Bang and blame

Frank Underwood

Frank Underwood

Like most everyone else in the free world, I have finally finished the third season of House of Cards, a Netflix original series.

And like most other House of Cards fans, I have been consistently intrigued with Francis Underwood, a ruthless politician played by Kevin Spacey.

As Season Three begins to unfold, President Underwood hires a writer to help promote a new jobs program. The writer accompanies President Underwood to his childhood home of Gaffney, South Carolina. There, the president provides a tour of his hometown, including his family’s “farm,” a failed enterprise that went bankrupt because there was only a thin layer of soil covering deep bedrock.

Underwood explains the farm’s failure this way: hard work is sometimes not enough if you have nothing to work with.

From my own perspective, I have always doubled-down on the notion that success is achieved primarily by hard work. This mantra was driven into the soft-tissue of my brain since before I can remember. It is, after all, a family trait.

Don’t get me wrong.

Hard work is a virtue, but that one scene at the Underwood’s failed peach tree farm— out of 39 episodes — made me re-examine the Puritan values that course through my veins.

Even the losers, get lucky sometimes

Growing up, the game of Monopoly was one of my favorite games. I was an impulsive child, so at every opportunity I bought every property I could, resulting in depleted cash reserves and forcing me to mortgage the properties in order to pay my debts.

monopoly_originalOf course, while my properties were mortgaged they produced no revenue. Inevitably, I would go bankrupt, watching as my parents and sister finished the game without me.

But over time, I became more savvy. I was more judicious in my selection of properties. I focused on the utilities and railroads. I avoided properties that were beyond my means (Boardwalk and Park Place).

I kept no less than 50 percent cash reserves, and put houses and hotels on inexpensive properties such as Oriental and Baltic. The odds of another player landing on these properties was much higher than landing on Boardwalk. Thus, I had a nice revenue stream and owned properties on all sides of the board.

Playing Monopoly is a learning curve, but there is no mistake that winning at Monopoly is also driven by “chance” and luck.

Even at the beginning of the game, the players roll dice to determine who moves first.

One roll of the dice can provide a distinct advantage, but there are always things beyond our control: being forced into jail because of an unlucky roll of the dice, for example.

The game of Monopoly has been criticized as propaganda of greed, the worst trait of capitalism.

But it is also an exceptional learning tool that reinforces the harsh reality of life. No matter how smartly you play, there are always things you cannot control. And even at birth, it is a roll of the dice that can give you an advantage over the other players.

Sometimes hard work is not enough.

We should remember that lesson when judging the other players.

 

August and everything after

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The southwest shore of Rangeley Lake

That fire, like so many other fires, started as an accident.

Sitting here now, only a few feet from the southwest shore of Rangeley Lake, it seems strange that I would be thinking about something that happened more than 30 years ago.

The sun has barely risen, and it cuts across the lake like a sheet of diamonds. But my thoughts remain with that cold November night and the fire that would become a defining moment of my rather unremarkable life.

Laura and the kids are still asleep, oblivious to the gentle sounds of the frantic chipmunks, some lovesick chickadees and the distant hum of an old two-stroke outboard somewhere across the lake. It is so tranquil, and now the cry of an early morning loon is all that separates me from my persistent thoughts about the fire.

The sun is now beginning to creep through the boughs of the white pines, birches and poplar trees that surround me, shield me from the reality of my normal life…the day-to-day of the real world.

Day One of our vacation and I am already anxious about returning to the rattle and hum of the mundane.

So I choose to think about the fire, especially since we are at Rangeley Lake, only a few miles north of where my uncle lived.

That fire should have changed my life, but it seems like I can never hold onto the lessons it taught me.

Burnin’ down the house

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Leonard K. Brooks

A few years ago, our family started taking a new route for our annual trek to Rangeley. That new route goes right past the house that my uncle Leonard once owned.

My uncle had already raised three boys and a daughter of his own. My older cousins were heroes to me when I was a young boy. They were hippies, rebels and the funniest people I ever met. They knew everything about small engines, Jimi Hendrix, guns and dope.

My uncle took me in after my parents’ divorce, sparing me from the chaos of that situation.

Leonard Brooks was incredibly intelligent and self-reliant. He towered over most people and had broad shoulders, piercing blue eyes and a disposition that encapsulates everything you can imagine about a grumpy, old guy.

He was a champion of common sense. He suffered fools lightly and had little use for flatlanders, rock n’ roll and anything south of Lewiston.

