Thursday, August 31, 2006

The September 1st issue of the West End NEWS is on the street!
West End Politics
Senate Race Heats Up

In the first campaign forum of the political season, the three candidates for Portland’s primary state senate seat fielded a flurry of questions, while some of their supporters tried to frame the debate in terms that would present their opponents in a negative light.

Ethan Strimling, the incumbent, Republican David Babin, and Green Independent Kelsey Perchinski answered questions about healthcare, taxes, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), the environment, and education.

Babin defended his support for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (see related story) which Strimling opposes and vowed to fight against. Perchinski also opposes TABOR, saying “there has to be a better way.”

Strimling called for a more fair tax system in which those who could afford it would pay more and those with lower incomes would pay less. He said that there were “way too many sales tax exemptions.”

Babin said that “the last thing we need to do is raise taxes.” He said there should be no tax at all for anyone earning under $28,000 a year, and that there was enough revenue-it just needed to be spent more wisely.

Perchinski said that the main issues she would focus on would be affordable healthcare, housing, the minimum wage, and promoting alternative fuel sources such as solar panels.

Perchinski and Strimling both expressed support for the state’s Dirigo health plan, which Babin opposes, saying that government regulation has driven private insurance companies out of the state. He said he was supportive of the choice of options that private health care insurers would provide. (In his 2002 Senate campaign, in response to a healthcare-related issue, Strimling was quoted as saying that the government shouldn’t be in the health care business.)

Corey Hascall, Strimling’s former campaign manager, who is currently listed as the moderator of Fighting for Portland, Strimling’s campaign organization, referred to Babin’s “anti-choice, and anti-civil rights” positions and asked Perchinski why she would align herself with the conservative Republican. Perchinski volunteered with Babin’s 2004 campaign as his campaign manager and website designer. The two were employed at the time at Goodwill Industries, where Babin still works. Perchinski is the program manager at WMPG, the local radio station. She says that she joined the Babin campaign because she did not want to see Strimling run unopposed. Her current campaign platform is radically different than the one that Babin has put forward, including opposition to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Jon Hinck, the Democrat who is running against West End Representative John Eder, referred to Republican national economic policies such as ‘supply-side economics’ and asked the candidates if they supported those policies. (Many of the attendees at the forum were probably still in diapers when the Reagan administration introduced ‘supply-side economics’ in the early 1980s.)

Babin responded to Hinck by saying that he (Babin) was a Republican, but that people should “think locally”. He called Maine’s economy “a mess”, which he blamed on the policies of Maine Democrats. Strimling said he did not support the national Republican economic policies of the last 30 years.

When asked about their weaknesses as candidates, Babin said that he would probably work too hard if elected to the office. Strimling said that he probably submitted too many bills in the last legislative session, and it would have been better if he had focused on fewer. Perchinski said her weakness might be not being familiar enough with some of the lesser issues in the campaign.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dems Collecting School Supplies for Katrina Victims
Maine Democrats launched a week-long drive on Monday, August 28th to collect school supplies for Louisiana school departments affected by Hurricane Katrina.

When the storm hit, schools across the Gulf Coast region not only faced considerable damage, but lost valuable supplies important for classroom instruction. A year later, many schools face tight budget constraints that keep them from purchasing necessary classroom items, and families hard-hit by the storm struggle to buy appropriate back-to-school supplies for their children.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Dudley, Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion, Washington Parish, Louisiana, Lt. Sheriff Fred Kirby, Cumberland Country Chief Deputy Sheriff Kevin Joyce, and other local teachers and elected officials kicked off the drive.

