By Robert Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
When one runs for public office there is an expectation that at times you will be the subject of scorn from the public and the media. In short: the faint of heart need not apply.
Two years ago I ran for and won the office of Mayor of Lewiston. I did not run to be loved by all of the people. I ran to address the problems brought on by political correctness, problems that have been keeping Lewiston from her potential. I ran to address problems shied away from by elected officials who feared retribution and backlash.
In adhering to the commitment I made to my supporters, I have been pilloried in the press. Governor Paul LePage once remarked, “You’re the only person I know that gets worse press than me.” This is to be expected in politics. You can turn up the heat, but I won’t be leaving the kitchen any time soon.
But now my opponent has stepped over the line choosing to attack and belittle the achievements of those with whom we have worked to make Lewiston a better place to live. These are three very well respected members of our community. Why did this happen?
Argo Marketing came under attack because it happened not during the “Me Me Me” administration, but the “We We We” administration. My fingerprints are all over that deal. The old McCrory’s Department Store, a vacant eyesore detracting from Lisbon Street’s major improvements and investments, is now being transformed into a modern building with retail space, an eatery and 250 jobs. This is the result of owner Jason Levesque choosing to locate Argo at the site.
Flying under the radar were remarks made by my opponent describing efforts by Lamey-Wellehan owner James Wellehan, Chamber of Commerce Director Chip Morrison and myself joining together to help New Mainers to improve the appearance of their businesses along Lisbon Street to stimulate more business in the area. My opponent’s assessment of the project? Demeaning.
Mr. Levesque could have moved his company to Brunswick, saving a considerable amount of money. But he chose Lewiston. His company offers incentives to his employees, which result in employees being handsomely compensated for their hard work. Further, employees have the ability to climb the company’s corporate ladder. Mr. Levesque has also provided leads about companies looking to locate in Maine. These leads are pursued.
My opponent spent five years in the mayor’s office. His main accomplishment was having several barrels painted by department heads and staff on city time, then placing them in the city park where more trash was found around them than in them. Secondly, during his five years as mayor, his idea of economic development was filling vacant apartments with homeless people.
Lastly, there was his graffiti wall, which ended up increasing the volume of graffiti sprayed on private businesses in Lewiston.
In last week’s column, I stated that I would address the beach problem in the No Name Pond Area. This is one of Lewiston’s most affluent areas, which is being invaded by outside people. They use this private beach, leaving trash and diapers behind. This problem will be addressed starting in June 2014. Although I have been unable to speak with the neighborhood residents, I have formulated the following plan.
First, two signs would be posted at the beach informing those using it that continued usage was dependent on the users cleaning up and removing any and all trash at the end of each day.
Second, if this fails, then “No Trespassing” signs would be posted and strictly enforced daily. A list of those removed would be kept. A warning would be issued the first time. A court summons issued for the second offense. Subsequent offenses would result in an arrest for criminal trespassing.
Both “No Parking” and “Violators will be Towed” signs could be posted in the area. Although this seems Draconian, it is needed to keep this neighborhood a showplace.