Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight the mayor might veto the city budget; it’s because the city council gave his aide the ax; and Neil Rolde has died.
What we’re talking about
Mayor threatens to veto city budget — There’s a storm brewing in city hall, Jake Bleiberg reports:
Mayor Ethan Strimling said that he is “very seriously considering” vetoing the city’s $240 million annual budget because of the city council’s decision to eliminate the job of his assistant…
The mayor said Tuesday that he may feel forced to exercise his veto power if the city council doesn’t show that it plans to provide him with staff and policy support he feels he needs.
“The council made a decision to undermine my office,” said Strimling. “I need to have people who can support the policy positions we’re trying to bring forward.”
CONTEXT: Mayor’s aide gets the ax — Things got feisty during the city council’s vote on the $345 million combined school and city budget last night, but most of the vitriol was over the decision to eliminate the job the mayor’s assistant. “I feel as though you are on an island by yourself, and I firmly believe that this position has made it worse,” Councilor Spencer Thibodeau told Strimling; Bayside resident George Rheault called the councilor who proposed cutting the job a “little baby bird eating some regurgitated food from the city manager”; and Mayor Ethan Strimling suggested the the 6-3 vote to eliminate the job of his assistant undermines local democracy.
Bait bags designer launches sneakers — Designer Alaina Marie Harris, whose popular bait bag clutch has rocked Maine’s maker world, has entered a collaboration agreement with Keds for a limited run of two new sneakers featuring her distinctive nautical style, BDN Portland’s Kathleen Pierce reports. “I am so excited. I wish I could scream it,” said Harris, whose company Alaina Marie launched in a tiny studio in South Portland in 2014 and is manufacturing bags in Scarborough with a shop in the Old Port.
Remembering a historian — Former Democratic politician, author and philanthropist Neil Rolde reportedly died Sunday at the age of 85, BDN’s Judy Harrison reports. Rolde represented York from 1974 to 1990 in the Maine House of Representatives, serving as his party’s majority leader from 1975 to ‘77. In 1990, he lost to William S. Cohen in a race for the U.S. Senate in which Rolde advocated for universal health care coverage.
Get the lead out — A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funded program is looking to remove the lead paint from Portland buildings and will specifically target multi-family homes in the Bayside and Parkside neighborhoods, the Forecaster’s David Harry reports. The property allows owners to borrow as much as $10,000 per unit to remove lead paint. Single-family homeowners can borrow as much as $25,000. And the loans will be forgiven for property owners who hang on to the buildings for more than five years after the abatement is finished.
City sells old Reed School building — Amid the fireworks last night, the city council also voted unanimously to sell the former Thomas B. Reed School building for $75,000. The building, which needs extensive work including lead abatement according to City Manager Jon Jennings, will be sold to Children’s Odyssey, which intends to use it as a school for students with special needs. Several members of the public praised the decision, but a couple also lambasted the council for not turning the building into affordable housing. “It just shows you can’t win sometimes,” City Councilor David Brenerman said of the criticism.
Hi neighbor! This is my story — The Global Shapers Portland Hub is hosting the second edition of this storytelling event on Friday night at the Babylon Restaurant on Forest Avenue. The event starts will a family style meal followed by four storytellers relating tales on the topic “my struggle with hope.” — Troy R. Bennett
A dramatic double header on wheels — Maine Roller Derby is presenting a two-fer of spinning mayhem at the Portland Expo on Saturday night. First the all-star travel team splits and faces off against itself. Next, Casco Bay Gentlemen’s Derby faces Mass Maelstrom Roller Derby’s B’Zerkers in a classic New England roller derby collision. — Troy R. Bennett
Tweet of the day
From New York Times science guy Michael Roston:
The Big Idea
“Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation” — “‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,’ Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. ‘He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,’” the New York Times’ Michael Schmidt reports.
Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @JZBleiberg.