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Author Archives: TCT Staff

Enough is Enough: Welfare fraud, waste and abuse cannot be excused

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

I like former mayor Larry Gilbert as a person. I simply dislike much of what he says and does.

His op-ed last week took TCT readers down a nostalgic trail of columns past, similar to airings of TV shows of the past.

It was classic —15 paragraphs long, eight of which were used to retell and remind us of the French kid who left Lewiston at an early age, moved to California and like the Prodigal Son made his way back to Lewiston becoming a renowned public figure. Upon concluding reading the column, like Clara of the Wendy’s TV commercials, I asked: “Where’s the beef?”

Upon reading the first two paragraphs, I came thought the former mayor was going to discuss students’ ability to learn when the distraction of spring arrives. Imagine my surprise upon reading the next paragraph, which began criticizing Governor Paul R. LePage and me for our “overly obsessive attitude towards welfare.”

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Enough is Enough: Taxpayers, children will suffer without welfare reform

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Well, it’s official! The silver-spoon trust-funder, Senate President Justin Alfond, and his co-conspirator, Speaker of the House Mark Eves, have again won a battle in their war against Maine’s middle class. They successfully killed legislation that would have tightened up the rules of several state welfare programs in order to reduce fraud.

A collective sigh of relief by the Maine People’s Alliance, Maine Equal Justice and a host of other advocacy groups was heard reverberating throughout the halls of the State House. Their interests once again had trumped those of the state’s middle-class taxpayers. Yes, happiness reigned, thanks to the leadership of the progressive Democrats and their Lewiston-Auburn allies, our local Democratic legislative delegation (a.k.a. The Portland Puppets).

The aforementioned groups will now be allowed, for at least another year, unfettered access to picking the pockets of Maine’s middle class.

I must note at this time that three of L-A’s Democratic legislators may have broken rank and voted with Republicans to institute Governor LePage’s tightening of the General Assistance laws. Next week, if true, I will let you know their identities.

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Enough is Enough: Lewiston faces budget pressure; politicians deny welfare problems

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

It is time for a no-holds-barred venting on welfare reform. It is time for an accounting from our Lewiston state legislative delegation as to what they have done to help alleviate our current welfare crisis.

Over the next eight weeks, seven Lewiston residents elected to our city council will debate, ponder and come up with a city budget that places minimum fiscal distress on local property taxpayers while providing services needed to make sure we function and grow as a community. This is Lewiston, not Lourdes—there will be no forthcoming miracles. Property taxes will increase. The only question is: How much?

Lewiston has one of the lowest property value rates in the state. This is why a house is Southern Maine is valued three times or more than a similar one in Lewiston. This undervalue is reflected in our mil rate. At the end of the day, that similar house in Southern Maine is paying about the same or slightly more in taxes than you do in your undervalued home.

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Enough is Enough: Mother Nature wreaks havoc on education system

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

School daze: A condition that will soon be coming to a school near you. No school will be immune. It will spread throughout the entire Maine school system faster than students being dismissed for the day.

There is no known cure for it. In some cases it can be limited, although this year it is on track to reach epic proportions. This year’s students will be infected by the most powerful strain of this scourge: Mother Nature.

Over the past school year, Mother Nature has wreaked havoc on the steady, consistently measured flow of educational knowledge imparted on our students by their teachers. This educational flow is only successful if it is allowed to continue with few interruptions. However, this academic year Mother Nature has been exceptionally cruel to our educational system. There is still a chance Mother Nature may rain down another catastrophe upon us. As I write, a major Nor’easter is forming with the potential of hitting Maine hard.

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Enough is Enough: Fight drug problem by targeting dealers, not making excuses

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

I’m beginning to come to the realization that anything Governor Paul LePage tries to do to make Maine safer, less costly and create a more business-friendly environment is immediately pounced on and declared evil by academics, shyster politicians, cognac-sniffing elitists, arrogant nobodies that declare themselves community leaders and those with both hands in the working men/women’s pockets.

