Friday, April 6, 2012

“Imagine:” Stangali, Quid-pro-quos, TIFs/tiffs, and mischief

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We introduced you to the blog behind these signs in a prior post, even though we can’t tell you who the person is behind the blog.  They have designed their site so that you can’t tell who runs it, nor can you contact the blog or comment on it.  That’s quite a different model than your favorite local ‘alternative media outlet.’

This post appeared on their site in recent days:

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More mischief in Augusta

Posted on April 2, 2012 by Brunswick Community United

We’ve learned that state government officials were up to no good last week, trying to implement a measure that would have devastating effects on Brunswick’s future municipal budgets.

Benet Pols wrote on his website:

“Someone, their precise identity is still unknown, slipped an item into the supplemental budget that would have assigned 80% of all new taxes generated as real estate on the Navy base is privatized and redeveloped to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority.  Brunswick would have only retained 20% of the real estate taxes for real estate.  In Brunswick.  This is not an April Fool’s joke.”

Many of our town councilors are understandably appalled, and MRRA officials themselves have reportedly come out against this. We urge those concerned about the prospects for education in Brunswick to have a look at Pols’s site, and to follow his suggestions about contacting our state delegation to ensure that this proposal is never implemented. If it were passed, it would severely damage Brunswick’s abilities to fund our long-term municipal needs, including our schools.

UPDATE: Benet Pols reports via Facebook:

I think anyone who was planning on calling their legislator regarding the tax situation at the base can put those plans on hold. We’re fairly certain that the governor’s office has withdrawn the proposal for this legislative session. I’ll update again if circumstances change.

It sounds as if the people in Augusta realized that the Brunswick community was paying attention to this…

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We’re reminded of our working years in the last century, during which we had the pleasure of working with federal officials of the highest order, including the Committee and Staff headed by one Rep. Jack Murtha, at the time considered the most powerful person in Washington, because he controlled the purse strings for Defense Appropriations, the single largest discretionary sum in the entire federal budget, and therefore, the means to wield incredible power.

As it turns out, Chairman Murtha, now deceased and exposed for what he was, was attempting to kill off a product purchased by the Navy from our employer for years, and have it replaced, against the Navy’s will, with a product line that would be manufactured in his home district in Pennsylvania.  We won’t bother you with the gory details, which led to our chronic distrust of just about everything in Government, and especially those who have been around long enough to amass power that is not used in the public interest.

Let us highlight one aspect: harassment with all sorts of letters and audit processes meant to grind the contracting process, already extremely ponderous, to a near halt.  It is through this harassment that your young and trusting correspondent lost his political virginity and learned what ‘quid-pro-quo’ meant in legislative circles.

Our employer was headquartered in California, and Murtha’s home constituents were in Johnstown, PA.  One day, we received a letter signed by a Congressman from  Louisiana, who threatened us with intense congressional scrutiny if we did not yield to his wishes.  We could think of no stake the author had in the matter from either end, but he was on Murtha’s committee, and you might recall that Murtha was a Democrat.

The subject congressman was Bob Livingston, a Republican.  In talking to staffers during that time, we learned that this was a fairly standard way of providing plausible deniability for Chairman Murtha, and also was usually a ‘quid-pro-quo,’ with the second part of the exchange often unclear.

You may also recall that Rep Livingston was poised to become Speaker of the House when the Republicans regained the majority, and then suddenly withdrew his pursuit of that office, and shortly thereafter, left congress completely.

It turned out that Rep Livingston had “dallied” somewhere along the line, meaning he had something in his closet that could be pulled out when it served Chairman Murtha’s purposes.  Our belief is that this was the ‘quo’ in the aforementioned letter episode; Livingston would write the letter, and Murtha would not open the closet. 

It is our further belief that Murtha’s key to Livingston’s closet was behind his declining to pursue the speakership, and then departing congress shortly thereafter.

We were reminded of these uplifting experiences as we absorbed the above cited post from Brunswick Community United. 

It appeared to us, chronically curious as we are, that the post was a none-to-subtle attempt to lay some blame for schoolie unhappiness on the desk of the Governor, rather than look deeper and put the attention where it may well be better placed.

So in keeping with the source’s theme, we put on our “imagine” cap and came up with this scenario:

- Imagine if there was an Executive Director at the MRRA who formerly served as Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development under prior administrations.  And that a certain State Senator from Brunswick was very tight with the former Commissioner and current ED, and had worked with him for years when he was in Augusta.

- Imagine if the current Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development had been in the Department since well before the new administration came into office, and was a Deputy Commissioner when it did.  And that Deputy became Acting Commissioner when the individual appointed by the new Governor stepped down, and was then elevated to the top spot.

- Imagine if a termed out current member of the minority in the house was serving on the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.  And that member represents a nearby town (Freeport) that happens to be in the Senate District of a certain State Senator.  And imagine that the two served together in the legislature for six years when their party was in the majority, and they ran everything.

- Imagine if all of the above had collective experience in the fine art of budgetary and appropriations ‘mischief’ that swamped the experience of a multi-decade minority that suddenly found itself in the majority, with a new Governor to boot.

- Imagine if a certain Senator was looking to cause some mischief for local town officials, which he has been known to do in the past, and with whom there is no love lost.  At the same time, he could help out his good friend at MRRA, and do it all with plausible deniability.

To us, this seems like a perfect “imagined” combination of circumstances to provide plausible deniability to a certain State Senator from Brunswick, or as we think of him here, Stangali, while he and his associates in the minority set the Governor up for a fall.

Too bad someone else discovered what was going on and called attention to it before it had a chance to get buried in the bill sent to the Governor.  We understand a certain State Senator from Brunswick was shocked, shocked when he was told of the situation.

Inquiring minds would want to know what really happened here, wouldn’t they?, rather than protect the identity of those involved, while shifting suspicion to the Governor’s Office?

If you’re an inquiring mind, maybe you should ask a certain State Senator from Brunswick what really happened, and when you get the answer, be sure to let us know so we can publish it.   You never know; a town councilor ‘blogger extraordinaire’ might even see it and choose to publicize it on his media outlet.

Adding to the ‘imagine’ dimension is this agenda item for the Town Council Meeting this coming Monday:

BRUNSWICK TOWN COUNCIL
Agenda
April 9, 2012
Executive Session – 6:15 p.m.
Regular Meeting - 7:00 p.m.
Executive session – Economic Development to discuss the MRRA TIF per 1 M.R.S.A. §405(6)(C)

One wonders whether a certain State Senator from Brunswick will be at the Executive Session.  There are TIFs, and then there are tiffs. 

Seems like both could be on the table.

By the way, when you talk to Stangali, please tell him that Other Side sends its regards.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr. Poppycock: As I have told you in the past the MRRA and the Town of Brunswick are in colusion to defraud the Taxpayers of Brunswick and this is just another card in the house of cards they are building for themselves. It appears now that someone of the partnership is getting greedy and that can only be the MRRA since it is their prpoerty that is being illegally taxed and they need to keep most of the generated taxes in order to continue their survival.

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