By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
Too many hands ruin the soup. When moving a city forward, two opportunities stand before you. The first is creating a city that prospers, where jobs are abundant and unemployment is at or near zero.
The second is to rely on “community leaders”, void of imagination, who beg the government for more federal programs. Ride around Lewiston and look upon the results of that strategy.
Last week I wrote a column calling for the end of division in our community and asking that we unite and move Lewiston forward.
Last week’s edition of the TCT had no sooner hit the streets when our former mayor, Laurent F. Gilbert Sr., pronounced my column divisive. Mobilizing, he went downtown looking to create community division, seeking allies to support his claim.
Let’s be frank: the former mayor hates me, and after this stunt I can assure you that the feeling is mutual. The only difference is that I would never use my hatred against him if I thought it would bring a negative reaction to Lewiston and its citizens.
The former mayor has been attempting to derail me since before I was elected. Days before the primary, a debate was held between the five mayoral candidates in the Lewiston City Council Chambers. This debate was closed to the public.
Prior to the start, the former mayor arrived with about 20 male New Mainers. His tactics failed to produce his desired attempts to intimidate those in the room.
The next occasion was the tragic and untimely death of mayoral candidate and former city councilor Mark Paradis four days prior to the mayoral election. An afternoon press conference was quickly called in the Lewiston City Council Chamber—not to mourn a man who had dedicated the greater part of his life to improving the city that he loved, but to urge voters to vote against me.
The former mayor was one of the participants. They failed to realize that by holding this news conference in the Council Chambers, they were in violation of state ethics law. I planned to file a complaint with the Ethics Commission, but after winning the election I felt it was time to move on.
Two days after being elected, I held a press conference in the Lewiston City Council Chambers. I was confronted by a Somali gentleman, who wanted me to apologize to the Somali community for the perception that the former mayor and many of the good old boys that used to run the city had created about me. I refused, the cameras rolled and all of Maine got to view it.
The Somali gentleman was friendly with the former mayor, who was present at the time of the confrontation. I have since spoken to this gentleman, who is a successful pharmacist, and have cleared the air.
About three weeks ago the former mayor asked that city officials sit down with a Somali woman in order to discuss Somali youth gangs. The meeting turned out to be more of a bashing of me than a discussion of youth gangs.
At the end of the meeting, I discovered that the woman lived in Auburn. Had I known this at the onset, the meeting would have been terminated in about five minutes.
As Mayor of Lewiston, I have spent my time quietly seeking solutions to Lewiston’s problems—not seeking the daily limelight. I advocate for and will continue to advocate for the City of Lewiston, not the national cause du jour. My columns deal with current local issues, not my latest trip or what prominent figure I starry-eyed shook hands with.
Lewiston is on the move, and the desire to perpetuate extreme liberal views will not be tolerated by the citizens of Lewiston or myself.
The updated welfare numbers relating to TANF recipients are as follows: 71 families representing 347 individuals have applied to date. Currently, 24 of these families have been approved and $8,893 has been expended from city coffers to support them.
Remember in November.
Last week Julia Sleeper was identified as Julius Sleeper. Please forgive the error.