They look down on those who tediously labor daily and exhibit common sense: men and women whose perception of Maine is formed by their daily community interaction, not by some theoretical academic fancy put forth in the classroom. The above-mentioned groups work hard to bring those who do not share their views over to their way of thinking. They try to modify opponents’ thoughts so that reality is looked on as nothing more than an aberration.

Their latest attack on Governor LePage involves his plan to add 14 drug agents, four judges and four prosecutors to deal with Maine’s dangerous and growing drug problem.

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Enough is Enough: MaineCare ride service bashed by media bashing, politics

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

How many of you reading this column have ever heard of CTS? If I told you the initials stood for Coordinated Transportation Solutions, would that ring a bell? Probably not.

Yet at the beginning of January of this year, this company dominated the news in a very negative fashion. This was the company contracted by Maine’s Office of MaineCare Services to provide rides to those on MaineCare (Medicaid) needing transportation to appointments.

CTS was contracted by the State of Maine after the federal government forced the state into a brokering system after it concluded that contracting only one company, in this case Community Concepts, presented a conflict of interest. Enter CTS, who brokered contracts with several companies, including Community Concepts, to provide the transportation needs of individuals on MaineCare.

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Enough is Enough: City councilors cannot punt away budget problems

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Our city budget season is upon us. Seven women and men, elected from throughout Lewiston, will spend long days and sleepless nights scrutinizing the budgets of our various city departments. They will labor over what capital expenditures can be put off and what, if any, services can be cut or curtailed.

They have become the stewards of Lewiston’s fiscal health. All at some point will question what possessed them to run for the council and take on this thankless task.

Each year balancing the city’s needs against what property taxpayers can afford becomes harder. The Washington goose that at one time was very fertile has now gone sterile. Reality in Augusta is defined by vocal special interest groups who at the start of the legislative season take up residence inside the walls of the State House. Here they repeatedly present legislators with dubious facts which go unchallenged by the majority of the clueless we have representing us. This results in the passage of legislation which in the long run will shaft the majority of our taxpaying population.

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Earning laughs for a good cause

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Some of New England’s funniest comedians performed for a full house at the Auburn Fireside Inn on February 7, bringing in $712 for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. Pictured here (l. to r.) are Comedy Fix founder Mark Turcotte, Stephen Cloutier, Dee Turcotte, Shawn Carter, Phoebe Angle, Paul Landwehr, Dempsey Center Youth and Family Services Coordinator Tookie Bright and Stephanie Doyle. The next show is scheduled for Friday, March 14. For more information, see http://comedyfixlive.com.

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F.A.B. Winter Dance Showcase breaks new ground

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This year’s F.A.B. Winter Dance Showcase on March 1 features a diverse line-up, including a piece that incorporates elements of traditional Franco-American dance.

The ninth annual “F.A.B.” Winter Dance Showcase will take place on Saturday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Franco Center in Lewiston. The event, whose name stands for “Franco-American and Bates,” is produced by the Franco Center in association with Bates College.

F.A.B. aims to bring the mid-Maine dance audience together with artists from around the region. Visually stunning and kinetically mesmerizing, the event energizes Lewiston’s most beautiful auditorium with a kaleidoscope of dance styles.

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Local 797 plans comedy shows

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Rob Steen, who has appeared on David Letterman seven times, will be one of three comedians performing at the Ramada Conference Center on Friday, May 23.

The Auburn Firefighters Local 797 Children’s Fund will present two 21+ comedy shows on Friday, May 23 at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston. The shows will feature three professional comedians, including Rob Steen, who have appeared on Letterman, Leno, at Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun. Proceeds will benefit programs supported by the Children’s Fund.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door for a suggested donation of $10. Advance tickets can be purchased by calling (207) 432-6968 or emailing alex@ecmgevents.com.

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