The Ati-thesis , Marxism

"By that definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single huge corporation, extracting the surplus value from the workforce in order to invest it in further production.[3] Friedrich Engels, in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, argues that state capitalism would be the final stage of capitalism consisting of ownership and management of large-scale production and communication by the bourgeois state.[4]"

Quoted from Wikepedia

Friday, August 11, 2017

A "Booming Economy" and the Local Water Supply

Andersen Design has been mixing casting slip at our present location since 1958. I have personally been mixing it for decades but I recently ran up against an unprecedented problem, which has persisted through three batches from three sources, the last being made from fresh raw materials, keeping adjustments for viscosity at a minimum.

When mixing clay slip the amount of water content is crucial. Our specific gravity target range is 176-180. The lowest We ever go is 171 and that is for small items only.

The viscosity, or fluidity of the slip has to be such that it easily pours in an out of the mold. I do not usually measure that because it is very apparent, The higher the viscosity the thicker the slip and the less flowing qualities it has. If the water content is within range but the viscosity is high, I add a deflocculant and that brings the viscosity down. This is the way it has been working for years until now when we are working on a small but potentially large wholesale order.

This time with every batch I made I am getting a very low specific gravity reading while the viscosity is somewhat like cake batter. The latest reading, is 150. That is a huge difference from 176-180. Just dumping in more defloculant is expensive and eventually stops working and at that point can even have the opposite effect.

After checking the accuracy of our scale,the only thing left which all three batches have in common is the water supply. We asked the town water department if any new additives have been added to the water and they said nothing has been added.

Every article that I come across, such as this one from NASA which mentions the effect of additives in the water supply on the slip making process, in the same breath also mentions effects from floods, droughts and industrial contamination:

Treatment of municipal water supplies to insure potability can mean variation in the amount and kind of ions, especially when the raw water changes with seasonal floods, droughts, or industrial waste contamination. The major waterborne ions affecting the degree of deflocculation of claybased slips are Ca2+ , Mg2+ , Fe 2+ , C1 - , and SO4= . Hardness is expressed in terms of CaCO 3 although this figure covers the sum of Ca2+ , Mg2+ , and Fe 2+ present, regardless of its original form. Very soft water contains as little as 15 ppm of hardness while a hard water carries 100-200 ppm. The alkalinity of water usually consists of calcium or magnesium bicarbonate. Softening of water with lime and soda ash introduces carbonate and hydroxyl ions. Sulfate may enter as alum used in clarifying water or from industrial sources while chloride may come from chlorine-treating or naturally occurring salts.?
The presence of calcium hardness in whatever form is reflected in increased deflocculant requirement of casting lips and reduced fluidity, even at maximum deflocculation.
Non-deflocculating- chloride and sulfate ions also increase deflocculant requirement and further reduce fluidity. Rate of cast and percent retained water are increased by the presence of alkaline earth chlorides and/or sulfates.  NASA, The Role of Water in Slipcasting
I was about to report this to the Boothbay Water Department again, when I came upon a 2016 report written by the water department, which claims that the drought, one of the conditions that the NASA paper sites as a cause, is good for business. The drought is good for business?  Is this for real? We have a drought and our local water supply's response is that it is good for business? Further more the water company's view of the great business season of 2016 contradicts everything I have heard at the retail street level, which is that the retail summer market, continues to be in recession as has been the case since 2002. Why asks retailers?They are the small guys in the wealth creating sector- the Water District's data for our booming economy is based on the wealth redistribution sectors of non-profit and government .

GENERAL In formulating the Boothbay Region Water District 2016 Budget, all normal operational activities have been funded including all salaries and related benefits, as negotiated January 2016 with Teamsters Local #340. The following summary is an outline and analysis of the 2016 budget as related to actual spending and the activities and goals of the district proposed by the management for fiscal year (FY) 2017.
Early in 2016 the Boothbay region began to experience drought conditions. Even though droughts are generally bad for crops and water reserves, the byproduct is an abundance of warm, sunny summer days. Coupled with the on-going drought the national and state economy was thriving, allowing tourists more discretionary income, which translated to a very successful and hectic tourist season. 2016 was an excellent year for revenue, setting an all-time high at $3,367,520.83. Much of the higher than expected earnings were derived by state, federal and private grant income totaling $217,988.96 with an additional $100,000.00 in revenue from a short-term line of credit from the First National Bank of Damariscotta and transfer from cash reserves of $388,661.13. In addition to the contributions to total revenue listed above, the economy seems to have been strong and the weather warmer than usual and extremely dry, creating the perfect conditions for a strong tourist season. In October, the district became the first non-profit water utility to take advantage of the Infrastructure Surcharge allowed by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) which was enacted just before seasonal overage billing. With only one quarter of the year the district realized an addition $34,429.65 in revenue slated solely for the cost of newly constructed infrastructure. Boothbay Region Water District

