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Archive for July 2011

Mayor’s Corner: Community engagement is necessary for community beautification

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

As this headline reads, it takes community engagement to beautify a community. This is an effort that the city council, city staff and I and kicking off in order to engage our community in working to eliminate blight and improve the appearance of our All-America City and, in particular, in our downtown district.

The group called the “Visible Community,” representing tenants in our downtown tenement buildings, approached the city council asking that the council hire additional code enforcement officers. As the city council has struggled with its budget, it decided to use Community Development Block Grant Funding to hire an additional code enforcement officer. The city council listened. It also heard from landlords who had complaints about tenants destroying their buildings.

At times, I wonder where the “Visible Community” is, as the areas in downtown neighborhoods are the those that this organization represents. It needs to not be an “Invisible Community” when the work in their neighborhoods needs to be done. You can’t simply advocate for city services and not become a participant. It needs to work in partnership with the city. Together, much can be accomplished.

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Snowe: National debt is greatest threat to America’s future

By Senator Olympia J. Snowe

(R-Maine)

When our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, I am certain they did not envision that 235 years later, foreign countries would own a significant percentage of our national debt. We need to redouble our efforts to keep our nation secure and free from the tremendous debt that currently plagues our federal government.

With our $14.3 trillion national debt growing larger every day, our national and economic security is at stake. Overseas central banks, particularly those in Asia, have been huge buyers of U.S. debt in recent years—and they own over a quarter of marketable Treasuries.

Foreigners own a total of $4.4 trillion, or approximately 47 percent of the federal debt held by the public, according to the Treasury Department. China and Japan are the biggest two foreign holders of Treasuries, each holding approximately 20 percent of our total foreign debt. Oil exporting countries hold another five percent.

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Collins: Costly Ethanol Subsidies Should End

By U.S. Senator Susan Collins

(R-Maine)

Ethanol subsidies are fiscally irresponsible, economically indefensible and environmentally unwise. That is why I have cosponsored, and voted for, legislation that would immediately end the corn-based ethanol tax credit and the import tariff.

Historically, our government has promoted the use of a product in one of three ways: subsidize it, protect it from competition or require its use. Right now, ethanol may be the only product receiving all three forms of support.

The ethanol tax break is extraordinarily expensive. The Government Accountability Office has found that the tax credit costs American taxpayers a staggering $6 billion annually. This is quite a sum to prop up a fuel that is causing land conversion for corn production, commodity and food prices to rise, and it is barely putting a dent in our nation’s dangerous dependence on Middle East oil.

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