Mike Hurley holds lit fireworks on his Belfast property Jan. 20 celebrating President Joe Biden’s inauguration. YouTube video screenshot

BELFAST — City Councilor Mike Hurley appears to flout a Belfast ordinance that prohibits fireworks from being used in the city in a Jan. 20 YouTube video titled “2017 to 2020 Die Hard Celebration of Vanquishing Ex President.”

It was in celebration of President Joe Biden’s inauguration that day, he said. He is heard in the video saying “2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, Yippee-ki-yay Motha.”

The video was posted on Facebook group Our Town, Belfast Maine, where several people complained about the councilor, along with his conduct in political arguments with people on his Facebook page, You Know You Love Belfast If… .

Belfast resident Kelli Bucklin said she called the councilor about the video, but he dismissed her. Hurley said he has not received any complaints outside of Facebook about lighting fireworks.

He acknowledged in conversation with The Republican Journal that people complaining about his disregard for the ordinance, which he thinks he voted against in 2012, have a “very small” point, but downplayed their accusations. People have set off fireworks in Belfast often since the city passed the ordinance banning them, he said.

He said many people he’s talked to about it think it is funny, but admitted that it is not funny when councilors do not adhere to the city’s laws. “Is it funny when a city councilor doesn’t follow a local ordinance? Probably not, but I get why they think it’s funny,” he said.


Bucklin said he has a history of bullying people who do not agree with him and accused him of thinking that he is above the law. “Mike has had a long history in Belfast as being kind of abusive to people,” she said.

The police did not come to his house about a noise complaint after the event, he said. Bucklin said there have been multiple complaints to the Belfast Police Department about Hurley’s setting off the fireworks. Chief Gerry Lincoln was not immediately available for comment.

Hurley said some of the people complaining about the video on Facebook are people with whom he has had previous debates on the social media network. He does not plan to shoot off fireworks again.

He thinks the behavior of the people who gather on Resistance Corner every Sunday to protest shutdowns because of the coronavirus carrying signs with expletives on them is more offensive than his own.

Mayor Eric Sanders has not watched the video, so he declined to comment specifically regarding Hurley’s conduct, but said he does not condone any behavior that violates city ordinances.

Nobody has called him to complain about the video, he said. He thinks this situation is a good reason why the council should establish a social media policy for councilors and some city staff. Discussions of a policy keep popping up, but so far it has gone nowhere.


“I’m an advocate, have always been an advocate, will continue to be an advocate for the city of Belfast to install a social media policy that would include specifically for the council and myself,” he said. “I’ve long been an advocate for the council to pick up and install a social media policy.

“So, when you don’t have a social media policy, or support for one, these kind of things can occur. Common sense.”

Sanders said the video will probably be discussed at the next City Council meeting, when there is an item on the agenda to discuss free speech and civility.

“This one is not council-oriented, it’s Mike Hurley-oriented, it would seem to me, the complaints,” he said. “Now does that mean it’ll come to the council? I don’t know, we’ll see.”

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