Tuesday, February 2, 2010

News from Lake Basebegone – Feb 2, 2010

Well, it’s been a not so quiet several days in Lake Basebegone, where all the politicians are apolitical, investors risking their own funds are called speculators, speculators risking other peoples’ funds are called investors, corporate welfare is called grants, and candidates for Governor have all the fluid moves, jukes, and feints of an O. J. Simpson.

Most amazing of all is that the local newspaper seems to have awoken from a long slumber, at least as it relates to the MRRA vis-a-vis Oxford Aviation goat rope.  Having long ago tossed aside its self-proclaimed government watchdog role, and any pretense of digging for the facts, the daily’s awakening is curious on its face.  Others might speculate there is a plot afoot, in which the MRRA and the paper, with the encouragement of some usual suspects, concoct a Willy Wonka and the Airplane Factory style fantasy scenario to charm and distract the locals.

Others might do so, but we here at Other Side will not lower ourselves to the more tawdry levels of polite political discourse in this town.  It would serve no useful purpose, and if we did, elected dignitaries would lose respect for us.

So let’s just get to the hard news.  If you read the papers in the order I did, Forecaster first, and then the local paper’s Friday edition, you had an interesting ride.

The Forecaster item nibbled around the edges of the Oxford Aviation lease story, emphasizing instead that the MRRA is looking to find funds for an $800,000 paint booth on the base, without committing to whom it might be for.  The preferred approach is a “Community Development Block Grant,” which would require our town council to authorize $400,000 of that, thereby giving them a tangible role in the “investment.”

As to the status of the MRRA’s discussions with Oxford, Steve Levesque, the MRRA ED, “declined” to discuss the details, given the “public scrutiny” of Oxford’s past performance.  In a bit of a ham and egg act, Levesque said “the ball is in their court,” while an unidentified contact at Oxford said “we are waiting on (MRRA).”  Adding to the fun, F. Lee Bailey, who had been praising Oxford’s capabilities and their potential for making Brunswick a “global leader,” did not return Forecaster calls for comment.

The MRRA head asserted that the $800,000 paint booth would be an asset to the base regardless of the Oxford outcome, adding to it’s “marketability.”  Well that makes me feel a lot better; how about you?

If spending taxpayer money on assets is all that matters, here’s some other ideas for “investments” in marketability. How about a lobster processing and shipping facility?  At least that would leverage a business in which the region actually has a unique stake.  And how about setting up a paper printing operation on the base; we’ve got the raw materials close at hand, and it looks like if nothing else, there’s going to be a big demand for the specialized paper on which US currency is printed in the coming years.

Fast forward to the local paper’s Friday lead article, which “dropped the other shoe” on this story, or should I say clodhopper, since the sound was none to delicate.

Shocking, I say shocking as you may find this, “MRRA officials” said that “famed defense attorney” F. Lee Bailey, the spokesman for Oxford this far, will now be pulling together a new organization, a new business and financial plan, and will take the lead in the “new corporation.”  Those Oxford problems….hey, don’t worry about that.  They’re outta here!  They’re stepping back to make way for Bailey and friends.

The MRRA head “deferred questions” for further details to Bailey; attempts to reach Bailey were unsuccessful.

That’s about all the details a loyal reader could be expected to digest in one sitting, so this reporter will start to put a wrap on the story for now, with the promise that more will follow, as you have come to expect.

The MRRA, reportedly, will ask the town council to approve the CDBG next month, which means our officials will be backed into a corner. It should be fun to watch; no-one will want to be the one that knocks the “train off the rails,” as it were.  And maybe Bailey will appear before the council to make his case.  Wouldn’t that be a hoot!

As to matters already on the record, we understand that Oxford Aviation is scrambling to remove the gross misrepresentations from their web site, and expects to have the photoshopped version of the BNAS hangar removed by the end of the year, unless the MRRA demands they take it down by November 1.  The “photo” is shown below, and their supposed presence on the base is still proudly described here:


With this logo and text:

Brunswick Jet Division

Brunswick, ME (NHZ)

In 2009 Oxford Aviation will be expanding it's operations to Brunswick Maine. Brunswick Jet Division will be a our newest, largest and most capable facility expansion in our 21 year history of excellence.

The 174,000 sq ft facility which was built in 2004 will be able to house a variety of large private and commercial jets, ranging from Falcons and Gulfstream's to Boeing  747'- 400  and the  Airbus A340-500. The Facility also boasts an 8000 foot runway with precision approach that can accommodate commercial and non commercial jet. 

We are currently accepting job applications.

The MRRA has rode them hard, haven’t they?  We should feel confident that their stewardship of the base assets is as rigorous and disciplined as we would expect from such a group.

Meanwhile, the new enterprise that Bailey is pulling together is reportedly working on a logo that clarifies they have cut their ties with Oxford.

Other Side has connections with the arts community in town, and the following is the leading candidate for the new logo, leaked to us “on background.”


Bailey Aviation

Now THAT’S a logo!  Can you see that on the side of Hangar 6?

No comments:

Post a Comment