Saturday, August 31, 2013

Heads-Up on Propane Tanks

We’re not from the Government, but we are here to help you.

Because the Government has already been ‘helpful’ in regulating your propane tanks.  We just discovered this year that the new type, with the overfill protection feature, is only good for 12 years, and then must either be replaced, or recertified. 

Prior generation tanks cannot be refilled by any propane station.  The new type have their date of manufacture stamped on the collar/handle rim.

Both of ours were made in 2002, and we can only get one more fill-up before we have to replace them.  You should check the dates on yours so you don’t get any surprises the next time you head over to get yours refilled an hour before you want to grill that 3 pound prime porterhouse.

If you only have one tank, and it’s pretty old, you might as well go buy a new one now, and have it filled, so you have a backup when the old one goes empty in the middle of cooking.  We hate when that happens.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Morsel the fourth: from The Ostrich, no less!

           

In what can only be described as the sort of whimsical coincidence for which we have an unnatural affinity, shortly after we swung the hammer down on our latest post, we decided, against our better judgment, to see what was happening at Brunswick’s own local print ‘news’ outlet.

For years, we’ve affectionately referred to that paper as The Ostrich, or more obscurely as the NOTWIUN (Newspaper of the Willfully Uninformed) after they labeled two town councilors thusly because they were rightly skeptical of the Oxford Aviation proposal to occupy the crown jewel at the former BNAS.  We did our best to humanize The Ostrich with this visual:

         

If you’re up for a little of our trademark piercing analysis cum sarcasm cum humor, you can review this episode in blogging history here and here.

So guess what we stumbled upon today?  We found this item.  It looks like for once, The Ostrich has pulled its head out of the sand.

            

Note that the item is dated September 3rd, which is Tuesday of next week.  So you might say that The Ostrich has its head out of the hole, but there’s no questioning that it is leading from no better than third place, a full four days behind The Forecaster’s reporting, which was dated a full eleven days after Other Side’s exclusive on the story.

We say that with all due humility.  In its favor, however, The Ostrich, in contrast to The Forecaster, at least mentioned Other Side, though they carefully avoided giving us credit for breaking the news:

One critic is resident and general contrarian Pembroke C. Schaeffer, who maintains the Internet blog, www.theothersideofbrunswick.com. A regular at town meetings, Schaeffer lambasted the taxi deal on his blog and posted details of the promissory note.

While we take exception to use of the term ‘lambasted,’ we are pleased that we’ve been promoted to the rank of “general contrarian” in the army of government watchdogs.  Which means we outrank them by about 7 notches or so, and that we are of ‘flag rank.’

(Note: we don’t mean to be picky in such matters, but we don’t ‘maintain’ the blog; we own it and write and publish the content.)

We’re not entirely sure, but we think the word contrarian means “one who pays their property taxes on time, charges nothing for his publication, and allows unlimited free access to the companion web site.”

No matter, we can already imagine the award The Ostrich will get for the ‘Best Reporting on Taxi Company Forgivable Loans By Monday-Friday Papers in New England Towns Beginning with the Letters BRUN.”

We’ll console ourselves with the knowledge that while we may begin each day with sand in our eyes, it’s because the sandman flew over our cuckoo’s nest.

Not because we had our head planted firmly in the sand.  In this business, you’ve got to take your laurels where you find them.

And know this: we won’t rest on them.  We know from experience that sitting on laurels can hurt.

(Note: if the link to The Ostrich story doesn’t work for you, contact us directly.  We’ve got it archived.)

Friday Morsels…

It’s Friday of a long holiday weekend….the last one of summer, which means in Maine, winter is just about here.

We thought in honor of this no special occasion, we’d lay a few tidbits on you.

The first is this; a highly placed individual in town, who shall not be named, contacted us to suggest, sort of, that our video work in this recent post was a bit, well, below professional standards, and we wholeheartedly agree.  And we scolded our camera guy accordingly.

Mr. Highly Placed suggested that in keeping with local economic development protocols, perhaps Other Side should reach out to the Brunswick Development Corp. for a small grant, of if they insist, a fully forgivable loan, that we could use to upgrade our camera equipment for doing remote/live shots.

    

Turns out we could purchase a lovely digital video camera like the one above, with appropriate accessories, for less than $500, but in order to make the effort worthwhile, we’re inclined to ask BDC for $5,000, in case we need to simulate other camera based journalistic pursuits, and avail ourselves of some video production assistance.

