Friday, May 1, 2015

Memo to E. Boochever, Esq; AAB; and Brunswick…

On Expansion:

Recall this passage in Ms. Boochever’s recent op-ed, which we addressed in a recent post:

“Mr. Schaeffer’s interpretation of NNEPRA’s plans for expansion of passenger rail service to other Maine cities is speculative. It is clear that he has never checked his “facts” with NNEPRA or Ms. Quinn.”

We pointed out how later words in her own column stepped all over her assertion.  But our thoughts aren’t ‘probative’ in such matters, nor are we an Esquire.  A retired “Captain of Industry,” perhaps, but not an Esquire.  So we sent our staff out to look for more convincing evidence of our claim, in hopes it would further disprove the Booch’s.

Here’s what we found, and on the NNERPA web site itself:


Friday afternoon is wind-down TGIF time for most of us, and a little humor is always welcomed this time of the week.  So we appreciate these two bullets under the first paragraph above:

• Demonstrate positive economic return and public benefit

• Include a sustainable financial model

Funny how it’s easy to find economic benefit projections prepared by obedient consultants, but no proof of economic return/benefit.  And a complete refusal to engage in collecting such proof.  All the ‘proof’ we collect anecdotally seems to show that net economic return all accrues to Boston. 

Public benefit?  Well at least the Dunbars and others can make 100 or so trips to Massachusetts for a variety of activities.

                    Image result for funny money

Sustainable financial model?  There’s another laugher for a Friday afternoon.  Hey, barkeep, bring us another round of Kool-Aid Jello Shots, will ya?  If the Board, and anyone else in the Downeaster fan club thinks a 50% operating loss is a ‘sustainable’ financial model, we’d sure like to see a full disclosure of their family’s personal finances.  (And by the way, barkeep, we expect a 50% discount on our tab, cause we’re scarfing down these shooters ‘in the public interest.’)

                                       Image result for monopoly money

Would they recommend the Federal Government increase spending until they’re running at a 50% operating deficit?  It’s pretty close to 40% at the moment, but what’s another giant jump in deficits?  Hell, it’s only funny money, and whatever has to be paid back will be paid by the kids and grandkids of this age, long after such wise adults and their courageous commitment to ‘sustainability’ are long gone and forgotten.

What a great governance model, and what a great Board.  Just what you might expect when a governmental agency has it’s board members appointed by the same government that created the agency.

Now as to those plans for expansion, we don’t care whether you call them ‘feeder lines’ or Downeaster expansion, or what.  A NNEPRA run passenger train, regardless of what you call it, is a NNEPRA run passenger train.  And we see plenty of evidence of expanding NNEPRA run passenger train service as a top priority in that Strategic Initiatives summary.

                                Image result for go sell crazy somewhere else

PS: Hey, Emmy; who’s carrying your name forward to replace McEvoy on the NNEPRA Board?

(Ed. Note: we sent this message off to NNEPRA yesterday, and have not received a response)

Could you please provide a link to the Downeaster Service Development Plan referred to on this page:

On Economic Benefit:

We saw a little news item recently about vacancies in the Merrymeeting Plaza here in Cape Brunswick, the “head of the Downeaster service.”  The report included this factoid:

The overall vacancy rate for retail properties in Brunswick was 16.4 percent in January, according to a presentation by Mark Malone of Malone Commercial Brokers at a recent Maine Real Estate & Development Association conference.

The vacancy rate for retail properties in greater Portland was 3.7 percent, Malone said.


How’s that for a great big heaping bowl of Downeaster economic return and benefit?  We were also reviewing some prior posts and archived materials, and came across the conversation we had with Dale King, owner of Brunswick Taxi, who told us ‘the train has hurt us.’  (Wait until you hear the update we have on that subject!)

We have a couple of related thoughts, now that the Jello Shots are taking effect.

                                        Image result for wind sock

First, we think Emily, AAB, and the rest of the Carriage Set should learn how to tell whether the economic winds are blowing resources North or South.  Maybe a wind sock would help; we suggest placing one atop the Maine Street Station.   Here’s some visual symbols of what we’re talking about:


We think of this one as showing the winds of economic activity blowing from the North as local businesses try to hold their ground.


This one is a depiction of the Downeaster Fairy Godmother welcoming the winds of economic stimulus from the south.  Noticed the closed eyes.

Our point is that if you can’t tell which way the winds are blowing, or the suction is pulling, you don’t deserve to be a trusted forecaster of our economic weather outlook.

Here’s another thought, free of charge.  If the Merrymeeting Plaza is starting to flounder as a viable retail center, why not tear it down and build the Amtrak MLF on that site?  It would be right next to the existing tracks, and ready to renovate the siding over to Brunswick Landing.  Hell; the MLF, in stead of being named the Wayne Davis Memorial Maintenance and Layover Facility, could instead be called Brunswick Siding.

There is one other news item of economic note to report.  You may have read that Brunswick now has a “Vape Shop,” where “e-cigarettes” and related products are offered to help those addicted to nicotine find an alternative that is healthier for them and those around them.

Could there possibly be a rail based equivalent for those addicted to the Downeaster and the romance of the rails?  Perhaps a woman’s fragrance; Chanel P42.  Remember the popular men’s cologne Canoe?  How about Diesel? 

The winner of course would be an e-cig that emits simulated diesel fumes.  And makes squeaking and rail clattering sounds, just like the real train.

Then when you ‘light up’ at the Kool-Aid bar, and someone says “hey, girl, what have you been smoking,” you can say “it’s the new Downeaster musk blend.”  You can enjoy it at home, in your car, amongst friends and family, and get the same high.


It may not be as romantic as those old steam engine coal smoke emanations, but we hear it has the same health benefits.

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