Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Morsels…

It’s Friday of a long holiday weekend….the last one of summer, which means in Maine, winter is just about here.

We thought in honor of this no special occasion, we’d lay a few tidbits on you.

The first is this; a highly placed individual in town, who shall not be named, contacted us to suggest, sort of, that our video work in this recent post was a bit, well, below professional standards, and we wholeheartedly agree.  And we scolded our camera guy accordingly.

Mr. Highly Placed suggested that in keeping with local economic development protocols, perhaps Other Side should reach out to the Brunswick Development Corp. for a small grant, of if they insist, a fully forgivable loan, that we could use to upgrade our camera equipment for doing remote/live shots.


Turns out we could purchase a lovely digital video camera like the one above, with appropriate accessories, for less than $500, but in order to make the effort worthwhile, we’re inclined to ask BDC for $5,000, in case we need to simulate other camera based journalistic pursuits, and avail ourselves of some video production assistance.

So, we throw our tin cup in the ring, so to speak, and ask for a BDC Director to give us a nod and sponsor us in this quest.  Once we get it, we’ll be happy to prepare the draft promissory note, since we have some fine examples at our finger tips.

We’d be especially honored if Johnny Protocols or Suzan Wilson would take up our cause, since both are town councilors and BDC Directors, and we suspect, have always found our appearances before the council along with our publication to be simulating.  And motivated by lessening the burdens of government.

The second regards Coastal Enterprises, Inc, about whom we wrote earlier this week.  And about whom there is an informative article in today’s Forecaster.  As we pondered the business and economic ‘fabric’ of Cape Brunswick, the richest little town in America, we asked ourselves why CEI seems so interested in our Rec Center and decrepit municipal building on Federal St, which will both end up on the ash heap of Brunswick’s demolition addiction.


Pretty soon, we may need to get Tony Soprano’s ‘Waste Management Associates’ to open up a field office nearby.  Since we were born and raised near Tony’s stomping grounds, we may be able to call in a few markers.

Anyway, we wondered why CEI didn’t choose to make a deal on the former Bookland store at Cooks Corner.  Number one, it wouldn’t need to be demolished.  Two, it’s been vacant for years now, and CEI would provide a nice boost to overall business traffic in that commercial center.  Three, there is ample parking on site.  And fourth, if CEI moved there instead of to the Federal St. site, the parking spots freed up by the relocation of town offices and the Police Dept. would become available for use by individuals patronizing local Maine St. businesses.

Those parking spots are much needed, as just about everyone knows, and would ‘simulate’ economic activity for local businesses.  Who knows what would eventually replace the vacated buildings, but for the time being, the Rec Center gym could stay in use, and we think that would make lots of folks happy.  And if the Town Hall footprint was turned into parking, it could make the Rec Center more ‘accessible,’ to use a trendy term.

We’re just wondrin’; that’s all.  Maybe someone in the know could comment on the possibility before things get irreversible.

The third morsel is the appearance of a front page article in today’s Forecaster, with top billing above the fold, regarding an ‘unusual loan’ and the BDC.  With tongue firmly in cheek, we tell you that the story’s main subject seemed a bit familiar to us.

Oh yeah; we first reported on this story fully eleven days ago, and have published a number of follow-up items, along with links to relevant source documents, etc.

Following the usual protocols of professional courtesy among media giants, the Forecaster scrupulously avoided any mention of Other Side as having a role in making this situation public.  After our years of plugging them here in our humble little publication, we expected better.  But as you can see, we’re bigger than they are when it comes to sharing the glory.

Their story is a mish mash of comments by various town players, and a review of how other towns handle their development spin-offs.  The only thing we’ll pass along is that Suzan Wilson, Brunswick Town Council Chair, distinguished herself thusly:

And Town Council Chairwoman Suzan Wilson called the issue a "tempest in a teapot."

"I think (making comments like Perreault's) is an abuse of power," Wilson said, adding that neither of them ever called the BDC for an explanation. "If you use your power to cast aspersions on people, that's not right."

We wonder then, what she thinks of our efforts – whether they ‘cast aspersions on people.’  We’ll leave that for others to decide; but since we have no ‘power’ to use, the issue of whether we did is moot.

Which rhymes with coot, which makes us think of ducks, which in an odd poetic, sort of way makes the story come full circle. 

Or makes your head spin.  There’s another ‘reader’s choice’ for you.

Have a good weekend, and if you get a chance, take a taxi somewhere.  After all, you probably helped ‘invest’ in it.  Maybe they’ll comp you.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your work on this Pem. I agree that the Forecaster and TR should have given you credit for first airing this. Which leads me to the first of two questions.

    1) a $250k forgivable loan is essentially a grant with strings attached. This is "extremely good news" for anyone who receives it! Why, then, didn't BT or BDC issue a press release about it when they made the decision? We all saw the new vehicles around town, so we quickly became vaguely aware that BT received a major shot in the arm; if it had been me, I'd have sent the press release near and far. Be it said too that having a fleet of new taxis is very good for the town, as is having a handicap-accessible vehicle. This is a good thing for Brunswick (leaving aside the conflict of interest concern); and those creating the good news ought to have shared it as soon as they could instead of keeping mum. (Naturally, keeping mum has cost them, as it gives an impression that they have something to hide. Now they've got three news outlets raising suspicions.)

    Q2 is simply, what's the business plan for BT? Capital improvements are part of anyone's business plan. What happens in ten years when these vehicles need to be replaced? Where was BT's business plan ten years ago? Yes, having a taxi company in Brunswick is a significant asset to the community; but as a for-profit commercial activity, it'd have been better to see the business details and explanation for why the financial boost from BDC was essential to survival.