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LETTER: “It’s the Somalis’ fault!”

To the Editor:

Can a week not go by where someone does not write into Twin City TIMES and decry, “Lewiston is falling apart and it’s the Somalis’ fault!”

Lewiston has been arguably the poorest, most run-down city in the state for the last 30 years with subpar economic growth and a fairly large portion of its population living in poverty. Thanks to strong commitment from many civic leaders and many handfuls of hard-working local business people, things have really turned around over the last 10 years.

Yet there continues to be a disturbing number of people who refuse to acknowledge the dismal economic past and instead drop every social, financial or other issue in the lap of the entire Somali population.

This past week, Robert Macdonald blasted YPLAA members for doing something! (“YPLAA, residents need to wake up to downtown problems,” Letter to the Editor, page 3, TCT, Dec. 2, 2010)

In one corner, you have hard-working young professionals from Lewiston who hope to make Lewiston a better place. YPLAA folks want to inject some much-needed energy and enthusiasm into Lewiston and perhaps help it reach a point where people, at a minimum, feel good about the town.

Step one in leadership and entrepreneurial success requires energy and excitement. It’s the important capital that young people possess, and it’s something that absolutely needs to be cultivated in this city. The opponent of YPLAA: Robert Macdonald. Why? The Somalis, of course.

Mr. Macdonald is upset that YPLAA is doing anything. He’s mad as hell they are appearing for pictures in the local paper and exuding any enthusiasm while the community deteriorates (according to him). In his letter, he supports a gun-toting landlord who can’t find, or refuses to find, the number to a tow-truck company to remedy an illegal parking issue.

Then he takes the big leap regarding Somalis: “Violence is a way of life for some of these New Mainers, killing being no exception.” The implicit message of fear he wants to spread goes like this: “Next time you see a brown face, be careful. That person may just be packing a gun. Only, unlike the landlord, he may just pop a bullet right into your head.”

After all, it’s their way of life.

Chris Aceto

Lewiston

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