Drop-off points for those wishing to donate supplies include the following:

Portland - Victory 2006 office, 470 Forest Avenue, Suite 301
Monday-Friday 8:00am-6:00pm
Yarmouth - Yarmouth Democratic Committee office, 500 US Route One,
1st Floor. Drop off times are:
Tuesday, August 29, 7:00am-9:00am
Wednesday, August 30, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Windham - Marilyn Russell’s home, 94 Brand Road (between routes 115/202) Anytime – just drop off in the garage if no one is home.
Augusta - Maine Democratic Party office,16 Winthrop Street.
Monday-Friday 8:00am-6:00pm

FMI: Marilyn Russell, Chair, CCDC
PO Box 726, Windham, ME 04062
(207) 892-2778
West End Remembers Woody Dana

A memorial service was held on August 21st at the State Street Church for well known West End resident Woody Dana, who died on August 14th at the age of 63.

Woody was known as an artist and an art collector, having probably the most extensive collection of art from local artists. He exhibited his art collection at a show called “Unbridled Eclecticism”, which was held at the University of New England Art Gallery in 1999.

He also shared his collection, including rare and valuable works by Chagall and Picasso, at an exhibit entitled “2-1-02, The Show of the Year”, which was held at Congress Square Gallery in February, 2002.

Woody was also active with the Portland Coalition for the Psychiatrically Labeled, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Shalom House.

Woody was the son of Woodbury K. Dana II and Dorothy Payson Dana. He is survived by two sisters, nieces, nephews, and great nephews.

Woody was also a poet. The following excerpt is from his 1995 poetry collection, entitled ‘city skunks’:

if there is
no way
that is not
and staying
where you are
with things
as they are
can’t be done
then step back
and go around
your present
don’t let yourself
be destroyed
by what would
appear to be
a too well

Memorial donations in Woody’s memory may be made to Shalom House, PO Box 560. Portland Maine 04112.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Babin Ads Draw Campaign Ethics Complaint


Campaign advertising in the West End NEWS and other local newspapers has become the target of an ethics commission complaint against Republican State Senate challenger David Babin. The complaint, filed by a Portland voter, say that advertisements Babin placed in The West End NEWS promoting the Taxpayer Bill of Rights are in violation of Maine’s Clean Election law.

The advertisements feature Babin’s "not just another pretty face" picture with information on why he is supporting the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

The formal complaint was filed by William D. Dobrowolski, who describes himself as an independent, but who served as Senator Ethan Strimling's deputy campaign treasurer during Strimling’s 2002 run for the seat. Dobrowolski said he filed the complaint because he believes in the Ethics Commission and in the Clean Elections system. He said he has not been active politically for years after severing political affiliations when attempting to be appointed to the Ethics Commission himself.

Dobrowolski sent copies of all six Babin ads that appeared in the last two issues of the West End NEWS to Ethics Commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne, specifically referring to the ad in which Babin expresses support for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). Dobrowolski told the Commission that there is nothing in the ads that promote Babin’s run for the senate seat, despite Babin’s picture appearing in the ad, along with the phrase ‘Babin - State Senate.’

In his complaint, Dobrowolski refers to the Clean Election Guidelines which say that “Maine Clean Election Act funds may not be spent to: …make independent expenditures supporting or opposing any candidate, ballot measure, or political committee...”

A Republican Party official said that it was confirmed with the Ethics Commission before the primary that it was legal for Babin to endorse the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in the advertisements.

Paul Lavin, Assistant Director of the Ethics Commission staff, said that the newspaper’s only obligation in the matter was to include the attribution statement in each ad. All of the ads in question are properly attributed to Babin. Lavin said that his office was in the process of contacting Babin in an attempt to resolve the matter before the Ethics Commission addresses it at their next meeting on September 22nd.

Friday, August 25, 2006

New Kid in the Old ’Hood

Reading Kicks Off Campaign for State Rep in Parkside/Bayside

More than 40 people attended a campaign kickoff party on August 20th for Matt Reading, the Green Independent candidate for the District 119 Parkside/Bayside State House seat, at the Bayside home of Amanda Sears, a woman's health advocate and neighborhood organizer.
Reading is challenging the incumbent Represent-ative Herb Adams, along with the Republican Jason Lavoie. Reading, a 24 year-old Maine native and graduate of the University of Chicago, is seeking to become one of the youngest representatives in the Maine Legislature.
In 2003, Reading served as a college intern in the Augusta office of West End State Representative John Eder.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Greens Vote to Reject TABOR

The Portland Green Independent Committee voted unanimously on August 17th to oppose the Taxpayer Bill of Rights ballot question in November. The decision came after a public debate hosted by the Greens, featuring referendum proponent Tom Zimmerman and Christopher Saint John of the Maine Center for Economic Policy.

