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Hope that Bangor methadone clinic expansion can begin soon

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BANGOR, Maine — An attorney representing Penobscot County Metro Treatment Center expressed hope on Monday that city officials will soon allow an expansion of the center’s methadone clinic in Bangor.

Attorney John Doyle of Portland said the city and center are involved in “active discussions with a view toward resolving the lawsuit” filed by Penobscot County Metro. U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock found partly in favor of the center in a preliminary ruling he released earlier this month.

“They are positive discussions, and we are hopeful that we can begin the expansion soon,” Doyle said Monday night after the City Council discussed Woodcock’s decision in executive session for about an hour.

 

“We can’t really say anything until it is all finalized,” Baldacci said.

Woodcock issued a preliminary ruling on Nov. 15 in favor of the center, which filed suit in August alleging that a council ordinance violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by discriminating against drug addicts. The complaint sought to overturn the ordinance, which critics said the council approved as part of an effort to prevent the center’s planned expansion from 300 to 500 patients. Continue reading →

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Possible overhaul of Bangor’s Pickering Square

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Demonstrators met in Pickering Square to encourage bus ridership in the city of Bangor. Brian Feulner | BDN

April 05, 2016
City councilors had their first look at plans for the proposed overhaul of downtown Bangor’s historic Pickering Square during a meeting April 2nd. The city’s development and engineering staff outlined a concept plan that involves rerouting the city’s buses, planting more grass and trees, removing the fountain and updating the overall look of the brick plaza.
Last year, the city completed a major, $975,000 update of neighboring West Market Square, and the city wants that new look to stretch down Broad Street.
“Pickering Square is more challenging,” Tanya Emery, Bangor’s economic development director, told the city’s Business and Economic Development Committee during the meeting.
The plan includes significant changes to the city’s parking garage. First, the entrance would be moved toward the middle of the structure, near Water Street. This change would allow the city to close off the road that passes in front of the garage. Continue reading →

Bangor City Councilor, Joe Baldacci withdraws from Maine’s Second Congressional District race

From Maine Insights.

Bangor City Councilor, Joe Baldacci has decided to withdraw from Maine’s Second Congressional District race, making the Democratic nominee, Emily Cain.

This is his statement:

When I first contemplated running, about a year ago, I spoke with a regional director of the party down in D.C. The very first question he asked me wasn’t about my commitment, credentials, ties to the district etc; the first question he asked me was “Are you married to a Billionaire?”

This was my first indication that this fight might be an uphill one.

I continued the fight for the Second Congressional district because I have an abiding commitment to serving the people who live here; our friends, neighbors and fellow citizens. I genuinely bristled at the idea that our Representative in Congress is going to be dictated to us by the Washington, D.C establishment of either party.

Continue reading →

Bangor City Council thanks citizens for their support of the Cross center

12654428_10208448474590061_7329641050220088160_nOn January 28, 2016, at the Cross Insurance Center the entire Bangor City Council turned out to thank the many local businesses and the City of Brewer, who along with the citizens of Bangor, have made the $65 million Center an economic success story for eastern Maine.

Bangor to decide on minimum wage Dec. 14

For a higher minimum wage in Bangor it will be up to the city council

While Baldacci is pushing his original proposal, which boosts Bangor wages sooner, he said Friday it is still possible the council will take up the compromise proposal after the election.

Excerpts from a Bangor Daily Article. View the piece HERE.
Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.57.28 AM By Evan Belanger, BDN Staff

A proposal to increase wages for Bangor’s lowest-paid workers will likely live or die based on the results of the Nov. 3 City Council election, but a recent poll of candidates shows most oppose the idea.

The issue of a local minimum wage has loomed over the election since July when the council agreed to delay consideration of the proposed ordinance until Nov. 23.

Since then, the hotly contested political battle has attracted outside interest from statewide groups such as the Maine People’s Alliance, a liberal-leaning advocacy group, and the Maine Restaurant Association, a statewide organization that promotes the food industry.

“What we did was preserve the opportunity for the new councilors to weigh in on this and see where it goes,” City Councilor Joe Baldacci said last week.

