The “golden belt” called a reputation

“The “golden belt” called a reputation  (PIP #16)

By Louise Peloquin

Would journalists today report on elected officials as they did 106 years ago?

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L’Etoile March 18, 1918

Lewiston, ME. Governed by Ours

This city of 30,000 souls has a majority of Franco-Americans at its municipal council. – This is the first time such a thing happens. – On the conduct of the present city officials, our reputation will depend.

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     Lewiston, Me., 18 – For the first time in its history, the city of Lewiston is administered by Franco-Americans.

     Indeed, the new administration, headed by Mayor Lemire, took office today. It is composed of a majority of our compatriots.

     Everyone’s eyes will be fixed upon us, not only in Lewiston and Auburn but also in all of Maine and New England.

     Will our people honor their (Franco-American ) name? (1) Will they offer an administration that even our adversaries will be unable to reasonably criticize?

     We hope so and we have the right to expect it because it has been solemnly promised by those now in charge.

     And it is a big charge!

     Lewiston is not a small village.

     Today it is a city of 30,000 souls.

     It has, in round numbers, $20,000,000 of property subject to tax.

     This tax reaches almost half a million dollars per year.

     It is therefore necessary to be careful, not to waste, to see that peculation (2) be pitilessly chased from City Hall if we want to preserve our community’s famous “golden belt” called a reputation.

     May those who took office on Monday run an honest and frank administration. Everyone will be satisfied.

     Without being parsimonious, the administration can be economical and leave a surplus instead of a deficit as this has occurred for several years.

     Our Franco public will be reasonable. It will facilitate the task of the administrators who, we are certain, are full of goodwill.

     But may they not be duped. They will be surrounded by suckers and nefarious rascals should they fail to be on their guard. 

     The situation will be more difficult than we think.

     The administrators will be spied upon, hunted, surveilled by a swarm of crooked politicians and ousted individuals and groups who will be all the more dangerous because they have a lot to be forgiven for.

     We can expect that they will shout all year, scrutinize and request investigations, demand that the books be frequently examined, try to truncate the facts and bring public opinion back in their favor. 

     Will our people allow themselves to be caught in these primitive but perilous traps? 

     They will have composure. They will be businessmen.They will follow the wise opinions of their mayor who already has extensive experience and who has shown that he knows how to avoid the most treacherous traps.

     Once again, let us be honest and everything will go well.

     A good and united administration is necessary to satisfy the people who are prejudiced against us.

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  1. Parentheses inserted by Louise Peloquin, translator.
  2. The original French article uses the term “péculat.”  The Cambridge Dictionary definition of “peculation” is “the act of illegally taking or using money, especially public money, that you are responsible for managing.”

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