Monday, December 14, 2015

Missing a shirt or two, are you???

Those who appreciate the ‘benevolence’ of big government usually forget the truism that government can only give to someone what it first takes from others.  Minus a substantial handling charge, of course.
More clearly stated, “a government big enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take everything you have.”


Or more casually speaking, “big government is benevolent; it willingly gives SOMEONE ELSE the shirt off YOUR back.”

We were reminded of this reality when a colleague passed along this information to us:
On this web site, you’ll find the following:
Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority

Donations to Charities; NNEPRA is delighted to provide support to a wide range of
charities and community organizations.
In Maine:
American Cancer Society – Steep Falls
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – Raymond
Autism Society of Maine – Sanford
Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital – Portland
Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce – Bethel
Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce – Saco
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kennebec Valley – Augusta
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine – Portland
Brain Aneurysm Foundation – Windham
Broadreach Family & Community Services – Belfast
Cancer Community Center – South Portland
Captain for Cash Memorial 5K – Old Orchard Beach
Central Maine Medical Center – Lewiston
Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County – Kennebunk
Children’s Center – Augusta
Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine – Portland
Families and Children Together – Bangor
Ferry Beach Ecology School – Saco
Foundation for Retinal Research – Scarborough
Greater Bangor Convention & Visitors Bureau – Bangor
Iris Network – Portland
Junior Achievement of Maine – Portland
Katahdin Area Rotary Club – Millinocket
Kennebec Valley Humane Society – Augusta
Kennebunk Land Trust – Kennebunk
Kids First Center – Portland
Leavitt’s Mill Free Health Center – Bar Mills
Maine Children’s Cancer Program – Portland
Maine Diabetes Prevention & Control Program – Sanford
Maine State Chamber of Commerce – Augusta
Maine State Music Theatre – Brunswick
Make-A-Wish Foundation – Portland
March of Dimes – Portland
Mid Coast Hospital – Brunswick
Maine Public Broadcasting Network – Lewiston
Muscular Dystrophy Association – Westbrook
National Guard Association of the State of Maine – Augusta
National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Falmouth
Operation Lifesaver – Bangor
Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation – Camden
Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce – Rockland
Pine Tree Council – Portland
Poland Fire & Rescue – Poland
Portland Kiwanis Club – Portland
Portland Museum of Art – Portland
Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce – Portland
Portland Trails – Portland
Project Hope Heals – Westbrook
Royal Family Kids’ Camp – Saco
Rural Community Action Ministry – Leeds
Saco River Salmon Club – Saco
Safety & Health Council of Northern New England –
Sexual Assault Crisis & Support Center – Winthrop
Special Olympics Maine – Bath
Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine – Augusta
Strive – South Portland
Teen Challenge New England – Winthrop
TrainRiders Northeast – Portland Wells Chamber of Commerce – Wells
Westbrook Housing – Westbrook
Western Maine Community Action – Lewiston
Wolfe’s Neck Farm – Freeport
Woodfords Family Services – Portland
York County Community College Foundation – Wells
Youth Alternatives Ingraham – South Portland
In New Hampshire:
Annie’s Angels Memorial Fund – Stratham
Cocheco Valley Humane Society – Dover
Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce – Exeter
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, PMC Kids Ride – Exeter
Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce – Dover
Kiwanis Exeter Area Kiwanis Club – Exeter
New Hampshire SPCA – Stratham
Relay for Life – South Hampton
And of course, in Massachusetts:
Andover School of Montessori – Andover
Catholic Charities of Boston – South Boston
Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England – Marlboro
Community Action, Inc. – Haverhill
Environmental League of Massachusetts – Foxborough
Flying Yankee Restoration Group – Foxborough
Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce – Haverhill
Kiwanis Club of Pentucket - Haverhill – Haverhill
Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange – Boston
North Quincy High School – North Quincy
Saugus River Watershed Council – Saugus
The Bridge Center – Bridgewater
The Jimmy Fund – Brookline
Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Affiliates – Charlestown
YMCA – Westborough
We bring this information to your attention because we’re pretty sure no other news source will do so.  We’re fully aware that government centric folks who dominate our daily existence, especially those who have had ‘distinguished careers’ in government service, take it on faith that the highest priority of government entities at all levels is to pick winners and losers, and to see that the unduly privileged provide the resources necessary to reward those the ruling class considers less fortunate .  (ed note: we’ve never considered TRNE to be the ‘less fortunate;’ in point of fact, just the opposite.)

