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Charles Carpenter

Portland Mayor: Let's Talk About Money

Charles Carpenter is an interesting guy. His company, Historic Map Works, is kind of the historic Google Earth. He started a foundation that builds playgrounds for kids in Afghanistan, Haiti, and Somalia. He lives in a spacious loft whose finer amenities include views of Casco Bay, a tubular elevator to a music room, rare 15th century copies of Aristotle, and a nearly two-story pulpit from a gothic church. But I didn't show up at his loft because I was writing for Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors—I met him because I heard he was running for mayor.

It turns out that he's not an official candidate yet.

"I'm still thinking about it," Carpenter said. "I'm opinionated. If I ran, I recognize I couldn't win because I'm not politically correct."

What do you mean? What's politically incorrect about you?

"Portland can have more economic growth if it's a desirable place for more middle class people to live an work," he said. "That's difficult because of the congregation of social services right in our downtown. Much of Congress Street is slated as non-market rate housing. We can't have an economically viable city if the buildings are non-market rate." He went on to express frustration at seeing so many people being let out on to the streets by social service agencies downtown. "It doesn't work to take hundreds of dysfunctional people and turn them out on the streets every day." Read more »