Monday, October 12, 2009

"Mr. Cellophane" Reports In Again

In a recurring theme, Side hereby errs on the side of transparency in reporting on its efforts.

The following is a message sent to Town Councilors moments ago.


It has been two weeks since the special workshop that the town council held with the MRRA to discuss BNAS redevelopment.

At that session, it was pointed out that Oxford Aviation's web site shows them completely occupying Hangar 6 on the base.  This page shows that explicitly, and this is the image that Oxford is promoting to the global aviation industry

It was further pointed out that the solicitation for a Fixed Base Operator for airport operations at the base states that the FBO could occupy space in Hangar 6, and that this appears to be a conflict.

In response, Mr. Levesque stated that the agreement with Oxford calls for them to occupy only half of the hangar.  This was the first and only disclosure of any details of the "memorandum of understanding" or the planned "lease contract" with Oxford, which reportedly will be voted on by MRRA this month.

Two weeks after this public disclosure, Oxford's web site still shows them occupying the entire hangar.  Given the statement by Mr. Levesque, this is a bald-faced misrepresentation of the facts of the "negotiations," and reinforces the concerns about the troubling history and gross mis-portrayal of Oxford by its Owner/President Jim Horowitz.

Further, the failure of the MRRA to demand that Oxford correct their internet representation of the commitment for BNAS occupancy is a matter of extreme concern.  By failing to do so, MRRA tacitly endorses the deception, and raises larger questions of integrity in public dealings on our behalf, and the credibility of their public statements and pronouncements in these matters.

Sadly, a consistent pattern emerges with respect to Oxford, and it is very troubling.  They held a "Job Fair" in January of this year in "anticipation" of occupying the BNAS space for their "Jet Division," which is shown on their web site as if it already exists.

According to media reports, the Job Fair was to take applications for Brunswick "that will create 200 jobs there and grow the existing workforce in Oxford."

Specifically, the Forecaster reported as follows:

BRUNSWICK — An aircraft refurbishing business is hosting a job fair this weekend for openings at a facility planned at Brunswick Naval Air Station.
Oxford Aviation will hold the fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Maine Advanced Technology Center on the Brunswick campus of Southern Maine Community College, 6 Industry Road. The company said it will have more than 200 openings in the Brunswick Jet Division starting this summer.

This clearly oversteps the bounds of reality.  At the time of this "job fair," Oxford had no firm agreement in place for occupying any BNAS facilities (nor does it now); there were no firm plans in place for post-Navy operation of airport facilities (nor are there now); and there was absolutely no reason to expect that any such arrangements and plans would be in place by this past summer, as the base will not be vacated by the Navy for some time.

Accordingly, the conduct of such a "job fair" smacks of an intentional public relations ploy with no foundation in reality, and was grossly unfair and deceptive to those applicants who believed a job might be available in a matter of months.

Go to this page and what you read should disgust you in view of the facts known earlier this year, and especially in view of the increasingly negative media reports about Oxford in recent months.

There is no choice but to conclude that Oxford is conducting a full blown public relations blitz that is wholly unwarranted by the facts and realities of the situation.  The word scam would seem to be appropriate.  While my concerns are much deeper, I will stop with that.

Once again, then, I implore you to become fully informed in this matter, and to exert whatever forms of due diligence you can on behalf of town residents.  I recognize that as established at the workshop, any votes taken by the council in this regard have no tangible consequence.

At the same time, I would remind you that Oxford Aviation and their spokesman F. Lee Bailey have no tangible power in the matter either.  They simply have the opportunity to lobby MRRA officials to advocate for their interests. 

And you have exactly the same opportunity; please make every good use of that option as you represent us and the future of our community. 

Pem Schaeffer
We here in the news room hope that readers and residents with similar concerns will express their concerns to town officials.  We will be happy to publish any such submittals sent our way.

P. C. Poppycock

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