Logo to e-subscribe for Twin City Times Digital Edition

Check Out Our Digital Editon!

Columns

Enough is Enough: Legislators want to expand welfare, but ignore our most needy

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

They are truly God’s children. Perhaps that is why they have been left on the side of the road by our ever-increasing secular society.

You will never hear them asking for or demanding government assistance. You will never hear them at all. They represent a moral and societal debt that must be paid if we wish to continue to exist and call ourselves a civilized society. They are those among us that unfortunately have been born with severe mental disability.

Our society, which continues to pat itself on the back for projecting a philanthropic attitude toward those labeled as “down trodden,” continues to ignore the basic needs of unquestionably our most vulnerable.

Growing up, they did not sneak around with their peers to participate in a rite of passage known as under-aged drinking. Growing up, they did not experiment with the illegal drug du jour.

Growing up, they required constant, dedicated care and attention by family, teachers and societal agency staff. They will need this care until they are called from this Earth.

Today in Maine our legislators make sure that money is available for those who flock to Maine, many with their GPS programmed for Lewiston, to obtain the generous welfare benefits offered by our caring Legislature. But for 3,100 of our most needy, those who cannot survive without assisted living, the funding for home- or community-based care is not available.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share

Enough is Enough: Churches were Lewiston’s social and religious centers

By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston

Over the past few years, many of our older lifelong residents have expressed sorrow over the closing of St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s Catholic Churches. In bygone days these parishes served as the social and religious centers for many residents in our community.
But all things come to an end. Over the years attendance at Sunday Mass has greatly diminished. At age 66, they refer to me as “The Kid” at the Mass I attend on Sunday. For any entity to survive, it needs new blood.

Over the years the fiscal prowess of the State of Maine has been on a steady decline. Many of our bright young people have been forced to leave our community and state in order to pursue their chosen careers. Deaths in Maine now outnumber births. However, like the Phoenix, our city is slowly and steadily resurrecting itself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share

Enough is Enough: While politicians fiddle, taxpayers worry about property taxes.

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston
I have not seen this level of “tuning up” since I left the Lewiston Police Department. Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves are acting like a pair of street-wise, thug cops in an off-the-wall police show.  Their target, the short tempered Governor of Maine, Paul LePage.
I like Governor Paul LePage. Whether you agree with him or not, you must concede that he has brought to the forefront the dire fiscal mess we currently find ourselves in. His use of the bully pulpit wards off the ability of the Democrats to brush off our fiscal distress as nothing more than a bump in the road.
But Governor, you must learn to control your temper or it will become your downfall. Like experienced cops, Senator Alfond and Representative Eves have zeroed in on this major flaw and are going to exploit it for all it’s worth—along with their allies in the press—until they run you out of office.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share

Enough is Enough: College material, hospital debt and welfare expansion

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Enough is enough. The following is a list of our local lawmakers that are holding up meaningful welfare reform. Please call them and let them know your opinion on the below.

Senator John Cleveland, 782-3353 SenJohn.Cleveland@legislature.maine.gov

Senator Margaret Craven, 783-1897 SenMargaret.Craven@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Nathan Libby, 399-7993 RepNathan.Libby@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Michel Lajoie, 783-1927, RepMichel.Lajoie@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Michael Carey, 344-3017, RepMichael.Carey@legislature.maine.gov

Representative Brian Bolduc, 576-4907, bolduc74@yahoo.com

Representative Margaret Rotundo, 784-3259, mrotundo@bates.edu.

Representative Wayne Werts, 783-6931, rw556@aol.com.

Why is there so much pressure on our local students to attend and graduate from college? Why are they continually left with the assumption that without a piece of parchment from a “college” or “university” they will live life as a failure?
Many people living in Lewiston-Auburn own homes, cars, seasonal camps, retirement property to our south and have good jobs.  They live happily and comfortably.  But, unlike their peers, who have attended college, they have no degree—nor the enormous debt that goes with it.
Over the years the Lewiston School Committee has realized many students are not college material. Many who falter academically excel in the trades such as automotive, woodworking, sheet metal and, in case you’ve been away from the area for a few years, an extremely renowned culinary arts program that sends more of its students to the world renowned New York Institute of Culinary Arts than any school in the country.

Air Force and Army ROTC programs, along with the Law Enforcement Cadet Program, offer a career foundation to those who desire work away from the confines of an office.
With much fanfare iPads are now replacing computers currently used in our school system. What is hailed as an innovation and helpful to some students could prove to be a job killer to a majority of others. The reason? Students’ keyboarding skills will diminish, leaving them without the skills needed to qualify for nearly half of the jobs currently available in our community.
This lack of foresight would close the door to graduates seeking clerical or secretarial positions. Or it could force them to reach into their own pockets and pay to develop skills formerly offered as part of our public education system.

Lewiston-Auburn redevelopment staffs have worked hard to bring new jobs to our area. TD Bank and Argo have and will bring hundreds of new jobs needed to boost our local economy.  It’s time to return to the realization that not all our children are college material. Let’s continue teaching the basic skills needed to insure that every student possess the skills that will move our community forward.

The last thing we don’t want to see in the windows of future employers is a sign stating, “Lewiston and EL graduates need not apply.”
“We’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it.”  Thus spoke former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when asked about Obamacare.  Well, they did, and now we’re finding out that this is not quite what was promised. Now the very liberal Congressional Democrats who voted for Obamacare are now becoming infuriated by many of its regulations.