So, we throw our tin cup in the ring, so to speak, and ask for a BDC Director to give us a nod and sponsor us in this quest.  Once we get it, we’ll be happy to prepare the draft promissory note, since we have some fine examples at our finger tips.

We’d be especially honored if Johnny Protocols or Suzan Wilson would take up our cause, since both are town councilors and BDC Directors, and we suspect, have always found our appearances before the council along with our publication to be simulating.  And motivated by lessening the burdens of government.

The second regards Coastal Enterprises, Inc, about whom we wrote earlier this week.  And about whom there is an informative article in today’s Forecaster.  As we pondered the business and economic ‘fabric’ of Cape Brunswick, the richest little town in America, we asked ourselves why CEI seems so interested in our Rec Center and decrepit municipal building on Federal St, which will both end up on the ash heap of Brunswick’s demolition addiction.

 

Pretty soon, we may need to get Tony Soprano’s ‘Waste Management Associates’ to open up a field office nearby.  Since we were born and raised near Tony’s stomping grounds, we may be able to call in a few markers.

Anyway, we wondered why CEI didn’t choose to make a deal on the former Bookland store at Cooks Corner.  Number one, it wouldn’t need to be demolished.  Two, it’s been vacant for years now, and CEI would provide a nice boost to overall business traffic in that commercial center.  Three, there is ample parking on site.  And fourth, if CEI moved there instead of to the Federal St. site, the parking spots freed up by the relocation of town offices and the Police Dept. would become available for use by individuals patronizing local Maine St. businesses.

Those parking spots are much needed, as just about everyone knows, and would ‘simulate’ economic activity for local businesses.  Who knows what would eventually replace the vacated buildings, but for the time being, the Rec Center gym could stay in use, and we think that would make lots of folks happy.  And if the Town Hall footprint was turned into parking, it could make the Rec Center more ‘accessible,’ to use a trendy term.

We’re just wondrin’; that’s all.  Maybe someone in the know could comment on the possibility before things get irreversible.

The third morsel is the appearance of a front page article in today’s Forecaster, with top billing above the fold, regarding an ‘unusual loan’ and the BDC.  With tongue firmly in cheek, we tell you that the story’s main subject seemed a bit familiar to us.

Oh yeah; we first reported on this story fully eleven days ago, and have published a number of follow-up items, along with links to relevant source documents, etc.

Following the usual protocols of professional courtesy among media giants, the Forecaster scrupulously avoided any mention of Other Side as having a role in making this situation public.  After our years of plugging them here in our humble little publication, we expected better.  But as you can see, we’re bigger than they are when it comes to sharing the glory.

Their story is a mish mash of comments by various town players, and a review of how other towns handle their development spin-offs.  The only thing we’ll pass along is that Suzan Wilson, Brunswick Town Council Chair, distinguished herself thusly:

And Town Council Chairwoman Suzan Wilson called the issue a "tempest in a teapot."

"I think (making comments like Perreault's) is an abuse of power," Wilson said, adding that neither of them ever called the BDC for an explanation. "If you use your power to cast aspersions on people, that's not right."

We wonder then, what she thinks of our efforts – whether they ‘cast aspersions on people.’  We’ll leave that for others to decide; but since we have no ‘power’ to use, the issue of whether we did is moot.

Which rhymes with coot, which makes us think of ducks, which in an odd poetic, sort of way makes the story come full circle. 

Or makes your head spin.  There’s another ‘reader’s choice’ for you.

Have a good weekend, and if you get a chance, take a taxi somewhere.  After all, you probably helped ‘invest’ in it.  Maybe they’ll comp you.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Is Rev. Jeremiah Wright in the house?

You remember him, we’re sure, since he is the long time spiritual mentor of our nation’s Chief Executive and his family.  In our humble view, many of the things Wright (and his ‘friends’) said make the reputed utterings of Maine’s Chief Executive pale in comparison, but expecting honest treatment of such matters is a fool’s errand, and we won’t go there.
 


Drawing a local connection, we will point out that Rev. Bill Imes, a loved and respected former Pastor of First Parish Church here in town, became the President of Bangor Theological Seminary (BTS) when he retired from his local post.  We discovered in that time frame that BTS and Imes had scheduled Wright to speak at their annual Convocation.

