Thursday, February 28, 2013
Maine city votes to change name from "Portland" to "Panhandle"
The city formerly known as "Portland, Maine" has voted to change its name to "Panhandle Maine." The vote came about after an alarming increase in the number of people visibly begging along city roadways. The problem was most acute in the late fall of 2012, when the spectacle of two, three and sometimes four people jockeying for position on the same street corner became a common sight.
City officials commissioned a study, and discovered that fully one out of every two adults in the city is a homeless person who holds a cardboard sign and asks passersby for money at traffic stoplights and along median strips. The city Tax Department also did an exhaustive audit of their files and found that "Homeless" (including alternative spellings such as "Homless" and "Hoamles") was far and away the source of income most often described on city tax records. "Social Worker" was a distant second, followed by "Barista." "Municipal Employee" was fourth, with "Lawyer" in fifth place. There were no other jobs mentioned.
"We feel like Panhandle Maine sends the right message," said mayor Michael Brennan. "It really tells you what this town is about. And you'll notice we took the comma out between the words Panhandle and Maine. That's because it's not just a name, it's also a command. It's an exhortation. We want you to get out there and really do it, really get after it. You've heard of Ski Maine? You've heard of Build Maine? Well, we're Panhandle Maine, and we're proud."
The Mayor went on to add that city councilors are currently exploring the possibly of adding an exclamation point to the name, which would effectively make the city "Panhandle Maine!" The City Attorney, notably both a Municipal Employee and a Lawyer, was thought to be studying the constitutionality of such a move at press time.