Local Greens are calling for an overhaul of the tax structure and for tax relief to service centers.

Portland Greens are running more legislative candidates than ever - four years after the election of West End Representative John Eder as the only Green Party state legislator in the country.

Kelsey Perchinski will challenge incumbent Ethan Strimling and Republican David Babin in the District 8 State Senate race, which covers most of the city. Matt Reading is challenging incumbent Herb Adams and Republican Jason Lavoie in District 119 (Parkside, Bayside). Green School Committee member Ben Meiklejohn will run in District 120 (Munjoy Hill) against Republican Jeff Ferland and former Democratic State Senator Ann Rand.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New Reiche Ramps Could Cost $200G

A preliminary engineering test done on the Reiche School ramps in mid-August were not encouraging, according to school officials. Final results of the test are expected this week.

If workers can stabilize the corrosion and resurface the ramps, it will cost between $50,000 and $100,000, according to School Department estimates. If the ramps must be torn down, the project would be postponed until next summer, and would require installation of handicap access to the second floor - probably an elevator - with a combined cost of at least $200,000.

The fact that Reiche is high on the State priority list might affect how the School Department would make a decision on the proposed renovation.
Grand Re-Opening October 19
Deering Oaks Fountain Renovation to Begin

A prominent landmark in the City of Portland is about to receive a majorrenovation, thanks to a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors. The Deering Oaks Fountain Project will begin this week, as over one million gallons of water are drained from the Deering Oaks Pond in preparation for the installation of a new fountain. Once the pond is fully drained and dry, Parks and Public Works crews will begin removingyears of sediment from the pond area. Site preparation will continue through the week of September 11, whenthe installation of the new fountain is planned. The new fountain will have over 40 nozzles – more than twice as many nozzles as the old fountain. The vertical spray will reach a height of 30feet, and all nozzles will have lighting - making for a spectacular view.

Project costs are approximately $170,000 -including design, constructionof fountain with a new fountain base, electrical upgrades, new pumps, new pump vault and new pipes.
The City allocated approximately $120,000 from its Housing andCommunity Development block grant to help fund the project. The City also received a very large and generous donation from the Charles E.Stickney, Jr. Family.

The first spray fountain in Deering Oaks was installed in 1885. Thecurrent fountain was installed in the early 1960's. The more than 40-year-old fountain has seen many repairs over the years, and with replacement partsnow unavailable, work began on the design of a new Deering OaksFountain. Risbara Brothers Construction is constructing the new fountain, withengineering and design work being conducted by Woodard & Curran. A grand re-opening ceremony for the new fountain is scheduled forThursday, October 19, 6:30 p.m.
Woman Grabbed Through Window

Police report that a man reached in an open apartment window on Dow Street in the West End and grabbed the arms of a woman who was trying to close the window.

Police say that the woman was asleep at about 3AM on July 15th when she was awakened by someone ringing the front doorbell. She answered the door, but there was no one there. She returned to her bedroom and was grabbed by the arms when she tried to close the window.

She told police that she screamed, but that she thought it was a practical joke. She called a friend to stay with her that night, but did not report the incident until several days later. She was not able to provide a description of the man, and no arrests have been made.
Two Arrested With Concealed Weapons

Local drug agents who stopped a suspicious car at Clark and Gray Street in the West End made an unexpected find at about 8PM on August 11th. They discovered two concealed weapons in the vehicle, and arrested Russel Gordon, 21, and Kristi Lowell, 22, and charged them with carrying concealed weapons. No drugs were found.
Police said that Gordon tried to flee the scene on foot but was apprehended a short distance away.
Book Traders to Close

Book Traders, the nearly four-year-old book store on Congress Street, will close at the end of August.
Owner Curtis Kise has announced that he will be closing the store and moving to his native Philadelphia to take over the management of The Book Trader, Philadelphia’s largest used book store, with over 200 thousand books in stock. Kise learned the used book business at the Philadelphia store. The Portland store stocks about 40,000 books, which are being liquidated as the store enters its final weeks.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Strimling Grilled at Neighborhood Meeting
Early campaign stop proves less than neighborly.