It may seem to the executives at the water district that the many tourist we see at Hannaford have all kinds of discretionary money just waiting to be spent, but it seems to every one I talk to in the retail business that they don't.

The NASA report identifies drought, additives, and industrial contamination in the water supply as things which can affect the role of water in ceramic slip-casting. The Water Department lists those same things as great for revenue and the economy:

414.00 JOBBING REVENUE - Coupled with the strong tourist season the
construction industry was also experiencing a strong year with new construction or major rehabilitation to properties experienced district wide.
The district added over 40 new customers in 2016 which required billable hours by district staff to complete. The performance of this accounting line item exceeded 50% more than expected.
- MISCELLANEOUS - This accounting category added 600% more revenue to the
district than expected. Jobbing Revenue and Establishment of Service showed marked improvements due directly to a strong economy and new construction. As will be dealt with in IA EXPENSES, the district to a large extent overextended itself with regard to capital infrastructure investment requiring a $388,661.13 depletion of the district’s cash reserves and a year ending drawdown of $100,000.00 of a line-of-credit held by the First National Bank of Damariscotta. However, during the year, the district received an additional $217,988.96 in federal, state and private grants to support infrastructure installation and land acquisition, all of which contributed to the inflation of this accounting category. Boothbay Region Water District
Through out the report the alleged "improved economy" which is built on redistributed wealth and credit, continues to be emphasized. The section on materials and chemicals is no exception. The information cited above in the NASA report on the effects of drought and construction on the water supply is a non-issue. In fact lets build a new four lane highway, passing right by our water supply- its all about the money and that is all about the wealth redistribution and credit economy !

3. Materials and Supplies - With the improved economy and the increased demand of more tourists on the system overall, the district exceeded the budget expectation for materials and supplies by 12%. Two subsets within this budgetary category exceeded spending projections, those being Chemicals and M&S Transmission & Distribution.
a. Chemicals - Treatment chemicals ended the year approximately 24% over 2016 budget estimates. Much of this overage was a simple cause and effect due to 30% more summer demand for water due to the outstanding tourist season. In addition, because of persistent drought conditions, the district used more of its annual allocation for water from Knickerbocker Lake, withdrawing near its permit withdrawal limit to meet demand and preserve Adams Pond at a higher level going into the winter where Adams Pond is the only drinking water source for the Boothbay region. Knickerbocker Lake water quality is much less than that of Adams Pond due to development around the lake and within its watershed. Boothbay Region Water District 2017 Budget 4 Consequently, the water treated from Knickerbocker Lake requires more chemicals to treat to the high level of purity the district demands. Boothbay Region Water District
The report continues on- exclaiming about our hot and booming economy every step of the way. telling of increased construction and additives as a result of our allegedly booming economy and never a thought about the effects of construction and additives on the water supply itself. Since we are experiencing a drought again this season, I am guessing that the water supply we are drawing upon is Knickerbocker Lake which was stressed to the limit in 2016 and in response to that was being overdosed with additives. I can't speak to what effect that might have for human health concerns but I think the 2016 report from the Boothbay Water Department confirms my speculations about what is affecting our ability to produce a functioning casting slip. It looks like we will have to mix our next batch with bottled water. I will report back on if this solves our problem.

The 2015 Boothbay Comprehensive Report begins with an assessment of the 1998 Report. A survey done then concluded that protecting our groundwater supply was the top concern for all surveyed, Has that changed,?
A. 1989 Comprehensive Plan The Town’s 1989 Comprehensive Plan was developed by a volunteer Comprehensive Plan Committee. The plan is a mix of long-range planning considerations and very specific ordinance type proposals. As part of the planning process, the Committee conducted a survey of both year-round and seasonal residents with a very high rate of participation (a total of 651 surveys were completed with about 60% from year-round residents and 40% from seasonal residents). The results from the survey are included in the plan. The plan includes the following conclusions from the community survey:
  • “There is a remarkable degree of unanimity (lack of controversy) in the public opinion expressed in the survey. Both residents and non-residents felt strongly that the town should protect the groundwater from contamination (the most strongly held opinion).”

