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Enough is Enough: Women in combat, common sense and Casella waste

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

In the spring of 1966 many of us dumb, adventurous, carefree neighborhood guys were weeks away from graduation. Our conquest of the world lay before us. We pondered our next move. What road should we follow? Every Irish kid’s dream: a civil service job? College? The military?

A combination of foolishness and testosterone overcame common sense. There was a war going on in a country few had heard of and fewer could find on a map. The Marines needed a few good boys to turn into fighting men. The Marines had a solid combat reputation and great-looking uniforms which, combined with a few medals, made an exceptional “chick magnet.”

The physical training applied in the infantry pushes recruits beyond what would be characterized as their physical limits. Once this is accomplished, the next phase necessitates stripping them of emotions that would cause them to view their enemy as human. Once this was complete, additional training followed and you were ready for combat.

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Enough is Enough: Local government to face the ire of the property taxpayer

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Lewiston, we have a problem! It appears to be a major problem.

Our Governor, Paul LePage, has dared to shatter the rose-colored glasses used by career politicians to assure the taxpaying public that everything is fine. After years of smoke and mirrors and dishonesty, the ugly truth stands before us—the State of Maine is broke.

Like the emperor in the fairy tale, the Legislative Branch stands naked before the public bickering and fiercely fighting amongst each other over how best to clothe themselves. This would be amusing if their decisions didn’t have such dire consequences on the public they claim to be serving.

The question is whether our legislators are going to “man up” and take responsibility for the mess they have created over the years and raise state taxes to deal with the problems. Or will they, like Pontius Pilate, wash their responsibilities away passing the crisis on to the municipalities to deal with and solve?

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Enough is Enough: The benefits of a deal with Casella: jobs, tax revenue, control

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

This is part two of a response to an article by Hilary Lister, “Out-of-state waste to be allowed at proposed Casella processing facility,” which ran on Page 1 in the January 3 issue of Twin City TIMES.

Lister paraphrased Dan Mynahan, questioning whether the City of Lewiston was getting a good deal by leasing property to Casella in a high-value area near the Turnpike. (She never explained what the “deal” is.)

The property in question is immediately adjacent to our landfill and drop-off area. It is in an industrial setting surrounding by trucking operations and gravel pits. It includes only three acres of land. The building is a concrete industrial structure with limited potential for reuse; probably no use other than materials handling would be feasible. It is currently a non-productive asset. It’s not the site for the next Super Walmart. We’re waiting for your offer!

Lister spent considerable time discussing Casella’s financial status—something that has been raised before and an issue that the city is evaluating. Her understated concern appears to be that, by entering into an agreement, the city will eventually be left holding the bag if Casella goes under. What she doesn’t ask is, what are the actual risks to the city should this occur?

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Enough is Enough: Setting the record straight on the proposed deal with Casella

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

This is part one of a response to an article by Hilary Lister, “Out-of-state waste to be allowed at proposed Casella processing facility,” which ran on Page 1 in the January 3 issue of Twin City TIMES.

Hilary Lister’s commentary on the proposed Casella Processing Facility that appeared on the front page of last week’s Twin City TIMES is so full of incorrect and misleading statements—and so lacking in other information—that it is hard to know where to begin to set the record straight.

She starts by stating that the Lewiston City Council voted to enter into discussions with Casella in August of last year “with little public notification.” The facts: the council held a workshop on August 7 to discuss the proposal.

This meeting was announced in advance, normal public notice was provided and a number of individuals who had contacted members of the council about the proposal were also informed of the meeting. That workshop was televised and reported in the newspapers.

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LePage: Hardworking Mainers pay their bills—government should, too

By Gov. Paul LePage

This week, newly elected officials across our country and state started what is supposed to be the work of the people. Budget talk has dominated discussions for months, and the so called fiscal cliff is starting to hit home for many Mainers.

Maine’s average household income is about $48,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the federal payroll tax change will affect thousands of working families, leaving them with less money.

An average family will lose about $1,000 from their paycheck in 2013 because of the payroll tax change—a decrease that will likely make it difficult for Mainers to pay their own bills.

I am proud to share with Mainers that the tax cuts passed by the Maine Legislature in the last biennium will save a family of four with an income of $48,000 a little more than $300 annually.