Unlike my father, Leonard rarely, if ever, raised his voice. He conveyed his displeasure with a silence that was pure torture. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke, you listened.

So it was, during my second year of living with Leonard, that the fire happened.

It was a chilly Friday night in mid November. My uncle left with a few friends for a weekend hunting trip. I was not allowed to join because of my lackluster chemistry grades and a backlog of homework.

So, there I was: stuck with my aunt and my youngest cousin, Cathy, who still lived at home and was five years older than me. The weekend certainly looked bleak, and there was a cord of firewood that needed to be stacked in the basement before my uncle’s return home on Sunday.

Cathy, however, made plans to have a much better night. With a baggie of homegrown weed and a six-pack of Budweiser, she invited one of her girlfriends over for a back yard campfire. My aunt was oblivious and already in bed.

Maybe it was because they were completely baked, or maybe it was because the wood was too green for burning. It didn’t matter, their fire was not much more than a spark and a cloud of smoke, But I wanted to impress the girl, so out I came with a one-gallon can of what I thought was kerosene.

It was not kerosene. It was gasoline. If you do not understand the significance of that distinction, there’s no point in my trying to explain it.

Sure, I stood back a few feet, but that was the only smart thing I did that night.

It was like an explosion, and I panicked. The flame traveled right up to the can of gasoline in my trembling hands. I did the only thing I could at that moment. I threw the can away from me, across the backyard and, in retrospect, far too close to the snowmobile and picnic table that were parked nearby.

Cathy was stoned beyond recognition and could not stop giggling. “Fire, fire, fire,” she chanted, before darting into the house for a glass of water.

Pouring water on a gasoline fire? Not too smart.

The damage looked much worse in the morning. The bulk of the backyard was scorched and reeked of gasoline. The picnic table was destroyed, and the snowmobile cover had melted and was now bonded to the charred remains of my uncle’s beloved Polaris sled.

Dead man walking

My uncle was going to kill me.  I would never graduate high school. I would never get laid. There was nothing more to my future than the 36 hours until my uncle would release me from the mortal coil.

I don’t remember much about that weekend other than the extreme sense of dread that draped over me like a heavy blanket on a hot July afternoon.

My oldest cousin, Steve, stopped by the house to pick something up. He made no effort to hide his amusement about the damage, but he offered some sage advice:

“The only shot you have at survival is to just man up and own it without excuse,” he said before adding the most important part. “You should also wait until he has had a chance to settle down and have a couple of shots before you tell him.”

With that, Steve was gone, taking cover from the impending storm.

Finally, it was Sunday evening. I shook hands with the grim reaper as I watched my uncle’s Dodge pickup ramble up the gravel driveway in front of the house.

I followed Steve’s advice, waiting until Leonard had settled in and able to enjoy a a shot of his preferred Scotch.

I was shaking when I approached the kitchen table. Cathy hid upstairs in her bedroom, quiet as a church mouse.

He peered at me over the rim of his bifocals. “Yes, young fella?” He seemed to sense my dread and probably noted my ashen complexion and trembling limbs.

“I had an accident while you were gone, “ I said with as much courage as I could muster, my voice cracking.

He stiffened in his seat. “An accident?”

“Yeah, in the backyard,” I stammered, wondering how I was keeping my eyes open. “It was a fire.”

“Well, let’s go take a look,” he said evenly, without trace of any emotion whatsoever.

Together we stepped off the back porch, and he surveyed the damage quickly.

“Let’s go back inside,” he said softly.

I followed him back to the kitchen table, ready to vomit at any given moment. He grabbed a pen and the back of a discarded envelope, drawing a rather primitive diagram with a circle and an arrow.

I sat down and he explained the diagram. “When you build a fire, you always, always know which way the wind is blowing,” he explained. “Always keep your back to the wind. If you are going to use an accelerent, do so before you spark anything,” he emphasized. “Do you understand?”

I could only nod in the affirmative.

“Alrighty then, “ he said as stood up and headed to his favorite recliner in the living room.

I was in shock. “What is my punishment,” I  inquired.

“Punishment?” he chuckled with his blue eyes sparkling. “What possible punishment could I give you that would be worse than what you have put yourself through over the past two days? Just don’t forget the lesson.”

And that was that. He never talked about the incident again.

A lesson learned?

My uncle died in 1997, four years before I met Laura, Tim and Matt.

