Saturday, August 29, 2009

ENDA MUST BE PASSED IN THE US

In 29 states it is legal to fire someone for being gay, in 38 states it is legal to fire someone for being transgender, in all 50 states it is illegal to fire someone for their choice of religion, there is something wrong with this picture.

Bishop Hypocrite also gave $150,000 for Opposite Marriage Only

Houses of worship close as house of bishop eats up cash: The more the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland shutters its churches and puts them on the real estate market, the larger the question looms: Should Maine's bishop still be living in a million-dollar mansion?

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It's on Portland's tony Western Promenade. According to city tax records, the 6,970-square-foot, three-story "mansion" has six bedrooms, 4 baths, an 840-square-foot garage and an assessed value of $1,126,000.

In short, pretty nice digs by anyone's standards. Too nice, according to at least one perennial thorn in the side of Bishop Richard Malone.

"It's not about Richard Malone," said Paul Kendrick, a Roman Catholic who for years has publicly decried the church's handling of the sexual abuse of children by priests. "It's about 'What kind of church is this?'"

Kendrick fired off a mass-distribution e-mail this week after hearing that five churches – Notre Dame de Lourdes Church in Saco, St. Mary of the Assumption and St. Andre churches in Biddeford, and St. Joseph and St. Patrick churches in Lewiston – will close this year and next because of shrinking congregations, growing costs to maintain the buildings and the need to protect religious programs and services from ever-increasing parish deficits.

"Bishop Malone wants Maine's Catholics to cut costs, spend less and do without," observed Kendrick. "Everyone, that is, but him."

Tough words, to be sure, from a man who last year was threatened with official church sanctions (not to mention police arrest) if he didn't steer clear of Malone.

Still, it's not the first time in recent years that the opulence of a bishop's residence has raised eyebrows – and in a few cases, led to "For Sale" signs.

Six years ago, as the Archdiocese of Boston struggled to pay for legal claims by those sexually abused by priests, Cardinal Sean O'Malley sold the palatial cardinal's residence in Brighton, Mass., and moved into the rectory of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End. The move, which caught many by surprise, won O'Malley widespread praise, even from the archdiocese's harshest critics.

Last fall, Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh put his residence up for sale and moved into a seminary to be closer to those studying to be priests. The Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese, said this week that the property, valued last fall at $1.5 million, is now under contract and will likely be sold within the next few weeks.

Zubik told the media last fall that his decision reflects "more pressing concerns" facing the diocese as it struggles to make ends meet and at the same time fulfill its basic missions, including "reaching out to the poor."

"People think it's good that he is moving in with the seminarians," said Lengwin. "And that it's good for the church."

Then there's the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, where Bishop George Murry put his suburban residence on the market for $339,000 three months ago and moved into a smaller home in the city. Murry also announced that many furnishings from the stately five-bedroom home would be donated to Catholic Charities.

Diocese of Youngstown Chancellor Nancy Yuhasz said Thursday that although the property has not yet been sold, Murry's decision has been "received very well by the parishioners and the clergy."

The old residence "is so large and such an expense," Yuhasz said. "It shows we're trying to be good stewards of our resources."

Back here in Portland, diocesan spokeswoman Sue Bernard said it would be a mistake to assume a connection between what it costs to run the diocese – including, for example, the $19,620 annual property-tax bill for the bishop's residence – and the ongoing efforts to bring various parishes' property more in line with their current needs.

(The diocese's operations are funded from a variety of sources, Bernard said, including a 12 percent levy on each parish's total revenue and a bishop's fundraising appeal made directly each year to Maine's estimated 200,000 Roman Catholics.)

Malone's charge to the parishes, Bernard noted, has been to determine "What do you need? Take a look at what you need and see if there's an excess there."

But might the same challenge be put to the bishop? Considering that he lives alone, does he truly need six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a three-car garage?

Bernard noted that the mansion, which has served as the bishop's residence since Bishop Joseph McCarthy purchased it for the diocese back in 1939, is used to entertain visitors to the diocese and for other social functions.

"He lives there by himself," she said, "but he isn't the only one who uses it."

What's more, Bernard said, while it's in a "lovely neighborhood," the interior could use some work. "There's wallpaper coming off in some places, peeling paint."

So why not sell it and move into the rectory at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where Maine's bishops lived before 1939?

In addition to generating, say, a million dollars from a sale and saving another $25,000 or so in annual operating expenses, might not such a downsizing send a powerful message to Maine's Roman Catholics about living within one's needs in these austere times?

"I'm sure there are people who would agree," Bernard conceded.

Starting, of course, with Kendrick, who titled his latest missive "Do Catholics in Biddeford, Saco and Lewiston know about this?"

"We're talking about the parishioners' money," Kendrick said, "and there's too much else to do with it."

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Restaurant Liquidators Nightmare Continues and Good News too

Last night the rear freezer broke down, the repairman says the fan is busted. So that makes yet another machine from them that broke during the warantee period. Which we don't even bother reporting anymore other than documenting for the case.

The case was moved to the London, Ontario court which caused me to write a letter to the judge expressing my dismay at such a bad decision considering the hell they have put us through already. Judge Thomson never bother to ask how this would effect me as a man with a full time job and also working at our business 7 days a week. I did get a call back saying I can request a video hearing, nothing doing, as my friend Adam advised me the court needs to hear and see the stress this has put on us. I thought about moving the case back but that still requires me going to London to petition for it. So I will be able to tell the truth about them in their own back yard, the court is on the same street as their business.

In other much better news.

Last night Silas and Willy came by the store and we were able to hang out for a bit, it was nice to see them safe and happy here in Toronto after their move here on Aug 4th I hope they learn to love it here as much as we do. Right now they looked a bt like deer in headlights.

Also a couple weeks ago Arturo and Juan from Wonderous Canadian Renewal came by to see us and we had the best time with them. We wish we lived closer to see each other more often.

What amazes me about these incredible couples is the length they go through to be together. Leaving home, friends, family, sometimes long held jobs and sometimes living through long separations. That's love for you! Thank you Canada for giving us a home and more importantly hope.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

This, That and the Other

Working so much doesn't allow much time to monitor things we used to on a regular basis. For example I discovered yesterday our bank charged is $397 in fees on our business account for June and July. This ridiculous amount shows one of the few areas the US beats Canada. Banking here is like banking in the US in the 80's, the fees are insane and people just shrug it off. As an ex USian I just cannot. So I have our bank checking it out. I will gladly remind them TD is opening a branch soon in the neighbourhood and money has no loyalty.

Today I purchased the first winter transition piece of equipment. It's a double Belgian Waffle Maker that we hope will help transition the store into colder temperatures. We have some other ideas we're going to piece together like maybe paninis and soups.

Despite all the hard work we're still paying down the debt which every new business must deal with. Sales are still good. We're worried about the winter though.

I wish I had something other than the business to talk about. We may go to Taste of Danforth this afternoon as soon as help arrives (barring any expected Thunderstorms)