A House Divided Over Bond Measures in Lewiston

The election on November 6th isn’t just about the state and federal candidate races and the statewide referendum on the freedom to marry. There are also four bond measures that will be up for a vote and will determine whether the state can borrow money and draw down federal and private funds to invest in higher education, land conservation, transportation and infrastructure.

Yesterday, a serious disagreement developed between two prominent city officials in Lewiston on whether or not the state should issue these bonds.

“Bonding is nothing more than the failure of our legislators to do their job. If we need it, appropriate the money for it,” wrote an opponent of bond measures in a column in the Twin City Times. “Legislators are in Augusta to do a job, not to placate their constituents or shun their duties in order to be reelected. Bonding allows them to invoke the Pontius Pilate defense so that you, the voters, become responsible if things go awry and our politicians are hailed as heroes if things go well.”

On the same day, this argument was refuted in a press release from the Mayors’ Coalition on Jobs and Economic Development explicitly endorsing three of the four proposals, which was posted prominently on the City of Lewiston’s website.

“Infrastructure improvements will also generate good paying jobs for Maine’s struggling construction industry,” insisted a bonding proponent quoted in the release. “These bonds represent reasonable investments that will provide benefits over both the short and long term.”

Oh wait, did I say two prominent city officials? I meant one. Both comments are, incredibly, from the same source: Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald.

You may remember Macdonald from his recent series of anti-Somali remarks, or perhaps from when he publicly vowed revenge on his political opponents minutes after winning the mayoral election last year.

He’s usually controversial and extreme, but until now he’s mostly been so on only one side of an issue.

Mike Tipping

About Mike Tipping

Mike writes about Maine politics and policy with a focus on analysis and explanation. He works at the Maine People's Alliance and Maine People's Resource Center, writes a political column for the Portland Press Herald