The image that reporter Randy Billings painted Nov. 6 of Mayor Ethan Strimling, culpable for a City Hall cold war, feels unfairly biased against a leader with less than a year under his belt.

Like some, I had reservations about new leadership in the mayor’s office. While I don’t speak on behalf of my organization, I’ve spent a year working closely with a mayor connecting with his community, invested in ground-level issues impacting Portlanders and engaged in the discussions facing the often-siloed bubbles of Portland neighborhoods; and he has done so years ahead of his next campaign.

For my own city councilor, Belinda Ray, to suggest Mr. Strimling leads by news conference was at best, a cheap shot for disliking the direction he’s taken on behalf of the Portland voter; at worst, indicative of the hurdles he’s faced in leading policy, and a council more inclined to follow an unelected city manager rather than the elected representative of the Portland voter.

As a community leader, I’ve experienced the results of a dysfunctional City Hall as well as the hubris of a city manager’s office, which speaks as much on policy as on the operations of the city, a task not originally intended for his role.

There is a galvanized clique among our City Council, not unlike the kids at lunch denying the newcomer a seat at the table. The cause of this is not an ineffective new mayor, but an overworked council, out of touch with both their city and the charter changes we, the people have implemented.

The mayor has already achieved progress for the people of Portland, even in the face of an obstreperous City Council. He has impressed both supporters and former skeptics alike. It’s our City Council that many of us now look toward with eyes raised in anticipation of re-election time.

Jay Norris

Portland