3.26.2012

L/A Arts calls out Mayor Labonte

Well here's a sequel to my last post, in which I applaud Mayor Jonathan Labonte of Auburn for responding to rude remarks by someone behind the Maine Republican Party Facebook page.

Odelle Bowman, Executive Director at L/A Arts, has published an open letter in which she responds to Labonte's recent explorations of Lewiston-Auburn's joint agencies' budgets, including that of L/A Arts.

L/A Arts is a valuable institution in our area. Odelle has especially been a great partner for the project I'm working on, Art Walk Lewiston Auburn. She is right to point out whether Mr. Labonte jumped the gun with his letter to Twin City Times. I also agree with her that a lot more thought should go into the idea of appointing city councilors to L/A Art's board before anyone decides one way or the other.

However, I don't know all the inner workings of the organization and am neither for or against cutting their public funding. A close look at public expenditure is always warranted and I won't blame Mr. Labonte for wanting to scrutinize it. And the opportunity cost of funding them should be considered in addition to - if not supersede - the effectiveness of L/A Arts as a qualifying factor.

Mr. Labonte is clearly a mover and shaker. I think we can simultaneously appreciate the mayor's enthusiasm and people like Odelle who do good work and stand up for it.

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