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

To Be or Not To Be Synergy

I was thinking in a cynical manner of jest, that I want to live in a town where the zoning laws mandate that one must have a business in one's home and apply for special permission to live there if one has a residence without a business. Then I remembered that there are such places. Its called artist in residence zoning, without which Soho in New York City would never have become the neighborhood it is today. I remember riding my bike through the Soho neighborhood when it was nothing but run down factory buildings. Then it became zoned for artists in residence. After that it became the center of the downtown Manhattan art scene. In the eighties there were more art galleries per square foot than anywhere in the world. There were entire buildings filled with nothing but art galleries. Then suddenly in the early nineties someone turned off the stock market faucet which had been fueling the art boom. After that the art galleries were replaced with stores and restaurants.

The Libra Foundation is investing in a similar idea in Monson, Maine, a town located in Maine's rural low income regions, where I have long envisioned a network of independently owned ceramic slip casting studio's. I thought of the idea years ago when I was casting. Our line is so large and we were working in a small space so we had to cycle the production. Many molds have special tricks one has to remember when casting them. By the time the revolving cycle returned I often forgot about the special tricks in the first casting. I imagined a series of slip-casting studios with each one casting a portion of the line. One could rotate the line through the casting studios as a backup procedure so that more than one production knows how to cast any design.

Our line would provide a base of activity to support the independently owned studios in the network but as independently owned operations, the studio could take on other jobs if they chose to do so. The formation of working relationships between all participating business entities would be self determined. If the network is functioning optimally. it would become great creative synergy, similar to the synergy that happened in Soho after it received artist in residence zoning.

Synergy is more powerful an economic development engine than those qualifications that make up the 'quality jobs" subsidized by Maine State Inc. The State's ideas about attracting a younger population to Maine are based on materialistic motivations. The State's tax payer subsidized "quality jobs" are defined by higher than average wages and benefits. The Swedish bandage factory at the court of  MRRA is a quality job. Working in a startup American ceramic production probably isn't  A ceramic production job can at some point offer higher than average wages and benefits but still not be a "quality job" in the sense of being tax-payer subsidized, The higher wages and benefits would be the result of targeted application of the parameters of operations, designed by Weston Neil Andersen, and incorporated into our business plan. There are many ways to achieve that given the many markets into which our product line can belong, from high end one of a kind, to creative mass production niche markets.There is a segment of the youthful population which is strictly motivated by the materialistic carrots offered by the State's "quality jobs" but on the whole, the largest youthful population is attracted by great synergy.   Even if we are offering higher than average wages and benefits, we never want to be offering quality jobs, as that term stands for tax payer subsidized upper crust jobs.

Yesterday I posted a new update on my petition for MTI to offer fiscal sponsorship

A Perfect Match but No Fiscal Sponsorship

The post compares a section of the Andersen Design Business Plan with quotes from an article about the Libra Foundation. To my reading they are coming from one and the same page. It is the same idea except that the Libra Foundation is focusing its efforts in one Maine town, Monson Maine, and my idea is for a network spread across a the low income regions of rural Maine. I am told by well intended advisor that Monson, Maine is very political and I should contact someone with more political connections than I have to represent me. A member of the JECD is suggested. Why is Monson political now but the Washington County Redevelopment Authority isn't? Because Monson Maine has a well financed foundation. The politicians of economic development power elite suddenly care about Monson. They do not care about the WCDA which has just been gifted back its own commercial real estate but has no economic assets to maintain or develop that asset thanks to its status as a "municipal corporation serving as an instrument of the state". They do not care about Andersen Design. They care about being controlling authorities where ever there is money to be found. I will trust my own instincts. Thank You.

Regarding current status of our property: Today we wake to a new unanticipated paradigm. Little is known about it yet.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Fiscal Sponsorship Might Have Provided A Different Outcome

Supporters for the petition for MTI to offer fiscal sponsorship have now grown to 16 as our legacy business in East Boothbay faces foreclosure.

Let it be said that MTI matching grants can be as small as 1000.00 but small grants do not go very far. Matching grants favor large established well financed companies, all at taxpayer expense.