Portland State Senator Ethan Strimling faced some tough questioning and strong disagreement at the West End Neighborhood Association meeting at the Reiche School on August 9th.

Strimling’s topic of discussion for the evening was supposed to be all the recent changes at Portland West (of which Strimling is Executive Director) and all the new directions that the local social service agency is headed.

Portland West recently announced that the agency would no longer run its Time Dollar program, was ceasing publication of its quarterly Neighbors newspaper, and would no longer be part of the annual Holiday Gift distribution program.

Strimling started his presentation by apologizing to the twenty or so West Enders in attendance for being late, and for ‘being so formal’. Strimling was attired in a crisp shirt and tie, and shared with his audience that he had just returned from a dedication for the Portland West secretary who passed away recently and in whose memory a room at Portland West was being named.

Strimling launched into the storied history of Portland West, which he credited with saving the West End from gentrification through its purchase of 60 housing units which it administers as affordable housing, including the units at the St. Dominic’s School.

Strimling described the combining of the Time Dollar program with the East End Time Dollar program as being “more efficient.” However, a neighbor in attendance said that residents of the West End were no longer using the program because it was no longer convenient for them. A Portland West employee said that he would look into how the program’s outreach was being handled.

When Strimling appeared to be trying to convince the West End neighborhood group to take over the Christmas gift program, he was told by members that they did not have the resources to do it, and at any rate, Harris Charities, who did most of the work behind the program, was fully intending to continue it.

One project that Strimling didn’t mention in his presentation was the cessation of the publication of Neighbors, the organization’s in-house multi-lingual newspaper. But he faced strong disagreements with his version of how his agency related to the City Manager’s Policy Advisory Committee, the volunteer board which recommends federal funding for many of Portland West’s programs. He said that Portland West was strongly supportive several years ago of the neighborhood association taking over Portland West’s seat on the board. However, others remember Portland West trying desperately to hold onto the seat at the time, and relinquishing it reluctantly. Other claims he made about his agency’s dealing with the board were strongly disputed.

Strimling was also asked if his agency would be able to help the women who would be affected by the closing of the YWCA, and he said that Portland West would be “available to help in any way we can” but did not give any specifics.

Strimling was invited to speak at the meeting by WENA President and fellow Democrat Robert O’Brien, who recently announced that he would be running against Green Party School Board member Stephen Spring for the West End seat on the Portland School Committee. O’Brien had originally planned to run against West End State Rep John Eder, but backed out of that race saying that he was overcommitted and was replaced by the current Democratic challenger Jon Hinck.
Strimling-Babin-Perchinski Showdown
The League's Real Deal Policy Forum on August 22nd will
host local Senate candidates.

The League's Real Deal Policy Forum will host candidates running for State Senate in District 8 and 9 on Tuesday, August 22nd, at the Reiche School, starting at 6:30 PM.

District 8 candidates include the current State Senator Ethan King Strimling, Republican challenger David Babin and Green Party challenger Kelsey Perchinski. As of this writing, only Babin has confirmed his attendance, but Strimling and Perchinski are expected to attend.

The District 9 contenders are Democratic State Representative Joe Brannigan and Republican David Fernald. They will be vying for the seat occupied by Senator Michael Brennan, who decided not to seek reelection.

The Real Deal Forums give young people and the public a way to engage in the process of electoral politics. The Real Deal gives voters a chance to meet with and ask candidates about them-selves and their policies, long before November's elections.

