Facebook post highlights Lewiston, Auburn mayoral spat

LEWISTON — Twin Cities politics and the differences between Mayors Jonathan LaBonte and Robert Macdonald spilled onto the Internet and into public view Friday night.

Sun Journal

Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte took a disagreement with Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald to the Internet with this post to Facebook on Friday night.

In a post to Facebook, Auburn Mayor LaBonte said that Macdonald, the mayor of Lewiston, had called LaBonte an "embarrassment" to the area.

LaBonte said he wrote the post after a heated telephone conversation between the two Friday night.

"I got word (Friday) that Bob was actively telling people that I had embarrassed Lewiston-Auburn, so I called him about 5 p.m. and he laid into me," LaBonte said. "He ended up by saying I should leave Lewiston alone."

Macdonald on Saturday declined to comment on LaBonte's Facebook post but acknowledged that the two had words Friday night.

"It was a spat," Macdonald said. "We had a spat, the two of us did, but I don't need to comment on it. If he wants to air his laundry out in public, that's his business."

LaBonte said the ill will between the two stems from a meeting they had with Maine Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday. LaBonte said he presented the governor with his ideas for economic development and for replacing Auburn's Edward Little High School.

"(Macdonald) and the governor exchanged some jokes about welfare and some other things, before we got into talking business," LaBonte said. "I thought it was a great meeting. From where I'm sitting, trying to position Lewiston-Auburn and look for ways we can secure state support for the things we want to do, I took it as a positive meeting."

LaBonte said he'd heard rumors afterward that Macdonald disagreed with LaBonte's points, so he decided to confront the Lewiston mayor.

"I don't think Bob represents the interests of his council," LaBonte said. "I don't think he's speaking for his council when he says what he says."

Macdonald said LaBonte told the governor that the cities could live with proposed cuts to revenue-sharing if they combined services.

"Basically, he snapped his fingers and said, 'We could save $3.5 million, bang, just like that,'" Macdonald said. "I went back after that meeting and met with my staff and we're just befuddled with that. Here we are looking for funds, and (LaBonte) is saying we're wasting money somehow, that we can do things by just snapping our fingers. It does not work that way."

Macdonald said any disagreement between the two mayors should stay between them.

"My intention is to not be distracted by this," Macdonald said. "I have other things to do. We have economic development deals going on. I have some refugee plans I'm floating. Those are my concerns, not what he is spewing out there."

LaBonte defended his decision to make the feud public.

"There is a lot happening now behind the scenes, a lot of very interesting politics," LaBonte said. "My preference is to have this in the light of day, not behind the scenes. If we are going to have a debate about where Lewiston-Auburn is going, and what kind of joint services we should be doing and how we should do economic development, this should not be backroom deals."


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Big Deal!

Big Deal!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Mayor Macdonald needs to be

Mayor Macdonald needs to be reminded by someone that he's no longer a cop anymore and may not always have the final say in all matters anymore

Mayor Labonte needs to grow a pair and work out his differences with Macdonald man to man rather than go whining to the court of public opinion.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Paul ? Super Bowl Sunday

Paul ? Super Bowl Sunday •
Remind him --> http://www.ci.lewiston.me.us/index.aspx <-- Write him an e-mail
Or would you prefer we did ?
As much as i like the Ravens ® and lived in Annapolis for > 7 years , go 49ers :)
We watched the Lakers ® earlier at the local V F W
No Balls @ All •
/s, Steve

Jason Theriault's picture

In all seriousness.

Ok, my fun mocking of MacDonald aside, I think Labonte did try and work it out with MacDonald, hence the phonecall.

Also, I really like hearing that LePage and MacDonald are making welfare jokes. It's one thing that welfare recipients are going to take it on the chin in the upcomming budget fight. There is no way around that. But mocking them in an official meeting only confirms that they don't care.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Jason , et. al., ' Kokua '

Jason , et. al., ' Kokua ' means ' respect ' in Hawai'ian
You girls and guys elected these jokers ( payasos-, i didn't ) and are simply victims of your own choices
" Be careful what you wish for . You may actually get it ." - - attrib. to various
• hth ? Steve kickoff time :)

I didn't vote for either one, Steve...

LePage only got 38% of the vote. He got it somewhat by default because because early-voting democrats voted for their candidate before they realized she was weak sauce (on Election Day, Dems overwhelmingly went for the Independent, Eliot Cutler, who would have actually gotten things done without a foot impanted in his mouth.
Bob Macdonald won only because his opposition DIED three days before the election. Until Mark Paradis died, he was lagging in the polls mainly because of his LePage-like tendency to say dumb things when the microphone is on.

Bob Wright's picture

This is not the first time

This is not the first time Labonte has used facebook to go after someone. IMHO, LaBonte is a self promoting child her lacks real life experiences. I am sure LaBonte was upset because he could not control the meeting and the outcome was not what he wanted.

