Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Scott Howard On Brunswick Taxi and BDC


Today’s edition of The Ostrich is carrying a commentary by Scott Howard, the business consultant we mentioned in this post.

We know that most or our readers don’t read this publication, and that it works hard to make sure you can’t do so on their web site without coughing up your sheckles to do so.   Regardless, here’s the link we found the commentary at.

After a modicum of reflection, we posted this response to Howard’s column on the web site:

Mr. Howard:

You state that  "The BDC is private nonprofit corporation...." 

According to the Bylaws and the Articles of Incorporation, the BDC is a 'local development corporation,' and I don't believe the word 'private' appears anywhere in these documents.

You further state "The BDC used an industrial revenue type bond more than 20 years ago...."  That might be true, but the Articles of Incorporation are dated February 1995, and they were amended in May 1995.

The formation of the BDC was 'authorized by a majority vote of the Municipal Officers of the municipality of Brunswick' as documented in a letter of February 1995.

You are free to question others' command of the facts.  But you might be better received in doing so if you had command of the basic facts yourself.

Lastly, how much did you receive for your role in arranging this $247,000 forgivable 'loan?'

As we often do, we reread the source material to see if there was anything else we’d like to comment on.  Well, duh, of course there is!

How about these words:

The business plan determined that….

We have a problem with this concept; we don’t think business plans ‘determine’ anything.  We think their job is to lay out a ‘plan.’  Call us petty, but that’s our take.

Then there’s this passage:

Brunswick Taxi had been unable to upgrade its fleet of vehicles over the last five years due to a significant reduction in business from the base closure, the economic recession and the new public-private subsidized bus and train services in Brunswick.

We’re a bit flummoxed by the term “public-private subsidized,” but words like that are probably why consultants like Howard make the big bucks.  That aside, just how is it that the grant (or ‘loan’ if you insist) is supposed to neutralize the effects of base closure, the economic recession, and bus and train service?

We’ve offered Dale King all the space he wants here on Side to correct our ‘factual errors,’ or to challenge our thinking.  We do the same for Howard.

But you know what?  We’ve had it up to here with the pervasive and prevailing view that ‘free enterprise’ means that government at all levels exists to provide free money to those who seek to operate an enterprise, whether it’s viable, or to be more PC, ‘sustainable’ on its own merits.  Amtrak at one level, Brunswick Taxi at a much different level; looks like they have the same idea and sense of entitlement.

Business plans used to be an exercise in proving to potential lenders and/or investors that a concept for a business has a well-conceived, structured, and measurable plan for turning an idea into a profit making enterprise.  By which one could make a living, provide a return on investment, and even better, grow enough to provide a living for others.

Looks like we’re a dinosaur for thinking so.  Stupidosaurus, dumbosaurus, naivosaurus; we’re not sure which one.   Maybe Sideosaurus is the call.

But you know what?  We don’t think dinosaurs paid property taxes and income taxes and all sorts of other taxes to subsidize dinosaurs that couldn’t make it on their own.

Now, we’re just trying to decide if we should call Scott to round up a quarter million or so for us.  We promise that if he does, we can demonstrate that jobs will result from it.

How could giving us all that money not?  Unless we stuck it under a rock?

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