Friday, July 3, 2009

All Quiet in Lake Basebegone

It’s been a quiet two weeks here in Lake Basebegone since the Town Council held a workshop on Base redevelopment on June 22nd, nearly two weeks ago.

On that night, Commissioner John Richardson spoke about protocols. And Steve Levesque, Executive Director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA), discussed plans to issue a Request for Quotations (RFQ) soliciting proposals for “fixed base operations.” This is to find someone who would operate the airport infrastructure of the base, so that aircraft could actually land, take-off, and get whatever services they require.

Things have been noticeably quiet since the night of the workshop. Your humble correspondent had a commentary published in the Times Record on the Friday before the meeting (see Part III). While my commentary that ran a month earlier than that, which only touched briefly on Oxford Aviation, resulted in a timely response from Jim Horowitz, President of the firm, the more recent column, which addressed Oxford at some length, has elicited no such response.

Perhaps Horowitz has suddenly converted to Richardson’s “confidentiality is king” policy, convenient escape that it provides, even though a thoroughly contrary, decidedly public image has been his style so far. (See Part III, photoshopping, and of course, F. Lee Bailey.)

At the workshop, two essential realities were revealed, though they may not have been recognized as such. Richardson made it clear that MRRA is a temporary creation, and that it will exist for “5, maybe 10 years.” And the MRRA search for a “fixed base operator,” via an RFQ, makes it clear that airport operations require a funding source to pay such an operator. Taken together, the two facts raise the question of who will pay for operating the base after the MRRA is dis-established. And how much will be spent to allow the first Oxford client to land and take off from the base?

So far, such questions are essentially dismissed by Richardson and MRRA as the unhelpful criticism of those opposed to redevelopment efforts. One of the principles of politics in this day and age is that if the question is too hard to answer, demonize the one who asked it.

Town Councilors, some of whom were reported to be concerned about the Oxford situation, have been noticeably quiet on the subject, with no public comment.

On another front, a request to MRRA for details on the RFQ and the funds to engage a winning competitor has gone unanswered. It must be because “confidentiality is king.”

I’ve kept some things confidential since I discovered them during my research. Perhaps the time has come to challenge the “king,” and dethrone him with the higher purpose of public interest.

No comments:

Post a Comment