Bob Wright's picture

Dan Auger, where is this boom

Dan Auger, where is this boom you speak of? Where I stand, I see Auburn as a city in decline. The only things being built are section 8 housing and projects funded by money confiscated from property owner. Maybe I am missing something.

Dan Auger's picture

Take a good look.

Look I don't care who's right or wrong in all this, but just look around in both cities and tell me who is going in the right direction. There is a boom in Auburn as there is something being built almost all the time. Then look at the ole Lewiston, where businesses are slowly beginning to leave the city, nothing being built, and oh yeah, Lewiston has one College, and TWO hospitals who pay NO property tax, and are swallowing homes who DID pay taxes and tearing them down to expand.
THAT is the difference between the two cities, so, why doesn't Lewiston take a good look at what is happening over the bridge and try a different approach, it couldn't get any worse.

Tony Morin's picture


You mean the chain restaurant/box store approach. I'll admit I purchase supplies and services in Auburn, but we have our own stuff going on, like arguably the top three restaurants in the twin cities (Fuel, Fishbones, Davinci's) among many other restaurants (Sea 40, Pedro's, etc), wildly successful new pizza restaurant (Antigoni's), successful and expanding brewery, two hospitals that provide care and employment opportunities for Auburnites, two colleges, an award winning newspaper, revitalized mill area (TD Bank, said brewery, Davinci's), downtown upscale apartment creation, a civic center. I prefer to look on the bright side of Lewiston, unlike a leader of ours mentioned in the above article. I think we're gonna be just fine.

Michael Hobbs's picture

Why stop at 2

Why stop at 2 colleges/universities, technically there are 3, Bates, USM L/A Campus and Kaplan.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

True, Tony, but except for

True, Tony, but except for the two hospitals and colleges, all of the businesses mentioned above don't come close to the number of employees that will lose their jobs by the moving or downsizing of Geiger Printing (100) and Beam Corp. (+/- 165). What's being done to save these jobs.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Why run to "Facebook"?

By posting this to "Facebook", we are able to have this dialogue. Personally I tried "Facebook" once, and quit within a month or so. I looked up my high school friends, there is no way, so many of my fellow graduates went on to be that rich and successful. Evidently I'm the only one who somehow didn't go on to become the CEO, of some huge corporation, or a doctor. Those seem to be the careers of choice. Now back to the real world.
The fact that Mayor McDonald and Paul LaPage, are joking around about welfare is just perfect. I mean if we can't laugh at the poor? Who can we laugh at? There's another strong endorsement for the two.
I'm sorry, but just that one line, took all the meaning out, of the rest of the story. These are supposedly two politicians who probably demand the utmost respect. After hearing how much they seem to enjoy a good laugh at the expense of those less fortunate, I'm led to believe this is a comical subject. I really wish the mayor and good governor would delight us with some of their funnier stories of the poor. After all, I just read this story, I could use a little laugh right about now myself......



So the mayor of Lewiston going to Augusta and telling the governor that the folks in Lewiston are happy to eat a five million dollar cut in state subsidies is something we want to be a secret?? Has he asked any of us which service we are happy to give up? Will it be police or fire protection, or our schools should eat this? Will we be giving up trash collection or plowed streets and sidewalks? As much as he would like to, he will not be able to take this out entirely on the poor. Are we all happy to see our property taxes raised if we want someone to show up when we dial 911? Seems to me there are more important issues here than whether or not we like Facebook. For one thing how about the quality of our representation and why does the mayor want to keep his dirty laundry under wraps. With friends like mayor MacDonald Lewiston does not need any enemies.

David Pinkham's picture

Facebook as a substitute for human interaction

Thank you Steve for illustrating my point.

The mayor of Auburn was unable to establish a rapport with LePage and MacDonald, so he was upset. He heard rumors, so he picked up the phone. End of story. For LaBonte to tell LePage that LA can solve all of our financial problems with just a little cooperation is a huge display of naivete. To say it BEFORE conferring with his elder across the river creates an embarrassing situation. Thinking that running to Social Media, in an attempt to rally a whole group of people with similar social aptitude, is childish. It doesn't mean he can't learn. We all make embarrassing mistakes in our youth. I'll admit it, I voted for Jimmy Carter.

Keep it in context. Michael is absolutely right, the offices are mostly ceremonial, and only 60% of those eligible even bother to vote. It's a club, with rules; some written down, some unsaid. MacDonald may not speak for everyone on the council, but when he speaks to the Governor he is Lewiston's voice. So use this as a learning experience. When you're invited to sit at the big kids table, show the proper respect.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Facebook post highlights Lewiston, Auburn mayoral spat

Thanks Scott , Groundhog Day - Night 18:18
LaBonte said. "My preference is to have this in the light of day . ."
. .Where's John Jenkins when you - r e a l l y - need him , huh , Mayor Mac ? http://www.twincitytimes.com <-- not an endorsement /s Steve *<;-Q~

Jason Theriault's picture

The problem

By posting on facebook, LaBonte is trying to follow MacDonald's lead. I mean, not all of us have a reporter from the BBC to complain to. So the only way to air this out his dirty laundry to the world was to post it on facebook.