Fiscal sponsorship does not cost the tax payer since a fiscal sponsor can charge a fee to cover its costs and even a reasonable profit margin. Fiscal sponsorship draws upon volunteer giving. State matching grants mandate giving by the general public to special interests selected by the state.

One example of special interests favored by the state is itself, in the Public-Public Relationship of MIT and The Advanced State Manufacturing Center at the University of Maine

 In April 2 2013 MaineBiz published two articles.
Quote from article 1:

MTI grant to help manufacturing R&D

“he Maine Technology Institute has given the University of Southern Maine and University of Maine a $493,577 grant to boost their partnerships with private-sector manufacturers.…. University of Maine's Advanced Manufacturing Center and University of Southern Maine's Manufacturing Applications Center matched the grant with $567,000…."The centers received contributions from business partners, including Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers in Freeport, Hydro International in Portland and Sappi Paper in Westbrook, according to John Belding, director of UMaine's center. ” MTI grant to help manufacturing R&D    MAINEBIZ April 2 2013
Quote from article 2 (talking about The Advanced Manufacturing Center at The University of Maine) University program helps Maine cos. lower costs MAINE BIZ April 2 2013
For projects that have received MTI funding — around 25% of the UMaine work — the university charges no overhead expenses as "it's basically the state paying the state," Belding says. Many of those projects, he says, come to the center for development work before applying for an MTI grant and have continued support after.
The State Advanced Manufacturing Center at the University of Maine has many advantages over private sector companies, one being that it employs student labor. There is little information to be found about how student labor is paid, but the implication is that state manufacturing can offer lower rates because it employs student labor.

A better system would be for MTI's function as a matching grant provider to be replaced with MTI functioning as a fiscal sponsor, only.  This would be a fair system for all- not only for the public-private hegemony of Maine, but for all Maine entrepreneurs developing products for the market.

Tomorrow short of miraculous intervention, Andersen Design will be foreclosed and our property will be sold.

There are many foundations through which Andersen Design should have an excellent chance of funding if Andersen Design were fiscally sponsored.

Three such foundations are Cfile Foundation- dedicated to Ceramics, The Libra Foundation which seeks to revitalize a low income rural Maine town through the arts- resonating with Andersen Design's vision of ceramic studio network across rural Maine, and the Davis Foundation which favors arts and Southern Maine.

Andersen Design has been a genuine social enterprise since its inception but when we applied to Fractured Atlas for our production, the well to do board rejected us because they said that our use of the word “production” means that we are only in it for the money. I also made a mistake in showing that if there were funding of 200,000,00. using my Dad’s parameters of operations, the profit and loss figure for the year end would show only slightly less than that, meaning we would no longer need outside funding. The board encouraged us to apply for a different purpose and so I applied for the Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen with funding of the same amount showing a small negative in the profit and loss figure. The Museum is contingent upon the historical relevance of our family business which had been previously deemed to exist for one purpose only- the money. The Museum was accepted for fiscal sponsorship,

After failing to find fiscal sponsor ship for our core purpose and love of making things, I started this petition calling for MTI to become a fiscal sponsor, which would benefit all Maine makers, not only those favored by Maine’s public-private hegemony.

Andersen Design's intellectual assets are valuable as an internet retailer which could also feature other designer craftsmen. However, when I approached the JECD- Joint Economic Development Council of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor- about the Museum project, several members there of flicked us away in a nanosecond with statements such as “we cannot help individual businesses, profit or non-profit”, which is hardly true in practice. The statement reflects that the JEDC sees both our long-standing ceramic design and slip-casting business and the Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen, as having no economic development value to the community.

I submit that Andersen Design, recapitalized as a sophisticated internet retailer, has a great deal to offer any community, especially in conjunction with an Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen. We have an established brand and an unparalleled line of designs which have maintained marketability for sixty-five years. Our first wild life sculpture is the Floating Gull, which sells as well today as it did when it was first created.  I submit that the JECD lacks true economic development vision. “Development” implies the ability to see what is possible.

I close now with a link to the letter about the transitions taking place at Andersen Design- transitions which would have a likely chance to be of another nature if we were able to apply for foundation funding.

