At one time, our elected city leaders held a distinguished position in city government.

The Honorable Benjamin Kingsbury Jr., mayor of Portland, said March 13, 1871, to the City Council, “It is a high honor to be elected by our fellow citizens to the places of trust we occupy; but the honor is laden with responsibility.”

I recently spotted an article about one of our current city councilors, Andrew Zarro. At his business, the councilor sold stickers with distasteful slogans, which came to light with the recent mask mandate vote, and he was being attacked through any number of venues saying all kinds of rotten things.

I looked at the councilor’s official city Facebook page and saw comments including: “Wouldn’t surprise me if he pulls a Jussie Smollett situation, he needs attention” and “Your parents should have aborted you!”

There are a couple of things that stand out to me reading Mayor Kingsbury’s address in 1871: the respectful words he uses in addressing the City Council, and his understanding of the council’s responsibilities to the city, which include honor and trust.

Both of these understandings failed miserably here.

Councilor Zarro’s constituents owe him an apology. Andrew Zarro sits on the same council that once included James Phinney Baxter and Neal Dow, and he deserves the respect of that position.

Councilor Zarro, likewise, owes an apology in return. The councilor is held to a set of rules of convention to avoid bias, and his allies will serve him well to remember that.

Patrick Chandler

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