Since we knew Imes (and he had married our daughter), we decided to inquire into his thinking.  The opening words of his response were “My motivation was simple:  he is one of the best preachers in America.”  Wright ended up not making the event because he ‘got sick in the Philadelphia Airport.’  Having flown through there probably hundreds of times, we can relate.  Still, one senses a hint of socially acceptable 'convenience' to avoid a nasty PR problem, with serious financial support consequences.

Wright became widely known during the 2008 campaign season for comments like “God Bless America?  No no no – God Damn America!”  And “America’s chickens coming home to roost!”

Do you remember this post from April this year?  We humbly ask that you reread it to plant your feet firmly back on solid ground as the hazy, lazy, fantasy days of summer come to an end. It included this citation from local media:
“It’s change. It will be an adjustment, I’m not denying that,” said Knight. “But the service to Brunswick has done amazing things already for the businesses downtown.”
In other words, to develop the Wright metaphor, “God Bless Amtrak!”
Subsequent comments by your correspondent included:
It would be helpful if Knight provided some facts to support the claim of ‘amazing things.’  We suspect that Brynes Irish Pub and Scarlet Begonias have sold more hamburgers and more beer.  But at what cost?  It’s easy to count train-riders coming into restaurants; you can ask them; they may look lost; or you could offer a discount if they show a ticket, right?
If, as we’ve heard, the train will require a subsidy of millions a year in perpetuity, wouldn’t we all be better off if the feds just sent each restaurant a check for $25,000 a year and shut down the train? 

Does Councilor Knight really want us to believe that no local money travels southward, rather than being spent in town like it used to be?  How many meals etc, do other in town restaurants lose when local area residents take their disposable funds to Portland, Boston, or other points?  And how do you count people that don’t show up; the fact is you can’t.  Eliminating the negative is ever so much easier when you can’t get a handle on it.
Now, in the way life has of coming full circle, it looks like “Brunswick’s chickens coming home to roost.”  We say this because in the conversation we had with Dale King last week, he said “the train hurt us….people aren’t taking the taxi to Portland or Boston anymore.”  Which we assume means that the train has hurt others, like some Brunswick Taxi employees, the place King’s company buys gas, and who knows what else. 

Christy’s could be selling less coffee and smokes, for all we know, as a result of Amtrak’s harm to the local taxi business.  And you would think Concord Trailways has been hurt by the trains as well.
So in a manner of speaking, we take Dale’s comments to mean the roosting chickens are crowing “God Bless Amtrak?  No no no -  God Damn Amtrak.”

Dale had other things to say, and we’ll treat those in later postings.  Like ‘the base closing hurt us too.’



 What we have here, friends, is the ‘elimination of the negative’ and the ‘accentuation of the positive’ starting to switch places in the public discourse.  Might be the civic piano will need some major retuning pretty soon.  Those flat notes can really take the air out of soaring melodies.  Harmonic dissonance is fine if you're Thelonious Monk, but we don't see it scoring points as background music for meetings of local governing bodies.

Funny, many people think the right way to deal with damage from federally provided corporate welfare (Amtrak is a major, major recipient) is to combat it with corporate welfare at a different level.
Which is what BDC’s few strings attached grant of OPM to Brunswick Taxi amounts to.

No surprise here.  A ‘certain’ former Town Council Chair told us some years back that Brunswick Taxi had a revenue stream coming via state provided vouchers, and the state was being a little slow in paying up.  We’ve done a little looking into the subject, and have already discovered that various ‘non-profits’ have established themselves in a rather tangled web of participation in the voucher system.  All of which adds to the middle-man costs, while making public funds far more difficult to trace.

We’re thinking of asking Dale to submit a post on how all of this works once he completes the post on our factual errors in last week’s post.  We suspect he can be shy when it comes to these things.  But he could dress up any reluctance by calling it ‘social anxiety disorder,’ the au courant label for shyness.

One other thing we should touch on here.  It appears that Brunswick Taxi is providing regular transportation services for Amtrak crews between Brunswick and Portland, making us wonder about Dale’s “the train hurt us” claim and justification for BDC funds.

