Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Strimling Starts Campaign for US Congress

Portland State Senator Ethan King Strimling has begun his campaign to run for the United States Congress. Strimling’s campaign group met for the first time on November 15th, just eight days after Strimling won re-election to his third term in the Maine State Senate. About forty people attended the event, which was held at The Works restaurant in the Old Port.

“It’s up and running,” said Sive Neilan, Chair of the Portland Democratic City Committee, who praised Strimling’s organization. “He’s going to be the one to beat.”

The District 1 seat in Congress is currently held by Congressman Tom Allen, who is expected to run for the US Senate in 2008 against Senator Susan Collins, but who has made no official announcement. The Strimling campaign did not respond to requests for comments on the campaign and have made no official announcement about it. Strimling is Executive Director of Portland West, and Board President of A Rising Tide, a training program for young people (under 35) interested in politics. Newly-elected West End School Committee member Robert O’Brien is a graduate of the program.

Other Democrats who are expected to run for Allen’s seat include former State Senator Michael Brennan and former House Speaker John Richardson.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

National Family Week Celebration at Portland HS
Community Counseling Center to Host Free, Multicultural Event

As part of National Family Week, Community Counseling Center is hosting a free, multicultural celebration of diverse families at Portland High School, 284 Cumberland Avenue on Sunday, November 19th from 2:00pm - 5:00pm. The event will celebrate the diversity of all families through food, music and arts & crafts. Diverse food dishes from different cultures being served at the event include Iranian, Congolese, Sudanese, Vietnamese and Latin American.

Multicultural music and dance entertainment scheduled to perform include African Dance & Singing groups, a bilingual yoga demonstration, an Acadian fiddle group and a performance by Vanessa Torres and Touching Ground. An American Sign Language (ASL) storyteller will also share a children’s story. Children and families can decorate a picture frame to hold their family portrait, as well as take part in other fun arts and crafts and a scavenger hunt.

Congressman Tom Allen will also receive the National Family Week Advocacy Award. For more information, call Community Counseling Center at 207.874.1030.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

City Refuses New Ice House Food License

Attorneys for the Ice House Tavern on York Street are appealing another decision by the City of Portland which would be another step in putting the local pub out of business. At a hearing on October 25th, City officials refused to renew the pub’s food and entertainment license, after a failed attempt to pull the bar’s liquor license a week earlier.

The State Attorney General's Office had told City officials on October 19th that the Portland City Council did not have the authority to deny a liquor license to The Ice House, because state officials had already renewed the bar’s license in June.

Members of the State’s Liquor Control Board were scheduled to hear an appeal at Portland City Hall by owners of the Ice House on that day. The Portland City Council had voted unanimously on August 21st (6-0, three Councilors absent) not to renew the liquor license of the local bar. Portland police recommended the license denial, despite praise they gave the bar earlier this summer.

Ice House attorneys say they will take the matter to court if they lose the final appeal before City Manager Joe Gray.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dems Take Back West End By Linking Eder to Republicans
Eder’s historic run as the nation’s highest-ranking Green Party elected official is ended by fewer than 100 votes.


A long and bitter campaign ended on Election Day with the defeat of the nation’s highest-ranking Green Party elected official.

West End environmental attorney Jon Hinck defeated incumbent Green Party State Representative John Eder on November 7th by fewer than 100 votes, returning the local legislative seat to Democratic control. Hinck got 1631 votes (51.53%) to Eder’s 1534 (48.47%).

Eder made history in 2002 by winning the seat and becoming the highest-ranking elected Green Party official in the country. Portland Democratic Committee Sive Neilan called Hinck “a greener than Green new legislator.”

Nasty, Ugly and Outrageous

After the election, Eder charged that Hinck, made illegal and untrue mailings and calls in the days before the election. He described Hinck’s campaign against him as “nasty” and “ugly”. He said that the charges that Hinck made during the campaign about Eder’s attendance and voting records were “outrageous”. Hinck defended his campaign, saying that all the charges he made were “completely truthful” and he didn’t understand why Eder waited until the week before the election to defend himself and that voters were entitled to know about Republican contributions to Eder’s campaign made in the days before the election.

