Friday, June 13, 2014

You gotta be kidding…..


Hopefully you remember this recent post:, in which we announced that MaineBiz had won our coveted five-backside award.  We had further thoughts on the subject here:

Now it turns out that we need to dish out another five backside award, this time to “Freeport USA,” which we assume to be a Chamber of Commerce style group that promotes Freeport’s ‘business’ community.  As you will see, the term ‘business’ is a real stretch.


Why?  Because we just came across this news item on the NNEPRA web site, in which that Buddy Holly girl, Patsy Quinn gets to take another bow.

Amtrak Downeaster named 2013 Business of the Year by FreeportUSA


Freeport, Maine – FreeportUSA has named the Amtrak Downeaster as the 2013 Business of the Year which recognizes a Freeport business that implements outstanding business practices and is remarkable for its longevity, growth, innovation, and contributions to community-oriented projects. The announcement was made at their Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration.

“We’re delighted to recognize the outstanding successes of the Amtrak Downeaster. It’s through their efforts that Freeport continues to grow and evolve as a premiere destination to shop and play.” Says Kelly Edwards, Executive Director of FreeportUSA.

"We are pleased to be recognized for the impact that the Amtrak Downeaster train service has had on Freeport and we continue to focus on growing ridership and increasing service north of Portland to Freeport and Brunswick”, Patricia Quinn, Executive Director of NNEPRA.

Is it any wonder that the general public is fed up with the self-serving, self-aggrandizing behavior of those who live off taxpayer funds, and who largely behave as if they have no-one to answer to?  More and more, instead of ‘public servants,’ they act like ‘public royalty,’ and our People Magazine & Social Media obsessed culture laps it up like so much ambrosia from our benefactors.


Frankly, Side is mad as hell over this, and we could say ‘we’re not going to take it anymore,’ but there’s nothing we can do to fulfill that threat.  All we can do is try our best to inform you of the bizarre behavior that passes for normal in our day and age, and, we are convinced, will sooner rather than later bring an end to a formerly rational (at least somewhat) societal framework.  And all semblance and expectations of sanity that go with it.

To begin with, Amtrak, the Downeaster, and NNEPRA and Patsy Quinn have nothing to do with ‘business,’ at least as that term is commonly understood.  But perhaps like so much other plain English of our earlier years, it’s being redefined to match cultural ‘narratives.’

Amtrak is clearly a government entity, and a massively subsidized one, and the Downeaster fits within that box.  NNEPRA is created by Maine Statute -

Here is the opening passage of that section:

§8111. Purpose

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, as established by Title 5, section 12004-F, subsection 16, is a body both corporate and politic in the State established for the general purpose of promoting passenger rail service as set forth in subchapter 1. It is declared that the purposes of this chapter are public and that the authority must be regarded as performing a governmental function in carrying out this chapter.

Do you see clearly what it says?  Or do we have to spell it out for MaineBiz and Freeport USA?

NNEPRA, it says, is a ‘body politic,’ that it’s ‘purposes are public,’ and that it is ‘performing a governmental function.’

Coupled with the obvious nature of Amtrak, we simply cannot believe that any rational adult could deem that the Downeaster, NNEPRA, or Patsy Quinn could qualify for any award related to ‘business.’

The flaw is that we said, as you might notice, any RATIONAL adult.  We conclude that no such individuals are involved in this process.  Ain’t that great?

Before we dissect the words used in the award, we want to remind you that the owner of Petrillo’s Restaurant, adjacent to the Freeport Amtrak station, when pressed by a TV reporter, stated that he had noticed ‘a slight uptick’ in business since the train began coming to town.  Which we took to be a euphemism for ‘not a damn extra nickel,’ to make the local authorities happy.

We also wonder how much the Town of Freeport is kicking in to operate the train station, the related parking lot, and the visitor’s center.  In Brunswick, that’s about $100,000 per year.

Now let’s look at the language in the award citation:  “which recognizes a Freeport business that implements outstanding business practices and is remarkable for its longevity, growth, innovation, and contributions to community-oriented projects.”  Phrase by phrase.

  • “Freeport Business:”  As we’ve already asserted, the Amtrak Downeaster is not a business, but even if it was, the fact that it stops in Freeport hardly makes it a Freeport business.
  • “Outstanding business practices:”  Again, not a business,  but even if it was, a 45% operating loss qualifies it for a label of disastrous, not ‘outstanding.’  Or for the more sensitive, ‘unsustainable.’
  • “Remarkable longevity:”  Yup…it’s been running for a year and a half now, still in it’s honeymoon phase.  We’ll see if the inevitable growth in costs makes it even a bigger loser.
  • “Remarkable growth:”  If you believe the hype.  Starting at zero, of course, provides a meaningless baseline.  We ask for proof.  Not blather; proof.
  • “Remarkable innovation:”  Are you freakin’ kidding us?  What’s innovative about running at a 45% loss, and surviving only because of coercive taxpayer subsidy?  Forgive us; that’s a stupid question in this day and age.
  • “Contributions to community-oriented projects:”  Surely they jest.  The only thing we can think of here is that the requirement for a community funded visitor’s center must be what they’re referring to, and that would be a ‘contribution’ by Freeport, not the Downeaster.


In other words, they can stop playing “Always look at the bright side of your life” on the Freeport USA piano.  We’d prefer a little sanity from our local elites and community leaders.  For a change.


Who knew you could get Brunswick Sausage in Freeport, too?  Must be the sausage maker is taking his cue from our good friends at Frosty’s, and expanding to meet the seemingly unlimited demand for the BS product.

Next thing you know, BS Inc. will be looking for a grant from the BDC.

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