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This week’s edition!

Enough is Enough: Most dangerous city in the state, welfare oversight and nip bottles

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

The headline in “The Wall Street Journal” read, “The Most Dangerous City in Every State.” I neither subscribe to nor read this publication, opting to spend my money on what I consider a more important necessity—my breakfast.

I spend my days in coffee shops speaking with members of the public, reading three newspapers and hard-covered books. I do this in lieu of surfing the Internet.

But others do!

Last week upon entering the first of my daily breakfast stops, one of the regular patrons stopped me and brought my digestive system to instant agita (upset stomach) and my mental state to a boil. She told me there was an article floating around on the Internet characterizing Lewiston as the most dangerous city in Maine. She had no idea of the source.

Calling my crack office staff, they quickly located the article and printed a copy for my review.

Upon reviewing the article, I felt relief similar to taking a big gulp of Pepto-Bismol to ease my queasy stomach. The article clearly showed one of the factors as to why AARP and Forbes consider Lewiston a great retirement area—a very low crime rate. With the exception of Vermont, the statistics relating to Lewiston were well under the crime rate of the remaining 48 states.

These statistics were taken from the 2015 FBI Crime Report. Since then, crime in Lewiston has fallen and is currently well below other Maine cities. While the headline is designed to shock, reading the report will make you appreciate how safe you are living here.

Over the past two weeks, one of the main discussions in Coffeeland has been the five-cent deposit on nip bottles. The great majority were in favor of requiring a deposit. Many of these people, who were from outside of Lewiston, were upset by the smashed nip bottles along the roadsides of the towns where they reside.

Well, they got their wish. Governor LePage’s veto of the bill was overridden by the state Legislature. But before thinking you have won a great victory, answer this question: do you really believe a five-cent deposit is going to stop the littering? Ask yourself: who are the real winners and who are the real losers under this bill?

Last week in this space I questioned who our representatives were actually representing: the voters or the various special interest groups? Well, that was answered the following day June 9 in an article printed in the Lewiston Sun Journal, entitled “Senate rejects oversight change.”

Senator Nate Libby (D-Lewiston) introduced a bill that would have added another layer of government to an already bloated Legislature. The bill would have set up a Citizen’s Oversight Committee that would monitor Maine’s welfare system. According to the language in the bill, it would be made up of members of people from the business section, charitable organizations and a parent or guardian (translation: Maine People’s Alliance, Equal Maine Justice Partners, immigrant groups, etc).

This legislation was strenuously supported by Christine Hastedt from, you guessed it, Maine Equal Justice Partners. It was opposed by Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Auburn) and Bethany Hamm, director of Family Independence at the Department of Health and Human Services. Both pointed out this bill was nothing more than a duplication of work already being done. As a voter and a taxpayer, how do you feel about this?

Lastly, let’s close this week’s column on a very positive note. I think a big “Thank you” is in order to Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) for his efforts on behalf of the veterans of Maine. He has worked hard and will continue to work hard for the veterans of our State. Although we seldom see eye to eye on most issues, I believe he is far and away veterans’ best friend in the Maine State Legislature.

Rep. Golden: Thank you for remembering your brothers and sisters and living by the code, “No veteran left behind.”

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