I wrote his eulogy.

The world shrank, and my 50-year-old Starcraft boat looks exactly like the boat he owned.

I know exactly what he would say to me today. “The only thing you need is common sense,” he would say. And with that, he would sprinkle some salt in a mug of Budweiser and put his feet up on a tattered ottoman, content that all was well with the world.

And that lesson is priceless, the one I cannot seem to convey to my sons.

Leonard would have loved my boys. He would most certainly approve of Laura, her carefree spirit and her lack of airs.

He would shake his head in dismay if he found out that I cannot back a boat down a ramp or build a bookshelf.

But none of that would really matter to him because he knew, and still knows, that I know how to build a fire.

And if you can build a fire, everything else is going to be okay.

Note: this is a condensed version of a post I published in July 2013. To see the longer version go here.

The long and winding road

You don’t have to be from Biddeford to know about the situation that has rocked my hometown.  The story about the alleged sexual abuse of young boys many years ago by two former Biddeford police officers has made headlines across the state.

It is a horrific, heart-wrenching story that comes on the heels of a renaissance in this community.

It has been suggested in the media and elsewhere that this issue has divided the city. I beg to differ.

Every citizen of Biddeford feels the same way: these were likely terrible crimes that warrant the full weight of justice. Thus, we are a community united. We are a community that wants the truth. We are a city that wants these alleged abusers to face trial in a court of law.

This is a community that has zero tolerance for the sexual abuse of children. Justice must be served.

But what does “justice” look like?

Unfortunately, too many of us have gotten caught up in hour-long television shows that show justice being meted out neatly in a one-hour time segment. We have come to believe that real life should follow the tempo of these fictional programs.

That’s not how it works in the real world, however. In the real world, justice rarely moves at lightening speed. Justice also requires facts and hard evidence.

In the United States, all people are innocent until proven guilty, no matter how heinous the crime. I am not defending the former police officers; rather I am defending those who have been targeted in a scorched earth campaign that has taken place primarily on social media.

It’s probably a good thing that there was no such thing as Facebook when John Adams defended the British troops who were involved in the Boston Massacre.

Facts are stubborn things

You probably remember learning about the Boston Massacre in high school. It was a turning point in our nation’s judicial system

During the height of tensions between colonists and British troops in 1770, five colonists were killed by British soldiers,

In the days and weeks that followed, there was a propaganda battle between the two sides. Everyone had an opinion.

John Adams, the man who would go on to become the second president of the United States, took the case in defense of the British troops because he wanted to ensure a fair trial, despite his patriot leanings.

Adams received threats and daily harassment. He feared for his life and for the safety of his family. Many colonists regarded him a traitor for representing the British.

Popularity and personal prosperity did not matter to Adams. He knew the stakes were too high to cave into the pressure of political expediency.

What John Adams said during his closing statement at trial should cause us all to pause in this current situation.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

A scorched earth campaign

Earlier this year, Matt Lauzon, a former Biddeford resident and now a Boston businessman, made public allegations that he was sexually abused by a former Biddeford police officer. He took to social media to talk about the events that happened to him as a boy growing up in this city.

The community was outraged. How could something like this happen? Others came forward with similar stories. Allegations now abounded about two former police officers.

Initially, Lauzon began a public awareness campaign and asked publicly about resources in the community that could prevent such abuses from happening in the future. I was one of the first people who reached out to Lauzon to express my shock and outrage regarding what he endured. To this day, I cannot fathom what it must be like to be a survivor of sexual abuse, especially when that abuse came at the hands of someone in a position of authority and trust.

I remembered Matt when he was a student at Biddeford High School. He is a smart, likable guy. I immediately put him in touch with my wife, Laura, a social worker here in Biddeford. Matt wanted to collaborate with Laura and others (including Mayor Alan Casavant and Police Chief Roger Beaupre) about community resources and raising awareness.

So far, so good, Right? Not so much.

Matt used Facebook to hound both Casavant and Beaupre, alleging that they were thwarting prevention of further abuse in the city.

Laura commented on one of Matt’s Facebook posts, cautioning him against going on a “witch hunt” for potential sex offenders. Unfortunately, there is no way to identify a sexual offender until they have done something, she explained.

Matt began publicly lashing out at Laura. He said he was hurt and troubled by her comments. He began sending repeated e-mails to her employer, imploring that she be fired.

