UPDATE: Smear Campaign Against Popular Mayor Backfires; City Manager Threatens to Resign


An Angry Conservative Cheryl Leeman , Lashed Out at Those  Supporting  Mayor Strimling.  (See Left Below Photo.)

A Pro-Mayor Presence at City Hall Before the Public Meeting.  Simultaneously, Cheryl Leeman Was Lashing Out at This Group for Supporting the Mayor.  (See above right photo.)

Pouting, throwing a temper tantrum, nit picking and just so very frustrated almost beyond words because no one understands just how difficult  it is to put up  with the city’s popular Mayor,  city manager and nit-picker in chief,  Jon Jennings, played his sad violin before a full house tonight. When he wasn’t center stage playing his Stradivarius and  looking for applause, his hands covered his head – like – this is the most tedious experience of my life to date and I have a horrific headache and how can anyone expect me to work in this hell hole with this creepy nerd who is concerned about the environment and climate change standing next to me?

Portland just isn’t big enough for you Poor Jon.  You’ve outgrown us. The City tried.  Sad, SO sad.

In fact, Jennings did say that this was the worst experience in his long career. “This is an unmanageable situation,” he repeated several times.  Perhaps he was referring to the rigged public meeting that was poorly facilitated by Councilor Nick Mavadones.  Not sure.  Even columnist Bill Nemitz was holding his head in his hands in the back of council chambers as well – looking as though I have much better things to do than to watch this “cat fight” and I have a headache as well  –  until he left the meeting before it ended.  Meoow.

Speaking of the daily, The “Portland Press Herald, who endorsed Mayor Strimling over incumbent Mayor Michael Brennan didn’t even tell the Incumbent of the stunning endorsement until the evening before it was published.  Mayor Brennan was stunned and frankly rattled at the news and the short notice because Greg Quiche had supported him enthusiastically previously in his editorials. So, the daily has been forced to back paddle on the Strimling endorsement.  That’s because the down sized and  more expensive daily newspaper is the official media outlet  for city hall – the paper does its sometimes dirty reporting to maintain a viable relationship with it. Don’t support the Mayor any more if you want  access to the city manager, although he was plenty accessible before he became city manager for Portland.

In a dramatic scene following his violin solo, “Woe is Me,” Poor Jon threatened to resign his position if he didn’t get his way. Poor Jon who worked in the Clinton White House just can’t cope anymore. To those familiar with his employment record and with rumors circulating in Portland, it is believed Poor Jon is setting the  stage  for his dramatic exit from city hall.

After all, Poor Jon moved to Maine from Massachusetts where he said he coached the Boston Celtics when Larry Byrd was a player, Poor Jon brought with him the Mane Red Claws with whom he did not stay long.  After that brief stint, he partnered with Chris Thompson in a proposal to develop Thompson’s Point.  Jennings told mhn.com several years ago, he didn’t stay with that venture because he didn’t  like the “direction it was going in.”   Not enough money.  So he sold his share to  his good friend, Jeb Troubh, son of a former city councilor.  Next he went to SoPo to be the assistant city manager.  Short.  He owned an orange juice vending business at the Maine Mall in SoPo.  Don’t know if he still vends.  He’s clammed up since he became city manager. Then he was hired city manager for Portland.  An employment history that many employers would be wary of and perhaps avoid if they were interested in a long term commitment.

Some people have  spotty work records.  Jennings is one of them.  But he apparently told the city council what they wanted to hear during his job interview.  I’m your strong. I’m your tough.  I’m your guy.  Who can blame him after working in the Clinton White House? Maybe Twisted Trump will hire him.  There is a Communications Director’s position that just opened up – tailor made for Poor Jon.

A 4 l/2 hour cat fight  ended with little to show for it.  The norm for this undisciplined city council who likes to hear themselves talk with little regard for whether anyone cares what they are saying.  The major decision (drum roll please) was that the council would reconvene an executive session at a later date intended to smear the popular Mayor since that effort failed.  The Council also directed Poor Jon to resume weekly meetings with the Mayor – something that Poor Jon has refused to do recently.  Communication is not his strong suit.  At the outset of the cat fight tonight,  the Mayor defined four requests since the city council voted on May 15, 2017 to defund his aide Jason Shedlock.  The City Council just didn’t think it could go out on a limb this far though……because they still want to punish the Mayor for his independence and liberal agenda.

Long-winded councilors took far too long to say nothing over and over again and then repeating nothing over and over again. A practice councilors and city committees don’t tolerate when the public is testifying before them.  Also, city councilors demand that those testifying stick to the agenda before them and don’t go off message.  Those disobeying this Chamber Rule are quickly returned to the agenda.  Why doesn’t the city council comply with its own rules?

A professional,  independent  facilitator uninvested in the outcome of the cat fight was needed to reign the Councilors in from off agenda comments and redundant chit chat more appropriate for a bar room somewhere. The acerbic Councilor Belinda Raw who was chatty, talked in great detail about what a close knit group the Council is and how they’ve gone out to a bar following a meeting for drinks.  We all get along.  There is just one person who doesn’t get along, Raw said eye-balling the Mayor.  Raw did not have the good sense to stop there:  As a teacher she encouraged her students to ask lots of questions.  Curiousity is good. But even in doing so, you have to do some homework of your own first she advised the Mayor staring at him again.   Bar talk should stay in the bar, Raw.

The long-winded Nicholas Mavadones designated himself as facilitator of the meeting so that the Mayor could participate more fully without that mantle on him.  Councilor Mavadones:  Before you ever  facilitate a meeting again, please figure out to do it. You facilitated a cat fight that lasted 4 l/2 hours. It  went round and round and round about nothing and more and more  nothing. With a qualified facilitator without a stake in the outcome, it should have taken about half that time to come to nothing.

Rather, it was a staged performance to continue to try to smear the Mayor as The Problem at city hall.  The forum  was requested by Raw on behalf of her  close friend Poor Jon.   Woe is Me!  Rather, it backfired on them.

Please spare us that again. And Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, as difficult as it is for you, please try to tell the truth in public in the future.  I refer to your behavior toward the Mayor at the July 25th meeting at the Economic Development Committee meeting. At that time,  you tried in vain and  unsuccessfully to pick a fight with the Mayor. You tried to put words in his mouth because you are opposed to his proposal for amendments to the city’s TIF policy.  You are a real estate attorney.  That is your job. The Mayor didn’t engage with you and bite back as you hoped would happen.  I know its hard for you  to tell the truth  when you have an ax to grind with the Mayor.  But try, because if you don’t, I promise I will do it for you.

Here comes that Poor Jon violin music again. Oh yes.  It’s getting louder and louder.  I recognize it now.   It’s the “Smear Strimling Symphony, Part 2,”  written and performed by Jon Jennings –  Jennings the maestro manipulator who was a political operative in the Clinton White House. although he doesn’t talk about it publicly and prefers to brand himself as a businessman from Indiana.  (Conservatives from Indiana should stay the heck away…oh well, you know the song verse and chorus included!)