‘We respect each other because this is Portland, it’s not the internet’

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3 scenes from Inauguration Day in Portland


Max Waltman was hanging signs around Portland this afternoon. (Jake Bleiberg | BDN)

Downtown Portland, afternoon

In a city that resoundingly rejected President Donald Trump in the general election, up and down Congress Street signs of peaceful resistance appeared Friday. “Love Will Win,” “Resist Fear” and “Assist Love” placards were seen plastered on storefronts — from Starbucks to record store Strange Maine to Dunkin’ Donuts.

Business owners like Brendan Evans applauded the posters, which had echoes of the red hearts that are the mark of the city’s cryptic Valentine Phantom.

The Strange Maine owner, who blasted punk rock all day to cheer up customers, plans to take the sign down at the end of the day and add it to his wall near the peace sign that appeared on his door when the country invaded Iraq. “I intend to make it semi-permanent,” said Evans.

One of the people posting flyers, Max Waltman, 19, said that Trump’s election has given white nationalists new prominence in American politics, but that hate must be met with love.

“We can’t fight fire with fire,” Waltman said.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Congress Street, 11 a.m.

Raychel Warner, 23, protests outside Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in downtown Portland.  (Jake Bleiberg | BDN)

Raychel Warner, 23, protests outside Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in downtown Portland. (Jake Bleiberg | BDN)

In the waning hours of the Obama presidency, Raychel Warner stood outside Planned Parenthood of Northern New England on Congress Street with a sign that read “Abolish Abortion.” Nearby a short black man perched atop a foot stool tried to persuade a passerby that there is no moral difference between abortion and the lynching of black people in the Jim Crow South.

With her 2-year-old daughter, Ashley, on her back, Warner, 23, said she hopes that President Donald Trump will lead the country in “a godly manner.”

“Like the murder of children could end. That would be great,” Warner said, while pink-vested Planned Parenthood volunteers looked on.

Two floors above Warner, Planned Parenthood Vice President of Public Policy Nicole Clegg was more worried about the Republican Congress and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s promise to defund her organization. Clegg, who is greeted at work several days a month by protesters, said her organization is ready.

“Planned Parenthood has been around for 100 years, and we plan to be around for another hundred,” Clegg said.

Ruski’s Tavern, Danforth Street, noon

Retired electrical engineer Stephen Walsh watches the inauguration from Ruski's Tavern in the West End and called it a "death march." (Kathleen Pierce | BDN)

Stephen Walsh watches the inauguration from Ruski’s Tavern in the West End. (Kathleen Pierce | BDN)

Retired electrician Stephen Walsh finished a slice of pizza as muted inauguration coverage played on TVs around the bar. The Portland native, who said he went bankrupt in the early ’90s when contractors stiffed him out of $2.5 million, worried about the new president, who faces lawsuits for doing that very thing to others.

“He has stiffed thousands of people just like me. He has bankrupt casinos,” said Walsh, 64. “I was stiffed by people and it’s really a crime. It hits home hard.”

Still he couldn’t take his eyes off the historic moment. “I am addicted to it,” said Walsh. Taking a swig of beer he looked around and added “it feels like a funeral, a death march.”

Across the bar, Trump supporter John Golembiewski, of Portland said he voted for Obama in the last two elections. But the contractor felt let down by the 44th president.

“I didn’t like the rule by the pen,” he said of Obama’s executive orders.

Despite his minority view at Ruski’s, there was no hint of unease. “Everyone has kept their opinions to themselves,” said Golembiewski. “We respect each other because this is Portland, it’s not the internet.” — Kathleen Pierce and Jake Bleiberg

In other news

LePage wants to cut all state funding for the most basic welfare program. It probably won’t happen — Jake digs into Gov. Paul LePage’s call to repeal/amending (his budget bill mentions both) General Assistance. “LePage’s proposal could just be a bargaining chip in what is sure to be a long and bitter battle over the fate of the next state budget — but some still say it’s dangerous.”

Tomorrow is the Women’s Walk in Portland — A few days ago, several hundred women were set to flood Congress Street for the sister march coinciding with Saturday’s national Women’s March on Washington. Today the city upped that number to closer to 3,000. The west bound lane of Congress Street, from the Eastern Prom to Congress Square, will be inundated from 10:30 to 12 p.m. Troy Bennett will be there with video camera in hand. Follow bangordailynews.com for updates from Portland and Augusta.

Mayhew for governor? — No one has declared their candidacy for governor, but Darren Fishell and Michael Shepherd did some internet sleuthing to see who might be thinking about it.

[D]igital clues found on Thursday by the BDN showed that two potential Republican candidates — [Mary] Mayhew of South China [the state’s commissioner of health and human services] and Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls — may be moving closer to running for the Blaine House.

A domain registration service registered mayhewforgovernor.com on Tuesday, almost exactly a year after mayhewformaine.com was registered. The latter name would expire in 2019. …

Mason, a fourth-term senator from Lisbon Falls, registered masonformaine.coma nd started Twitter and Instagram accounts under the same name in June. Until Thursday, metadata in several of the website’s pages included the description “Garrett Mason for Governor of Maine.”

On Thursday, Mason blamed the “for governor” reference on an “ambitious intern” who created a new website and social media accounts for him last spring. He said he didn’t authorize it and that it was removed after it was flagged on Thursday.

Lobster blood is good for you — Bill Trotter reports that lobster is not just delicious, it’s also potentially useful as a medicine.

Lobster industry researchers in Maine say they’ve determined that uncooked lobster hemolymph, or blood, has medicinal properties that can be used to treat viruses that cause warts and shingles.

What’s more, they have put their money where their mouths are by developing a lobster blood-based retail skin care cream called LobsteRx.

Missing Portland man found dead — The body found on a Cape Elizabeth beach earlier this week has been identified a Portland man who went missing late last year, police said. Evariste Munyensanga, who is black, disappeared in November, but the body was initially thought to be a that of a white man. The state’s chief medical examiner later identified it as Munyensanga’s. “Confusion around the person’s race resulted from the condition of the body,” the police said in a statement. — Jake Bleiberg

The school bond proposal will go on to the next stage — Noel Gallagher reports that the $61 million bond proposal passed 7-1 in a vote by the Portland School Facilities Ad Hoc Committee. City Councilor Nick Mavodones voted against it. Read Jake’s post from Wednesday about what happens next.

Tweet of the day

From Greg Lagerquist:

Screenshot 2017-01-20 10.55.40


The Big Idea

‘Donald Trump is sworn in as president, vows to end “American carnage”’ — The Washington Post notes that President Trump’s speech made no mention of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and that the president made “a wide-ranging condemnation of America’s current state — talking about ‘American carnage’ caused by urban crime, and saying that ‘wealth, strength and confidence had dissipated’ because of jobs lost overseas.”

The New York Times reports that Trump plans to get started right away:

Mr. Trump, wearing a dark suit with red tie and accompanied by his wife, Melania, in a powder-blue suit, intends to waste little time after taking the 35-word oath that was administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to start unraveling the policies of his departing predecessor, President Obama. Within hours of taking office, the new president could begin signing executive orders freezing regulations put in place in the last weeks of Mr. Obama’s tenure and reversing policies on health care, immigration and other areas.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at dmacleod@bangordailynews.com, 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.