Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bringing New Energy to Municipal Governance Discourse?


Friends, acquaintances, readers, and others we’ve encountered in our lengthy local travels know that Side has devoted considerable time and mental energy (agony??) ‘fighting City Hall,’ as the old saying goes.  Furthermore, much of the content published here over the seven plus years of the outlet’s life has addressed various foibles of our local governance, some more profound than others.

We’re embarrassed to admit there are no windmills lying in ruin because of our efforts.  In fact, there may be even more gracing our lovely little town then before.  But we can tell you this: our forehead is a good deal flatter and more calloused than it once was, and various walls have suffered damage at eye level from our public (and sometimes not so public) efforts.

So we’re delighted to report that a new group effort is coming together to focus on the same general subject.  We only learned of it recently, and as best we can tell, the impetus for its formation at the moment can be succinctly expressed in this item from the upcoming Town Council Meeting agenda:


The meeting takes place this coming Tuesday, January 17th, at 7 pm


The group has established a web page:

We encourage you to visit the site and explore the various materials posted there; follow the directions provided to see them all.  We expect the amount of information provided to grow subtantially and regularly, and we’ll be providing materials from our personal archives to help in that effort.

An article related to the formation of the group appeared recently in The Ostrich (


Pursuant to the items above, the group convened on Tuesday the 10th at 1pm in the conference room on the first floor in the Brunswick Municipal Building.  Reports are that approximately 10 residents attended, and that discussion was lively, so we expect the effort to grow accordingly.  We’re sure that watching the press and the web page will keep you informed as to upcoming meetings. 

Back to the agenda item coming before the town next week as shown above.  Those of us who have paid attention to the sordid ‘stewardship’ of school plant assets by the Brunswick School Department over the years know that the proposal in many ways represents the culmination of what can only be described as an intentional combination of dereliction of duty, deferred maintenance, and a grand scheme to squeeze local taxpayers beyond reason so that ‘community pride’ is appropriately honored, and that perfect Brunswick continues to have ‘the best schools and the best teachers.’

Oops!  And I almost forgot: “for the children,” of course!

The fleecing technique has been perfected in recent decades, with help from ‘professionals’ who seem to repeatedly show up here in Brunswick, and in other nearby towns, playing the role of a svengali of sorts. An excerpt from page 61 of the council packet for next week’s meeting gives some hint of what we mean:


(For those who don’t recognize “PDT,” just substitute Lyndon Keck.)

“Professionals,” of course, can’t be questioned.  Even though it was Education “Professionals” who led us to build Jordan Acres in the open classroom design fad of that day, which then led to its ‘accidental’ structural collapse.  Yeah, right.

Side is intending to speak at the hearing on Tuesday, and we sincerely hope a multitude of others will join in and do the same.  One of the things we intend to mention is the role that fake news, a popular theme these days, has played in getting us to this point.

While the Mommy Mafia, the School Board, and this runaway train will be hard to slow down, we still derive some encouragement from the Citizens for a Better Way effort of 2003.

We don’t know how many of you recall it, but CBW organized a campaign to oppose the Public Safety Building referendum for a construction bond of $13 million.

Surprisingly, the proposal was defeated by a margin of 2 to 1, so it can be done.  And we still recall council members of that year resoundingly claiming how ‘they got the message from the public loud and clear’ after the vote.

We seem to recall that it took them at least a few months before they forgot it, and went back to business as usual.  So you can knock a blade or two off a windmill from time to time, but our betters always have the funds and staff to have it repaired PDQ.

Lances, horses, and armor, on the other hand, are not so easy to come by.

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