While the specifics of this arrangement are similarly obscured by the involvement of ‘third parties,’ which we are busily researching as well, it seems that Brunswick Taxi picks up a crew trackside in Brunswick shortly after the arrival of the 12:30 PM train in town and takes them to Portland.  The other day, we watched the pickup of four individuals descending from the train.

video

video


We’re told that later in the day, they transport another Amtrak crew from Portland back to Brunswick to operate the train for the next run back south.  From what we know so far, these services are not contracted for via NNEPRA, or Amtrak itself, but via Crew Transportation Services, Inc  (CTS) of Wichita, KS.  Makes perfect sense, we think you’ll agree.  It’s important to spread the wealth around.

We suspect that the revenue generated from these daily efforts goes a long way towards offsetting the loss of ‘civilian’ taxi riders between Brunswick and Portland, but until we get more details, we can’t really say with any specificity.  We’re pretty sure, though, that federal entities aren’t tight-wads when it comes to contracting for such services.

Then there’s the fact that those two (at least-we’ve seen that many) new Black and Yellow vans, like the one shown in the video, don’t seem to fit any of the conditions mentioned in the BDC promissory note language.  Maybe CTS provides them.

Oh jeez; there we go again, lapsing into nit-picking as we are sometimes wont to do.  We better stop here, don’t you think?

Dale’s got more than enough to write about now, and we’re excited about how much his contributions will grow our readership.  And unlike the Forecaster or the Ostrich, we won’t limit his word count.


Brunswick Taxi/Dale King Response

To brighten up your last days of summer, we decided to begin this post with a musical overture of sorts:

It’s been exactly a week since Dale King, the owner of record of Brunswick Taxi for Brunswick Development Corporation purposes, called us to register some unhappiness with this post, suggesting that it contained ‘factual errors.’

You may know Side as a slave to fashion, among other things, but forget ye not that we are first and foremost a slave to the truth, the facts, and logic, however inconvenient they may be.  So we offered Dale all the space he wanted to correct the record publicly here on our little journal of local affairs.

Here is his response to date:

            

to which inquiring minds might respond…..

          

or……

or even this……

                

We’ll call it ‘reader’s choice.’

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

OK, LT. Dover; time to come back from your summer vacation.

As you probably noticed, when your correspondent takes a sabbatical, we also give a break to our trusty staff.  They appreciate the time off as much as we do, and they’re glad to get away from us and our incorrigible ways for the duration.  They may ‘respect’ Side, but they aren’t particularly fond of us.  Why does that always seem to be the case with those we know?

The riff that we’re on at the moment seems to be particularly well matched to LT Ben Dover’s attributes.  And even more, there’s a news item out this week that dovetails very nicely with his image.

You’ll find it here in the Forecaster.  The story is a lovely mélange of Brunswick Municipal Government; the Brunswick Development Corporation, which we are currently exploring; Coastal Enterprises Inc (CEI); and town facilities.

                

Before we pass along our observations, we’ll tell you that Ben, given his sense of military discipline, kept up his PT regime during the summer break, and is as fit as the photo above shows.  We suspect that the rest of you, and Side as well, slacked off a bit.  All we can say, boys and girls, is that what follows will have you repeatedly and fervently grabbing for your toes to resume your workout.

Based on what we’ve written in the last few days, you should have a pretty good idea of what Brunswick Development Corporation (BDC) is about, even if you and Dale King don’t see eye to eye on that.  If you want to find out about CEI, look here.

We remind you that we are a small town engineer, not a lawyer.  Still, as we see it, CEI is another one of those shadowy, quasi-governmental entities.  As we understand it, they were created through federal legislation, and today, they dispense federally allocated tax credits to those they choose, so they exercise some form of control over federal largesse.  If we recall correctly, they also deal in CDBGs, or Community Development Block Grants, which are federal dollars.  A few moments spent on their web site will convince you they have a barely hidden socio-political agenda.  We invite those who find these characterizations in error to submit comments and corrections to us, in which case we will correct the record.

You’ll also notice that CEI identifies themselves as a ‘private, non-profit community development corporation.’  How many evil corporations do we have to deal with around here, anyway?  It’s like they’re everywhere!

We believe that CEI was central to the vaunted Kestrel Aviation picking up their bat, ball, and glove and taking the majority of their operation to a Midwestern state that had better goodies to offer.  Seems they were disappointed when CEI didn’t come through with the tax credits they thought they had been promised.

So while CEI trumps BDC all to heck in scale and volume, they both basically deal in the same general offerings.  Among which are ‘corporate welfare and tax breaks,’ or if you prefer, ‘tax loopholes.’  You know how it goes; we hear over and over from local elites, semi-elites, and assorted moon-bats that such things are anathema to social and economic justice. 

