Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lake Basebegone: F. Lee to Bail out Sardine Industry

F. Lee Bailey seems to be finding Maine a very nice place to hang around, but he does have deep concern for the recent news of trouble in the sardine canning business. Once a staple of Maine’s employment, it seems they can’t catch enough herring to maintain a viable business.

Altruist that he is, he’s decided to single-handedly revive the canneries by dispensing red herrings wherever opportunity permits.

Unfortunately, the red herring he’s dispensing is of the propaganda species, and can’t be shipped out of state in vacuum packed cans, although I sure as hell wish it could.

The red herring is “Brunswick’s business unfriendliness” and how the smell drove away his ‘investors’ who were allegedly prepared to plunk down ‘immense sums.’

While I have my own thoughts on that subject, they are not at all relevant in this specific case.  Bailey’s charges, simply put, are a distraction from the facts of the case he has placed before us.

Whatever concerns Brunswick residents have displayed in the past have been, to be more accurate, about development, as opposed to business per se’.  Maine has the “Land for Maine’s Future” program, and Brunswick has it’s own spin-off, “Land for Brunswick’s Future.”  Both have the goal of taking land out of private ownership and protecting it from development, regardless of what the purpose of that development would be.

We have ruralists and naturalists who oppose virtually all development because of how it would change the “character” of the area and affect assorted wildlife species, including faerie shrimp.

The Bailey & Oxford circumstances couldn’t be more different.  They have nothing to do with development.  The base and all it’s facilities are already there, including the runways, the tower, all the lighting, and the crown jewel, the mega-hanger.  They have been operating for years and years, at levels well beyond anything in Bailey’s dreams. Equipping an existing building with spray paint capacity is not something that crosses the line of development.

Furthermore, Bailey & Oxford would not be a “walk-in” operation doing business with the local public.  It would, instead, be a business to business operation, dealing in limited circles, exclusively with outsiders who would fly in.  In all likelihood, the facility would have some level of security for safety reasons.  The general public would have no more interaction with the operation than they did with the maintenance of P-3s, and their quirks and predilections are irrelevant to the matter before the court.

There’s one more consideration: job seekers.  Given the dismal local economy, I seriously doubt whether anyone in the local area would turn down a good job because they are from Brunswick, and/or genetically anti-business.

Which pretty much eliminates Brunswick residents as a factor of any sort in the Bailey & Oxford proposal.  The MRRA, on the other hand, representing state government, has shown themselves to be extremely friendly to business, allowing wide latitude in how potential base occupants describe “agreements” and represent themselves on the internet. MRRA officials have been bending over in one direction or another to make sure applicants aren’t burdened with the reputation and record they’ve built up in prior pursuits.  They’ve even offered up corporate welfare.

So Brunswick attitudes, whatever they are, are virtually irrelevant, while the MRRA, in charge of redevelopment, couldn’t possibly be friendlier.  And add the local newspaper in as unquestioning and friendly just for good measure.

Which doesn’t leave much room for objection, your honor.  Unless you believe that corporate pilots for Airbus and commercial airlines worldwide would look down at Brunswick as they made their approach, and decide the place just “looked” unfriendly, and decided to take their business elsewhere.

Yeah, that sounds like a winner of an argument, Lee.  Why don’t you try that one out on your next TV appearance?

The fact is that to the pilots, the planes, and their owners and employers, flying in to Brunswick will not test local attitudes anymore than flying in anywhere else in the country.  I should think the pilots and airplanes could care less where they land, frankly, unless it has to do with good eats and warm beds,

Both of which I believe Brunswick has in good measure.

So, as far as I’m concerned, Bailey can go “sell crazy somewhere else.”  He’s only adding to his already legendary reputation by pushing it on locals who know a red herring when they see one.

Or in this case, smell one.

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