The charges were the latest in a campaign that was filled with accusations by both sides of illegal and unethical activity.

One West End resident who is a registered Green, but a Hinck supporter, sent out a pre-recorded phone message the day before the election urging voters to vote for Hinck, and connecting Eder to the Bush-Cheney administration.

“What I share with the Bush-Cheney administration is our progressive pro-renter agenda,” quipped Eder upon hearing the accusation. The Hinck supporter, who is a landlord, said that he opposed Eder because of Eder’s strong position on tenants’ rights. Hinck helped write the script for call. The Maine Democratic Party simultaneously produced a flyer charging that state Republicans were hoping to take over Maine by getting Eder elected.

“Republicans in Maine are counting on YOU to vote Green,” said the flyer, which was placed on car windshields and on Eder signs throughout the district on November 6th.

That charge was in reference to a $1500 contribution to the campaigns of Eder and District 120 Legislative candidate Ben Meiklejohn, also a Green Party member, by the Leadership for Maine's Future, a political action committee led by Republican State Legislator Joshua Tardy, who is the assistant Republican leader in the House and was in line to become Speaker if the Republicans had taken control.. Eder said that his campaign was unaware of that contribution, which came in the form of a pro-Eder mailing. Eder’s legislative aide Ben Chipman, said that he called Tardy immediately when he found out about the mailing but was unable to get it cancelled. He said that he told Tardy that the Greens did not want or need Republican support, and that Green Party votes were not for sale. He said that the Greens would have supported the Democratic candidate for House Speaker if Eder had been re-elected.

The strategy of linking Eder to the Republican Party became apparent in the very first public meeting between the two candidates during a candidate forum sponsored by The League at Reiche School on May 9th.

Although they agreed on almost every issue raised, Eder and Hinck exchanged angry charges and denials regarding the viability of having a third party to promote progressive ideas in the State Legislature.

Eder took great exception when Hinck accused him of not doing anything when Democrats nearly lost an important committee chair to a conservative Republican in the last session. Eder denied the charge, saying that he had nothing to do with the committee in question and said that the Democratic leadership considered him to be part of the working majority. He said that he voted his conscience and that he was a Green - not a Democrat who had become an independent.

After Eder said that there should be more political parties and that the two-party system has failed, Hinck described how radically different Portland politics are from the rest of the state, and how Republicans vote against every progressive measure. He then said that he didn’t think that third parties were the answer – that they tear down the better parts of the other two parties.

Aside from that major difference, the two candidates agreed on issues ranging from citizen referendums to toxic waste disposal to single-payer healthcare to immigrant voting rights. At the end of the 40-minute session, the two candidates hugged each other and started distributing their first wave of campaign literature. That was their last hug, but just the first trickle of a wave of campaign literature produced by the two campaigns.

In October, Eder was fined $100 for failing to disclose that he sponsored an automated call by the National Organization for Women that questioned Hinck’s position regarding a woman’s right to choose. Eder supporters accused Hinck of hedging on full support for women’s reproductive rights, and Hinck said that describing him as anything other than pro-choice was untrue.

Hinck also complained to the Ethics Commission that Eder was sending a “campaign message” by using his logo, designed by West End artist Patrick Corrigan, .in his ongoing constituent service advertising. In an interview in the Portland Forecaster, Hinck charged that Eder “sends legislative communications-his campaign message-on taxpayer money.”

The State Ethics Commission, however, agreed with Eder – that his logo was a valid representation of his constituent work - and could also be used as a campaign tool. The logo shows a human silhouette with a light bulb going off, along with Eder’s name emblazoned across the top.