Baldacci speaks at his minimum wage forum in Bangor last spring.

Baldacci speaks at his minimum wage forum in Bangor last spring.

Baldacci first proposed the local minimum wage in February. But he was unable to secure enough support to pass the ordinance under the council’s existing membership, with five councilors opposing it and four supporting it.

Supporters at the time were Councilors Gibran Graham, Sean Faircloth, Patricia Blanchette and Baldacci. Opponents were Councilors David Nealley, Pauline Civiello, Nelson Durgin, Josh Plourde and Ben Sprague.

Now — with three seats open on the council — the tally of councilors who are not stepping down or facing re-election is a 3-3 tie on the issue. Blanchette, who moved to Florida in July, is not eligible for re-election due to term-limit restrictions. Continue reading →

Bangor City Council votes 6-1 to push for minimum wage hike

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By Evan Belanger, Read the full BDN article here.
Aug. 24, 2015

Voting 6-1 on Monday, the City Council approved a resolution expressing support for an ongoing petition drive aimed at increasing the state’s minimum wage for the first time since 2009.

The Maine People’s Alliance is gathering signatures to force a citizen-initiated referendum on the November 2016 ballot after failing for years to push the item through in Augusta. “We’re not doing that because we have a deep love of direct democracy that overwhelms all else. We’re doing that because it is our only option at this point,” Mike Tipping, communications director for the MPA, told the City Council in July.

With councilors Joe Baldacci and Patricia Blanchette absent from Monday’s meeting, Councilor Gibran Graham cast the only dissenting vote, arguing that the council’s time would be better spent supporting that actual ballot initiative and not just the petition effort.He also said that passing a local minimum wage immediately would do more to support the MPA’s statewide effort. “I think no other support could be given that would be of greater consequence than showing that the minimum wage can be raised and needs to be raised earlier,” Graham said. Continue reading →

Compromise on raising Bangor minimum wage talks to continue

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“I will vote for a minimum wage increase as early as possible and if there are four other councilors who will join me in doing that, then I will be very happy,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci. “Until that point reaches us, I want to guarantee that wages in Bangor will go up.”

The following are excerpts from the Bangor Daily News article of Aug, 18, 2015
By Evan Belanger, BDN Staff

The City Council’s Business and Economic Development Committee failed Tuesday to move forward a proposed compromise on a local minimum-wage increase.

The committee was expected to discuss possible amendments to Councilor Joe Baldacci’s proposed ordinance, which would increase the local minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $8.25 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016, and eventually increase pay for the city’s lowest-paid workers to $9.75 per hour in 2018. After that, the local minimum wage would fluctuate with the consumer price index, a measure of inflation. Continue reading →

City Councilor Joe Baldacci is making a run for Congress

Please contact me!

Please contact me!

By Evan Belanger, Full article go to City Councilor Joe Baldacci, brother of former Gov. John Baldacci, is making a run for Congress.
Posted July 29, 2015

Baldacci filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday in order to seek the Democratic nomination in next year’s race for the 2nd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Baldacci, 50, formally announced his candidacy via a website that went live Wednesday night.

“I am a life-long Mainer who wants to go to Washington to make sure that all of us get a fair shake from our government; that people without wealth or power can be heard and helped, and that our government and our country can work for all of us,” he said on the site, which seeks donations for his campaign.

“Our current leadership is more concerned with ideology, special interest, and Wall Street values than representing the people of the 2nd District,” he said. Continue reading →

Baldacci delays action on wage-hike plan

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 10.12.46 AMFrom an article in the BDN by By Evan Belanger

Maine — Without majority support, Councilor Joe Baldacci moved Monday evening to delay consideration of his proposed local minimum-wage increase until after the November election.

Baldacci’s motion came immediately after it became clear he did not have support from Councilor Ben Sprague, who raised questions about how the ordinance would deal with nonprofits, tipped employees, small businesses and other details.

“This would be … a major ordinance change, and I don’t believe we have had time to fully vet it yet,” said Sprague, who called it a great policy debate and thanked Baldacci for leading it. Continue reading →