Harkins loses a lot of credibility in that he is clearly unable to articulate anything and putting out ridiculous, knee-jerk statements. He says bicycles are the perfect vehicle for terrorists because they can't be identified. This statement is just laughable.. as if the only other alternative is for a terrorist to be inflicting terror on their registered motor vehicle. Everything he says is "another big thing that a lot of people have said". This guy is clearly not someone we should be looking to.. whether you get frustrated or not with cyclists from time to time, most people would agree shouting slurs at them is no way to respond to that frustration. What about how he came into the public consciousness merits the press giving him any further venue to speak?
I see this as more of a failure of the city's zoning code than anything. I have a lot more of an issue with the parking lot at that spot than tearing down the church. The city has zoning "districts" where they want to encourage certain developments, but do little to make sure that that happens. If the zoning code didn't allow for a parking lot there, which it clearly shouldn't, this problem wouldn't arise in the first place.
Interesting stuff. It'd also be interesting to see how these Maine cities compare to comparable cities in states like New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
You can make any argument you want about whether that building is unsafe or not. The bottom line is that vacant church means a lot more to the city vacant than surface parking does on that lot. It would be a disgrace if parking was put there, in the midst of Lewiston's most urban district. That is a valuable spot that needs to be used for anything BUT parking. If that meant just some abandoned church as a historic monument, I'd pick that over a parking lot any day.
I can't believe this turned into a religion-bashing fight. We're missing the two key issues with this.
1. This is no place for a parking lot. As downtown Lewiston continues to provide the best environment for urbanism in the Twin Cities area, we need to be focusing on how we can continue to bring a smart urban environment to Lewiston's downtown. This is a crucial spot in the city and putting a parking lot here is a terrible step backward. Some of the city's best architecture lies very close to this building, this building included. A parking lot will be a giant zit on the face of downtown. This is what we should be most outraged over.
2. This is indeed an important building in our city's history. Whether you are religious or not, our city's history is closely tied to its Catholic heritage, and this building is a perfect representation of this.
Biking is an environmentally friendly and healthy way of getting around town. The higher the numbers of bikers there are, the more it actually does to reduce traffic congestion. Mainers should do their best to get used to bikers and maybe even consider a new commute to work themselves if they work only a few miles from home, people might be surprised how much good it does for their happiness and well-being. I think a big part of it is educating drivers about the rights of bikers on the road and also educating bikers about safe biking and the importance of following the rules of the road. The more drivers accept a biker's right to be on the road and the more bikers feel and understand that they aren't foreigners and have laws to abide by as well (these things go hand in hand), the safer we will be.
Actually, Randall.. the French-Canadian immigrants did clash with the government a fair amount.. they tried their best to seclude their community from the rest of the city. They wanted to govern themselves and have little to do with the rest of the city. It took decades for them to "assimilate" (to use one of the mayor's favorite words), and you could argue that once a group becomes a majority, assimilation isn't much of a challenge. You can do a lot to compare the different immigrant communities through history.. there are always differences, of course.. but these cycles tend to happen with any new group coming into a new place.
"I know you're working down at LL Bean. I know you're working down at.... several other places."
The man just simply doesn't get it. He is scrambling hard, and it is easy to see through that. Even when he tries to compliment the Somali community, he does so in a decidedly patronizing manner. This rhetoric will only divide Lewiston.. there is no sense that the mayor has the slightest clue how to move on from this and unite the city.