Eder’s defeat ends a continuous four-year battle with Maine Democrats that he waged since he won the West End legislative office, ending years of Democratic Party dominance. In a 2003 redistricting, he was forced to move back into the district in which he was elected, after his residence wound up as part of the adjoining District 120. In 2004, his legislative aide, Chipman, was charged with, and later cleared of voter tampering, after the charges were brought up just prior to Eder’s 2004 re-election. Eder was also the author of an anti-Iraq War resolution in 2003 that was later hijacked by local Democratic State Senator Ethan King Strimling.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Maine SpeakOut Project to Host 3rd Transgender Day of Remembrance

As part of the national Transgender Day of Remembrance, Maine SpeakOut Project will host a conference and ceremony at the Albert Brenner Glickman Family Library on the 7th floor at University of Southern Maine, 314 Forest Avenue, on Saturday November 18th.
The conference will feature facilitated workshops that will highlight the issues faced by the transgender community every day and will begin at 12:00pm. Registration is requested but not required for the conference, and there is a voluntary sliding scale that will be collected at the door.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was created to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in dozens of cities across the world.

This marks the second year a conference is offered at Maine SpeakOut Project’s Transgender Day of Remembrance event. The conference will include workshop sessions “Transgender 101,” a Trans Youth panel, “Transgender Intimacy: Negotiating the Labyrinth,” “Transgender Narratives,” “Real ID,” caucuses and more. Stephen Wessler, executive director of the Center for Prevention of Hate Violence will be keynote speaker of the conference.

A candlelight remembrance ceremony will follow the conference in front of the Glickman Library at 4:30pm, weather permitting, or on the 7th floor of the library in case of inclement weather and is free and open to the public. For more information on the conference or ceremony, call Jen Hodsdon at 207.874.1030 /

Monday, November 13, 2006

Portland Buy Local to Host Holiday Party and Book Signing

On Saturday, November 18th, Portland Buy Local will be hosting a free public event at One Longfellow Square, (formerly the Center for Cultural Exchange), from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Local author Stacy Mitchell will discuss her new book, Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses, published this month by Beacon Press.

Portland Buy Local will unveil its new holiday poster and ad campaign encouraging residents to "Give a Gift to Portland" by patronizing locally-owned businesses this holiday season.

Since its inception in July, Portland Buy Local has grown to include nearly 200 independent businesses. The group's logo and posters are widely visible around town and many participating businesses report that they are attracting new customers as a result of the campaign.

In her new book, Mitchell highlights the more than 200 communities in Maine and across the U.S. that have rejected big-box development projects since 2000, as well as the growing number of effective "buy local" campaigns launched in communities as far-flung as Raleigh, NC, and Bellingham, WA.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Portland Cop Cleared in Use of Deadly Force

A Portland police officer was cleared by the State Attorney General’s office on November 9th of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a suspect during a drug arrest on August 25th.

Sergeant Robert Martin shot the suspect, Richard Duncan, 26, during a struggle in which Duncan pulled out his own semi-automatic weapon. Duncan died shortly after the incident which occurred at about 11 PM near Forest Avenue and Pleasant Avenue.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bank Robbery in Portland

Police were called to the Bank of America at 446 Forest Avenue at about 10:50 A.M. today(November 9th) for the report of a robbery. Employees said a man entered the bank wearing gloves and a ski mask and demanded cash from all five tellers. They all complied and the man fled on foot. Along with the bank employees, three customers were in the bank. No one was injured in the robbery. The perpetrator did not display a weapon.

The perpetrator is described as a white male; about six feet tall and large build. He was wearing a bright blue ski mask, black hooded sweatshirt and blue running pants with sneakers. He was carrying a black gym bag.

The FBI is assisting in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Portland Police Detective Bureau at 874-8526.
Adams Wins Parkside in Close Race
Republican candidate announces plan to join military.

Democratic State Representative Herb Adams was re-elected by a slim margin on November 7th to represent the Parkside/Bayside neighborhoods (District 119) in the Maine State Legislature.
Adams outpolled Green Party candidate Matt Reading 1,004 votes (49.83%) to 843 (41.84%). Republican Jason Lavoie received 168 votes (8.34%).

After the election, Lavoie, who is a student at the University of Southern Maine, announced that he was planning to enlist in the military.
O’Brien Takes West End School Board Seat

West End Neighborhood Association president Robert O’Brien was elected on November 7th to represent District 2 (West End) on the Portland School Committee. O’Brien defeated incumbent Stephen Spring 1,948 (52.89%) to 1,735 (47.11%). Spring was elected to the Committee in 2003, defeating current Parkside/Bayside State Representative Herb Adams.