"We take a traditional format of meeting the candidate and spice it up" said Lisa McNeil, The Real Deal Organizer. The Real Deal is a potluck, and please contact the League with any questions at 772-3207 or

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Houlton Story:
Can A Poor Little Road in Portland’s Wealthy West End Find Stature and Self-Realization By Laying It’s Dusty Soul Bare Before The Powers That Be In Portland’s Beaux Arts City Hall?


A couple of issues ago, we wrote about the efforts of residents of Houlton Street/Adams Court to seek improvements to the private road that unites their properties. Research into the legal aspects, and generous cooperation of officials from City departments and Councilwoman Karen Geraghty concluded that creating a public easement was, perhaps, the most viable route.

Houlton/Adams’ present status as a private way, making it legally unqualified for City maintenance and services, meant that only minimal attention, primarily in matters regarding public safety - such as maintaining access for emergency vehicles - would be forthcoming.

Barring paving by the City, the seven owners of property abutting Houlton/Adams could independently contract for improvements - at costs which could run to $10,000 or more.

The recent Houlton/Adams work by Northern Utilities to replace gas lines focused attention on the bad condition of the roadway. It was when residents approached City Hall that they learned of work restrictions on non-City streets. They also learned that Houlton Street, and its offshoot Adams Court, because of their dimensions, would not qualify as City streets. This, most importantly, had to do with width, curbing, and the need for a sidewalk. However, with City Council approval, they could be reclassified as a public easement.

It sounded good. However, the law regarding such a designation states that in the event the property owners requested maintenance or other services not covered by City ordinances, they would still have to petition the City Council, and there could be no guarantee the Council would be forthcoming. As one resident asked, “What if there was a budget crunch? Official City streets would rightfully get priority.”

The matter of parking by non-residents of the private Houlton/Adams enclave would also become a problem under the terms of an easement. There would be no public restriction, as with a private way. However, by making the two streets a separate parking zone, the property owners could receive parking stickers that would open the way for removal of out-of-zone cars. It is unlikely that such an enclave would be designated as a separate parking zone. We’ve also been told that there are perhaps 100 such places in the city.

The next step in the Houlton/Adams story, if and when neighbors decide to move ahead, would be to have a property survey done so that an easement could be properly laid out. Survey costs could run anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. A City Council vote to accept or reject would follow.

Newt Gingrich to Come to Portland
The former House Speaker will give a policy address at think tank's annual fundraiser.
Former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich will be the keynote speaker at The Maine Heritage Policy Center's annual Freedom and Opportunity Luncheon on Fiscal Responsibility and Healthcare Transformation: Needed and Compatible Reforms. The event will take place Wednesday, September 6th at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks.
Democrat Christopher F. Miller has announced his support and endorsement for Pat LaMarche for Governor in November. Miller ran as a Democratic candidate and got 24% of the vote against incumbent governor John Baldacci in the June primary election.

Friday, August 11, 2006

College Republicans Get $15G in Pledges

The Maine College Republican State Chairman Nathaniel Walton has announced that the organization has received pledges totaling $15,000 to the Victory Field Plan Fundraising Campaign. The campaign aims to raise $25,000 in 25 days to help fund the hiring of five full-time College Republican Field Representatives this fall.
The Maine College Republicans are aiming recruit 2,500 new College Republicans on college campuses throughout the state. The students will then be coordinated into volunteer efforts across Maine to work toward the November elections

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Efficiency Study Released by City

The City of Portland announced on August 10th the results of an efficiency study focusing on the Planning and Development Department.

Department Director Lee Urban and his staff requested the efficiency study in an effort to help streamline the City's planning and development process. The study was conducted by Matt Dhillon, an efficiency consultant from Fullerton, California. The primary objective of the efficiency analysis was to evaluate the multi-department development review process.