And that those who engage in such practices are sons-o-bitches.  But once again we see that what they really mean is that it’s OK when it’s OUR sons-o-bitches.  It’s those other sons-a-bitches over there behind that tree or over that fence that are the real SOBs.

So it’s kinda fun to see BDC and CEI working together in the deal whereby the town offloads the old Rec Center and Municipal Building on Federal Street.  And both of them making some shekels on the deal for use in future cherry picking.

We’ve got a golf-tournament to watch this afternoon and other things on our agenda.  And the golf tourney looks to be heading for a pretty exciting finish.  Even more, the course was built on a former dump (landfill to elites and semi-elites) not more than 10 miles from where we were born and spent our formative years.  So we’re gonna try to cut to the chase pretty quick here.

CEI is getting one hell of a deal on the Rec Center and Town Hall as we see it, but some have argued there was no other reasonable option.  And it allows CEI and BDC to take credit for various things, like making the move of Town Offices to the McClellan building possible, making the new Police HQ cost less, and taking some white elephants off our hands.  At the same time, they help Cape Brunswick, the richest little town in America, continue to build its reputation as the demolition capital of Maine.  Even when it comes to demolishing taxpayer money, like we did with the TR building.

What really gets our hanky all balled up here are the statements regarding CEI in the subject article.  BDC President Larissa Darcy had these comments:

the move would also improve the town's reputation as a business-friendly community.

"In having a company of this size, like CEI, choose downtown Brunswick, it shows others that Brunswick is a good place for business," she said.

We take exception to the implication that CEI is a ‘business’ as normally conceived.  For the reasons we explained earlier; until someone convinces us otherwise, we will continue to think of them as a quasi-governmental/politically driven enterprise, replacing government occupied buildings.  And keep in mind that when they bring their existing jobs here, they’re taking them from other nearby communities.  Until proven otherwise, this is a zero-sum exercise, except for the demolition guys and the builders.

Darcy added:

CEI would also be paying taxes on properties that were previously nontaxable because of their municipal status, Darcy said.

As we told you, it says right on the CEI web page that they are a non-profit operation, which means they qualify for exemption from property taxes, just like local churches, Bowdoin College, and others.  So we’ll wait to see if they actually pay property taxes, and if they do, perhaps they can convince the Ivory Tower to ignore their exemption and pay their fair share as well.  When that happens, those monkeys we’ve been training should be ready to fly out of our….oh, forget it.

Toe touch, toe touch, one-two, one-two.

Moving on to the McClellan Building subject, we read these words attributed to our Town Manager:

The town will move its Town Hall and Council Chambers into the McLellan Building on Union Street by April - when BDC is expecting to close on the sale - pending renovation work, Brown said.

The town manager said more information about the scope and costs of renovation work on the McLellan Building is expected to emerge sometime in September.

We talked about this earlier in the year, including this post.  In that item, we said:

Last we can recall, the town was planning on spending around $800,000 or so, up from early projections of $300,000, to ‘adapt’ the building for town use.  We don’t think any of that sum was characterized as remediating ‘deferred maintenance issues.’

We happened to be discussing the subject earlier this week with an in-town acquaintance, and mentioned the $800,000 figure.  He laughed and suggested we think more in the range of $5 million.  We have no idea whether he had any real basis for this comment, but an architect has been hired, and you know what happens when we do that.  Before you catch your breath, demolition and rebuild comes into the picture as ‘cheaper in the long run.’  Just look at the school department.

We’re not suggesting that the McClellan building is ready for the wrecking ball, but we do see some similarity in the way Bowdoin maintained the building and the way the Brunswick School Department maintains their physical plants.  And here we thought Bowdoin had ‘pride of ownership;’ they clearly didn’t in this case.

Witness these recent photos taken around the McClellan Building by a reader of ours who has solid experience in exterior building care and repair.  And note as well that in acquiring the McClellan, we will be picking up a wood exterior building to replace one with a brick exterior, meaning regular cycles of exterior repair and painting.  Oh, well, we are Cape Brunswick, and we want to save taxpayer money.  We’ll spend whatever it takes to do so.

                  mclellanbldg22 012

                  mclellan bldg 001

                  mclellan bldg 003

                  mclellan bldg 005

                  mclellan bldg 006

                  mclellanbldg22 001

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That should be enough to make the point.  If this is the obvious and visible deferred maintenance, one can only imagine what the architects will find or not find as they look elsewhere.  One can’t help but remember how shortly after we bought the TR building for $1.5 million, we ‘discovered’ that it needed $5 million in work to be fit for use.

