Carol McCracken (Post # 2,393)
Long-time city councilor Nicholas Mavadones, a conservative democrat, said today he is seeking re-election to his City Council seat once again, putting to rest a rumor that he might not seek re-election this November 3rd. Mavadones told mhn.com last month that he was thinking about not running, but had not yet made a decision. Today he responded to that rumor – mostly by empty rhetoric while avoiding facts to support his attack on the current Mayor. Now that Strimling has entered the race, Mavadones feels “energized” and ready to run again he said at an outdoor press conference under a hot sun at city hall. Perhaps a preview of the heated politics to come.
Mavadones also announced that the blustery councilor Ed Suslovic has withdrawn from the Mayor’s race. Suslovic did not attend the press conference leaving it to Mavadones to make his announcement. Presumably Suslovic could not get support from other members of the Council, thus dropping out. Some expected Suslovic to be at the press conference taking another shot at Brennan. As a fiscally conservative councilor Jon Hinck emailed mhn.com: “Ed is not the best messenger for our cause.”
Mavadones, an ally of the restaurant industry, who was against the idea of a popularly elected Mayor almost four years ago, reversed himself to support a popularly elected Mayor with his endorsement of Strimling today. He accused Mayor Brennan of “failed leadership” citing divisions among the community. Mavadones failed to be specific, although he may have been referring to initiatives that Brennan started – such as the minimum wage increase that eventually passed the City Council – a sore point for the restaurant community; Steve DiMIllo, of DiMillo Restaurant, was a particularly outspoken foe of the Mayor’s initiative. Mavadones hammered the Mayor for his lack of leadership, although Mayor Brennan’s record of leadership in the State Legislature is well-documented – an achievement that Strimling will never enjoy.
No one has been more pro-education for Portland students than Mayor Brennan, also having served at the Muskie School at USM. Yet Mavadones ignored that and implied through insinuation that Strimling was the education candidate. Fact checking missing here.
“I consider Mike Brennan a friend. But friends do not necessarily make good leaders and ultimately my allegiance lies with the best interests of our city. I believe we must support a candidate for mayor that has the proven leadership skills necessary to bring community together and realize our collective goals,” said Mavadones in a prepared statement he read at the press conference.
Mavadones found a lot about Portland he doesn’t like and by insinuation suggested that it was all Mayor’s Brennan fault. He took no note of the many good things happening in Portland. For example, he noted the out of control rent increases many tenants are getting – forcing them out of apartments. When asked what should the city do to alleviate the crises that the Mayor has not done, he said: “I’ll talk to you privately.” Thus avoiding any interest by him to a crises in Portland that has been nationally acknowledged.
Mavadones also referred to the large number of employees who have left their positions at city hall – suggesting without saying it that Mayor Brennan was responsible for their leave taking. A more credible accounting by Mavadones would have included the number who have retired after long careers at city hall, the number of employees who have used Portland as a stepping stone to career advancement, such as Sheila Hill-Christian, and those such as former city manager Mark Rees, squeezed from their positions by the City Council.
And so it went – personal attacks against a well-liked Mayor that went unchallenged leading to scepticism as to their accuracy. Noticably absent from Mavadones’ press conference endorsing Strimling were city councilors Brennerman, Hinck, Costa and Marshall.
And that’s fact – not empty rhetoric!