Local Personnel Changes:
We note, apparently, that Gina Hamilton and her smiling, cherubic face are no longer with The Ostrich. During her tenure at the much revered ‘paper of record’ for the Brunswick area, she seemed to be working her way down the organizational ladder at a furious pace.
Gina, judging by her history, is adept at talking herself into a job, but inapt at talking her way into holding on to it.
We could say we’re going to miss her, but we have our journalistic integrity to protect.
The NOTWIUN Opines Amiss:
If you’ve been a reader of ours for awhile, you may remember that we had another name by which we called The Ostrich. That name is The NOTWIUN, which is an abbreviation of The Newspaper Of The WIllfully UNinformed.
We coined that term in response to an editorial they ran sometime ago accusing certain members of the Town Council at the time of being willfully uninformed on a subject related to base re-development. No doubt we asserted that it was the editors who were willfully uninformed at that time.
And we were reminded of that sentiment yet again recently. Whether they are willfully uninformed, or willfully mis-informed, we’re tempted to say, is a difference without distinction. As we thought about the difference though, we’ve decided to go with mis-informed, because they have in all likelihood been chugging the Kool-Aid shooters served up by the All Aboard Brunswick gang, the Brunswick Downtown Association, NNEPRA, TRNE, and assorted other train idolaters.
In the week just passed, the current editors showed just why they are as we have called them. They decided to lecture us all on the DEP SWPA Hearing subject, which is easier, we suppose, than actually investigating the subject and reporting on it. They went with the worn-out talking points that have been foisted on low-information readers, and did their best to keep them that way.
Lettuce assess a few of the shroomier passages:
NNEPRA simply needed to re-submit its application. Instead, it’s jumping through all of these extra hoops to make sure those who are outraged that a maintenance facility would be built — on the train tracks that were located behind their property when they purchased their homes — can say no more about being left out of the process. To ensure there will be no further delays in getting on with building the building.
Actually, two things jump out at the discerning reader. First, the ‘property behind their homes’ was zoned for 20,000 sq. ft. max structures, roughly 1/3 the size of the proposed NNEPRA facility. Leave it to the federal government to declare themselves exempt from virtually all municipal and state law and regulations.
As to ‘simply re-submit,’ inferring a carbon copy of the original, even the briefest of discussions with someone informed on the subject would have made clear that the absence of notification allowed numerous shortcomings and inadequacies to make it into the process. Due diligence and rigor were not hallmarks of the original; those who challenged the application did their best to see that the revised submission speaks to the public trust issues involved when a state agency submits an application to another state agency.
The hearings taking place tomorrow should only deal with stormwater, and passionate arguments about the other aspects the facility should be left at the door. Surely there will be those who will extoll the virtues of what the facility will mean for Brunswick and the Downeaster: Increased rail service, ending the idling of train cars on the tracks, and saving money from dead-head runs and personnel shuttling are among the favorites touchstones for those in favor of the project.
We trust the editors will soon scold the hordes who came to speak in support of the permit, and spoke never of stormwater, but only their mystical belief that trains are a wonder upon our lives. Said supporters either could not find their way to the repeatedly published guide-lines for testifying at the hearing, or simply knew that adhering to them would leave them with nothing to say.
Just as surely, there will be those who show up to demonize the proposed facility, offering criticisms about how the Downeaster isn’t cost effective or reliable, and the excessive noise, emissions and decreasing property values that will result if the terrible MLF is built.
Opponents of the permit, on the other hand, scrupulously adhered to the guide-lines for testifying, offering substantive and well-researched commentary on various aspects of the permit application. We expect no recognition of the difference with supporters, because that would put the editors in an objective, informative box, the sort with which they are unfamiliar.
Worse, they’d be upsetting the beautiful people, local immortals, elites, and selected members of the unhinged fringe.
Though those in opposition will likely not listen to these words, the time has come to move on, to accept that the facility will — and should — be built.
Based on what, we might ask. The editors certainly haven’t illuminated the subject in any real sense, which means all they are left with is emotion and opinion, each of which aligns with the local cognoscenti and down-towner attitude mentors. Those especially with New York Times and Washington DC sensibilities.
Change isn’t always the easiest thing to handle, but in this case it is inevitable.
The final irony in the item, which, we could argue, captures the plight of The NOTWIUN. Or so we would fervently and defiantly wish.
A question or two on the post of yesterday:
In thinking about the items we posted from Ms. Johnson and Mr. Dunbar, we couldn’t help but wonder how they factor into the Downeaster ‘ridership numbers.’ Not to mention how many times the latter found himself Shanghaied south of Brunswick by the vicissitudes of winter as they unfairly visited themselves upon the helpless train.
Charles says he made 71 trips in the last year, though he doesn’t say how many of those trips his spouse came along with him. Still, think of the possibilities. Do his trips count as a total of 71 in the ridership for the year, or 142 to count each direction? How about all the stops in between, say Portland and all the other major depots along the way? Does Dunbar add to the ridership tallied at those stops? In both directions?
Now add his wife into the mix. The possibilities for statistical and enumerative mischief are mind-boggling, all fundamentally due to one patron of the train. The important point to note, of course, is that Charles and his spouse travel south to benefit the economy in larger and more exciting locales, thereby depriving the local economy of that stimulation.
What will it take in the way of unknown visitors from away to simply offset his and Ms. Johnson’s travels? Only the shadow knows. But we continue to believe that in such situations, economic stimulus from individuals tends to flow from the more remote, unexciting locales, to the more urban, culturally blessed, and exciting locales.
We have no criticism of either’s affinity for travel and spending their hard earned resources wherever they wish. But we have plenty of criticism for those who fail to recognize the ‘giant sucking sound’ when discussing economic ramifications of The Downeaster.
As we said, it’s becoming clearer and clearer why no-one in an influential position will allow or endorse an objective probe into such realities.
Even those who held leadership positions in Economic and Community Development….and should be most committed to evidence based decision making, rather than political expediency.
We can dream, can’t we? And maybe if a few more did, it might change things.