"While I do not necessarily agree with every observation made in the report, I do think it will be a useful tool allowing us to better serve our community," said City Manager Joseph Gray when asked about the study. The Planning and Economic Development Department has developed a number of recommendations to implement many of the suggestions made in the study.
Copies of the efficiency study are available in the City Manager's Office (Monday * Friday, 8 a.m. * 4:30 p.m.).
Baked Bean Luncheon to Benefit SPIRAL Arts

PORTLAND, ME - The public is invited to a Baked Bean Luncheon on Saturday, August 26, between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm at Immanuel Baptist Church, 156 High St., Portland. Featuring traditional Maine baked beans, hotdogs, coleslaw, casseroles, and homemade pies, the luncheon will benefit SPIRAL Arts, a community arts organization. Costing $7.50 for adults and $3.00 for children under 12, the luncheon will have continuous seating.

SPIRAL Arts works to build community and to make opportunities for creative expression available to people of all ages in Greater Portland. It is currently preparing to unveil The Mosaic of Hope Project in September with the installation of a community-created mosaic on the exterior of the Parkside Neighborhood Center.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Meiklejohn Gets Haircut for Charity

School Committee member and state legislative candidate Ben Meiklejohn has donated ten inches of his hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit that makes wigs out of donated natural hair, and provides them free of charge to children and adults who are suffering hair loss from cancer or other things.

Meiklejohn, a Green Party member who is running to represent Munjoy Hill and downtown Portland in the Legislature, said that the timing was good because of the recent hot weather, and the fact that he has been going door-to-door in the heat in his legislative campaign. He said that his hair doesn't even reach into a pony tail anymore.

This is the second time Meiklejohn has donated his hair to this organization, and since his hair grows back very quickly, he intends to donate throughout his lifetime – perhaps a dozen or more heads of hair. Heidi, from Timeless Hair Creation, who did the cut, said that two years is very fast and that most people take four years to grow back that much hair.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Who Writes this Stuff Anyway?!
Dear WEN,

I had to chuckle when I read the article entitled "New PAC to Promote Taxpayer Bill Of Rights". (West End NEWS, July 21-August 2, 2006). The article seemed interested in a bit of promotion itself, particularly in terms of how it portrayed WEN contributor Steven Scharf. In fact, I had to wonder if Mr. Scharf contributed the article himself, as it seemed a curious bit of shameless self promotion.

"Affordable housing" activist? Hardly. Mr. Scharf recently criticized me online as being only interested in affordable housing for low and middle-income Portlanders - Mr. Scarf insisting that wealthy residents deserve that advocacy as well. A completely inexplicable and illogical assertion by Mr. Scharf - until you realize that he is, in fact, a right-wing Republican activist who disingenuously proffers a public image of being a political moderate.

I must say that I find it ethically specious for WEN to print articles which promote the public relations interests of its contributing writers. It's bad enough that I have to be assailed by ads for a self-loathing, anti-gay bigot and right- wing extremist like David Babin on every other page - I'd thank you to not promote your own right-wing contributing writers in ways that mask their true ideology and intent.

The so-called "Tax Payer Bill Of Rights' is the greatest attempt at fraud ever perpetrated on the people of Maine. I understand that Scharf is a contributing writer, and Babin a paid advertiser. But please don't use articles to promote their anti-poor, anti-middle class agenda. Thank you.

James Melanson

Response to ‘You Could Get Raped and Murdered...’
Dear West End News,

I read with interest the front page piece you ran about the scary fella on Mellen Street that encountered on a recent Sunday morning. (WEN 7-21-06) Your description of this man leads me to believe that he is familiar to me.
While I completely understand that he is frightening, and has the potential to be dangerous, I must take umbrage with the tone of your article. In our well intentioned and politically correct era, it is still amazing to me that so little is understood about alcoholism, and the insanity that accompanies it. The article made for good drama, at the expense of one who is victim to a fatal and progressive illness.

While I do not excuse the irresponsible actions of the inebriated under any circumstance, I believe that it is unfortunate that those who suffer from active alcoholism are still viewed with such fear and misunderstanding, rather than sympathy and compassion.