He threatened a civil lawsuit against us, and began publicly questioning our relationships with both the mayor and police chief. There were constant Facebook posts made about Laura’s professional capacity and my prior role as Casavant’s campaign manager. A small, but very vocal group of Lauzon’s followers chimed in, and began posting and sharing the same allegations.

At one point, Lauzon’s followers criticized us for having dinner at a local restaurant. How could we be so callous when so many people were hurting? they wrote. They questioned whether our son was involved in criminal behavior.

Matt was (an assuredly still is) offended that I am friends with the mayor (first elected in 2011). He tried to draw connections between our friendship, as he ramped up a public campaign against both the mayor and police chief.

Allow me to pause here and say this: Alan Casavant and I are not “friends.” We are good friends. Further, being a “campaign manager” in a city election is hardly comparable to being a political operative. On this level, you help put up campaign signs, draft talking points and beg residents for money. Not exactly Karl Rove sort of stuff.

Casavant speculationMatt continued his campaign. He hired an attorney, and began calling for the suspension of the police chief and deputy chief. He also began railing against the mayor,a former high school teacher. Lauzon publicly speculated whether the mayor had sexual relationships with his former students. In another Facebook post, Lauzon shared an item that suggested the police chief may have had a “three-way” sexual tryst with two other officers.

Matt repeatedly called me and sent me text messages in the middle of the night. He copied the media and members of city government in continuing e-mails to my wife’s employer.

I repeatedly asked him to stop contacting me, but he persisted. Most recently, he has repeatedly driven past my house (on a quiet side street), hollering out to me when I am in my yard.

At last week’s city council meeting, Lauzon once again took the podium and suggested that the mayor and police chief may have shared a bed while attending a conference several years ago at Bowdoin College.

It should be noted that Lauzon rarely talks about the cop who allegedly abused him. Instead, he directs his wrath at those who had nothing to do with his abuse.

My mistake

05-09-01-textMy patience was growing thin. Matt was (is) repeatedly claiming he is going to file a civil lawsuit against Laura. He and his small group of followers were calling for Laura to be fired. He repeatedly sent text messages and continued posting derogatory things about us on social media, despite being repeatedly asked not to contact us.

Finally, I had enough. He called me one evening, and I snapped. I said something I deeply regret. To say it was a poor choice of words is an understatement. But after months of enduring his wrath, my emotions got the better part of my judgment.

Being a sexual abuse survivor is not an easy thing, but it does not give you license to do and say whatever you want about other people.

Where are we now, and where are going?

A growing chorus of voices are asking for the city’s police chief and deputy chief to be removed from office. But what evidence of wrongdoing by these two is available? So far, not one iota of evidence of wrongdoing has been produced. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Lauzon’s followers, most of whom voted against Mayor Casavant in 2011 and 2013, are publicly discussing a recall of the mayor. (Surprise). Apparently, they cannot wait five months for the next election.

There is repeated talk about a civil lawsuit against the city. There are repeated mob scenes at City Council meetings that are happily attended by television news crews.

This is no longer about “justice” against two former cops; rather it is about a civil lawsuit and a political vendetta. (Not necessarily in that order)

Our city is not divided, but 99.8 percent of our residents are staying silent. Can you blame them?

As I said before, we are not a city divided. We are a city that wants justice for Lauzon and the other victims. But we are also a city that wants the ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s office to move forward without the theatrics and tactics employed over the last few months.

 

Dime Store Mystery

Moments after learning that she had been ousted from the mayor’s seat, Joanne Twomey declared that the citizens of Biddeford “don’t deserve me.”

She was right.

We deserve better.

In my last newspaper column, published in December 2005, I tried to explain what motivated that column for so many years.

“Political bullies are very much like their school-yard counterparts. They’re just not as clever, and they often cloak themselves in robes of self-described nobility and purpose,” I wrote.

Many people have described Maine Governor Paul LePage as a political bully.

Regardless of your feelings about the governor, what happened this week during one of his “town hall” events was an embarrassment to an entire community.

Joanne Twomey (Portland Press Herald photo)

Joanne Twomey (Portland Press Herald photo)

I suppose it would be easy to understand Ms. Twomey’s irrational outburst — which included lobbing a jar of Vaseline at the governor — if this were a one-time event: a tipping point of rage and resentment triggered by emotion.

But that’s not what it was.

Instead it was just one more incident in a long line of emotional outbursts from Ms. Twomey, a woman who  loves creating controversy, grabbing headlines and listening to herself roar with self-righteous indignation.