We don’t know if $5 million will be the final number, but we’d bet you a dozen of Frosty’s finest that it won’t be $800,000 thousand.

We’re not sure exactly, but we figure the McClellan building should be in the range of 10 years old or so.  And that Bowdoin College should be ashamed of itself for letting the building get into this condition.  But who knows; maybe they had an inkling long ago that they would not be the owners for very long.  And that ‘someone else’ would have to worry about the deferred maintenance before long.  Someone who can find the money they need very easily.

Maybe Bowdoin should offer up a calisthenics leader for us.  We think we’re going to see a lot  more toe touching required around here in the next several years.

                   

Everywhere we look…ducks, ducks, and more ducks.  Ducking for cover would seem to make sense at the moment.  It could be raining duck poop for a long, long time.

Howler of the Summer

In a post this June, we ran this photo:

followed by this paragraph:

It’s tough coming up with something more ‘laughable’ then Rich Ellis’ statements of concern about how to mitigate the effect of major property tax increases on behalf of the school department.

What did we end up with on this budget – a nearly 7% tax rate increase?  With plenty more to come, compliments of two new schools, a surefire major hit to adapt and repair the ‘new’ Town Offices, and who knows what else.

Laughing on the outside, crying on the inside surely applies.

Today’s laugh riot, which we’re calling the “howler of the summer,” since we pretty much took the useful summer off, if not the literal one, comes as a result of our focus on BDC matters.

If you read the documents that created and govern BDC operation, you know that the Bylaws contain this language:

The corporation is organized and shall be operated on a
nonprofit basis to foster, encourage, assist, support, and promote the development, establishment, settlement, or resettlement within the Town of Brunswick, Maine, of industrial, manufacturing, fishing, agricultural, recreational, or other business enterprises.

Strangely enough, he said, stroking his chin in a gesture of bewilderment, the articles of incorporation had a longer version of this language with this appendage to the above:

for purposes of simulating economic growth in the Town in part by providing support incentives for businesses to construct and expand facilities incorporating new techniques, combatting community deterioration, lessening the burdens of government, providing for increased tax base within the town; (emphasis ours)

Did you catch that?  We just noticed it ourselves as we were typing: “SIMULATING economic growth.”  We’re not sure if Johnny Protocols was involved in drafting this language, but it seems to fit his ‘stylistic’ leanings.  So be advised, lucky readers, that the BDC is o-ficially created to simulate economic growth, even though their Bylaws ‘vacated’ this obligation.

But the real howler is this one: “lessening the burdens of government.”  Yah, shurr, Ollie.

We defy readers, and even non-readers, to come up with just one example in recent memory of ANY government undertaking at ANY level that lessens the burdens of government.  Doing so is congenitally impossible for anyone in government.  No-one is going to act to eliminate their own job, power, and income.  And you can tell everyone else you heard that here first.  We know from personal experience that just trying to slow down the increase in “the burdens of government” unleashes a fury of resistance that must be seen to be believed.

Including such language in any document like this takes a level of chutzpah that goes way beyond the pale.  As we said, those who wrote the Bylaws didn’t have the hindsight to include the language, but so what. They did include this reference to the underlying, but repealed, statutory language:

The Corporation shall constitute a "local development corporation" pursuant to 5 M.R.S.A. §13081(6).

Details, shmetails.  Who cares?  C’mon…this is gubmint we’re talkin’ about here, not sumthin’ impotent.  Now duck calls, them’s impotent!

                 

Quack, quack.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Duck Calling? Other Side is more about duck profiling.

        

Duck Dynasty is a contemporary cable TV phenomenon.  Side knows very little about the show, having seen only a family member or a promo on various other programs.  Frankly, we’re up to our nose-hair with so called ‘reality shows’ about Gator Boys and Turtle Men and other formulaic hits of this era.  We got way more than our fill when younger family members spent time here this summer.

As Side’s father was fond of saying, ‘you see one, you’ve seen them all.’  And compared to us, he actually had a sense of humor.  If only we had inherited it!

