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Lachman says affordability is key issue for Rockland

By Stephen Betts | Sep 26, 2020
Adam Lachman

Rockland — Adam Lachman says housing affordability is, arguably, the most important issue facing Rockland.

Lachman is one of five candidates running for the Rockland City Council. There are two seats up for the Nov. 3 election.

"This goes to the heart of the identify of Rockland and who can afford to live here," Lachman said.

He said the city needs to look at different incentives to private landlords and to use underused lands. Lachman said creating a municipal housing authority could place the issue on the front burner.

"If we want to grow the economy, we need affordable housing," he said.

Lachman said he is looking forward to seeing the recommendations from the comprehensive planning commission, saying the city needs to look at creative solutions.

The Main Street resident said he is running for Rockland City Council to "bring effective listening, small business and economic experience to our city."

Since 2013, Lachman has served as a senior aide for Sen. Angus King, independent of Maine. Lachman currently serves on the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee; a council of public and private sector leaders working to stabilize the state’s economy and advance future economic prosperity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lachman has lived in the Midcoast most of his life, with the past five years on Main Street.

"Rockland is a community with a rich history, incredible people, diversity and amazing potential. As city councilor, I will hear and listen to the citizens of Rockland and will work to improve the dialogue between the council, city employees and the public. I would be honored to serve our city and bring effective listening, transparency and economic development experience to the table," Lachman said.

“As someone who works to solve problems for Mainers and create opportunity, I recognize Rockland’s need for affordable housing, a thriving and sustainable business environment, reduction of tax burden on homeowners and businesses, and protection of our working waterfront and environment, while improving economic opportunity and affordability for all Rockland citizens," he said in a news release.

A graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., Lachman previously owned and operated small businesses in Vinalhaven and North Haven, and has a background in hospitality, innovation and renewable energy.

Lachman said he believes in a living wage, but he was surprised at how the referendum process came to a vote.

"We need to look at affordability in a broader way than the minimum wage," Lachman said. "There needs to be the opportunity to earn more than the minimum wage."

He said he was also concerned Rockland would become an outlier when it comes to the minimum wage and it would have negative impacts. He said the state has made progress, but not enough. He said he wanted to talk to businesses about what it takes to increase wages.

When asked at the Sept. 24 city council candidate debate, Lachman said there are more cost efficient ways to operate programs but added.

"You can't cut your way to prosperity," he said.

Instead, the city should look at expanding the tax base and to find other revenue sources other than the property tax.

Rockland needs an economic development plan with smart growth in addition to efficiencies. He said when positions become open through retirements, the city should look at those positions.

Lachman called for a hybrid process for council meetings, saying the absence of in-person meetings makes the job more difficult for elected officials. The Council should look at outdoor meetings when possible, he said.

Lachman said he does not support the call for defunding police.

"A much more thoughtful conversation is needed. We need to step out of the  national movement and look at what we have here in Rockland. We have a community where we can have a conversation, look at how services can be provided better and work collaboratively on this issue," Lachman said.

In terms of reducing the downtown section of Main Street to one lane. Lachman said even the best of plans require good execution. He said the City Council's intent was to help and support Main Street businesses.

"No other recent issue exemplifies the lack of listening, the lack of listening to our community," he said with some businesses blindsided by the action.

The city needs to study and come up with a plan that works for everybody.

"If there was a smarter plan and better execution, downtown wouldn't look like a demolition, construction zone. We need more careful thought to ensure no business is struggling by action of city," the candidate said.

Lachman said the issue of recreation services for the community goes beyond the issue of the contract with the Penobscot Bay YMCA. He said a city that doesn't have accessible recreation programs is not serving its community. The Council needs to set priorities and equity in its programs, he said.

Lachhman said stewardship of the harbor is important and the city should dictate standards, and consider all users of the harbor.

He said one of the concerns he hears is how things get on the Council agenda. he said the setting of the agenda should involve engagement with the community.

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