Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The MRRA as seen through Rep. Webster’s rose colored glasses

Well, well; the Gerzofsy v. Town Council hissy fit continues to rage on the pages of the area’s award-winning media.  In a feature commentary in yesterday’s Ostrich, Rep. David Webster of Freeport points out that an article on the subject left out naming him as one of the co-sponsors of Stan the Minority Man’s bill to apply the force of law to prevent the Brunswick Town Manager from sitting on the MRRA Board.

The focus of this post, however, is ‘highlighting’ the exaggerated rhetoric used by Webster to gush over MRRA redevelopment activities to date.  While we all hope things turn out well, because the area really needs the help, nobody is well-served by rosy flights of verbal euphoria and trumped up premises.

Try these out for size:

The structure of the original legislation, creating MRRA, has helped take a base-closing disaster and turn it into a wellspring of economic development

it would be better for the councilors to trust the model that is working to ensure MRRA’s continued success.

MRRA works because it is separate from politics.

As we’ve pointed out before, MRRA is a political creation, with a politically appointed board, spending politically derived resources, and dispensing politically created privileges and tax treatment.  To declare it “separate” from politics is to claim that elected and appointed officials, and the goodies they dispense, are apolitical.

I assume MRRA would never want to do anything to damage their close working relationship with the town of Brunswick,

When redevelopments are politically controlled, redevelopment can get stuck in parochial squabbling.  (see the earlier comment on MRRA being “separate'” from politics)

And as proof of MRRA’s apolitical status, Webster reminds us:

Because MRRA’s board is regional and nonpolitical, Sen. Gerzofsky, and other legislators, including me, have been able to get the Maine Legislature to support the creation of MRRA, support a bond package that helped secure matching federal dollars to transform the infrastructure, and create legislative structural support to provide the cash flow necessary for operation.

Well, as long as you’ve got the column space, you might as well pat yourself and your friends on the back for your nonpolitical role in the success, right?

The protection of MRRA from potential local political controls has helped MRRA become the most successful redevelopment in the country.

Wow, I’m impressed, Rep. Webster!  You took the time and trouble to survey all the other redevelopments in the country?  Or acquired a report substantiating that claim?  Be a dear, and forward a copy of the material to us here at Side, and while you’re at it, to the folks over at The Ostrich as well.  We’ll be pleased to broadcast them for all to see; we have no monthly limits for your submissions here.

Or could it just be that someone TOLD you MRRA is the most successful, so it must be true?

Please Rep. Webster, should you choose to reply, don’t inject any politics into your remarks.  The protection of our editorial material from such influence is why we are the most successful such media outlet published in the rural southwest region of Brunswick, and we wish not to soil our spotless reputation.

Wrapping up, we stipulate the bar is pretty low for economic growth success here in Maine, and that when considered in the context of the anemic business profile in the local area, any success at all looks good by comparison.

None-the-less, talk of “wellsprings” and “the most successful in the country” strains credulity.  And we use those words only because our civility manager is standing over our shoulder.

So you’ll have to figure out what we really wanted to say, loyal readers.  Trust your instincts, and imagination.

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