Does the rift between the mayor and city manager matter?

So, here at the BDN Portland headquarters on Congress Street, we’re curious. Do you care about the ongoing rift between Mayor Ethan Strimling and City Manager Jon Jennings, as well as most of the rest of the CIty Council?

There have been a lot of barbs traded in the media and big headlines. The Portland Press Herald even reported that some taxpayer dollars were thrown at the dispute in the form of $21,000 in payments for a lawyer to try — unsuccessfully, it turned out — to resolve it.

But although everyone involved at City Hall seems to admit the feud has been time-consuming and a distraction, it seems unclear whether it’s actually affecting the real lives of Portlanders.

So, we’re curious. Are you paying attention to the Strimling-Jennings rift? Is it affecting you in any way? Do you care? We’re looking for some perspectives. If you’re willing to weigh in, email our reporter Jake Bleiberg at

What we’re talking about

A man who barged into Sisters Gourmet Deli in Monument Square and screamed that all the workers are “going to hell” has been charged with interference with constitutional rights, which police consider a hate crime. The screaming fit, which the deli posted on Facebook in the form of security camera footage, took place on Saturday, but the charges were just announced today. Jesse James Taylor, 37, was also charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, the latter of which he pleaded guilty to and was sentenced to five days in jail.

Two children were infected with MRSA at a local day camp. Maine Public’s Patty Wight reports that it remains unclear where the kids contracted the skin infection, but the day camp cleaned its communal spaces for two days as a precaution.

The ferry from Portland to Nova Scotia is expected to be back up and running tomorrow, and perhaps more importantly, is beating last year’s ticket sales despite its ongoing engine troubles that have forced a few trip cancellations along the way. This is current operator Bay Ferries’ second year providing high-speed Cat ferry service to the Canadian province. The previous ferry operator was dumped after two years missing ticket sale goals.

In his triumphant return to Hadlock Field last night, former Boston Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis reminisced about his time as a minor leaguer playing in Portland. Youkilis, who was a three-time All Star and two-time World Series champion with the Red Sox, said he remembers being in Maine as a Sea Dog “like it was yesterday” and said Portland “has a great summer vibe.”

Tweet of the day

From Closet Factory of Maine:

If you can’t see Pooh’s words of wisdom because of the screen size, it says: “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.”

The Big Idea

Matthew Gagnon of the Maine Heritage Policy Center makes the case that laws seeking to change behavior — such as one proposed in Maine to increase the legal age to buy tobacco products — are ineffective. In his commentary, Gagnon wrote: “If they [worked], no one would speed, everyone would wear their seat belt, there would be no such thing as underage drinking, people wouldn’t text and drive, and no one under 18 would smoke a cigarette.”

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email us at or or tweet @JZBleiberg or @SethKoenig.

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