By Jonathan P. LaBonte
Mayor of Auburn
As the drum beat for and against a merger of the cities Lewiston and Auburn continues, it is likely key themes will emerge in both camps to make their case.
What I have heard and read from the Joint Charter Commission to date is a message about the economic stagnation of the two cities over the last generation or more and that an aging and declining workforce requires us to make a bold new move. In their pitch, of course, that’s to merge the cities.
One data point that is used is the GDP, or gross domestic product, of the Lewiston-Auburn metro area. This number is a measure of the size of the economy across a series of sectors, and the most recent data from 2015 shows the Lewiston-Auburn economy shrinking by 2.5%.
By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
A few weeks ago, Governor Paul R. LePage in his weekly call into Bangor’s WVOM radio station, was asked about Georgia Congressman John Lewis’s boycotting of President of Donald Trump’s Inauguration. It was Lewis’s personal opinion that duly elected Republican President Trump is not “a legitimate President.”
Governor LePage went on to express his dismay with Congressman Lewis, pointing out that President Lincoln freed the slaves and Presidents Hayes and Grant were opposed to Jim Crowe laws. This created a firestorm.
Progressive history college professors rushed to defend Lewis’s action, belittling Governor LePage’s understanding of American history. The press immediately piled onto the criticism taking the side of their cohorts in academia.
Current students, school families, community members, and Bishop Robert P. Deeley gathered at Saint Dominic Academy’s Auburn campus recently for the school’s first-ever Winter Carnival, kicking off the academy’s observance of Catholic Schools Week. The carnival included a variety of outdoor and indoor activities, from snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to snowflake making and games of Chutes & Ladders.
Skelton Taintor & Abbott has announced that the fourth recipient of the annual Skelton, Taintor & Abbott-Lewiston High School Mock Trial Team MVP Scholarship Award is Khadija Haji. As the recipient of the Most Valiant Player award, she will receive a $1,000 college scholarship from the law firm.
The Franco-American Collection at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College will present a French-language panel discussion on “Challenges Facing New Immigrants to Local Areas” on Tuesday, February 14 from 4 to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
While politicians were scrambling to pass a moratorium on marijuana legalization, their credibility went up in smoke.
Dear Maine Taxpayer,
As usual, politicians in Augusta waited until the last minute to pass legislation on a very important issue. They approved a bill allowing Mainers to possess and grow marijuana, but they put a moratorium on buying and selling it until rules are developed to regulate retail sales.
The original legislation directs the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to implement the regulations and enforcement of recreational marijuana. But ACF does not have the manpower or expertise to create and enforce these regulations. It would cost several million dollars for ACF to do this.
We have been saying since November that oversight should be transferred from ACF to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations (BABLO). BABLO already has the expertise to create the rules and manage licensing and enforcement. It would cost $1.5 million for BABLO to do this.
By Jonathan P. LaBonte
Mayor of Auburn
Last week, a meeting was held by the charter commission, which was established to propose a merger of Auburn and Lewiston. The primary focus of the meeting was to deliver a report on operational savings the commission projects might be possible and to explain how a new city, created out of Auburn and Lewiston, would function.
While there will be plenty of time to get into each detail of what problem a proposed merger may be attempting to solve and the pros and cons of how the commission proposed doing that, it might be valuable to highlight what the law states must be put forward by a merger commission. Keep in mind, the merger commission has been meeting for about two-and-a-half years to work on these items.
The Auburn Police Department has been awarded national re-accreditation “With Excellence,” considered the highest level of quality and professionalism in law enforcement, as determined by a Gold Standard process administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.