The carriage set, of course, looks for their tribute however it may be acquired.. We vassals render this payment to our lords of transit.

While we consider many of the organizations listed above to be worthy recipients of charitable gifts, we think it appropriate that those who make such donations choose who should receive them.  Over the years, we’ve been modestly generous with our resources, and as long as we decide who get them, we’re comfortable with the arrangement.

We are not comfortable, we assure you, with a government agency, in this case NNEPRA, created by Maine Statute, deciding who to lavish with the resources they receive through compelled taxation.  Especially since they operate at a loss of more than 50%. 

“Drilling down” in the above lists of recipients, we have an especially hard time accepting that TrainRiders Northeast is a ‘charitable organization.’  We’ve explained on multiple occasions that they are in fact a lobbying organization, and one which is inextricably linked to NNEPRA and the Downeaster. 
Given a chance, as they have often had, TRNE cannot avoid reminding one and all that Downeaster passenger rail service exists ONLY because of their efforts stemming from the early 90’s.

So we find it all the more amusing that a story appearing in The Ostrich:
revealed this:
“This is the appeal that they filed back in August. The DEP issued the storm water permit, but the Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition appealed that decision. They gave us a permit in June and then they said that there were some additional things that we needed to submit — some conditions we had to meet,” Quinn said.
Quinn said having met the DEP conditions, they were cleared to start construction and on Oct. 16 they broke ground on the property that runs roughly from behind Lombard Street to Church Road.
“The appeal is still pending. It’s kind of been in the background since the middle of summer. Just because somebody files an appeal doesn’t mean you can’t start construction. The neighborhood also filed a request for a stay so that we wouldn’t be able to start construction and that was denied by the DEP,” Quinn said.
Quinn said that, despite the late start, progress thus far has been “astonishing,” in part due to the current weather conditions, with contractors trying to get as much completed as possible before temperatures become too cold. Quinn said the intent is to work right through the winter on the facility.
The completion date for the facility is the summer of 2016. Portland-based Consigli Construction is the designer and builder of the 655-foot long, 70-foot wide and 35-foot high building that will house three diesel powered locomotives, offices, locker rooms, washrooms and storage.
Wayne Davis of the nonprofit Train Riders Northeast said he hopes the hearing will be the end of the story, but admits the neighborhood coalition may reach higher in the court system. It’s been a process, Davis said, that has wasted a lot of time and energy for a lot of people.
“Frankly, it has been a drag for three full years. As a nonprofit, we don’t have money. We exist on our membership dues. We have no paid staff. If it hadn’t been for the banding together of some key members of the Brunswick business community in raising money for our lawyers, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did — it already cost us over $50,000,” Davis said.
Davis said it was outrageous for a nonprofit to have to raise such funds and credits the Brunswick community for stepping forward to help.
“That shouldn’t be the way the system has to work. It’s just what we put up with in order to have a train,” Davis said.
Outrageous, Davis says?  Are you kidding us?  You’re a charitable organization, supported by, among others, NNEPRA, an agency of the State of Maine!  Could someone cue the sound of crocodiles crying, please?


Neighbors challenging the decision process that resulted in the current situation easily spent twice that in legal fees, but they’re not seeing any charitable donations from NNEPRA, or from the “Brunswick business community;” whoever that comment was referring to, or ‘concerned citizens’ including town councilors.  Or any tax relief via TIF’s or other ‘incentive programs.’

Given our past research into this issue overall, the only ‘business’ we can think of that profits enough from the Downeaster to toss $50,000 at TRNE to pay for lawyers is Brunswick Taxi, our one time hostage-taker.
We pursued actual hard data on NNEPRA’s contributions so we could come back to you with the details.  So far we’ve been told that documents with this data amount to roughly 200 pages per year, and that considerable time and expense would be involved in providing them to us.

We were born at night, but it was more than 20 years ago, so for the moment, we’re foregoing the data request.

We think there’s enough troubling circumstances here for you all to contact NNEPRA and express your concerns.  Maybe they’ll relent, and make the necessary data available to you at a lower cost.
Because they want to be ‘good neighbors,’ if not willing cooperators with local media outlets

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