Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: What you don’t know

Al Diamon

Al Diamon

Let’s discuss Ethan Strimling’s sex life.

But before we do, allow me to explain. Because this column is supposed to be a serious journalistic enterprise, I’m obligated to place the mayor of Portland’s amorous activities in some sort of context, thereby making it appear I’m engaged in the analysis of something more significant than sleazy gossip.

Oddly enough, I am.

To prove this essay is about a matter more consequential than Strimling’s trysting, allow me to introduce the subject of Gov. Paul LePage. Which is pretty much the political equivalent of a cold shower.

Now that our prurient interests have been dampened, please recall the January town hall meeting in Bridgton when LePage made his infamous, racially charged remarks about drug dealers named “D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty – these type of guys – they come from Connecticut and New York. … They sell their heroin. … Incidentally, half the time, they impregnate a young white girl before they leave [and] then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

The only reason we know about LePage’s rant is because the local public-access television station broadcast the meeting. There were TV reporters present, but none of them made note of these comments in their stories, mostly because the staffers on the evening beat out in the boonies are newbies or clunkheads who wouldn’t know real news if it slapped them upside their carefully coifed and heavily made up heads.

As for the state’s daily newspapers, they couldn’t be bothered sending anybody with a hint of journalistic experience all the way to Bridgton, even though LePage’s public appearances are usually rife with outrageous comments. They only discovered the story once links to the video showed up on various websites and became a national issue.

In other words, Maine’s media were scooped in their own backyard by the likes of the Huffington Post, because they either lacked the smarts to recognize the comment’s significance or lacked the initiative to cover the governor properly. While national news outlets were proclaiming LePage the “Most Racist Governor In America,” the local bumpkins were scrambling to catch up with what everyone else was already talking about.

Which raises this disturbing question: When public-access cable isn’t around to bail them out, what else of importance are these boobs missing?

The answer is Mayor Strimling’s sex life.

You’d be within your rights demanding to know why such a personal matter should be an appropriate topic for news outlets that already have more than they can manage covering people who are properly covered. The explanation is that Strimling, who won his post in November’s election, has left his wife and taken up with his former campaign manager, Stephanie Clifford, who also happens to be a big-time lobbyist.

According to a story posted on the website of The Bollard magazine (where I was once a freelance media critic), “Clifford is a partner and president of Baldacci Communications, a public relations and lobbying firm. One of her two co-partners is Bob Baldacci, the former governor’s brother and a real estate developer who previously led a high-profile effort to redevelop the publicly owned Maine State Pier. The firm’s lengthy client list includes Cate Street Capital, Central Maine Power, the National Resources Council of Maine, and numerous political figures of the past and present. Baldacci Communications continues to do work for Strimling, but the mayor said their role is now limited to filing campaign finance reports.”

The Bollard also noted that Strimling, without disclosing his romantic link to Clifford, has recently raised the issue of again seeking a developer for the State Pier. Do you suppose his paramour’s business partner would have any interest in such a proposal?

That’s a sexy question – if you prefer your sex accompanied by twisted ethical dilemmas. But it also seems sort of newsworthy – to everyone except Maine newspapers and TV stations. While bloggers and the rumor mill have been making much of Strimling’s conflict of interest, the Portland Press Herald has ignored the issue, and the Bangor Daily News refused to publish a column by Bollard editor Chris Busby on the mayor’s dalliance with Clifford.

Maybe they’re waiting for public access TV to pick up on the story.

Have a strictly platonic affair with me by mailing

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7 Responses »

  1. A: How does what Nathan Strimling's doings in Portland relate to Franklin County?

    B: Chris Busby lost any journalistic credibility with his wild conspiracy rantings regarding the tragic death of Geraldine Largay.

  2. Snowie -- A. His name is Ethan, not Nathan. I assume most people in Franklin County are concerned about what the media isn't telling them. Or they should be when Strimling runs for governor.

    B. Busby was right about Largay being on SERE property. He was right about there being a lot more to her disappearance than the wardens admitted. And I think we can accept his Strimling story as accurate, since the mayor himself admitted the facts are correct.

    Al Diamon

  3. Al:

    There is very little chance that the voters in Franklin county would ever vote for Ethan Strimling for any office, regardless of anything he may or may not do.

    A lot of good honest people worked very hard to try and find Geraldine.
    You weren't one of them.
    I was.
    Your statement is false. No one hid anything. There wasn't anything about her disappearance that wasn't admitted.
    If she was still alive when the search was initiated, she would have been found. All she would have had to do, was build a little fire, or blow a whistle. Bang a pot.
    There were helicopters flying within sight of where she was.
    The tragedy unfolded because no one knew she was in trouble until several days had passed and it rained before the search began.

  4. Birds of a feather sleep together.

  5. I thought i heard that the most racist governor in the United States brought a teen-ager over from Jamaica and raised the lad in his own home then sent him on to college and grad school. This seems to imply that all those deeply, deeply unracist governors must have raised whole platoons of black teenagers in their own homes.

    Or, perhaps, the true test of virtue is not what you do, but what you say.

  6. Snowie -- Oops, sorry. In the future I'll refrain from providing information on any politician that Franklin County residents might not want to vote for.

    As for Largay, your information is sadly out of date. There's now significant evidence she was alive after the search began. Check out for the latest.

    Al Diamon

  7. Al:

    Lets take a look at what you seem to think is proof. Here are the words taken from the article you link to.

    "our source said. If that source is correct, "

    "Again, this theory is as yet unconfirmed"

    "The Bollard was not able to confirm this source’s account with the Largay family or state authorities, none of whom are commenting to the press at this time."

    "The Bollard can now also report with certainty that Largay kept a journal during her hike. Excerpts from the journal were provided by the Largay family to a media organization in Tennessee, where the Largays previously resided. The typed transcript of Gerry’s handwritten journal entries given to the press covered a time period that ended in early July 2013, about two weeks before Gerry went missing. The entries themselves are unremarkable, and contain no details that shed light on the events that followed, according to a reporter who’s read them."

    That is NOT responsible journalism.

    It is possible, that Geraldine became mentally unstable and did not help herself from being found. I think that behavior in people who have become lost has been documented.

    It wouldn't have mattered if searchers knew that she had a tent or what color it was. We knew she was a through hiker, most of them carry some sort of tent. Any tent, set up anywhere, would have been investigated.

    If the search was as flawed as Busby implies, wouldn't her family speak out?