Archive for November 2012
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
I ran for mayor focused on welfare reform. Being retired and not being—nor will I ever be—politically correct, I was aggravated at our local tax rate. But having a governor who was not afraid to speak his mind and what I thought (obviously in error) was a Republican Legislature of the same ilk, I felt pretty confident change was around the corner.
It was not what I had imagined: the Democrats regaining both the House and the Senate in Augusta. I felt as though I had run into a brick wall. Instead of giving up, I took two steps back and saw the possibility of Lewiston-Auburn going from the state’s redheaded stepchild to a power to be reckoned with—a leader, not a follower.
Issues upcoming in the next few months will focus on paying our hospitals the millions they are owed, welfare reform, schools and public transportation between Lewiston and other parts of our state.
The Maine Heritage Policy Center has released the “2012 Maine Piglet Book,” detailing hundreds of millions of dollars of wasteful government spending. A new version of a similar publication released in 2009, the 2012 Piglet Book highlights government’s big-spending habits, as well areas where leaders can save taxpayers big money.
The Maine Turnpike Authority, the Maine State Housing Authority, “Welfare for Politicians” and stipends given to UMaine employees are just a few of the examples of excessive government spending highlighted in the 2012 Maine Piglet Book. The Piglet Book reports that the University of Maine alone handed out more than $10 million in “stipends” in 2011, while the “clean elections” program has expended than $23 million over the life of the program, landing several participants in jail.
The Piglet Book also highlights the dramatic growth in government salaries in the last decade. In 1997, just 53 state employees took home more than $100,000 in compensation. That number jumped to an all-time high of 435 in 2009, before settling at 344 in 2011.
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
The election is over. Candidates in my party, the Republican Party, got their rear ends kicked so bad that they won’t be able to sit down until after the New Year.
But the Democrats did not beat us—the Republicans beat themselves.
Senator Olympia Snowe let our country, our state and those that believed in her down. I disagreed with her more than 50 percent of the time, but admired her for being a calming voice of reason. I believe that her decisions were carefully formulated after she examined all the facts. She appears to have done what was right, not what would get her reelected.
In her last months, she revealed a major flaw: she lost the will to fight. When the times get tough, the tough get going. They don’t throw up their hands and give up. We crave elected officials who, when they run into a brick wall, don’t throw up their hands in frustration. Instead, they take two steps back and figure out a way over it.
To the Editor:
We love our country; it’s dear to us and should be—it was dearly purchased through revolution and maintained ever since by the sacrifice of patriots. But our government, conceived through the imagination and compromises of the leading politicians of their time, has changed.
Individuals and corporations have found ways to shape government to their benefit. This shouldn’t be a surprise; it’s a human characteristic. We see attempts to circumvent the rules even in our children.
My adult granddaughter interrupted her conversation to admonish my 12- and five-year-old great-grandchildren not to eat snacks while sitting on the couch. My great-granddaughter, already imaginative and showing early promise for a later career as a tax attorney, leaned far forward so that her snacking was actually taking place not on the couch, but over the living room floor.
Her younger brother, just another member of the chorus, immediately joined her in this uncomfortable position, whose concerted purpose was to circumvent their mother’s rule.
The Franco-American Heritage Center is trying something new this season by presenting three nights of stand-up comedy. The first show in the series will take place on Friday, November 16 with Rob Steen, a Boston comedian who has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” topping the bill.
Each comedy night will feature performances by three comedians. In addition to the headline set by Steen, the November 16 show will include warm-up sets by Steve Guilmette of New Hampshire, who has performed at the Boston Comedy Festival, and Maine’s Chuck Grover, a recent runner-up in a contest seeking Portland’s funniest comic.
“This is new for us, but I think it will work,” said Franco Center executive director Louis Morin. “We’re trying it as a first step in our efforts to make the Franco Center a more vibrant place for younger audiences.”
Record numbers of Mainers are struggling to access enough food—a situation that will only become more dire as we enter the holiday season and long winter ahead. In an effort to provide nutritious food for the 15 percent of Maine households that face hunger, Good Shepherd Food Bank has set a goal of $200,000 for its 2012 Virtual Holiday Food Drive.
While many of us have the desire to give back to the community during the holiday season, often our busy schedules make it difficult to follow through on our good intentions. Good Shepherd Food Bank makes it easy to take part in a holiday food drive, right from your computer. By logging on to feedingmaine.org, you can choose from numerous food products at various giving levels.
The Virtual Holiday Food Drive demonstrates to the donor just how far their financial gift to the Food Bank can stretch. For instance, with a $25 donation, the Food Bank can acquire 50 pounds of fresh produce for Maine families.
For the ninth consecutive year, The Franco-American Heritage Center hosted one of Lewiston-Auburn’s foremost social and cultural events, The Franco Center Gala and Benefit Concert with Maine’s Midcoast Symphony Orchestra and guest pianist, George Lopez.
Held on October 20 with a theme of “Las Vegas,”, the annual gala offered the community an exceptional evening of elegance, symphonic music and a generous table of wine and gourmet foods.
The benefit concert is a significant event on The Center’s fundraising and programming calendar. The Benefit and Gala included receptions before and after the concert. A Wine and Gourmet Food Reception preceded the concert, and a Champagne Reception followed the concert.