Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Side pops-up on The Ostrich

For the first time in longer than we can remember, we had an item appear on the op-ed page of the Times Record today.

The link is this:

We weren’t permitted to view it ourselves on the web, but we’re confident that what we’re attaching below is the text as it ran:

To the Editor:

My entire career was spent working on Navy shipbuilding programs, and specifically ships built at BIW. I worked with BIW directly, beginning in the early 80's. I've also spent many years following the governance of Brunswick. Lastly, I track things going on in Augusta to a modest degree.

This experience leads me to question a number of assertions made by Gary Anderson in his commentary of June 5th called “Converting to Diversification.” Let me take them one by one:

  • “BIW’s expressed embrace of “non-military non-defense oriented projects” was roundly celebrated and then soon forgotten as Clinton opted for globalization over homeland jobs.”

I have no personal recollection of such BIW 'embrace,' nor it's 'celebration.' I would appreciate Gary's citations to substantiate these claims.

  • “In 2013, BIW would have finally diversified into a globalized wind turbine manufacturing leadership position — until Paul LePage opted for a his-way or no-way vision of Maine’s economic future.”

Similarly, I'd appreciate proof that BIW was about to become a leader in wind turbine manufacturing, and how Governor LePage personally and specifically negated that transition.

  • “Those invested in the defense industry, however, long immune to capitalism, are suddenly vulnerable to a full blown case of losing market share.”

As someone who spent his entire career in the defense industry, I suggest the author, who has not, is vastly unqualified to comment on 'capitalism' and 'market share' in this regard. His established reputation as an anti-capitalist adds to this appraisal.

  • “Despite loss of military families, Brunswick school and municipal building projects flourish. Looking at Brunswick’s growth, one might almost entertain the thought that maybe what Bath needs for development is “Goodbye BIW.””

These are bizarre thoughts. The only things 'flourishing' in Brunswick are municipal and school department spending. “Growth” is a stretch beyond imagining. Suggesting that BIW closure would be good for Bath (and the region) is destructive, highly offensive thinking.

  • “BIW is suddenly bursting with activity, an economic engine fully fired up like no tomorrow.”

A review of BIW's employment history, topping 11,000 at its peak many years back, would show that this claim is way off base, unless you have a window of months, not years and decades. Words like 'fired up like no tomorrow' are hyperbole employed for rhetorical effect, not accurate characterization.

  • “Here in Maine, there is growing interest in Connecticut’s model.”

I have no knowledge of such 'growing interest,' so I'd appreciate the author's illumination on this matter.

I have no doubt that Mr. Anderson is sincere in his views, but so am I. More important than sincerity is credibility. I hope he substantiates his offerings far better in future columns.

Pem Schaeffer

Pem Schaeffer is a retired Business Development Leader who lives in Brunswick; he blogs at

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