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August 14, 2017

Some L/A merger opponents call for boycott of pro-merger businesses

A Facebook post is calling on opponents of the proposed Lewiston-Auburn merger to put a list together of businesses funding One LA, with an implied call to boycott those businesses.

The Sun Journal reported that a supporter of the Coalition to Oppose Lewiston-Auburn Consolidation posted that suggestion on the group's Facebook page Aug. 8, prompting Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald to speak out against a boycott.

Macdonald said in a statement that "boycotting a business or a store that has taken a position favoring One LA is not a positive reflection of our community."

Members of COLAC's executive committee told the newspaper that the group has never discussed boycotting businesses, with Jim Howaniec, president of the group stating:

"COLAC of course supports all businesses on both sides of the river, whether they are with us on this issue or not."

Many business leaders in the area have publicly spoken in favor of the merger, the newspaper reported. One of the businesses named on the Facebook thread was the restaurant Fuel, whose ownership has taken a neutral public stance on the merger proposal. Joe Philippon of Lewiston, whose wife works at Fuel, posted an online statement Thursday that some were boycotting the restaurant just for suspecting it was pro-merger.

"This is disgusting," he wrote. "People like my wife work at these targeted businesses to support themselves and their families."

The proposed merger is scheduled for a public referendum on Nov. 7.

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