Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pols takes pole position in polling of council, school board

As we said the other day, we like to give credit where credit is due, and Councilor Benet Pols deserves credit.  


He’s the first one across the starting line following Side’s waving of the green flag on Monday.


He’s stomped the throttle, and belched a cloud of carbon footprint that would make an idling Amtrak Downeaster jealous.

In so doing, he’s setting a bad precedent.  Hearing back from town councilors or school board members, especially in a public forum such as this, is crossing ‘a red line’ that defines the great and scary unknown. 

And he’s not even a candidate this time around.  Which, now that we think of it, could be why he was so quick on the throttle.  On the other hand, other things could be at work.  Only the shadow knows.

We suppose we may have to create a “Front Side” award in his honor.  We don’t know yet what we’ll use to mark the level of the award, like we did with the one through five donkeys for the Back Side award.  So for now, we’ll just use generic ‘atta-boys.’

We suspect that even a town councilor knows that one ‘aw-sausage’ incident can cancel out a bushel of atta-boys, but we’ll leave those details for another time.  Put another way, atta-boys can turn into donkeys with the raising of a tail.

Pols has submitted a partial response to the questions in this post.  For clarity, we’re going to repeat our questions, and follow them with his answers, which will be indented and displayed in red.  (We may have a parenthetical note or two mixed in.)

1. Do you think an Amtrak Maintenance and Layover Facility should be built at the Brunswick West location, adjacent to the Bouchard Drive neighborhood, and if so, why?

2. If not, where do you think it should be built?

Questions 1& 2. Attached is a copy of my remarks at a NNEPRA rail forum from August 2011. It was televised so I can't hide from what I said. Some of the info may be a little stale but I still believe what I said then, particularly with respect to Bouchard. I'm sure I could be convinced that the industrial park site is as good as Crooker. I haven't looked at that in close detail recently. In one sense I think building it in Brunswick at all is a bad move----they're just signaling this is the end-of-the-line. Will Amtrak want to extend north in 5 or 10 years without a new expensive, controversial layover facility at the new end-of-the-line? WHat will become our our fancy layover facility if the Downeaster runs to Rockland or Bangor?

Rumor has it the powers that be recruited a candidate to run against me in 2011 based on my having said this. But I got re-elected anyway.....

(Ed: the remarks Pols refers to can be found at the link below; we tried to embed the actual document here, but were unsuccessful.

We strongly urge you to read the document; it is extremely thoughtful, well-written, informative, wide-ranging, and dare we say, surprisingly blunt as well.  It captures the circumstances better than anything we’ve read, or written so far.  It’s almost enough to make you wish Pols was on the town council.  [That’s a ‘witty remark,’ for the humorless out there.])

3. Do  you believe the Amtrak train, all things considered, has provided an economic benefit to Brunswick?  Please explain your reasons for your position.

Question 3. Who knows? There's no objective data at all.

(And in keeping with the normal pattern of governmental entities implementing a foregone government decision, there isn’t likely to be any, at least any you can believe.  We’ll have more to say about that before long.)

4. Who do you think the assets held and dispensed by the Brunswick Development Corporation belong to?  Are these funds private or public?

Question 4. These funds belong to the town of Brunswick. They are public funds.

(Careful, there, councilor/counselor.  It isn’t nice to fool with Johnny Protocols.)

5.  Do you think the BDC’s grant of $247,000 to the Brunswick Taxi Company was a legitimate use of their assets, and that local businesses should expect such preferential treatment?

Question 5. I need to separate this question into two pieces. 

Do you think the BDC’s grant of $247,000 to the Brunswick Taxi Company was a legitimate use of their assets?  No, I do not.

and that local businesses should expect such preferential treatment?  Compared to who, other in-town businesses that aren't connected? out of town businesses? businesses that do business in several communities including Brunswick?

(Geez!  Now you’re really stepping in the Brunswick Sausage!)

6.  Do you believe there is an upper limit to the tax rate that residents should be expected to pay, and if so, what is that limit?  If not, how do you explain that?

Question 6. Are you referring to property taxes?

(That’s an affirmative, ghost-rider.)

7.  What is the primary responsibility of a town councilor?

Question 7. That's a little philosophical for 10:00 PM. In addition, I'm not running now so I don't have my handy "thoughtful" response ready.......I'll return to Q's 7-15 another time.

I hope this counts as half a goose-egg.

(As we’ve already suggested, your effort rates more than half a goose-egg, and that’s no yolk.  We do think that going ‘philosophical’ may read more into the question than we intended, but we can discuss that.  We’re not worried about whether you feel in perfect alignment with the natural order of the cosmos.

We were looking more for starting at the beginning; you know, ‘why am I here and what am I supposed to do?’  Not that you can’t bring your background in Newtonian metaphysics into that as well.)

That concludes Pols’ first submission, and we congratulate him and thank him for his insights and willingness to address some ‘tough’ questions.  Though as we see it, they’re only ‘tough’ if you’re more worried about your own hide than saying what needs to be said.

And we urge you again, if you haven’t already done so, to read his statement from two years ago:

And even if you already have, read it over again now that you’ve seen his answers to our questions.  It will be worth your while.

We’re about to put a wrap on this, but we’ll close with a few musical questions:

Will Pols be the only one there at the finish line in this candidate forum?


Will the others go sideways to avoid approaching the finish?


Or have their wheels come off?


Maybe they’ll simply turn yellow, lose traction, and otherwise get lost in the weeds.


It shouldn’t be too long before we know.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo Benet Pols! Steps up to the plate and voices his opinions, and gives some insight as to the basis of his thinking. Very much looking forward to his answers to the rest of the forum questions.