Thursday, August 20, 2020

"I had a dream;" our latest reject by the Ostrich

This should come as no surprise to you; our latest submission to John Swinconeck, The Grand High Poobah of The Ostrich, The Forecaster, and who knows what else, garnered no response, just as we expected it would.

No "Sorry, you're a dirtbag," or "we just don't have room," or "we don't want any of our readers to suffer the vapors."

So even if said Poobah finds our musings intolerable, at least he doesn't have the common decency to give us a "thanks but no thanks."  Which is why we think the self-aggrandizing legend "Local. Legitimate. Journalism" at the top of Page 1 should be redacted.

For you, though, we are posting the submitted item.  Some of you may read the first line and think we were summonsing up the Beatle's "Imagination" poetry.  But we were not.  You have to go back a bit further to The Kingston Trio songbook, which set the standard for our earliest folk music days.

The submission, just below, was inspired by this:

Published on 4 August, documenting the predictable unanimous vote.

Here is our "thought piece on the subject:"

I had a dream....

Last night I had the strangest dream, I've never had before. Brunswick Town Councilor Dan Ankeles was pitching a proposal for a free lunch program in Brunswick to his full Council. Always one for theatrics, and having played the lead role in The Music Man several times over, Dan appeared in full Professor Harold Hill regalia. He brought with him Dr. Fealomina Good to help him make his case.

Dr. Good, who asked to be called “Feal,” said that food insecurity is a widely known problem in our society, and that coming together to provide free lunch for one and all would be a first step in a more fair, just, and equitable dietary profile for our community. She added that she recommends the lunch be provided seven days a week all year round regardless of weather and other challenges. “It's time to stop making excuses for not providing these lunches,” Dr. Feal Good exclaimed.

Prof. Hill took the floor again, strutting to the apparent sounds of a Sousa March only he could hear. He asked if there were any questions as he jauntily tipped his straw hat to one and all. Up went a hand. “Where do you plan on getting these lunches,” a disbelieving council member asked. Dan responded that a well known town bakery and lunch purveyor named “Wild Goats” was building a new facility, and would have plenty of kitchen capacity to handle the load. He added that they'll be offering their own line of Deli Meats called “Goats Head,” beginning with Artisanal Meat Baloney, always a sandwich favorite, even if you have it for lunch 365 days a year. (Can't be too picky when it comes to free lunch, can we?)

Wild Goats said they'll also be providing goats' milk to go with the sandwiches. They're searching for a nearby organic bee-keeper so they can re-brand their dairy offering with a “Land of Milk & Honey” image.

Dan said he's also been contacted by Naughty Jim Coffee Roasters who are looking for a way to build a community of fans, and they think this is just the ticket. They're thinking of calling their first blend “Naughty Jim's Joe.”

Then there's the “Free Ride Taxi Company,” Dan added. The town gave them a quarter million dollars several years ago, and they'd like to return the gesture to the town residents who paid the bill on that. They'll provide rides to the daily Lunch setting for those who can, and deliver the lunches for those who can't. Dan pointed out that the Downeaster is expecting a windfall in new passengers from points south, including our neighboring states, once word of the daily free lunch every day of the year gets out.

The last issue to be worked out according to Ankeles is where to serve the lunches. Initially he plans to use the Town Hall Council Chambers but knows that won't work for long. So he's looking into using the gyms in town schools, and eventually expanding to a hangar on the old Navy Base.

Dan disclosed that he had one final nugget in his plan to make free lunch Brunswick an incredible success. Once again alluding to the importance of branding, Dan said he was impressed enough by a local start up business that has achieved incredible success, and he's following suit by going with “Free Lunch Fiasco” as the hook line for his plan.

Asked if he had any other plans to bring forward in the future, Dan said he'd been thinking about a free dental care program, because “bad teeth have been a trademark of Maine residents for too long, and it's time it came to an end.” Dan said he's looking to the Tooth Fairy to be at the center of the project, and has left several messages at her Office, but had yet to hear back. “I'm hopeful she'll call soon and be willing to bring her special talents to the program.”

Skeptical looks were unmistakable on the faces of other councilors, but none wanted to rain on the free-stuff parade. Finally a member of the public worked up the courage to ask “who is going to pay for all these free lunches?”

