Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Tawget Wich Enwiwoment

Sometimes we feel like we have a single shot shotgun, and we’re facing an incoming flock of fugawy birds numbering in the hundreds.  Other times, it’s an incoming flock of ooh-ahh birds.

Kind of like Elmer Fudd with his blunder-buss and the wascally wabbits. 


Just when Elmer thinks he’s about to give Bugs his just desserts, he runs into someone who says “look, Elmer, there’s the rabbit over there.”  It’s especially curious when the someone looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, because it is a duck.

We have a stack of things to write on, opine on, and research, and in one of life’s great injustices, we also have other things to do.  So color us in official overload, because we made the mistake of talking to others and paying attention today, and now we have more things to work on than when the day began.  But we’re still carrying a single shot scatter-gun!


So scatter-gun time it is; and we’ll do our best to get two birds with one shot.

The first bird is one that sprang up out of the bushes, and looks remarkably like an ostrich.  It’s not the first time we’ve been surprised in recent weeks, and if we ever get back on track, we’ll close the loop on that story.  Todays ‘flushed bird’ is an editorial in the local paper taking pretty dead aim at the BDC.  It appears here; you’re on your own with finding a paper copy or trying to read it on their web site.  If you can do neither, contact us, and we’ll help you out.

The op-ed would seem to reflect a rather scathing view of the BDC and its operation over the years.  It looks like the editors may have woken up from years of sleep; or maybe they actually live here in Cape Brunswick, and are beginning to feel a bit put-upon.  Our property tax bill arrived today, and we’re certainly feeling more put-upon then ever.  But not everybody can be on the free-money train.

Even more interesting is this little passage:

And that’s not even the worst example of the queer pecuniaries of quasi-municipal development in Brunswick.

Next we have Councilor Benet Pols asking the BDC to pay to raze an abandoned home near his to increase his property value.

The proposal was rejected because it didn’t fit “the BDC criteria” — not because a sitting councilor was asking for financial favors from his peers.

Overall, we find the editorial tone a bit snarky, and the effort shows some signs of actually pursuing a story.  Good for them; too bad they didn’t get real years ago before they had 7.5 toes already in the ground.  But they did miss the mark on Town Officials’ relationship to the BDC.  Four town officials ALWAYS sit on the Board of BDC, per the Bylaws, and the Town Council appoints the other three.  They garbled this point just like Council Chair Wilson did last week.

Now at least we have a reason to check their pages – to look for a Benet Pols response.  Will sharp teeth be on display?

(Note: we were unable to confirm important details of the ‘other bird’ in this story by our deadline, so we’re going with half the story until we do.  That’s still more than you get just about everywhere else.)

TTFN and stay tuned in.


  1. Just a reminder: The Maine Constitution gives the Legislature the power to create municipal public corporations which are in essence subdivisions of the state. It can only delegate to such entities the same power the Constitution gives to the Legislature. As regards business development the legislature can sell state property and guarantee loans. There should be rules covering the conditions to be tied to each but I cannot find them.

    Normally such rules would include open sale to the highest bidder and as to loans, the amount of collateral put up by the borrower and a check on the creditworthiness performed by the bank actually making the loan. If it were me I would not have included the guarantee of loans as power given to the legislature as it puts the taxpayers at risk whereas if the buy buyer of the land fails or fails to pay the taxes, the state gets the land back. If the charter of the BDC gives power to its board beyond what the state itself has, it is illegally constituted and every act of the BDC is illegal. If its acts or its very existence goes unchallenged and the laws of the state unenforced there is damn little the public can do about it.

  2. The Maine State constitution does not grant the legislature the authority to authority to create municipal corporations that are a subdivision of the state. I have been in many conversation with pmcanusa about the constitution wherein pmconusa makes claims. Upon being asked to substantiate said claims with specific references, it has yet to be done so by pmconusa.

    By legal definition a municipal corporation is local governance. State governance is a separate legal definition. The two forms are governance have different sets of laws which are applicable to them.

    Article IV Part Third section 14 of the Maine State Constitution prohibits the legislature from chartering corporations by special act of legislation, with an exception for municipal purposes- The word is actually "purposes"- not "corporations". A municipal purpose is a purpose pertaining to local governance and not to the state. An "instrumentality of the state"- which the legislature is frequently claiming this and that corporation to be. is NOT a municipal purpose- it is a state purpose.

    The Home Rule Amendment of the Maine State Constitution grants the the authority to amend the charter of a municipal corporation to "the inhabitants of the municipality" and NOT to the legislature. No where in the constitution is the legislature granted the authority to amend a municipal charter.All of the amendments made by the legislature to the Charter for the MRRA are unconstitutional as the legislature chartered the MRRA as a municipal corporation and so the authority to amend the charter for the MRRA belongs to the inhabitants of the municipality. It is the constitutional duty of the legislature (pursuant to Home Rule Amendment) to provide the process by which the inhabitants can amend the charter of the MRRA, but to my knowledge the legislature has never done so.

    I speak as a lay person but when I challenged the legislature's authority on these grounds as they were about to pass an amendment which would effectively keep the Brunswick Town Manager off the board of the MRRA, the bill died even though the word on the grape vine was that it was about to be passed.

    Imagine what would happen if the inhabitants of the MRRA amended its charter by removing the words that declare said local governance to be an "instrumentality of the state" and disposed of the unelected board !