We know one thing – the family at the center of Duck Dynasty is making their fortune as experts in calling ducks.  We’ve never had much interest or need to engage in duck calling, but after our phone call this week from Dale King, owner of Brunswick Taxi, we decided to spend some time on duck “profiling.”

By that we refer to the art of determining if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and if it does, concluding chances are pretty good that it is a duck.

               

That’s because Dale asserted to us that we had some “factual errors” in this post.  We asked what those might be, and he replied that the town doesn’t have anything to do with or have any control over the Brunswick Development Corporation (BDC), and that the money they are ‘lending’ to him is not public money.  (Keeping in mind that the loan is entirely forgivable.)

We took exception to his view, relating facts from the founding documents, but he was clearly not receptive.  He was working hard to make us see that we really weren’t talking about a duck, but about something else entirely.  He wanted us to believe this is about a cute little puddy tat; not a duck.

     

Or maybe a cow:

                  

The more we think on the subject, the more convinced we are that a number of folks in town would probably like us to believe we’re talking about a glorious and fragrant tropical flower; anything but a duck.

         

In their defense, we must say there is a certain, “pronounced” aroma surrounding the subject, but we’ll leave it to others, including our devoted readers, to decide where it sits on the stink spectrum.  We have our own view, but far be it from us to to try to sway your olfactory observations.

We asked Dale if he had read the supposedly erroneous post, and he said no.  So Side, ever so interested in getting to the bottom of this matter, no matter how deep a hole that may require digging, suggested that Dale read the post, and then submit a rebuttal. We told him that if it was suitable for public consumption, we’d be happy to publish it.

He must still be working on it, because we haven’t heard from him since.  Some people just don’t understand the deadlines editors have to work to.

So let us make our case more specifically to you, using the BDC articles of incorporation  and BDC bylaws that we posted yesterday.

It seems pretty clear that BDC was created pursuant to Maine State Law as a Local Development Corporation, by direct action of the municipal officers of the municipality of Brunswick, which is itself a corporation.  Both Brunswick and the State of Maine are Governments, and we assert that the BDC is an instrumentality of government, and specifically of Brunswick municipal government.

So on this first glimpse, we’re going with ‘it looks like a duck.’  Even if the Statutory passage under which it was created has been repealed.  And even if the duck is keen on bottom feeding.

The Directors of the BDC are the Town Manager and the Finance Director (both ex officio); two Town Councilors appointed by the Town Council; and three ‘public directors’ from a list of candidates proposed by the first four aforementioned Directors.  So a clear majority of the Directors are municipal senior staff and town councilors, and the rest are appointed only with the recommendation of the foregoing and the approval of the town council.  In other words, town government has the controlling votes, and chooses the other voting Directors.

Not to mention this:

The Town of Brunswick, Maine, shall be the sole
member of the corporation with all rights and obligations of membership provided by the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.

We’re no lawyer, of course, but we would argue the foregoing means the town has everything to do with the BDC, and that it has control of its actions.

                

Anybody see a duck walking with a very high step?  Bearing money?

Further, we point out that the funding that kicked off BDC operations was a loan from the town of Brunswick, which it has since repaid.  No matter, the funds that it has operated on since are the spawn of that municipal funding.  Furthermore, per the founding documents,

Upon the dissolution of the Corporation or the termination of it activities, the assets of the Corporation remaining after the payment of all its liabilities shall be distributed exclusively, either in cash or in kind, to its sole member, the Town of Brunswick.

As we see it then, the moneys that BDC lends or grants to its chosen beneficiaries are, for all intents and purposes, public monies.  If they aren’t, of course, they would have to be private monies, in which case we’d like to know who the private parties are that the monies belong to.  Maybe Dale knows, even if he isn’t saying.

Anybody see a duck quacking?

So there you have it; our take on things.  And since it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we’re sticking with our story that the BDC is an instrument of our municipality, and that it works its will with public monies.

Dale King may wish to argue otherwise in writing, and as we said, we’re willing to publish his offerings.

We’ll even go so far as to suggest that he could use this image to illustrate his argument:

    

We suspect it captures the way he and others of like mind want us to look at things.

(PS: if any readers sees reporting on the Brunswick Taxi – BDC relationship in the Forecaster, the Ostrich, or any other news media, be sure to let us know.  Thanks.)