We’ve been hearing that Ethan Strimling says he wants to become Portland’s “listener in chief.”

Ironically, the criticism of not listening is often thrown at politicians when people feel their view is not supported. Both of the leading candidates for mayor have been similarly criticized.

Only one, however, is now in a position to be challenged to listen and then actually take a position. It’s much easier to listen and act collaboratively when not confronted with complicated, controversial issues that need action. It’s easier to promise to be a “listener” when you’re not also the “chief.”

Rather than changing leadership, we should turn our attention to strengthening the mayor’s role. They need to hire, fire and supervise key managers. We already have a committed, smart and hardworking mayor who is trying to make sense of his role while addressing the critical issues facing Portland.

We are sticking with Michael Brennan.

Toby and Lucky Hollander

Portland