Mayor suggests strengthening immigrant protections

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Here’s what’s new.

What we’re talking about

Mayor indicates he wants to strengthen city’s immigrant protections. Kind of. — During his State of the City address Monday, Mayor Ethan Strimling defended Portland’s policy designed to protect immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. But like many left-leaning Portlanders, he was caught off-guard by President-elect Donald Trump’s victory and suggested that he and the City Council might need to do more.   

“In 2003, none of us imagined we might elect a president calling for the registration of Muslims and the deportation of 11 million of our neighbors and family members,” said Strimling. “Maybe we need to strengthen our ordinance.”

He didn’t provide any specifics on what this might mean and declined to give details after his speech. His remarks came after a BDN Portland story in November in which we reported that the city has a policy of cooperating with federal immigration officials, who would be responsible for enacting Trump’s stated goal of deporting any undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

“I think our policy is pretty strong in terms of protecting immigrants and protecting people across the board,” Strimling told us at the time.

In 2003, Portland enacted a policy that bars city employees — including police — from asking about someone’s immigration status unless required by law. The regulation is part of what has earned Maine’s largest city the reputation as a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees. But contrary to the position struck by many so-called sanctuary cities, Portland also has a policy of cooperating with federal law enforcement — including immigration authorities.

Although they both say it is strong, Strimling and City Councilor Pious Ali now intend to give Portland’s immigrant protection policy another read.

“We will look and see if there are any loopholes,” said AIi. — Jake Bleiberg

South Portland Police Department releases body camera policy — The South Portland Police Department has released the policy that will govern its officers use of body cameras, which is slated to start in the coming weeks. The policy instructs officers to turn off the cameras when having them on might compromise police work, but it doesn’t require that they be turned off when entering a private home unless the resident specifically asks. Compare South Portland’s to the body camera policies of forces throughout the country here.  — Jake Bleiberg

What went wrong at Roustabout?— Kathleen Pierce reports on the untimely demise of a promising restaurant that closed this week after only 15 months:

When Kit Paschal and chef Anders Tallberg opened Roustabout in October 2015, they promised “an everyday place for visitors and locals.” With past stints at Boston hotspots like Eastern Standard and the now-shuttered, James Beard winning Hungry Mother in Cambridge, the cards were stacked in their favor.

Located next to the much smaller Drifter’s Wife, Roustabout was a huge restaurant that opened with fanfare, but never seemed to find its footing. Was the menu too focused? The competition too steep? The space too large? The neighborhood still “up and coming?”

Mystery of the Teddy Roosevelt Portland pic revealed — Last week, Phil Morse, of the Seashore Trolley museum, was enlisted in the historical hunt for the truth behind a photo (posted to an online forum from Switzerland) of TR and Portland Mayor Mayor Charles B. Clarke. This week, with help from the microfilmed newspaper collection at the Portland Public Library, Morse is declaring the puzzler solved on his blog. — Troy R. Bennett

Mainers protested Trump’s pick for attorney general today — From Nok-Noi Ricker’s report on the protests around the state:

Close to 50 protesters stormed [Sen. Susan] Collins’ office in downtown Portland around 10 a.m. Tuesday, saying they wanted her to know they weren’t happy with her support of [Sen Jeff] Sessions.

Many of those protesters were asked to leave the building not long after they arrived because of a violation of the building’s fire code. Portland police were also called in to escort people out and make sure the protest stayed peaceful.

Some of the protesters were allowed back in a short time later in smaller numbers to voice their concerns with members of the senator’s staff.

“This is an intolerable act and we do not support her. We expect her to stand with us and she is standing with Sessions. She is standing with Trump and she is standing for white supremacy,” said Marie Follagttar Smith of Mainers for Acceptable Leadership.

10 tips on surviving winter — Dispatch has some useful/funny tips for staying sane during the cold isolation of a Maine winter. Here’s tip no. 7:

Become a Shoveler For Hire Out of the storm emerged a figure. It was holding the most beautiful object imaginable. Against the wind and frost, they swung downwards and dug me free of my entrapment. “How can I repay you?” The figure just shook its head and withdrew back into the whiteout from whence it came. “I got 20 bucks!” The figure returned, nodded, took the Jackson, and withdrew once more. (#cashmoney)

Tweet of the day

From Sam Biddle:

Screenshot 2017-01-10 17.50.07

The Big Idea

‘Clare Hollingworth, reporter who broke news about start of World War II, dies at 105’ — This isn’t a big idea so much as it’s a really great obituary about a fascinating person. Here’s my favorite part:

Often dressed in a tailored safari suit and sometimes packing a pearl-handled revolver, Ms. Hollingworth marched with troops, witnessed firefights, traveled to rebel hideouts and rode along during aerial bombing runs. In Kashmir, motoring across a bridge that had come under shelling by Pakistani troops, she gushed to a colleague, “Now, this is what makes life worth living!”

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.