By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,459)
In the waning days before the Tuesday, November 3rd, election both rivals of Ethan Strimling for Mayor have stepped up their attacks on him – Strimling who lost to Mayor Michael Brennan four years ago and now appears to be leading in the race – is now feeling some heat from those who don’t like Governor Paul LePage’s regressive policies and bullying management style.
In a second press release, issued by Tom MacMillan, he takes issue with those who like large housing developers and are transforming the landscape on the peninsula into enclaves for the wealthy. MacMillan has also said that he supports Question 2 on the November 3rd ballot. It would stop the redevelopment of 58 Fore Street on the Portland waterfront as well as potential developments for low-income housing according to Dana Totman, of Avesta Housing if passed by voters. NIMBY’s could use this referendum, if passed by voters on November 3rd, to their advantage – as a tool to block whatever they don’t want built near them – including low-income housing.
Strimling has stated publicly and in campaign material that he already has a good relationship with Governor LePage and as Mayor he would work to improve it. (The Governor has visited LearningWorks on the West End of Portland which Strimmiing directs.) For some, that’s a red flag. It ‘s probably a signal of a return to much more conservative politics – more in keeping with Strimling’s real values and those of his supporters, like Councilors Nick Mavadones, Jill Duson and Ed Suslovic.
“I’m very concerned that Ethan Strimling believes there is a common agenda to be found between Portland and Governor LePage. I believe that the core values of Portland are fundamentally different from those of the Governor. It is important for us to continue to act on those values,” wrote Mayor Michael Brennan in the press release issued by his campaign. The Mayor had stood up to Governor LePage in his campaign to get a minimum wage passed in Portland and in his support of the immigrant community – bringing him into head on conflict with Governor LePage.
Meanwhile, Tom MacMillan, a Green Candidate for the Mayoral position, has made as his central plank in his platform support for Question 2. In support of that position, MacMillan says that 34% of Strimling’s $100,000 campaign war chest comes from large developers in the area. Some of the better known developers he refers to are Hill resident Crandall Toothaker, Eric Cianchette, Jonathan Culley and Tim Soley – all contributing the maximum allowed to the Strimling campaign. The second red flag is flying!
MacMillan questions Strimling’s sincerity in conducting a “listening” campaign – when such a large percentage of his war chest comes from the developers in the city. “Portland residents agree that we cannot afford further increases in rental costs, which is why I have called for the city to declare an emergency and pass emergency rent stabilization laws so that Portlanders can afford to live here, wrote MacMillan in the same press release. Incidentally, MacMillan was the Guest of Honor at a Victory Party at 71 Cove Street for Question 2. It was held at the warehouse used by local business owner Angela Adams, designer of very high-end carpeting and other expensive home accessories. Her business partner. Sherwood Hammill, has contributed at least $4,500. to the Yes campaign.
Meanwhile, Peter Macomber, a commercial photographer, a St. Lawrence Street neighbor of 58 Fore Street and influential member of the Yes campaign, has picked a fight with “Old Port” magazine. It remains to be resolved. Some see this as a distraction from the negative impacts for all of Portland such an ordinance would have and the overwhelming opposition that has formed to the YES campaign. Dennis Bailey, the Yes campaign’s media consultant, was fined $200. by the state’s Ethics Commission, for posting false information on a political website years ago. Bailey was also the media consultant for the now defunct Nova Star, a ferry running between Portland and Nova Scotia. “We’ve always said it would take us five years to make this a success,” Bailey told this blogger recently. The ferry service ran for two years
And where is Ethan Strimling? Laughing all the way to the Bank.