Twomey has a long history of creating scenes. These outbursts serve no other purpose than to draw attention to Ms. Twomey.

If you listen to her speak, no one cares more than she does for the poor and afflicted, but don’t expect to see her volunteering at a soup kitchen or nursing home. Generally speaking, there are no TV cameras at such places.

Some people have applauded Twomey’s latest tirade. They say the governor got what was coming to him.

But what would they say about her angry outbursts that were directed at other governors, including Democrat John  Baldacci and Independent Angus King?

It’s not about politics; it’s about Joanne Twomey and her rage du jour.

In the early 1990s, Twomey was removed by police from City Hall, following another hissy fit, when once again her rage trumped manners and decorum.

As a state representative, she cried on the House floor when she did not get her way. She is a professional victim and the consummate hypocrite.

And her only real accomplishment is tarnishing the image and reputation of my hometown, which is now undergoing a transformative renaissance.

Since Twomey was ousted from office, the city of Biddeford has closed MERC, a controversial trash incinerator. Since Twomey was ousted from office, the city has attracted millions of dollars in new investment, started a curbside recycling program and has seen dozens of new small businesses open in the downtown area, and worked with the neighboring town of Saco to create the River Walk.

But Twomey’s tirade gets far more media attention. Following Thursday’s incident, social media, radio stations and television crews have repeatedly linked Biddeford to Twomey. “The city twice elected her as mayor,” they say.

They don’t bother to mention that she has lost her last three elections. Finally, the people of Biddeford see through her charade of indignation.

Over the last few years, many of our residents have poured blood, sweat and tears into revitalizing Biddeford.

Twomey’s contribution to that effort? Zip. Zero. Nada.

So once again, my community becomes a laughing-stock, a portrait of dysfunctional government, despite all the progress made over the last few years.

Twomey will tell you that she is principled and fighting the good fight on the side of the angels. But let’s look at her track record.

1.) The woman who once bemoaned the idea of a casino in Biddeford — testifying before the Biddeford City Council in 2003 by saying  — “In my Christmas village, there is no casino,” suddenly flipped when she got herself into a budget pinch, and she quickly became a cheerleader for a proposed casino. Principled? Really?

2.) The woman who built her political career on the backs of criticizing the owners of the MERC facility was giving them hugs in front of news cameras just two weeks before the 2009 mayoral election.

Just a few weeks later, after winning re-election as mayor, Twomey once again reversed her position. Principled? Really?

3.) During Biddeford’s Democratic caucus in 2012, Twomey said the city needed a “real Democrat” in Augusta, failing to mention that she encouraged Democrat State Rep. Paulette Beaudoin to run for her former legislative seat.

For such a principled person who professes to believe in the people, Twomey does not hesitate to play political hardball, but her victim routine is wearing thin.

Last year, Twomey huffed and puffed before the Biddeford City Council, accusing the city’s police department of discarding perfectly good bicycles that could be given to disadvantaged children.

It was later discovered that those bicycles were deemed beyond repair by the non-profit Community Bicycle Center.

Did Twomey apologize. Nope. Apologizing is not in her DNA.

In summary, Joanne Twomey has become everything she once despised: a petty, vindictive politician who keeps an enemies list.

But she was right about one thing: Biddeford does not deserve her.

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PS: Here’s what syndicated columnist and radio talk show host Howie Carr had to say about Thursday’s incident: (At 12:50, he gives a hat-tip to this blog)

When All Else Fails

530261_3585526400072_1544507556_nWho do you turn to when all else fails? Who has your back? Who’s got your six?

It occurs to me that I have been blogging here for a little more than three years. We have covered a lot of topics, from politics to my ongoing struggles with a mental illness. I have posted humorous things and somber things. I have posted Pro Tips for aspiring candidates and explored my hometown’s recent economic revival. I have written about solid waste and about the effects of herring on lobsters.

That’s a pretty diverse list of subject matter, don’t you think?

But it also occurs to me that there in one subject that is too often left in the shadows.

Sure, I talk about my wife on these pages, but it’s usually as a passing reference point or to highlight her battle against multiple sclerosis as a fundraising tool for the annual MS Walk in York County.

But today, for a few different reasons, I want to talk more publicly about the woman who changed my life. The woman who is my best friend and my strongest ally.