I have approached a local non-profit whose mission includes helping people to become self-sufficient about becoming a fiscal sponsor. Andersen Design could be instrumental in helping some of those served by that foundation to become self-sufficient but the mindset is closed at that level as well. The way the current paradigm has been rigged for years is that the re-distributive sector of the economy tax payer subsidizes opportunities to expand the wealth of those above the medium income divide and tax payer subsidizes entitlements to basic living needs and services to those below the medium income divide but the services for the bottom sector do not include opportunities to develop their income. The sector drained to subsidize opportunities for the top and rations for the bottom is the middle, which once was the opportunity zone for the bottom half of the economy.  Both sides of the paradigm are locked into this kind of thinking and it will take a seismic revolution to dislodge it, but even such a revolution starts with the first step and a first voice calling for fundamental transformation.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Way and the Why I do what I do

Marco Rubio explains everything.

 I have lately been thinking about an interchange in which I was recently engaged with one who had, in the past been involved in the JECD. In the course of the conversation, I was told that I have to stop this with the JECD, that I am wasting my time, which is better spent minding my own business and then asserted that the JECD is not working with Industry Partnerships.

The latter statement relies on knowledge of my objections to JECD which can only be known from reading this blog and so informs the interpretation of "stopping this with the JECD" as meaning I should stop writing this blog, or at least stop making JECD part of it. As for wasting my time, I wondered by what measure that would be true. Since I felt that my conversant was acting as a spokesperson for the JECD, I surmised it is true by an imagined end goal projected upon me by the JECD, about which it is not worth my time to hypothesize. The fact of the matter is I am one who follows an internal impulse and only after wards discover why I am doing what I am doing favoring discovery over planning. If I do not engage in this process I will never discover what makes me engage in this process and so I can never be said to be wasting my time as the more I engage in the process, the more I discover what is the purpose which lies behind engaging in this process. I was motivated by events to learn more about our statutes and ordinances but afterwards the pursuit took its own course. One day I realized I had acquired enough knowledge to inform a world view which called out to be expressed, if only to myself. I enjoy involvement in the evolving process in the same way that one engages in any creative process and so I do not consider it a waste of time. It is also the one activity with which I have now been engaged for years which need not be interrupted when we lose this property, a business in a home, which today seems inevitable to occur on Tuesday. I need only a lap top to carry on this part of my life, where as I need a production studio space to carry on what is identified as "my own business' in the comment made by my conversant. To my experience, that comment was the first instance of the JECD expressing any interest in our legacy business, and that only by proxy, and to serve the JECD's self interest of silencing the expression of alternative views.

 To say that I am wasting my time and that I should instead be spending the time devoted to this blog on my own business is to say I am not behaving in the way that politicians anticipate the public behaving. It is generally understood that the public at large is too busy with the concerns of their own lives to devote much time to informing themselves about what the politicians are up to. The public gets the facts and understanding of the issues from the media. The Maine media frequently reports information as if derived from press releases delivered by the Legislature. Since I am an independent researcher, I happen to know  that often times what the media reports is not true. In the case of bills which are under consideration for enactment, one has only to read the bill to know if what the media reports is true. Therefore, in writing this blog, I provide links to sources, and direct quotes to provide the reader with confirmation about facts I relay.

Let it be said, that my purpose in writing this blog is to present another point of view, one which I feel many others will concur, to one degree or another, but which I seldom see represented in the media. In terms of the JECD, I believe that there should be alternate ideas in public discourse in a democratic society. Other wise it is like being allowed to vote but all the options are from the same political party, representing the same political views.

My political view is laissez-faire , The dominant political view in Maine since the Longley Doctrine  is central management beginning with the economy and extending to everything,

The term laissez faire likely originated in a meeting that took place around 1681 between powerful French Comptroller-General of Finances Jean-Baptiste Colbert and a group of French businessmen headed by a certain M. Le Gendre. When the eager mercantilist minister asked how the French state could be of service to the merchants and help promote their commerce, Le Gendre replied simply "Laissez-nous faire" ("Leave it to us" or "Let us do [it]," the French verb not having to take an object)

As for the claim that JECD is not working with Industry Partnerships, a speculation that it is, is entirely based on what is found in the Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015 and so if it is true that the JECD is not collaborating with Industry Partnerships, an all encompassing design by the Legislature to manage all resources in this state and to channel public-private capital through that management system, then it is also true that the JECD is not working in conjunction with the Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015, which represents a considerable investment of time. If Town management makes that investment in one year and the next year starts all over again making a fresh master plan, then whom is wasting time?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

BREAKING NEWS, Maine State-Town of MRRA Reels in More Federal Taxpayer Dollars!