Bob Bergeron
American Flags Will Line Congress St.
American flags will be lining Congress Street on Memorial Day, Flag Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day, as the result of a partnership with the American Legion Post 17, Portland's Downtown District, and the City of Portland.

The Adopt-A-Flag Program has been established to reinstitute the time-honored tradition. The flags will be hung during these holidays on 51 light poles on Congress Street - from the Central Fire Station to Longfellow Square.

The first display of flags flying over Congress Street will be in November, for the Veterans Day Parade.

For $100 per flag set, individuals, clubs, and businesses can Adopt-A-Flag in memory of or in honor of someone special, or as a tribute to the country. The names and dedications of all donors will be featured on and as a link on the City's website

For more information or to adopt an American flag call Portland's Downtown District at 772-6828.

114 Businesses Join ‘Buy Local’ Campaign
One hundred fourteen businesses in Portland have joined Portland’s Buy Local initiative in less than three weeks, according to organizers of the movement.
The group is planning a major holiday campaign this fall to encourage people to shop locally-owned businesses. They are also going to hold a Meet & Greet event on Monday, Aug. 7th, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Cafe at Pat's (above Pat's Meat Market on Stevens Avenue.) The group is also producing tote bags and tee shirts to promote its message.
‘Maine’s Visible Black History’ Published
The Maine Historical Society will hold a reception on August 10th to celebrate the publication of Maine’s Visible Black History: The First Chronicle of its People (Tilbury House, 2006).

The important new book creates a mosaic of Maine history as shaped and experienced by its black citizens: from slavery to the underground railroad, the arts, science, law, politics, civil rights, education, religion, military, sports and more. The book includes the stories of Cape Verde fishermen who chased cod along our shores, early black settlers, seafarers, ministers, and many other black Mainers.

The reception will include readings from the book, and a book signing. The book was written by H.H. Price and Gerald E. Talbot.

Price, who led research that established Maine’s role in the underground railroad, is a writer with a background in civil rights and African-American history.

Talbot, an eighth-generation Mainer, historian, civil rights leader, and the first black to be elected to Maine’s State Legislature (1972-78), has been researching and educating Maine people about black history since the early 1970’s.

The reception is free and open to the public. It will be held at the Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street, on Thursday, August 10th, at 7 PM.
Future of Portland’s waterfront at stake.

Outgoing Planning Board member John Anton has told City officials that he will organize a ‘People’s Veto’ if the Portland City Council votes in favor of changing the zoning on the waterfront to allow non-marine uses, including possibly a hotel to be built on the City-owned Maine State Pier. That vote will be taken at the Council’s August 7th meeting. The Planning Board voted unanimously on July 25th against the rezoning.

Anton resigned from the Planning Board in late June. His resignation takes effect September 1st. He cited personal and professional commitments as the reason for his resignation, but in his letter to the Portland City Council, he said that the City’s planning staff was being undermined by “archaic protocols and ambiguous statutes.”

A People’s Veto would request that the City Council repeal the decision to change the waterfront zoning (if the Council approves that change on August 7th). If the Council refuses to repeal the decision, the issue would be put out to the voters in a special election within 60 to 120 days. A People’s Veto requires the signatures of 1500 registered City voters to be collected within 30 days of the upcoming City Council vote. Anton has enlisted an attorney to assist in the procedure and has already begun preliminary organizing of signature gatherers for the petition.

The issue could become a major one in the upcoming City Council races this fall. Both challengers for City Council seats on the peninsula (Districts 1 and 2)- David Marshall and Kevin Donoghue -have expressed strong opposition to the zoning change and support for the People’s Veto.

Anton said that the goal of the People’s Veto would be to restore appropriate public process to City officials’ decision-making. He said that he thought that the City Council’s Community Development Committee, which is proposing the changes, did not come to the same conclusions as the public would in regard to the future of the waterfront. Councilors Cloutier, Mavodones and Duson sit on that committee. Anton also said that he hopes that the Council rejects the changes on August 7th, negating the need for the People’s Veto.

The latest issue of the West End NEWS will be on the street TONIGHT!