Thursday, October 10, 2013

Where is Jane Millett?????

Jane Millett

Oh where, oh where can she be?

Do you remember this column that appeared in The Ostrich in June?  It was written by Jane Millett, and in it the lovely and gracious author made these comments about your humble correspondent:

He speaks out against the schools and their budget, but has been not only absent from town meetings but mysteriously silent as well.

While the Brunswick Town Council negotiates its way from less than 30,000 square feet of combined office space for “town office needs” (police, municipal and recreation offices) to more than 95,000 square feet of space in new or newly acquired office spaces, I have wondered at many of these council meetings, “Where is Pem Schaeffer when it really counts?”

So, I’m wondering where you’ve been, Pem? I’ve been tempted to call you, but figured you just got tired of no reponses (sic) from much of the Town Council, like so many others I’ve heard from.

No, it seems you just want to shortchange the schools, but not the municipal budget. What gives?

We didn’t realize it at the time, but this was Sally’s Jane’s way of beginning her campaign for the Cape Brunswick Town Council, which sends shivers up and down your spine.

Jane wondered where we were ‘when it really counts.’  To which we say, back at you, ma’am! 


We recently posted an on-line candidate forum consisting of questions for town council and school board candidates.  And we subsequently added incumbent councilors and school board members to those invited to post their on-line answers.

Going the extra mile, we even emailed the incumbents of both bodies at their official addresses to provide the questions and request their response for publication here.

So far, the response from both incumbents and new candidates has been a resounding


So, we’re ‘wondering where you’ve been, Jane,’ to borrow a thought.

You might remember Jane as the one who spoke at budget hearings to insist that the number one reason people move to Cape Brunswick is ‘because of our excellent schools.’  As we’ve pointed out, she never talks about why people move out of Cape Brunswick, to provide those listings and vacancies for her to fill with new residents.

Jane, along with every other addressee for our questions, is a no-show so far.  Maybe we’ll have to schedule an ‘open house’ somewhere in town from 1-3 on a Sunday afternoon to see if we can get her to show up.

For now, though, apparently these questions haven’t spurred her to show up ‘when it counts.’ So to up the ante to attract her attention, we propose these additional questions just for her:

1.  When you drive a prospective buyer around town and tell them about our ‘excellent schools,’ do you take them past Jordan Acres School and tell them how our School Department allowed it to fail structurally, and that it’s now scheduled for the next round of our demolition derby?

                   Save Jordan Acres Elementary School

2.  Do you drive them by Coffin School and BJHS on Columbia Street so they can see the rotting temporary classrooms, and tell them about the sinking floors, cracking walls, busted toilets and other deferred maintenance that has both heading for the same ash heap as JA?  And with replacement costs that should raise their property taxes by a boat-load?


3.  Do you drive them by that architectural nightmare known as HBS School, and tell them about the Brunswick High School that used to be located there, but was allowed to fall into such shameful disrepair that ‘there was no choice but to build a new one?’

4.  Do you drive them by the former Longfellow School, a long-time, much loved neighborhood elementary school, and tell them how, according to School Department officials, and the always objective architectural consultants, the school was no longer fit for use, and could not be cost-effectively saved?

         Longfellow School

5.  Do you tell them how Bowdoin College, not known for it’s thriftiness, was magically able to restore the school to fit for use status, and at the same time completely rebuild it inside for far different purposes, for the pauper’s sum of $6 million?  Or about 25% of the cost of a new school these days?  As shown in great detail in these two links?

6.  Do you tell them that nowhere is the Cape Brunswick School Department’s commitment to excellence for ‘the children’ more obvious than in the stewardship of the buildings we educate them in?  Or in the crowding we brought on by tossing aside two neighborhood schools?

7.  Do you tell them that in the face of these circumstances, our per student costs have virtually doubled in recent years?

We hope, Jane, that you can ‘show up’ when it counts.  You know what Woody Allen says.

And you could help us avoid a less than encouraging ‘turnout’ for our on-line forum so far.


Because this is when ‘it really counts,’ Jane.  Or are you determined to add to the customary responsiveness you referred to with these words:

but figured you just got tired of no reponses (sic) from much of the Town Council, like so many others I’ve heard from.

Heck, you haven’t even been elected yet, any you’re already showing expertise at the ‘optics’ of speaking with the council.

It’s up to you, Jane.  You do want potential buyers to think as highly of our council candidates as they do of our schools, don’t you?


Let’s not break any more eggs than we have to; they’re awful messy to wipe up.

(A question for our readers: do any of you know who the Architect was for Jordan Acres School, and what construction firm built it? – Ed.)

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