Maine Looks Longingly at Casinos and Private Prisons

Posted on February 8, 2011


Author: Stan Moody:

What has happened to the Maine of our ancestors that once led the nation economically and politically? Some say that rich Republicans milked it dry decades ago by pulling up the economic opportunity ladder behind themselves.

Others say the Democrats created a nanny-state that has everyone standing around for a handout. Still others blame the global market for siphoning off good jobs.

In the context of the people getting the government they deserve, it appears that the good, gentle, trusting people of Maine have been minding their own business, while despots have been running the store – out of town, that is.

We have been robbed of community, excellence, ingenuity and God while in survival mode. A fitting moniker may be “the hind teat State”, desperately dependent on the scraps that fall from tables elsewhere than home.

The casino issue has been debated and referendumized ad nauseam in Maine. It is finally on its way as a desperation move by communities with little economic hope. It will bring with it a sewer of dismay hungrily in search of new and vulnerable markets – prostitution, gambling addiction and substance abuse.

For a time, people will find excitement and new freedoms in its prosperity. In the long run, however, families will be broken, jails and prisons will be full to overflowing and addiction to money will demand satisfaction.

For those in law enforcement and criminal justice careers, the future is bright. For those in the field of education, the future is less certain. Maine, long considered a great place to raise children, stands to lose even that tentative distinction as the sewers of pleasure back up.

This may well be the time for prison planning, stage four of the devastation desperation disease.

Milo, Maine, the second largest town in beleaguered Piscataquis County, boasts three rivers – the Piscataquis, the Sebec and the Pleasant. Located 20 miles from any civilization serviced by Interstate 95, its economic history has largely been manufacturing.

While recent industrial developments include an award-winning store-fixture manufacturing company and a major railroad repair yard, future hopes now include a 40-room hotel with a casino and “last but not least a church where services will be held.”

The stated purpose of the casino: “This will give the employees and their families an excellent opportunity to spend their evenings and thus break the monotony of life away from the city.”

Milo lays out the welcome mat for a plethora of pleasures that break the monotony of life while offering the counterbalance of worship, where monotony has too often been perfected to an art form.

Seriously, though, who can blame the good people of Milo for wanting their own version of the economic pie that eludes them from nearby Bangor?

Enter now another boon to assist with solving the double-digit unemployment rate. Republican Sen. Douglas Thomas has submitted a bill aimed at authorizing a private prison in this town of 2,400 residents. In a February 7 article in the Portland Press Herald, it was said that the bill hasn’t been “fleshed out” yet, a fitting phrase for the warehousing of flesh that has lost the battle with the lusts thereof.

The objective, apparently, in addition to 200-300 “good paying jobs,” is a peripheral service industry competing at the lowest prices for food service and medical care. With a documented history of medical neglect and rampant diabetes from high sugar and carbohydrate meals at Maine State Prison, we can hardly wait for those quality jobs producing prideful goods and services.

The more prisoners the better! Milo catches the wave of Maine’s largest growth industry – Corrections.

Those opposed to the private prison are opposed for the wrong reasons – aversion to the profit motive. Maine will simply move taxpayer funds consumed by the State corrections system into more efficient, more transparent and more professional private enterprise with a bottom line.

You might call this economic development strategy, “growth from within.” Build it, and they will come – both as customers and as reluctant residents.

Applications will likely be sought for a pastor for the village church intended to bring hope and spiritual life to those who have spent Saturday evenings breaking the monotony of life but dead to the world on Sunday mornings.

Can the good Town of Starks possibly be far behind?