Dan looked shocked by the question, and with a stern look at the inquisitor replied “what part of free lunch don't you understand?” “Getting approval of the Council should be all it takes.”

He admitted “We may have to readjust budget priorities a little bit,” but that's pretty easy. He referenced the Downeaster, which provides $10 Million a year in free train ride capacity, even if no one is on the trains, and they are doing “just fine.” 


Who wouldn't want that as a featured commentary on their local "Opinion Page?"

You know who, don't you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Who speaks for you and me? And what do we hire the Brunswick Town Council to do?

We don't know about you, but we happen to believe the duties, powers, and responsibilities of the Brunswick Town Council are defined by the Town Charter, which you can find here:

Our take on the Town Charter is that the Town Council is elected to oversee the conduct of Brunswick Municipal Government and relevant policy, as implemented by town professional staff.  In so doing, they represent you and me and the other residents of Brunswick.

They are specifically NOT elected to oversee and or influence the conduct of Maine State Government and Federal Government and related policy, and are not elected by us to do so.

So Side takes strong exception to our Town Council when they do so, through such things as official resolutions asking State and Federal Governments to implement their policy wishes.  This seems to have become more frequent in recent years, as individual councilors attempt to score political points with local advocates for one policy or another.

The latest case in point is shown below: a "Resolution Supporting Equitable Health Care for All Maine Residents"  In it, they officially advocate for State and Federal Policy, and in so doing, they speak for all the residents of Brunswick, without their approval.  At least they don't have Side's permission to do so; maybe they have  yours.

Furthermore, a resolution essentially consists of a series of premises (the Whereas clauses) followed by an official request(s) (the Therefore clause(s)).

In the case before us, we take exception with a number of the premises; they are arguable to say the least and arbitrary at best; objective proof is impossible to provide.

A number of them also evidence a complete lack of rational, critical thought as to the consequences and unintended consequences of their asserted merit.

Taken as a whole, in other words, we find the entire document an attempt to exercise powers not incumbent upon them, and as structurally sound as a house of cards.  

Unless you live on the imaginary axis, that is.

So here it is; you'll note there is no room for you (or us) to sign on with our approval.


Resolution Supporting Equitable Health Care for All Maine Residents

Whereas, every person in Brunswick deserves comprehensive health care to. include all forms of care including but not limited to, medical care, mental health care, dental care, behavioral health care, vision care, and hearing care; and

Whereas, the current health care system in the United States and in Maine is unsustainable and does not provide for the common good of all Brunswick residents; and

Whereas, the current health system in the United States and in Maine is complex and confusing and provides residents of Brunswick with inadequate healthcare coverage or no coverage at all; and

Whereas, the increasing and increasingly unstable cost of prescription medications continues to force families to choose between medicine, food, heat, shelter and more; and

Whereas, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how integral the health of the entire population is to the basic functioning of society; and

Whereas, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the inability of the predominant employer-based health insurance system to adequately serve the public during a major economic disaster; and

Whereas, the predominant employer-based health insurance system forces the town of Brunswick and property taxpayers to keep up with the rising costs of municipal and school employee health care plans; and

Whereas, the predominant employer-based health care system shrinks the amount of money available for pay increases, retirement benefits and proper staffing levels in local government and in our school system; and

Whereas, eliminating high administrative costs and waste would be beneficial to a wide range of Brunswick families and businesses; and

Whereas, a system which is simple, straightforward and provides citizens with adequate health care is necessary; and

Whereas, improving the quality of life and the health of family budgets for residents of Brunswick is desirable;

Now therefore, be it resolved by the Town Council of Brunswick that,
Brunswick strongly urges both the Maine Legislature and Congress to design and implement an equitable health care plan that provides every Maine resident with comprehensive health care from birth to death.

Voted by the Town Council of Brunswick, Maine this 3rd day of August, 2020
_ /s/ John M. Perreault___________________________________
John M. Perreault, Chair – Town Council


Oh.....and one more do you think the Councilors of the Town of Brunswick would feel if the State Legislature or the US Congress passed Resolutions calling specifically on the Town of Brunswick to do anything they felt like calling upon us to do?

Would the Councilors think it was within the purview of those higher bodies to make a point of telling them what they wanted done?  Or would they consider it to be meddling in town affairs?

Only the Shadow knows.