In his term on the Committee, Spring was responsible for that board taking on student representatives as non-voting members, helped institute a policy limiting military recruitment in City schools, advocated and secured free passes for students to use METRO public buses, and was a leading voice in opposition to a school task force proposal to close the Reiche School.

O’Brien initially announced that he would run for the State Legislature from District 118 (West End), but backed out of that race, citing other commitments. He is also vice-president of Portland’s Irish-American Club.
Donoghue Takes Munjoy Hill

Kevin Donoghue, who “redistricted” himself from the West End to the East End this summer so that he could run for the District 1 Portland City Council seat, won that seat by a margin of 1,815 (47.44%) to 1,218 (31.83%) over incumbent City Councilor William R. Gorham. A third candidate, Kirk Goodhue, picked up 793 votes (20.73%).
District 1 includes Munjoy Hill, Bayside, the Old Port and the downtown section of Portland. Gorham is a longtime activist on Munjoy Hill who was elected to the Council in 2003. He previously served as president of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hinck Beats Eder
West End environmental attorney Jon Hinck defeated incumbent Green Party State Representative John Eder on November 7th by fewer than 100 votes, returning the local legislative seat to Democratic control. Hinck got 1631 votes (52%) to Eder’s 1534 (48%).

Eder made history in 2002 by winning the seat and becoming the highest-ranking elected Green Party official in the country.
Marshall Wins West End Council Seat

Local artist David Marshall was elected on November 7th to represent the West End (District 2) on the Portland City Council. Marshall received 1,893 votes (45%). Cyrus Hagge received 1407 votes (34%), and Parkside Neighborhood Association president Michael Patterson got 874 votes (21%).

Marshall replaces longtime Councilor Karen Geraghty, who chose not to run and who supported Patterson in the race.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Eder Endorses Marshall

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse David Marshall’s candidacy for the City Council District 2 seat. A 28-year-old artist, neighborhood activist, and local business owner, David Marshall displays the leadership and dedication necessary to represent District 2.

Dave believes in “social capital”; he connects people and builds community. He takes responsibility for his neighborhood and demonstrates his commitment every day by helping his neighbors. David Marshall immerses himself in the daily life of District 2 and always leaves it better than he found it.

Dave serves on the boards of the West End Neighborhood Association, my Portland Creative Economy Arts Incubator, and guides at-risk youth as they fulfill their community service obligations. He embodies our community's best values, and shares in the day to day struggles and celebrations of West End, Parkside, and University neighborhood residents.

As the House Chair of the Governor’s Creative Economy Council, I strongly believe Portland’s and Maine’s future success depends on attracting more talented young people into Portland so that clean, socially responsible companies looking for a sustainable pool of young, creative workers will follow, bringing livable-wage jobs with them.

If we are to realize this promise of the Creative Economy and continue to attract young people to the city, then we need to invest leadership in young accomplished people like Dave Marshall. Who better than a young leader like Dave Marshall to inform City policy on what his generation is looking for in a place to live and work? Dave represents this future.

At this time of change and growth in Portland, we need David Marshall with his effective, resourceful, hard-working approach to solving problems and dealing with quality of life issues on the street level where it really counts. Marshall has progressive, fresh ideas and years of proven dedication to our district. He will bring transparency and citizen empowerment to City Hall.

Dave Marshall is a truly impressive person, but don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself. Visit David Marshall at his art gallery, Pine Street Studios on 41 Pine Street. Let him know how he can best represent you on the City Council.

Please join me in voting for David Marshall on November 7th.

John Eder
State Representative
District 118

O’Brien Supports Gay Community

To the Editor:

In all of the controversy that has arisen from School Committee representative Stephen Spring’s “Gay, Green, and Gorgeous” advertisement in The Companion monthly, one point has remained absent from the discussion: Mr. Spring does not have an anti-gay opponent in his race.

