Rapping in Cape Elizabeth, raising pay in Portland, circling the drain in Augusta

Portland. Josh Noel | Chicago Tribune via MCT

Portland. Josh Noel | Chicago Tribune via MCT

Mike: Cynthia, I know this is the Bangor Daily News, but what is happening in Portland? There was apparently a mistake in the minimum wage ordinance and now the argument that all GA recipients were lawfully awaiting federal action is falling apart. We’re just past the All-Star break, and that’s two strikes…

Cynthia: Your schadenfreude is showing, Mike. Things did go sour when the city council’s action to raise the minimum wage unintentionally included restaurant workers, but let’s hope lemons become lemonade and waitresses get a much deserved raise.

Portland’s economy is buzzing even while it strains under a heavy load of tourists and those in need. Mistakes are made, but nobody is intentionally trying to make things difficult — in stark contrast to the anarchy in Augusta. Gov. LePage needs recess and the Legislature needs to adjourn so the rest of us can take a much needed break from the madness.

Mike: No schadenfreude, just shock at the unforced errors. This is what happens when people govern by press release instead of getting into the details — it has to be embarrassing for Portland officials to say publicly they learned these things from reporters. Of course, I would say the same about the president, so who knows?

And one thing Democrats, Republicans, and baseball fans can agree on is that the Legislature needs to leave Augusta. Not only are we not safe while they are in session, they are also costing us money!

Cynthia: Republicans are quick to criticize and throw darts at Portland in the press all the time. When is the GOP going to stop heckling and put up a candidate for mayor? Let’s see if the people prefer government a-la-LePage.

What are the actual policy critiques behind the constant Portland bashing by Republicans? It looks like petty jealousy because the city is thriving and nationally acclaimed for its quality of life, and it happens to be run by Democrats.

Mike: The GOP has mayors throughout the state, including Auburn, Lewiston, and Waterville. Had Cheryl Leeman decided to run, I think Portland would’ve been added to that list.

There is a difference between critiquing the government and critiquing the city. Bangor is receiving many national accolades as well, without the same unforced errors of government. Everyone — regardless of party — wants Maine to succeed, and that includes Portland. But it’s not a vast right wing conspiracy; if editorial pages, Jon Hinck, and Ethan Strimling are raising the same concerns as Republicans, it might be time for some introspection and course correction.

Cynthia: Introspection and course correction? Before Republicans lecture Portland about errors made on the side of poor immigrants and struggling waitresses, your party needs to look in the mirror and ask how much longer it will allow the LePage administration to drive Maine into the ground.

Where’s the Republican leadership, Mike, as Maine faces yet another constitutional crisis? Every time there’s a gubernatorial temper tantrum the Law Court has to be called in? You know it’s a very solemn occasion when the only adults in the room wear black gowns.

Mike: “Drive Maine into the ground?” The sun is shining, tourists are coming, and towns throughout the state keep making “best of” lists. We’ve got problems with tax burdens and heroin trafficking, but circling the drain we are not.

Meanwhile, going to the Law Court for the second time in five years does not constitute a tantrum; heck, Angus King went at least twice in just his first term! Gov. LePage won his first time out, with the court reserving judgment on issues it did not need to reach. But both the Legislature and executive are pushing constitutional boundaries in Augusta — that is why we have a third branch to mediate. Remember “Schoolhouse Rock?”

Cynthia: I’m just a Dill sitting here and not on Capitol Hill, but I won a poetry contest in 5th grade so here’s a ditty that might fit the bill:

The reign of pain

is insane here in Maine,

and our politics have gone down the drain.

We need a campaign

to rid the House of Blaine

of the Big Ol’ Bird-Brain

Who’s driving the train.

And I don’t mean Angus King! He asked the Law Court for guidance in order to solve a problem, save taxpayer money and avoid disruption.

The opposite can be said about Gov. LePage. He delights in wasting people’s time and recklessly spending taxpayer money chasing windmills.

Mike: I ‘spose there is a reason Cape Elizabeth isn’t known for its rap scene. And I’m positive you’re wrong on one thing: the governor hates spending taxpayer money on windmills!