Saturday, August 24, 2013

Duck Calling? Other Side is more about duck profiling.


Duck Dynasty is a contemporary cable TV phenomenon.  Side knows very little about the show, having seen only a family member or a promo on various other programs.  Frankly, we’re up to our nose-hair with so called ‘reality shows’ about Gator Boys and Turtle Men and other formulaic hits of this era.  We got way more than our fill when younger family members spent time here this summer.

As Side’s father was fond of saying, ‘you see one, you’ve seen them all.’  And compared to us, he actually had a sense of humor.  If only we had inherited it!

We know one thing – the family at the center of Duck Dynasty is making their fortune as experts in calling ducks.  We’ve never had much interest or need to engage in duck calling, but after our phone call this week from Dale King, owner of Brunswick Taxi, we decided to spend some time on duck “profiling.”

By that we refer to the art of determining if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and if it does, concluding chances are pretty good that it is a duck.


That’s because Dale asserted to us that we had some “factual errors” in this post.  We asked what those might be, and he replied that the town doesn’t have anything to do with or have any control over the Brunswick Development Corporation (BDC), and that the money they are ‘lending’ to him is not public money.  (Keeping in mind that the loan is entirely forgivable.)

We took exception to his view, relating facts from the founding documents, but he was clearly not receptive.  He was working hard to make us see that we really weren’t talking about a duck, but about something else entirely.  He wanted us to believe this is about a cute little puddy tat; not a duck.


Or maybe a cow:


The more we think on the subject, the more convinced we are that a number of folks in town would probably like us to believe we’re talking about a glorious and fragrant tropical flower; anything but a duck.


In their defense, we must say there is a certain, “pronounced” aroma surrounding the subject, but we’ll leave it to others, including our devoted readers, to decide where it sits on the stink spectrum.  We have our own view, but far be it from us to to try to sway your olfactory observations.

We asked Dale if he had read the supposedly erroneous post, and he said no.  So Side, ever so interested in getting to the bottom of this matter, no matter how deep a hole that may require digging, suggested that Dale read the post, and then submit a rebuttal. We told him that if it was suitable for public consumption, we’d be happy to publish it.

He must still be working on it, because we haven’t heard from him since.  Some people just don’t understand the deadlines editors have to work to.

So let us make our case more specifically to you, using the BDC articles of incorporation  and BDC bylaws that we posted yesterday.

It seems pretty clear that BDC was created pursuant to Maine State Law as a Local Development Corporation, by direct action of the municipal officers of the municipality of Brunswick, which is itself a corporation.  Both Brunswick and the State of Maine are Governments, and we assert that the BDC is an instrumentality of government, and specifically of Brunswick municipal government.

So on this first glimpse, we’re going with ‘it looks like a duck.’  Even if the Statutory passage under which it was created has been repealed.  And even if the duck is keen on bottom feeding.

The Directors of the BDC are the Town Manager and the Finance Director (both ex officio); two Town Councilors appointed by the Town Council; and three ‘public directors’ from a list of candidates proposed by the first four aforementioned Directors.  So a clear majority of the Directors are municipal senior staff and town councilors, and the rest are appointed only with the recommendation of the foregoing and the approval of the town council.  In other words, town government has the controlling votes, and chooses the other voting Directors.

Not to mention this:

The Town of Brunswick, Maine, shall be the sole
member of the corporation with all rights and obligations of membership provided by the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.

We’re no lawyer, of course, but we would argue the foregoing means the town has everything to do with the BDC, and that it has control of its actions.


Anybody see a duck walking with a very high step?  Bearing money?

Further, we point out that the funding that kicked off BDC operations was a loan from the town of Brunswick, which it has since repaid.  No matter, the funds that it has operated on since are the spawn of that municipal funding.  Furthermore, per the founding documents,

Upon the dissolution of the Corporation or the termination of it activities, the assets of the Corporation remaining after the payment of all its liabilities shall be distributed exclusively, either in cash or in kind, to its sole member, the Town of Brunswick.

As we see it then, the moneys that BDC lends or grants to its chosen beneficiaries are, for all intents and purposes, public monies.  If they aren’t, of course, they would have to be private monies, in which case we’d like to know who the private parties are that the monies belong to.  Maybe Dale knows, even if he isn’t saying.

Anybody see a duck quacking?

So there you have it; our take on things.  And since it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we’re sticking with our story that the BDC is an instrument of our municipality, and that it works its will with public monies.

Dale King may wish to argue otherwise in writing, and as we said, we’re willing to publish his offerings.

We’ll even go so far as to suggest that he could use this image to illustrate his argument:


We suspect it captures the way he and others of like mind want us to look at things.

(PS: if any readers sees reporting on the Brunswick Taxi – BDC relationship in the Forecaster, the Ostrich, or any other news media, be sure to let us know.  Thanks.)

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