Chris Busby has a follow up over at The Bollard regarding Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling. Back in February, Busby put forth an article that detailed some questions regarding Mayor Strimling and the end of his marriage. On its face, it seems like a fairly straight forward issue. Marriages sometimes end and people move onto others, and here it just happened to be the Mayor’s campaign manager.
Fine, that’s Mayor Strimling’s personal business. We all have our problems in life, and whatever happens behind close doors is personal.
The problem is that there is the potential for professional interference. Like I said in my original article about the Mayor Strimling story: “Mayor Strimling’s personal life is his personal life, but it appears there could be more at stake than just his relationships. If there is something improper, it needs to be exposed. If there is nothing improper, then it’s time to clear this story up and move on.”
In his original article, Busby detailed a series of potential conflicts.
Did Mayor Strimling begin the romantic relationship with Stephanie Clifford prior to separating from his wife, who campaigned with him throughout his entire run for Mayor? Busby admits there’s no evidence to suggest there was, though the timing is suspicious.
The most disturbing part about what should be an important story is the silence.
Busby himself wrote in “The Strimling Affair II“:
“Meanwhile, I’ve spoken with numerous people who were aware of the relationship before I got that initial tip. Almost without exception, all of them are members of what you could call Portland’s political and business elite: politicians (current and former), lawyers and real estate developers. I find that unnerving and not a little galling. It pisses me off to know the muckety-mucks around town are all in on the mayor’s dirty little secret, as are the mainstream media gatekeepers they hobnob with at ribbon-cuttings and cocktail parties or whatever, but the gatekeepers don’t think it’s appropriate to share this secret with the unwashed masses. It’s more responsible, journalistically, to keep them in the dark, these gatekeepers think.”
In talking with people in Portland myself, this seems to be the case. Everyone knows, but nobody says anything. And again, maybe it’s not an issue politics should be concerned with, as personal issues should be personal. But there are legitimate concerns that there are conflicts relating to Mayor Strimling’s relationship that at least deserve serious questions.
What’s the worst we find out? Mayor Strimling may have done something that someone will find personally wrong, but not politically relevant?
“In the meantime, the Portland Press Herald provided in-depth coverage of Don McLean’s marital strife, down to such details as ‘the intensity of his rage and the craziness in his eyes.’ This guy hasn’t had a hit song since I was born 45 years ago, but his personal life is apparently more consequential than that of the mayor of Maine’s largest city.”
What do Don McLean’s marital problems matter to the general public? If Mayor Strimling’s personal affairs are being ignored on the grounds that personal matters are personal, why the intense focus on someone who hasn’t been musically relevant for quite some time?
The focus on McLean’s martial problems makes the Portland Press Herald look disingenuous. Why are they ignoring a potential major story in Portland? You would think a major Portland publication would be all over this, especially if they were focusing on the marital problems of a musician who hasn’t been popular for literally decades.
To be clear, Mayor Strimling’s personal life, like McLean’s, is his own personal business. The issue is more so related to the business conflicts and the potential issues in Portland, which Busby did an excellent job covering.
Where are all the journalists in Maine?