But that’s what happens when you’re not held accountable by the voting public. I mean, why waste time reading the bill? They have campaign cash to raise.
Now let’s fast forward to last week in Augusta.
“I am willing to take a chance.”  Thus stated Senator John Patrick D-Rumford in casting an affirmative vote in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee to link paying the hospitals to the expansion of Medicaid. What chance? The chance that the current administration in Washington, D.C. is telling the truth.

If they’re not able to back up their claims, taxpayers—that’s Maine taxpayers—will be on the hook for providing expanded coverage to the thousands added to the current rolls.  Which side of error do you wish to side on?
A Sun Journal editorial on Saturday May 18, 2013 seems to be pandering to this plan. It linked Governor Paul LePage to other evil Tea Party governors who oppose the plan. Apparently the Sun Journal has not received the new talking points: Tea Party, patriotic and good guys; the Executive Branch in Washington D.C., bad guys.
Being the Mayor of Lewiston I am incensed that paying the State debt owed to our hospitals will not stand alone as a separate issue. My job is to shout when the livelihood of residents and the city’s economy is threatened. Well, I’m shouting!
In Lewiston we have experienced the good intentions of our Federal government. Promises made have turned certain areas of our city (and other cities throughout the country) into decaying shells of once-vibrant neighborhoods. We are forced to support people who no longer have (assuming that they once had) the ability or the will to support themselves. Taxes go up, and our dependents multiply.

Two things must happen. First, Governor LePage cannot waiver and must veto the bill. Second, it’s time for you to join the fight. Start calling your State Representatives and let them know how you feel.

We have spent two legislative sessions attempting to pass legislation that would prohibit those coming off five years of TANF being added to Lewiston’s welfare rolls. We have asked that 200-plus jobs and stabilization of our local hospitals that can only happen by paying off the debt owed to them for the last several years.

Finally, the Chief Executive of our State, Governor Paul LePage was denied on Sunday the opportunity to testify in front of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. The subject was the financial distress at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Bookmark and Share

Enough is Enough: Mayors asked for funds to tear down fire hazards

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

When you were a child, unless your parents were grifters, you were taught that honesty is the best policy. Your parents told you repeatedly that the best way to earn the respect of others was through truthfulness and honesty.

Apparently, this standard does not apply to Governor Paul LePage, at least as far as the press and his political enemies are concerned.

Unless you have been living in a cave or been hospitalized in a coma for the last few years, you know that Maine is broke. After surveying the fire destruction in Downtown Lewiston, Governor LePage announced the state was broke, but he would try and find some money and resources to help us out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share

Enough is Enough: Hospital debt, school grades and the history of L-A

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

It’s time for the readers of this column to step up to the plate. Our hospitals have to be paid!

The continued failure to pay this debt is denying L-A and surrounding communities the opportunity to fill between 150 to 200 shovel-ready jobs with benefits. It’s time to stop playing political games that have a direct effect on people’s lives.

The immediate payback to the hospitals is overwhelmingly supported by Democratic and Republican legislators. The problem?  Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves refuse to bring the legislation to their respective chamber floors for a vote.

It’s time to mobilize and start flooding their offices with phone calls and emails telling them to pay the state’s debt to the hospitals.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share

Enough is Enough: “Landfill Capacity” bill would cost Lewiston $215K

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

On Monday of last week I was pressed into service and sent to Augusta to testify in opposition to LD 1363 before the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resource.

LD 1363, “An Act to Ensure Landfill Capacity and Promote Recycling,” was submitted by Rep. Benjamin Chipman, I—Portland. It would amend existing law to prohibit state-owned, solid-waste-disposal facilities from accepting waste from the Processing and Recycling Facilities if the waste coming to these facilities originated outside of the state.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share

Enough is Enough: Cooperation is needed to create a desirable city

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

It takes vision to create a desirable city—vision in the form of young entrepreneurs: young entrepreneurs who have a dream, drive and a can-do attitude; entrepreneurs who can successfully navigate all obstacles before them. To the women and men that subscribe to this world, “quitting is not an option.”

You also need well-versed, seasoned business people—business people who have knowledge and understand the workings of commerce, business, industry, banking, local, state and federal government operations; business people who know how to get things done; business people whose advice and counsel will almost surely guarantee success.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share

Enough is Enough: Chaplains reflect the work of the Catholic Church

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

When I became mayor, I made a promise that I would address the welfare fraud being committed by the out-of-town transients that blow weekly into Lewiston. I have worked with Lewiston’s welfare director, Sue Charron, developing legislation and finding legislative sponsors to introduce bills aimed at eliminating fraud and abuse.

I am happy to report that we are on the verge of achieving our goal.

In the next few weeks, this column will present detailed plans designed to improve the livability and marketability of our town. In order to achieve these goals, you, the reader, will be asked to perform a simple task.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share

Enough is Enough: Consolidation requires commitment from elected officials

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Early in February, the Sun Journal headline described a “Lewiston, Auburn Mayoral Spat.” That spat resulted from my reaction to comments by Mayor Jonathan LaBonté of Auburn during a meeting with Governor LePage. At that meeting and elsewhere, Mayor LaBonté stated that the Twin Cities have been sitting on a plan that would save $2.7 million a year through closer cooperation, a plan that hasn’t been implemented because of politics and lack of a “fiscal cliff” forcing us to do so.

My concern then and now is that such statements play right into the hands of those who would like to see local government pick up the tab for the state budget through the elimination of municipal revenue sharing and other state supported programs.

Guess what? I was right.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share


Contact Us!

33 Dunn Street
Auburn, ME 04210
Phone: (207) 795-5017
Fax: (207) 782-9579

Brunswick Ford
Auburn Savings
Flagship