Brennan critique failed to show shortcomings


I have little patience with journalists who offer damning judgments of one candidate without a scintilla of evidence in support, and endorsement of another solely on the basis of others’ unexamined endorsements.

Chris Shorr (“Changing the coaching roster at City Hall,” Aug. 26) acknowledges how difficult Mayor Brennan’s job is, presiding over a “roster of talentless, preening prima donnas,” yet faults “all his missteps and failings” without burdening his readers with even one illustration. Was it sensibly postponing a Council meeting until the effect of Legislature budget decisions were known? His declaration that Portland would not abandon refugees not yet allowed to work? The ill-advised panhandling ordinance and exaggerated safety zone at Planned Parenthood for which a Council majority voted?

Shorr cites School Board and Council members who endorsed Ethan Strimling, without bothering to note that only Ed Suslovic supported Brennan in his initial run or that both Nick Mavodones and Suslovic harbor mayor ambitions or that School Board members have worked with Strimling at LearningWorks while the board operates largely independent of the Council and Mayor. After noting that Mavodones and Suslovic share in Council failings, Shorr quotes their pie in the sky declaration that “with Ethan at the helm, we know he will bring us together based on our common values and together we will become the great city that we deserve to be.” Neither Shorr nor they bother to offer an illustration of how the city has “languished” or identify what common values they share that Mayor Brennan does not.

More of Shorr’s lack of journalist’s digging: Brennan’s original supporters were a who’s who of Portland civil leaders; Strimling’s were, I’m told by a city councilor, largely unrecognized out-of-town money bags. What does that say?

My last political contact with Ethan was in the Legislature when he introduced into a committee he chaired a proposal to push the Maine Retirement Fund to divest from Iran investments, opposed by peace groups and supported only by an AIPAC operative, the kind of Israel water-carrying that would never have produced the hopeful Iran Agreement all of the other major powers support, leading to peace in the region, and Obama-haters and supporters of Israeli domination of the entire Middle East, many before seeing it, oppose. The Legislature overwhelmingly rejected Ethan’s proposal.

By contrast, I would cite Mayor Brennan’s recognized leadership among the Maine city mayors embattled by Gov. LePage’s hostility to cities and southern Maine.

William H. Slavick


Student survival guide ad about alcohol, cigarettes targeted college students


RE: Pg. 5 of your "Student Survival Guide": I find it ironic that a full-page ad was taken out TARGETING COLLEGE STUDENTS by a business which sells beer, wine and cigarettes in your Sept 3-9 edition, the "Student Survival Guide." The last time I checked, college freshman are 18 years old. Of course, there are students of the legal drinking age on college campuses everywhere; I can't figure out if it was the poor taste of the marketing team at Friendly Discount Beverage, or in the poor taste of the Phoenix for running this ad. Surely, you are aware of the alcohol abuse epidemic on U.S. college campuses.

They probably paid dearly for that "don't forget booze" in said survival guide. Far from a tee-totaler, I do believe in abiding by the law, and the law is 21.


Mary Katherine Spain


Fall Arts Preview failed to delve into visual arts in Portland


There is not one column on the "Arts" in your Sept. 10-16 Issue "Fall Arts Preview." There is, the usual heavy coverage of music, food and whatever; "Dance" displayed a two step, and you hooked "Fishing," and "Theater" sustained one act; but visual arts are nowhere (skip the listings section) to be found. Are you saying what is a reality of the times: Visual arts, as once known and seen in Portland has boarded one of the ubiquitous cruise ships, and left Portland Harbor?

This old artist will look forward to seeing the "Arts" is another "Fall Arts Preview" issue; perhaps, after the tourists leave you will find space for the "Arts." And, congrats, on being able to keep the "Portland Phoenix" alive! Not an easy task to do in this new age of digital publishing, etc.

Roland Salazar Rose