David Pinkham's picture


Facebook is a joke. What's sad Tony, is that there are people who use it as a substitute for human interaction. What did the mayor hope to accomplish by running to social media? It's like my little sister crying to my mom, "He's looking at me!!"

Steve  Dosh's picture

David , facebook ® is a joke

David , facebook ® is a joke ? You're using it • Twitter ® is a joke . ref : http://thenextweb.com/twitter/2013/02/02/twitter-confirms-that-it-was-ha... http://www.twincitytimes.com is a bit of a joke . Ya' wanna' hear another joke ? Q: How about . . .you hear the one about the roof ? Fergitaboutit . It's over your head • h t h ? /s , Steve :)   Just a joke . Only a joke ...

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

And a poor one at that.Just

And a poor one at that.Just sayin'

Tony Morin's picture

Just sad

Macdonald accused someone else of embarrassing the L/A area?? He should try that again looking in a mirror. I can just picture those two (Macdonald and LePage) cranky old men sitting around making fun of the poor. It's pathetic to think about.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Scary, eh?

Scary, eh?

Steve  Dosh's picture

Tony , 18:30 HST 70 º ,

Tony , 18:30 HST 70 º , warm , nice sunset here
HAhahah so true ?
It's like the kettles calling the pots black
" Old and in the way that's what i heard them say , they used to heed the words they said but that was yesterday . Gold will turn to grey and youth will fade away . They'll never care about you because you're old and in the way . '' -- from a song , a group and an album of the same name ( vinyl - 1 9 7 8 ) :) /s Steve , former WRJC DJ @ Bates college . .91.5 on your FM dial . .tune in turn on . .

Tony Morin's picture

I own it

on CD. Love Garcia and Grisman!

David Pinkham's picture

Facebook comments? Really ?

What are you Jonathan, like eleven ???

Tony Morin's picture

Join us

Join us in the twenty first century David. Are you like the last person to not use Facebook? Technically 11 year olds are too young to create an account.

David  Cote's picture

Many people are not Facebook members...

And more are deactivating their accounts in part due to garbage such as this infiltrating the site. I deactivated two years ago when my daughter came home from Iraq. The drama stirred up from stories such as this one is embarrassing and needless. In fact, the content of this article is no better than article that are published in rag magazines like the National Enquirer. If these two "leaders of their communities aspire to be dramatists that's their bag. It's all sound verification that politicians aren't fit to change a light bulb let alone represent a populace. As for this article...c'mon S/J, don't insult our intelligence with slop such as this.

Tony Morin's picture

I hope

I hope LePage and Macdonald share some of their welfare jokes on their Facebook pages!!

Michael Hobbs's picture

What does the 21st century

What does the 21st century have anything to do with it, running to facebook to post a comment about Mayor MacDonald (like him or not) is childish and in fact reminds me of high school. Mayors are suppose to be representing the city that elects them and both are doing a poor job in doing so. If you have a problem with one another, man up and work it out between each other. Whether you like it or not both cities have to work together to succeed. That being said, this means that these two while have to as well.


It's not "between each

It's not "between each other." This is City business and it involves all of us. No backroom dealings, please.

Linda Sherwood's picture

It's not "between each other"

My sentiments exactly, Kathy. That is the great thing about Facebook is that there can be transparency among us and our government leaders. Some have commented that Mayor Labonte is acting childish? I often feel like Bob McDonald presents himself as a bully.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Facebook is nothing more than

Facebook is nothing more than a Blab Board for the insecure.

Michael Hobbs's picture

Hate to tell you this Kathy,

Hate to tell you this Kathy, but the only "backroom dealings" these two mayors can have is which one pays for the next meal. Mayors in both city are figure heads, which means they have no actual power to do anything other then kiss babies and cut ribbons. It was made this way a long time ago because of such "backroom dealings" that you are thinking. Plus if Mr. LaBonte's status is correct, this had nothing to do with " city business" other then one mayor telling another one to leave his city alone and apparently an embarassment. I fail to see where any dealings about clearing this up would become "backroom dealings".


You're entitled to your

You're entitled to your opinion. I happen to think you're wrong.

Michael Hobbs's picture

Except you have no facts,

Except you have no facts, other then your opinion. I have shown you facts that no "backroom dealings" are possible between the two Mayors. If you are that naive and want to be a conspiracy theorist that is your own choice, but I want to make sure other people in L/A know the right information.

AL PELLETIER's picture

New slogan

L-A sucks! Check out their leaders!

Michael Hobbs's picture

You're posts have ignorance

You're posts have ignorance written all over them.

Steve  Dosh's picture

. .Al , HAhahah the " new '

. .Al , HAhahah the " new ' slogan ! ƒunny stiuffs ! I am their leader ! Which way did they go ? /s Steve :D


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