Monday, January 14, 2013


Catching up on the news last week, for reasons those who know us will surely discern, Side recalled this memorable movie clip, in which the money line is “Here’s Johnny!”

That’s because Brunswick is watching the opening scenes of its own ‘Here’s Johnny!’ production.  We’re not talking about the Johnny in the scene above, or Johnny Carson, the comic legend for whom the introduction was made famous by Ed McMahon.

No, we’re talking about John “Johnny Protocols” Richardson, as we tagged him over the years in  prior posts.  You probably know he is now on the Brunswick Town Council, taking the seat held by Joanne King for nine years, six of which she was Council Chair.

King also served as Treasurer of Richardson’s ill-fated primary run for Governor in 2010.  Richardson had been Speaker of the House in Maine during his eight years in the legislature, and then became Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development under Governor Baldacci.

While holding this position, he told the Brunswick Town Council that “protocols'” prevented him from providing information on the numerous Fortune 500 companies he was courting to establish a presence on the redeveloping Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Coupled with his boundless ambition, and the ego that drives it, Johnny apparently felt this “development leadership’ qualified him to be Governor.  Curiously, when the tail of his political comet burned out, due to ‘anomalies’ in his campaign finances, the Fortune 500 prospects went AWOL big time.  Fickle capitalists, we suppose.

We have no idea whether Ms. King had any role in the anomalies, and frankly, we don’t care.  But we have a hunch their names might be linked in future reports on local development and business matters.  But let’s leave that for others to research and report on.

For now, we believe these words from a Forecaster item last week are more than enough to spike the interest of anyone conscious enough to contemplate what the future in Brunswick and Maine might hold.

Richardson, a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate who replaces former Chairwoman Joanne King on the council, said balancing the needs of public education funding with redevelopment efforts at Brunswick Landing will be his major focus.

"There's a lot of talk about corporate welfare for Kestrel, but you're not hearing enough about the need for local school funding."

"Brunswick is a local education town, and we pride ourselves on having a strong education system," Richardson said, "and we're in jeopardy of losing the benefit of our local public schools if we are moving too far in one direction."

In these brief statements, Johnny makes it clear that his number one priority is pandering to the schoolies, especially those organized as “Brunswick Community United.”  Neither party cares about the realities of enrolment decline or stunning growth in cost per student.  Instead, they prefer to talk about ‘imagining our future’ and ‘investing in our schools.’  We think they could be better described as ‘fantasizing about our future’ and ‘investing in our teachers.’

Here’s a litte secret: we’ve engaged in rehabilitation of sorts over the past few months, and we expect to give you the details in the coming weeks. 

As for the subject at hand, we believe ‘Johnny Protocols,’ aka John Richardson, has entered the rehabilitation process for his political reputation.  We can’t know whether it’s to prepare him for another run for Governor in 2014, or to seek higher office at the federal level.

We’re quite certain, however, that the cost of his rehab will be borne by local property taxpayers, whether they want to or not, since the town imposes an adjustable rate property tax, and a vote here and a vote there, and next thing you know, you’re eating the cost of $20 million plus in school borrowing, plus the usual increases enacted via ‘tough choices.’

“Imagine” the clamoring for Johnny to run for higher office once the schoolies feel his budgetary love.  And be grateful you had a chance to “invest,” via your property taxes, in furthering his political ambitions.

Isn’t that what ‘community’ is all about?

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