Imagine my surprise when I woke up Wednesday and read a column by Mayor Michael Brennan attacking Ethan Strimling for listening too much to Portland residents.

Hard to imagine why anyone would think that listening to the people of Portland is a problem – but especially our mayor. In the past two months, I’ve heard Ethan listen to people throughout the city talk about how our city is becoming unaffordable and that we are becoming a city of haves and have-nots. I have the same concerns.

As rents skyrocketed last year by 17 percent and property taxes have risen 15 percent since 2011, our incomes have dropped by $700. That is clearly unaffordable for most people. Maybe if the mayor had listened more over the past four years, he would have heard these concerns and done more to address our affordability problems.

Later in the column, Brennan makes an even more desperate attack. He claims that Ethan is in the pocket of Gov. LePage. Not sure this even warrants a response, but I guess the mayor didn’t see that Ethan was the first prominent Democrat in Maine to call for an investigation of the governor for his interference in Good Will-Hinckley’s hiring of Speaker Mark Eves.

I assume this is simply an attempt by Mayor Brennan to distract voters from the fact that so many of the people who work with him every day (councilors, school board members, firefighters, teachers, labor unions, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.) have called for a change in leadership.

The simple truth is that while Mayor Brennan has probably tried his best, his style of leadership has failed. Perhaps more listening would have helped.

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