Mix of Republicans and Democrats Adopt Scare Tactics in Anti-Education Agenda


Maine State Legislature Michael Brennan, Former Mayor of Portland, Addresses the Press at  City Hall This Afternoon.

A YES Sign For All the Charter Commisson Initiatives on the November 8th Ballot.

A Blank Check That Brennan Doesn’t Want to Give to School Board, Although Portland Voters Would Get the Last Word at the Ballot Box.  Is There an Implication Here that Portland Voters Aren’t Qualified to Make Their Own Decision on the School Board Budget?

Supporting the Charter Commission is a Sign at Franklin Street on the East End of Portland.

When the defense is not living up to expectations, pivot to a good offense –  if you have one – a strategy used in the sports world and one that was borrowed at a press conference today in which Republicans and Democrats merged concerns in an attempted repudiation of Question # 5 proposed by the Charter Commission – a Question that is on the November 8th ballot for voters to accept or not..

If passed it would permit the Portland Public School  Department to continue to create its own budget.  But the change would permit that proposed budget to go  directly to the voters for their approval at the ballot box.  In other words, it would by-pass the scrutiny of the city council in the long-drawn out process that currently exists – none of whom have stepped inside a classroom, much less taught in one. Question # 5 would streamline the process.  It would make the process more efficient. Process  is something that Portland City Hall is long on – sometimes – too long.

Question 5 is one of eight proposals on the November 8th ballot for Portland voters to ratify or not as recommended .by the Charter Commission.

Dan Emery, a retired attorney, said that conflicting views by local law firms as to the legality of the autonomy sought by the Portland School  Board, could erupt into lawsuits.  Although he did not specify who would be suing the Portland School Department, the tactic was clear:  create fear and confusion. Emery said he will vote against this “clown show.”

Cheryl Leeman, (R) following the press conference and its organizer, confirmed that she did not know of anyone who might file a lawsuit, but that outcome was possible.

The chair of the Charter Commission is an ACLU attorney MIchael Kebede.  David Small responded:  “When you have a very progressive agenda, people will push their beliefs for what they believe in.” Is that their good offense or their best defense?

This opposition to putting the proposed Portland Public School budget directly into the hands of Portland voters begs the question:  do these politicans believe that Portland voters are not smart enough or otherwise qualified to make decisions  about the quality of the education they want their children to receive?  Apparently not.  Because this coalition resorted to scare tactics when there were no facts to be made to support their position.

However, no one at the press conference today pointed out that 94% of communities in Maine and across the country vote directly on the school board’s proposed budget rather than the inefficient and political process currently employed by the city of Portland.  Maintaining the status quo is less threatening than change.

Former conservative member of the Portland City Council, Cheryl Leeman (R) and former chief of staff for Senator Olympia Snowe (R), was the organizer of the event.  She said she does not know whether more press conferences on the Charter Commission questions will happen before election day on November 8th.  “If I can come up with an idea for another press conference, I will,” she said.