Lewiston Gets Kicked – and Kicked Out
In the wake of the Nov. 8 election in which Maine voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed casino at the Bates Mill in downtown Lewiston, the mayor of that fair city, Larry Gilbert, and other supporters of the development gracefully accepted defeat.
If by “gracefully” you mean they acted like a petulant five-year-old amped up from chasing his bowl of sugar-encrusted cereal with a couple of Red Bulls.
Democrat Gilbert and his pals blamed the loss on Republican Gov. Paul LePage (who had said Maine couldn’t support all the gambling establishments on the ballot), the media (which had way too many tough questions about behind-the-scenes deals involving the casino) and anti-gambling groups (like he expected them to be supportive?).
In particular, he singled out LePage for a verbal lashing, claiming the governor had betrayed the city of his birth. As for the rest of the state, he said it had kicked poor Lewiston just when it had a chance to get back on its feet after being beat up by bullies from Skowhegan and Madawaska. Lewiston wouldn’t forget, said Gilbert. Someday, it would have its revenge.
LePage dealt with these attacks in the calm, deliberative manner that has been a hallmark of his administration. He sent in the National Guard and had Gilbert and his cronies deported to Quebec.
As for the remainder of the city, LePage declared it was no longer part of Maine. Instead, he offered it to conservationist Roxanne Quimby as a substitute for her plan to put a national park on 70,000 acres she owns near Baxter State Park. On election day, voters in East Millinocket overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure calling for a feasibility study of such a park, but LePage said he didn’t need no stinkin’ feasibility study to know that Lewiston was a better location, anyway.
“It’s already got restrooms,” he said. “And a hot dog stand.”
Quimby seemed unenthusiastic about giving up her dream of a national park in northern Maine for one encompassing the state’s second most populous city. “This is about protecting pristine wilderness,” she said, “not that Lewiston can’t get pretty wild, what with all the drug abuse, domestic violence and illegal parking.” She said if she accepted the municipality, she would demand that snowmobiling be banned everywhere except Lisbon Street, as well as limiting hunting and trapping to Kennedy Park.
Meanwhile in Portland (motto: Nothing Like Lewiston, Ha, Ha, Ha), voters chose the city’s first elected mayor in decades. It took two days, hundreds of employee hours, enough sandwiches and coffee to adequately supply the entire National Guard contingent stationed in Lewiston and the use of a complex system called ranked-choice voting, but in the end one candidate emerged from the mass of mayoral hopefuls to claim the prize.
At least, I think that’s what happened. I dozed off way before it was over, sometime around the ninth round when they eliminated Larry Gilbert from consideration.
In Biddeford, voters used a more traditional method to choose their mayor. Incumbent Joanne Twomey and challenger Alan Casavant faced off in a steel-cage death match with no rules.
After Casavant, a state representative, crushed Twomey by running her over with a snowmobile, she appeared teary-eyed on TV to borrow a page from the Gilbert playbook and blame the anti-gambling crowd for her defeat.
“It’s well known that they paid for Casavant’s snow machine,” she said.
A few hours later, Gov. LePage sent in National Guard troops to keep order. A house-to-house search for Twomey was reported to be underway. Unless she surrenders immediately, the governor said, Biddeford will also be included in the Quimby national park plan.
“It’s perfect,” LePage said. “It’s got a giant trash incinerator right downtown. That’s way better than a casino.”
Not all the news of the week just past involved politics. Some of it focused on other forms of stupidity.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it was forming a special task force to target violent street gangs in Maine. According to a bureau spokesperson, this state is a hotbed of such activity. “There’s one gang in Biddeford called Twomey’s Homies,” the spokesperson said. “And there’s one in Lewiston called Dirty Larry’s Lewies.
“Those bad boys are goin’ down.”
The Portland International Jetport announced it will soon receive new body scanners that will allow it to detect weapons or other dangerous contraband without compromising the modesty of air travelers. “Unlike the scanners we have now,” said a Jetport official, “these new ones won’t show your pee-pee.
“The under-endowed and those who artificially enhance their appearance need no longer fear exposure when traveling by air. Unless it’s somebody famous.”
Maine Revenue Services (motto: Arbitrary Decisions Made Arbitrarily) announced this week that it would tax medical marijuana sold in dispensaries around the state in two different ways. Pot used for smoking would be subject to a five percent sales tax. But pot baked in brownies would be taxed at a seven percent rate used for prepared foods.
When asked by a reporter about this seemingly irrational discrepancy, a tax services official said, “We did it because we can, sucker. We did it because we can.”
He then presented the inquiring journalist with a bill for his “answer tax.”
Finally, this news from the University of New England: If violent street gangs, defeated Portland mayoral candidates or investors despondent over losing out in the gambling votes ever attempt to employ squirrels in some terrorist revenge plot, UNE student are prepared to defend Maine. Even including Lewiston.
On the university’s Biddeford campus, they’ve been trapping squirrels and putting radio collars on them so their movements can be tracked and their activities monitored. The reason for this program – called “squirrelology,” from the Greek word “squir” meaning “stupid” and the Latin term “relology” meaning “waste of time” – is that Joanne Twomey is believed to be hiding among the tree rodents, plotting a return to power. Also, Larry Gilbert was recently spotted on the campus gathering nuts.
Or maybe they were just casino supporters.