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Enough is Enough: You are Lewiston, Lewiston is you

By Robert Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

While you may have a hard time connecting with me at City Hall, you will find me in local coffee shop hangouts. Although I have little real power, the status of the mayor’s office provides me the power of the “Bully Pulpit”.

This enables me to articulate in this paper, as well as the written and broadcast media, your concerns. Concerns relayed to me in public, by the public. Concerns I would not be aware of if I were shut up in my office at City Hall.

Many of you come up to me and compliment me on the “good job” I’m doing. While I appreciate the compliments, without Lewiston’s exceptional city council, unparalleled administration, devoted city employees, local investors who believe in Lewiston and your public support, I am no more than the emperor standing before you—without clothes.

Lewiston will rise or fall on our passion or lack of it. You are Lewiston, Lewiston is you.

This week’s column was scheduled to be a puff piece until a lady at a local coffee shop informed me of a situation so egregious and outrageous that it begs the question: Should we dissolve state government and start over?

The John F Murphy Homes agency was established to service and take care of those who through no fault of their own must face life in various stages of mental retardation. In order to survive in society, they must be assisted by caregivers. They are unable to fully function on their own.

The woman who approached me had ties to the Murphy Homes. She expressed concern over a 20-year-old client who was soon to be kicked out onto the street with no support system or housing currently in place. Did I also mention that it took an hour for their staff to get this client into his graduation gown?

Making several calls, I confirmed the story’s validity. At this time a further investigation is being conducted in case help from Lewiston’s General Assistance is needed to get this soul over the hump.

It appears that the law removing 20-year-olds from MaineCare was vigorously worked on and methodically thought out.

To put this into perspective, watch the tattoo-covered, body-piercing-punctured, chain-smoking clients going to and from Lewiston’s General Assistance and Maine’s Department of Human Services. Ask yourself, how do they get priority over those in the Murphy Home?

Drive around the area of Sabattus, Oak and College Streets from 11 a.m. on. Ask yourself how those lay-abouts get priority over Murphy Home clients? I can’t answer the question! Can you answer the question?

If not, we’ll have to turn to the great critical thinkers populating the State House in Augusta to enlighten all of us. After all—isn’t that why we elected them?

Lastly, I promised every week I would keep you apprised of the number of TANF families who maxed out their five-year limit on benefits and are now showing up at Lewiston’s General Assistance Office for relief.

From June 1 through 10 a.m. on June 22, 32 families—totaling 157 people—have been added to our welfare rolls. In the next few weeks, I will be able to provide you with a dollar amount.

I also have more good news for TANF recipients. Massachusetts, Texas and Vermont currently have no time limits on TANF. Two of these states can be reached in about an hour, providing you another state to place on your public assistance resume.

These numbers will continue to increase because Augusta failed to even consider, never mind vote or pass, LD1862. So let us remember, in November: “Remember LD 1862”.

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