IMG_0539When I first met Laura, she was running for a seat on the Old Orchard Beach School Board. I was the editor of the local newspaper, and thus I offered my readers endorsements of candidates. I did not endorse Laura. I mistakenly thought she was running for a seat held by an accomplished incumbent.

Laura sent me an e-mail just a couple of days after my endorsements were published. She pointed out the mistake, which I did not take so well.

For whatever reasons, we continued an e-mail exchange that was almost instantly flirtatious. She did not win her election, and we had our first date a few days later  – – on a cold November afternoon that I will never forget.

I was smitten, but I was also impressed by her strength and courage. She was a single mother, raising two boys without any support from their father. She worked long hours in one of the most stressful jobs you can imagine: a social worker for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services in the office of Child and Family Services.

She bought her own modest home about a year before she met me. We dated several weeks before she would let me meet her children.

She is an awesome mother who would take her young boys frog hunting in the spring. She has gone skydiving and has never met a rollercoaster she did not like. Unlike me, she is a risk taker, always ready for the next adventure.

She is spontaneous and her laugh is more like a howl that consumes her entire body. She’s not into nouveaux cuisine or the latest fashion trends. Her favorite band is whatever is playing on the radio at that time.

268334_1896380292475_1330632899_31681248_3529053_n[1]She is mischievous and endearing. She is a voracious reader who loves animals (and owns too many, in my opinion).

She is down-to-earth and wears her heart on her sleeve. There is no pretense with Laura. What you see is what you get.

She is the consummate professional and has a hard time separating her emotions from the strain of her job. She loves the kids she works with almost as much as she loves her own.

She knows a thing or two about friendships. If you become friends with Laura, it is a life-long affair. She and her best friend have known each other since their freshman year in high school.

Laura is generous to a fault. She always wants to help, to give to others, to make others smile and feel loved.

Her chocolate cheesecake is world-famous (or soon will be).

She volunteers in the community and gets involved with causes left and right. She currently serves on the City Council’s Policy Committee and served two terms on the local school board. In her first election, she got more votes than any other candidate on the ballots, including the mayor and at-large city councilors.

Laura snores and will sometimes leave wet towels on the floor; so I suppose she is not perfect.

IMG_0668But here’s what I do know: she is an amazing wife. She is my primary caregiver, a trusted confidant and someone who will fight tooth and nail on my behalf.

I often wondered why she married me. It wasn’t money. I had none. It was not for my good looks. I am bald and overweight.

I suppose it doesn’t matter why she married me. What does matter, however, is that she married me.

So, when all else fails, I have something pretty special in my corner. And for that – – I am eternally grateful.

A short video montage:

Biddeford Council: Old White Guys

Roger Hurtubise

Roger Hurtubise

Critics of the Republican Party often say the GOP is the party of old, white men: a diminishing demographic  in a nation with increasing diversity.

Although I am hesitant to generalize the Republican Party, I can say with confidence that the Biddeford City Council is more white than the Academy Awards or the snow that is piled six-feet high in my front yard.

Furthermore, the council is completely dominated by testosterone-driven men.

You would be hard-pressed to say that the current council truly represents a city that is one of the most diverse communities in southern Maine.

Clement Fleurent

Clement Fleurent

A couple of weeks ago, City Councilor Brad Cote abruptly resigned from the good ol’ boys club.

Thus, Mayor Alan Casavant (another old, white guy) now has a unique opportunity to help diversify the council. By mid-March, Casavant is expected to nominate a replacement for Cote.

From there, the old, white guys on the city council will vote on whether to approve or reject Casavant’s nomination.

Casavant is limited. He must pick a replacement from Ward 3, one of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods (although it has nothing on Ward One, which includes Biddeford Pool and Fortunes Rocks).

John McCurry

John McCurry

But there are plenty of qualified women residing in Ward Three. Off the top of my head, I think of Bonnie Pothier, a former mayor. That said, Casavant told me Pothier has work commitments that preclude her from serving.

Or how about Carrie Varney Pelletier, an outspoken conservative who does not hesitate to offer her views on social media?

Or maybe Valerie Pelletier, who previously served on the airport commission and like Cote had misgivings about the airport?

The point is that the current council could benefit from a woman’s perspective. Women tend to see challenges from a more global viewpoint versus the linear approach of their male counterparts.

There are many fine women in Biddeford (I know because I’m married to one).

The trick for Casavant is finding one who lives in Ward Three and wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time with a lot of old white men.

Signed me,

Another old white guy.