Mr. Spring has been criticized because of his controversial campaigning behavior, namely the “gorgeous” ad in The Companion and a drag performance at The League candidates’ talent show (as covered by the Portland Forecaster), which were intended for specifically-targeted audiences. Mr. Nemitz had called me for comment on The Companion ad, and after a twenty minute discussion, could not get a comment out of me condemning the behavior—as a result, I was left out of the article. I did, however, get an email from Stephen Spring, thanking me for not jumping on the “bash Spring” band -wagon.

Regardless of how District 2 residents vote on November 7th, the gay community will still have an ear, a voice, and an advocate of equality issues on the Portland School Committee. My fiancée Stephanie and I put in a lot of hours for the Maine Won’t Discriminate campaign in 2005, and I have been endorsed and supported by many gay members of our community, including Barb Wood, Karen Geraghty, Michael Patterson, and Sive Neilan, to name a few.

Regardless of how you may feel about the controversial campaigning, please do not let it decide your vote. I ask you to vote on the issues, namely improving Reiche, and increasing public input on major School Committee issues.

Please consider voting for me on November 7th.

Robert O’Brien

Strimling is Making a Difference

Dear Editor,

In 2004, my sister ceased to qualify for the MaineCare funds that had been keeping her employed at the Morrison Development Center. The Center was faced with a $12,000 annual deficit for employing Betty. Betty is disabled, and her job keeps her active, confident, and young. Each day that Betty is allowed to work at Morrison is a day she is excited about waking up and facing the challenges that are ready to confront her.

After struggling for months with the state bureaucracy, I turned to Senator Ethan Strimling for help. He responded quickly, contacting the Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services and explaining the specifics of the situation. He told them, ‘Here’s someone who wants to work and be productive and you’re telling me we can’t keep her employed! There has to be a way.’ Well, he was right.

Within weeks DHS figured out how to keep her qualified for Maine Care. Today, Betty continues to be happily employed. She is one of the few people I know who truly hates to miss work. Senator Strimling is making a difference, where it matters.

Ralph Cusack and Butch Fenton
Portland residents and business owners

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Community Art Project Unveiled

The Portland Public Art Committee officially unveiled a community art project - Art Underfoot in Portland - designed by students, citizens and even City Councilors, on Friday, November 3, in Longfellow Square at the corner of State and Congress Street.

The Portland Public Art Committee has a Community Art Works program which encourages collaborations between artists and community members to create permanent public art in the neighborhoods of Portland. City Councilor Jill Duson initiated a project while serving as Mayor. The Public Art Committee created the concept for the Art Underfoot in Portland which reflects what might be found on the ground in Portland, such as leaves, insects, shells, etc.

Artist Natasha Mayers worked with children at the Reiche School, teens in a hip-hop group at The Center for Cultural Exchange; members of the Portland Coalition and Amistad Center; staff and clients of Portland West; and even some City Council members. One hundred and twenty five clay tiles were cast in bronze by Patrick O’Brien who is a student at MECA, under the guidance of teacher Anthony Tafuri. In October 2006, the City’s Public Works Department installed the tiles permanently in Longfellow Square.
Portland Gets $2.6 Million in AIDS Funding

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that Portland will be receiving two of only 26 nationwide HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS) grants. These grants will fund housing and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. Frannie Peabody Center will be receiving $1.2 million and the City of Portland will be receiving $1.4 million.

A ceremonial check presentation was made on Wednesday, November 1st, at the Center’s office at 335 Valley Street.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Freedom Trail to Open in East End
The Installation Ceremony and Campaign Kick-Off for the Portland Freedom Trail as the first permanent marker is in honor of Portland's Abolitionistswill be unveiled Thursday, November 9th, 12:00 noon at the Eastern Cemetery at the corner of Congress and Mountfort Streets, with an introduction by Mayor James I. Cohen.

The Portland Freedom Trail Project is an effort to:

• Designate an official “freedom” walking trail by marking significant sites connected to the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movement with permanent granite pedestals throughout the Portland peninsula.

• Connect Portland’s trail to national routes and related efforts with an emphasis on linking the route from New Hampshire to Canada.

• Concretely add Maine’s participation in the abolitionist movement to the historical record.

• Contribute/develop educational materials, enhance public awareness, and promote an appreciation of the many struggles for freedom in this country and around the world--past and present.

For more information call (207) 874-8689.