Ralph Carmona, Ph.D.
1. Tell us about the last 3 purchases you made at locally owned, independent businesses.
Donatelli’s Custom Tailors(shirts cleaned) Colucci’s Market (pizza) Heron Point Studio (bought Stephen Lanzalotta Painting)
2. What do you think are the most important resources or programs available to independent businesses in Portland?
The most important resources are from organizations and government programs that provide expertise and guidance for local business to thrive on the quality of life economic strengths inherent to Portland. So critical, especially to start-up businesses, is the ability of a Mayor to establish council support for resources through relevant committees (eg., Creative Economy Corporation/PACA; Economic Development Department) and organizations like Portland Buy Local and the Portland Chamber of Commerce. As Mayor, I will work closely with these organizations to get needed state, federal and foundation support to develop and enhance the diversity of Portland small businesses.
3. Are there any policies or initiatives you think the city should adopt to better support local businesses?
Greater efficiencies, consistency and predictability in terms of permitting and zoning responses to small business involved in projects; especially, start-up businesses. The City’s newly adopted Economic Development Strategy reflects that. But we need to go further and update our City Comprehensive Plan to ensure that it is responsive to local independent business growth. Many of the small business complaints reflect fragmented governance and an administrative process that is influenced by that form of politics.
4. Do you think the city should move its bank accounts out of large national banks and into locally owned financial institutions?
This depends on the nature of the financial relationships and the moral dimensions of those relationships. Having worked for a financial institution, as mayor I will exercise the fiduciary responsibility to get the city the best deal on its banking services, recognizing my moral and public obligation to support financial institutions that support Portland in positive ways.
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