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Bruce Poliquin: Together, We Made a Difference

By Bruce Poliquin

My two-year term as Maine State Treasurer ended Monday. I’ve been humbled and honored by the privilege to serve the State Legislature and the hard-working people of Maine.  I thank you deeply for this rewarding opportunity.

The Maine Legislature elects our four Constitutional Officers, including the State Treasurer. The November elections returned the legislative majority back to the Democrat Party, where it had been for most of the past 40 years.

The incoming majority elected the current State Auditor and former Democrat State Senator Neria Douglass as our next State Treasurer. I congratulate Treasurer-elect Douglass and have been pleased to assist with her smooth transition.

Two years ago, our Great State faced a number of daunting fiscal challenges: $4.1 billion of pension benefits had been promised to 70,000 active and retired public school teachers and state employees that Augusta did not have funds to cover.  State government owed roughly $500 million to Maine hospitals for Medicaid (MaineCare) services already provided to program enrollees. The increasing cost of our Medicaid program had been crowding out the State’s ability to fund other core services like road/bridge construction and repair.

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Enough is Enough: Speaking up for the elderly, the working poor, the truly needy

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

I hope all the TCT readers had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

My wife and I play Mr. and Mrs. Claus for the children of several organizations. We find this uplifting, and it adds to the joy of the season. This year, for me, it came to a screeching halt.

Two little girls, one a polite outgoing two-year-old, the other a bubbling, energetic six-month-old baby, were having fun enjoying the gifts they had received. My joy turned to sadness when I found out both were foster children. The six-month-old was going to spend time on Christmas with her family from whom she had been taken from as an infant.

I hope these children and others like them are soon adopted, saving them from possibly being condemned to a life of poverty and hopelessness.

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Enough is Enough: Vietnam veterans have not forgotten John Kerry

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

“I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia.” Thus John Kerry began his testimony before the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations on April 23, 1971.

Kerry had returned home from Vietnam a highly decorated officer (as opposed to enlisted men, who serve on the same battlefields but arrive home with far fewer decorations). His goal was to get into politics by running for office and following the footsteps of his hero, John F. Kennedy.

But in 1971 the “fruit salad” (rows of colorful military ribbons and medals) adorning one’s uniform had now became a liability. Unlike during World War II and Korea, where this type of display identified a person as a warrior and patriot, these decorations now identified one as a war criminal, baby killer and psychopath. These accusations were leveled at law-abiding, selfless, patriotic young men (and women) by those trying to defend their lack of intestinal fortitude.

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Enough is Enough: Emotions run high over redistricting Lewiston schools

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Well, I made the news again! Not just locally, but around New England, too.

Last Wednesday evening, I went to a meeting at the Geiger School hosted by school Superintendent Bill Webster to discuss and explain the upcoming Lewiston redistricting. I was drawn to the meeting after hearing in various coffee shops over the week that the parents of the Geiger School students were very upset about the redistricting.

For over two hours I listened to parents, their emotions running high, expressing their concerns about the upcoming redistricting. Their remarks and criticism towards the program were straightforward; politically correct be damned.

When speakers expressed a position criticizing the program, many parents would show their support by banging on the tables. They were going to fight for their schools and neighborhoods. They were my kind of people.

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23 states opt out of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges

By Sally C. Pipes

Pacific Research Institute

The next act in the Obamacare saga is about to begin—and it’s going to be tragic. Friday, December 14 marks the deadline for states to reveal their plans for constructing insurance exchanges in line with the healthcare law’s dictates.

Many (including Maine) are opting out—leaving the federal government to set up exchanges for them. Others simply aren’t ready to establish their own.

And so these central components of Obamacare will soon stand as the latest examples of the president’s failure to make health insurance more accessible or affordable.

Obamacare’s insurance exchanges were intended to be state-based marketplaces where individuals and small businesses could choose from an array of coverage options. In theory, this structure would encourage states to experiment and to tailor their offerings to the unique needs of their populations.

But in reality, the exchanges are burdened with so many rules that experimentation and competition have been stifled. Given the cost of setting up an exchange—and of complying with all the federal regulations—it’s no surprise that many states are refusing to participate.

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