte, North Carolina. Wherever it happens, it’s bad news for those who support private property rights.

An especially lovely outer section of Charlotte, with gorgeous homes, 100-year-old trees, clean streets, and good schools, has fallen victim to the liberal city council’s recent decision to allow such tight development. I believe it’s when a property is sold that a developer can come in and chop it up into several units. There go the trees! Does anyone really think a developer will build the same high-quality homes that exist there now? I doubt it; they’ll rent them out at high rates and drag down their neighbors’ property values.

This is just one more ploy for the progressive socialists to cement their positions for generations to come. I don’t know of any high density cities that can say “No” to all the expensive amenities, infrastructure, and programs for “the disadvantaged” voted upon by city councils. Higher taxes must necessarily follow to support this madness.

Maine is a beautiful state; a good friend lives there. I’d hate to see her town destroyed by such poorly imagined propositions. Leave it to the liberals…

Ed L
8 months ago

I grew up in Maine until 1971 when I Volunteered for the draft. it is a beautiful state but it has always been a democrat state which is why I never went back. the people of Maine are a hardworking friendly group of people but over the years the democrats have lied, cheated and stole the soul of those fine folks to the point of keeping the democrats in office. with the influx of liberals from surrounding states moving to Maine the Mainers didn’t stand a chance of be normal. I now live in a southern state which is somewhat normal except for our very own Stacey Abrams who wants us to look like Venezuela so we also have a fight on our hands. We must know God is in control.

Bill on the Hill
8 months ago
Reply to  Ed L

I’m a Vermonter with a (3) term RINO governor whom sides with the Democrat majority about 99.8% of the time…He is 100% BLM, that includes those quite large yellow letters painted across Main St, directly in front of the state capital. He is PRO CRT & has done NOTHING to stop it from being taught in VT’s K-12 Schools. VT too, suffers from a brain washed population of democrats that vote these same Marxists into office, year in, year out & as a perfect example, the now retiring Patrick Leahy, the biggest crook of them all will not run again after ’22, GOOD RIDDANCE!
I can visualize VT going the same route Maine is trying to do here, the end game is pretty obvious to this creepy socialists plan & once again, RACIALLY driven…
The people of Maine need to stand up & say NO, loud & clear, but more importantly STOP voting these Marxists into office in the first place!
Bill… :~)

8 months ago

Think about it, the Northeast area of the country has been moving away from the conservative side to the DARK side for quite awhile. The west coast also started even sooner and every year the states adjacent to these dark sided states become infested with their cancer. You and Paul have pointed this out through your numerous commentaries. The infestation from the NE has moved down the coast where at least VA has temporarily checked it but it has also started moving in a westerly direction threatening the Midwest. It will take the action of the people to start wiping out this infestation especially during this upcoming year where the cancer will try to explode its radical agenda.

Bill T
8 months ago

And let’s not forget these are all BLUE STATES and even these people couldn’t help themselves and had to know after Obama exactly what they were VOTING FOR! Get what you deserve and it’s basically all your peoples fault. Wake up and don’t make the same MISTAKE this coming NOVEMBER. God bless America.

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