The unofficial capital of Maine's new public-private government is reeling in more federal taxpayer dollars to finance its executive airport.

 The town of MRRA is the third former military base to be chartered as a municipal corporation serving as an instrument of the state. The first was the Washington County Development Authority, in Maine's poorest county, chartered as a shell company which would transfer the real estate assets of the base to private developers. Since a legally challenged entity such as :a "municipal corporation serving as an instrument of the state" cannot collect property taxes or provide municipal services, the Legislatures gift of WCDA"s real estate assets to a private non-profit corporation, left the WCDA without any means of income except collecting rent on remaining real estate.

Recently after two private developers were unable to make a go of the expensive-to-maintain commercial property, it was gifted back to the WCDA. The volunteer staff of the WCDA requested a state bond to maintain and develop the commercial real estate. It was shelved by the Maine Legislature. I have put in a request with the Legislative Library for what happened there after: Was the request shelved because the WCDA does not have a private investor to purchase support from the Maine Legislature? Where are Senator Collin and King when it comes to delivering bonds to Maine's poorest county?

L.D. 1334, An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Repair and Renovate the Former Cutler Navy Base in Washington County to Facilitate Development and Stimulate the Economy was carried over by the Legislature's Appropriations Committee. The legislation would send a bond issue question to the voters that, if approved, would provide funds to repair and modernize the buildings on the former base.This funding is essential to the successful redevelopment of the property and would allow this significant public asset to again contribute to the state's economy. The Authority strongly recommends passage of LD 13 34. 
The Authority also recommends that the state invest the necessary staff and financial resources to support the redevelopment of the former Cutler base. A bill that would have provided direct financial support to the Authority (LD 1333) was defeated in the last legislative session. The Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development has appointed Brian Mulligan as his representative on the Authority's Board; Mr. Mulligan's active participation has been very helpful. Staff support in grant proposal development, project administration, and property management would help move the redevelopment project forward. 
At the time when the Cutler Navy base was being transferred to civilian use. there was a special delegation sent to Washington DC to arrange a special law for the transference of the property which changed the priority for instruments of conveyance. General BRAC closure rules grant priority to local economic development conveyances (EDC). The language in the federal act negotiated by the special delegation to Washington allows for the property to be conveyed to “to the State of Maine, or a subdivision or agency thereof 
(Sec. 2853) Authorizes the Secretary of the Navy to convey to the State of Maine, or a subdivision or agency thereof, the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in Cutler, Maine. Authorizes the lease of such property pending conveyance. H.R.4205 –Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (emphasis added)
Maine's congressional delegations were Senator Olympia Snowe (R), Senator Susan Collins (R), and Representatives John Baldacci (D) and David Allen(D). The Washington County group included State Rep. Martha Bagley, Cutler First Selectman David Eldridge and Machias Town Manager Scott Harriman and Elmer L. Harmon and Richard Richards of Local 2635 of the American Federation of Government Employees.

David Eldrige and Machias selectman, Kenneth Bucket Davis were the two incorporators of the Cutler Development Corporation. The Cutler Development Corporation. was created to transfer the property as a gift from the state to the private non-profit Cutler Development Corporation. In BRAC Closure Rules a private non-profit organization does not qualify for a no consideration (cost free) transfer unless it provides a vital public service

The Home Rule Amendment requires that when the Legislature charters a municipal corporation, it must provide the process by which the inhabitants of the  municipality can amend their own charter. This has never been done for Maine's three municipalities serving as instruments of the state.

At the time the base was closed, there was the option not to accept the expensive-to-maintain commercial real estate. Without a municipal government, the only agent responsible for accepting the property and giving it to the Cutler Development Corporation was the State of Maine. Now that the property has been gifted back to the base, the Maine Legislature no longer accepts responsibility for the expensive-to-maintain commercial real estate - per my knowledge to date, Now it is the municipality of WCDA's problem as the Legislature turns its back on the WCDA.

