Here’s how Portland threw its weight around on Election Day

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street, where some of us are getting ready to leave town for some much needed rest. Reporter Jake Bleiberg is headed to Canada, but he insists it’s temporary, and only to take advantage of the long weekend.

What we’re talking about

The ever-curious Darren Fishell crunched the numbers on the referendum questions to see how Maine would have voted without Portland.

He writes:

Voters in Maine’s largest city put two ballot measures over the top Tuesday, clearing the way for legalization of marijuana by a razor-thin margin and a new tax on income over $200,000.

Votes compiled by the Bangor Daily News as of Thursday morning show both measures would surely have failed without big margins earned from Portland voters.

Check out his interactive chart here.

Here are 4 things to do this weekend

— Bunker Brewing Co. opens its new brewery/tasting room in Portland with 10 taps, cool, industrial space and room for events. Friday at 12 noon at 17 Westfield St. is the place. More details here.

— The Rink at Thompson’s Point opens Friday at 2 p.m. In celebration of Veterans Day, all vets get in free. Skate away your troubles in the newly expanded outdoor rink. Yes, the Bissell Brothers’ yurt is still intact.

— Want to learn to do grown up things, you know, like fix a flat or work a room? The Adulting School is in session. The program is hosting an event Sunday at One Longfellow Square that starts at 10:30 a.m. that will cover money management, relationships and developing your career. Read more about the school here.

— BDN Maine and AARP have teamed up to bring political cartoonist George Danby to Portland on Saturday. The artist will live sketch and answer questions at the Portland Museum of Art at 4:30 p.m. We can’t say the BDN illustrator will steer clear of Trumpisms, but we guarantee it will be entertaining. — Kathleen Pierce

In other news

Strimling thinks voters electing new council members means they want ‘bold action’ — The mayor says the election of Pious Ali and Brian Batson is proof that Portlanders want the city council to do things that, well, he agrees with, Randy Billings of the Press Herald reports. But other councilors — and the city manager — disagree, saying it’s more complicated than that:

Several city councilors and City Manager Jon Jennings pushed back against that notion in interviews Wednesday, however, saying At-Large Councilor Jon Hinck and District 3 Councilor Edward Suslovic each lost for different reasons. …

Both Hinck and Suslovic have leveled criticism at Strimling’s apparent attempt to gain more access to and arguably control over city staff. The councilors were also fiscally conservative by Portland’s standards. Both men have been concerned about the city borrowing $70 million to renovate its elementary schools, while Hinck has voted against city budgets over concerns about property tax increases.

Thompson’s Point will have a 2-story snow tubing hill this winter — Kathleen reports:

Right next to The Rink at Thompson’s Point in the shadow of routes 295 and 1, a snow tubing park, called The Hill, is being built in Portland. The two-story-tall, man-made hill is going up this week, and will soon become the slickest and sickest place to recreate in greater Portland. …

On the one-acre strip where summer concerts are held, thrill seekers will be able to glide on inner tubes for hours on the bumpy hill of ice and snow. Using the same ice-making system for the adjacent rink, the owners will create slippery slopes, enhanced by natural snow when Mother Nature cooperates.

Diane Russell wants to lead the Maine Democratic Party — In his (also awesome) newsletter, Michael Shepherd reports:

Outgoing state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, confirmed late Wednesday that she’ll run to replace [Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil] Bartlett at the state committee’s next meeting on Nov. 20, while term-limited House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, said he’s considering a run. …

Russell and McCabe could be formidable challengers. Both supported Clinton primary rival Bernie Sanders early in the presidential campaign and he easily beat her in the Maine caucuses.

Russell was a Sanders delegate to the national convention, where she led a challenge to limit the influence of superdelegates, the party insiders who can cast votes for whoever they want in the presidential nominating process, proving herself a capable activist.

She also has baggage: Her political action committee was fined for ethics violations over the past year and in June, she took third in a nasty Maine Senate primary in June despite raising a record sum with robust email list of small national donors. Her bid was opposed by Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland.

“Democrats are doing some real soul searching right now about our future, and I think it’s time for a fresh start,” Russell said in a message. “We need (to) press the reset button and retool for the future.”

The Big Idea

For the good of democracy, Facebook needs to be better — The Intercept’s Sam Biddle writes:

You should refuse to believe that a company with a $361 billion market capitalization and enough R&D cash to develop solar-powered airplanes lacks the resources and ingenuity to keep viral anti-news from threatening the democratic process.

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

As always, like BDN Portland on Facebook for more local coverage.

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.