Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ups and downs ‘round town…

Wow…we really screwed up the other day when we titled a post ’round about town, when we clearly should have called it “Up and down ‘round town,” given the primary subject matter.  So let us make amends.  But before we do, an election update. 

Election Update

Despite a shamefully anemic turnout, the results of the election are exactly as we predicted.  Voters decided that the town should spend a lot more in the future, on both sides of the budget.  We can now look forward to Sally Sellit and the House of Sartoris playing active roles in the continuing saga of spending our way into excellence.

And on the school side, “Numbers” Ellis will be there to rationalize spending more to save more.  All for the children, of course.

Maine Street Conditions Update

We realized after the fact that we could have enhanced Cape Brunswick’s image as a Winter destination by describing recent Maine Street ‘improvements’ as a way to bring the thrills of extreme skiing to traversing downtown.  Adding the ‘raised cross-walks’ to the inevitable potholes, snowdrifts, drifting pedestrians, and snow-piles creates a world-class Maine Street mogul course. 

We were thinking about suggesting the addition of some challenging slalom gates along the thoroughfare, when we remembered the curbed esses adjacent to First Parish Church at the top of Maine Street.  They are the superb equivalent of an elevated starting gate, complete with difficult turns right out of the chute. 

For those who catch the central downtown signal, this should provide enough momentum to make it through the most challenging parts of the course.  For those who don’t, a push might be required to make it to the billiard table, or even further away, the bridge.  But be careful, because the push might come from an oil truck, a texting resident, or a public works vehicle that couldn’t stop in time.

BDC?  We don’t need no stinkin’ BDC!

Thanks to a reader, who we’ve called “Ms Mall” in the past, we pass along this item.  (We called her that because she posted her comment as ‘msmall,’ which was ambiguous.  We’re pretty sure it’s Michelle Small, former school board member.)

She referred us to this material on the blog belonging to town councilor Benet Pols:

3) New Road at Cook’s Corner. We’ll be getting an update from the manager’s office regarding a road the town proposes to build at Cooks Corner to benefit properties owned by Jim Howard of Priority Group, LLC and George Schott, owner of the property where the Holiday Inn used to stand along with the former navy housing.

It may well have been a Holiday Inn, but we’ll always remember it as The Atrium, complete with a water based Avian feature when you walked in the door.  George Schott, of course, is owner of far more than that property, and the same can be said for Jim Howard.

Regardless, it’s good to know that neither George nor Jim have to suffer their way through the grueling process of submitting copious paperwork to the BDC for financial help in an otherwise hostile economic environment.  Especially since both are just beginning their careers as developers. 

We can’t afford to discourage such nascent entrepreneurism.  As they say, ‘we’re from the government, and we’re here to help.’  

Perhaps the good councilor will want to revise how he characterized this item, but hind-sight doesn’t neutralize side-sight.

Related to this subject, Pols added this:

5) It’s not on the agenda but citizens who’ve contacted me are certainly interested in a loan, which will be converted to a grant, made by the BDC to Brunswick Taxi. Brunswick Taxi is owned by Dale King, the husband of former Council Chair and BDC Chair, Joanne King. Among conventional news outlets the Forecaster was first out of the gate with a story dated August 30, 2013. The Bangor Daily News posted the same story, crediting the Forecaster, and the Times Record followed up the afternoon of the 30th with an online story promising more in this week’s print edition, but the story was broken August 19th Pem Schaeffer’s blog, the Other Side of Town. The Times Record provided links to the blog in their online story.

We’re grateful for his comment that the story was ‘broken’ on our apparently unconventional news outlet.  We only wish our subscription revenues had grown as a result.

School Board SNAFU

It turns out we have ‘Ms Mall’ to thank on this subject as well.  If you’ve been reading the papers, you know that our trusty School Board, chaired by four donkey award winner Jim Grant, is mucking around in the Charter School arena.  And in so doing, they’ve managed to run afoul of the law, not that this normally matters when it comes to governing.  But M. Small has managed to stir up the powers that be at the state level in this case.

Seems the School Board, and our Superintendent, have suddenly decided they’re interested in pursuing a local Charter School operation.  This would be the same folks that not that long ago had their knickers on fire and their hair in knots about the operation of a Charter School in Harpswell that was going to decimate the financial underpinnings of our impoverished school operation.

And if you haven’t read the papers to get up on the story, we’ll look to M. Small to comment on this post with the appropriate links to stories and the letter she wrote to the editors of The Ostrich.

McClellan Building

Now that you mention SNAFU’s, we can’t leave without mentioning the McClellan building transition, about which we’ve waxed eloquent numerous times in the past.  The earliest estimates for turning this into our new Town Hall were in the range of $300,000, but that figure quickly escalated to $800,000, though the Town Manager was playing coy on the subject.

Benet said the following on his blog:

2) McClellan Building update. We should be getting an update form the McClellan Building Committee and the manager regarding the costs and timing of a move into the McClellan Building.

Reports from the town council meeting this week have the budget at more like $1 million, of which $88,000 or so is for architects fees for ‘the next phase’ of the project.  Excuuuuse us?

The next phase?  Progressive disclosure anyone?  Apparently Pols asked “Mr. Manager” to please, pretty please, give us more information.


Inquiring minds might ask if the $1 million includes dealing with the “deferred exterior maintenance” that includes shamefully rotting wood trim and siding all around the building.  Community pride certainly can’t abide such conditions, can it?

But not to worry.  Now that Jane has stopped running and has to show up and sit down, we can look to her to address the concerns she expressed in columns earlier this year.

And to do what it takes, ‘when it really counts.’  When she does, we’ll look appropriately ashamed for not having done so ourselves.


  1. New To the Blog… LOVE IT. Thanks for throwing in an AD reference. As a local financial planner, I would never advise a client to operate in the same fiscal manner as the town… but as you know the difference between muniicple government and boy scouts is adult supervision…

  2. Thanks, SH, and welcome aboard! Please tell friends and neighbors about our little media world.

    One thing...can you help me decode the "AD" reference?


  3. Sure… when you used quotes around "Mr. Manager" ostensibly referring to the town manager, I assumed that you were citing the classic scene from Arrested Development in which George Michael was promoted to Mr. Manager… see below.

    1. Thanks; somehow I never got started on or hooked by "AD." Perhaps I should have, but always seemed to be busy watching S reruns, and reciting most of the lines verbatim as the stars uttered them.

      Surely you can decode "S." I can still laugh my gills off at just about any episode.

  4. That makes two of us… I will be looking for some subtle references in the weeks to come…

  5. Pem,

    I don't know what "AD" or "S" are, but here's that link:


  6. Aha! Ms. Mall is actually Michelle A. Small!

    What an effort it took to smoke her out! We used idling Amtrak Downeaster diesel fumes to do the job. That would drive anyone 'out.'

    AD, I have learned, is Arrested Development. S is Seinfeld.

    BTW...wondering why you cited the Forecaster item rather than the Ostrich item.

    Oh wait; I'm not.