Tuesday, April 7, 2015

An Open Invitation: Other Side Calls for Help With Community Enlightenment

         Image result for formal invitation

Here on Other Side, we like to say we have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.  Or as others might suggest, an insatiable thirst.

We try to get to the bottom of any stories we pursue and report on.  We wish we could say we go after the top of the stories, but here in Brunswick, chasing after the facts more often than not leads down, not up.

As you know, in view of the widespread claims by elected and unelected community ‘leaders’ that the Downeaster is a marvelous stimulus to local economic fortunes, we’ve proposed and written about a ‘town-gown’ collaboration to put some serious rigor into determining the veracity of these assertions.  We figure that demonstrable, quantifiable, and carefully documented benefits could only boost support for the already wildly popular passenger service.  Perhaps even drive ridership levels above the current 10% or so average use of capacity, and provide tangible evidence of ‘widespread demands for expanded service.’

For reasons we can’t quite discern, our calls for such objective study have fallen on deaf ears.  Not a single town councilor we approached was willing to go publicly on the record in support of such a proposal.  And our bloviating here and in The Ostrich have similarly yielded a nullity in response.  It must be, we gather, that our suggestion rises far above the level of rocket science, and that necessary skills are simply unavailable in our perfect little town with its perfect highly selective college.


Lucky for us, whether they realize it or not, some members of the local carriage trade have provided useful economic data in the form of their own use of Downeaster service.  We refer to Ms. Alison Johnson and Ambassador Charles Dunbar, who publicly proclaimed their substantial economic activities stimulated by the availability of the Downeaster in Brunswick.   We wrote about their glowing accolades in this recent post: http://othersideofbrunswick.blogspot.com/2015/03/finally-some-serious-economic-data-on.html

We realize that most breakthroughs in human knowledge, such as we hunger for in this instance, often begin with an unrecognized spark of inspiration that arises serendipitously.  We suspect this is what we have before us, and we are more than willing to honor the sparks in this story by naming the new body of knowledge the “Johnson-Dunbar Theory of Passenger Rail Economic Abundance.”

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Keeping with the unselfish expressions offered by Johnson and Dunbar, we come to you tonight to welcome your own personal messages of economic benefit.  Personal or business related, we will carry your testimony here.  While our main purpose is to seek the contributions of each and every individual who has derived economic benefit from the Downeaster, we know a specific organization has been created to formally herald the enormous consequences for our community. 

That organization is ‘All Aboard Brunswick,’ or AAB for shortening.  We suggest again that their choice of names may send the wrong message, but who are we to question the compelling arguments they put forward?


Given their unique stature in this profoundly consequential public square discussion, we think this very special, personalized invitation fits the circumstances, and we hope you agree.  It all ties in with their devotion to the precise details of quality of place and placemaking.

So, everyone, how about getting on board and submitting your raw data inputs to our economic data collection process?

Or as they say down south, “y’all come, now, heah?”  If we get enough submissions of substance, we might even approach cognizant officials to see if they’ll sponsor a special train ride for contributors.

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