I read with dismay the recent op-ed, “Your Viewpoint: Portland is changing and its anti-poor lobby is furious” (March 22), which vilified certain individuals who have spoken out critically but constructively about the recent organization and output of Portland’s Charter Commission.
The column’s author, Cait Vaughan, attacked ground-breaking female civic leaders Cheryl Leeman and Anne Pringle by using specious, ad hominem attacks calling them part of a “who’s who of gentrifiers and anti-poor activists,” branding them as “anti-poor” simply because they offered an opposing point of view to hers about the Charter Commission.
Perhaps Vaughan might want to consider specifically Anne Pringle’s lifetime contributions to the community, including her work in support of fair, accessible housing and as an unwavering advocate for Maine people with mental health issues. Both Pringle and Leeman have provided decades of important and selfless community service to Portland.
Vaughan’s characterizations are untrue and insulting. Principled civic discourse ought to reflect kindness and respect for divergent points of view. Cruel, unfounded name-calling is cheap and unbefitting a just cause. Remembering the Golden Rule and acting accordingly is not giving up; it is what thoughtful, caring people do as they work for rights and justice for all.