Meanwhile the MRRA continues to be showered with state and federal taxpayer dollars and heralded as creating a great many jobs, never mentioning the tax payer subsidies that are capitalizing jobs located in the town of MRRA. The most recent 50-page buget + annual report of the MRRA ,for the first time, does not report a negative on its bottom line, upgraded to a the year 2017. A quick scan reveals that reported revenues have decreased, salaries and hourly wages have increased, while expenses reported under personnel services and employee benefits are at an all time low, raising the suspicion that these costs are incorporated into state costs as opposed to being reported as MRRA expenses. With the town of MRRA being a newly concocted "municipal corporation serving as an instrumentality of the state" - anything goes. The advantage of public-private relationships is that their identities are so fluid.They can be public or private whenever or wherever. The same principal applies to municipal corporations serving as instruments of the state. Look at all the jobs MRRA creates! What does it cost the taxpayer? You'll never know! Time to change the subject! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Recent Advances In Central Management Of The Maine Economy

To give some context to theory, I am posting this history:

The Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015 follows word for word a Maine State bill passed in 2013 and codified as "Industry Partnerships" This act seeks to centrally control the the entirety of all resources in Maine, as a corporate conglomerate structure.


§3304. Industry partnerships

2. Responsibilities of the collaborative.  The collaborative shall:
A. Provide support and staffing assistance to the industry partnerships established under this chapter; [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
B. Create an industry partnership to advise the collaborative, the State Workforce Investment Board established in section 2006 and the boards of the local workforce investment areas designated pursuant to the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Public Law 105-220 on aligning state policies and leveraging resources across systems, including workforce development, education and economic development; [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
C. Include requirements that support industry partnerships in all relevant programs, grants and new initiatives; and [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
D. Use industry partnerships as a connective framework across systems and programs when applying for federal and private funds. [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]

From another Era
 No individuals or groups (political parties, cultural associations, economic unions, social classes) outside the State. Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle. Fascism is likewise opposed to trade unionism as a class weapon. But when brought within the orbit of the State, Fascism recognizes the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State Benito Mussolint- The Doctrine of Fascism 1932

The language found in the Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015 regarding home businesses  reads like it was cut and pasted from Industry Partnerships. Ordinances, which are supposed to be written by local governance in response to local needs are being written at the state level, instead, which has no direct contact with local needs, this can be reasonably presumed to be in return for the hoped for payola of state grants.

Industry Partnerships

2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
Action B.2-3. Revise the standards for more intensive “home businesses” that include activities that are carried on outside of a structure on a residential property or that generate noise or commercial traffic or similar impacts. These uses should be allowed through a planning board review process in which the owner of the home business must demonstrate that it will meet standards with objective criteria for minimizing the impacts on the adjacent neighborhood including providing appropriate buffering and maintaining the visual character of the roadscape.
Action B.2-4. Explore creating a small business assistance program that would help growing businesses, including home businesses and home occupations, with financing and with locating in appropriate commercial/industrial districts when appropriate.

Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015

Town of Boothbay – Comprehensive Plan Update 2015 23 Action B.2-3.Revise the standards for more intensive “home businesses” that include activities that are carried on outside of a structure on a residential property or that generate noise or commercial traffic or similar impacts. These uses should be allowed through a planning board review process in which the owner of the home business must demonstrate that it will meet standards with objective criteria for minimizing the impacts on the adjacent neighborhood including providing appropriate buffering and maintaining the visual character of the roadscape.
Action B.2-4. Explore creating a small business assistance program that would help growing businesses, including home businesses and home occupations, with financing and with locating in appropriate commercial/industrial districts when appropriate.

I have not yet found Boothbay Harbor Town Ordinances. For Comparison's sake, Damariscotta Ordinances. do not include sections copied from the Maine's Industry Partnerships Act.

The Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015 states that if the town submits a state approved plan, it can get a state grant. The municipality will serve as an instrument of the state- ie the three former military bases in this state are chartered as municipal corporations serving as instruments of the state. In conventional use those municipal corporations are never referred to as towns but rather "authorities".

§3305. Industry partnership grant program

1. Grant program.  The collaborative shall establish a competitive grant program that provides support to industry partnerships and eligible applicants pursuant to this section. The grants must be used to provide training or the ability for local, state or regional industry partnerships to meet the objectives listed in section 3304.
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
2. Applications and guidelines.  The collaborative shall establish grant guidelines and develop grant applications and forms and institute any policies and procedures necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. These procedures must include at a minimum:
A. A competitive application process; [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
B. A process to review applications and to make recommendations to the collaborative; [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
C. A process for providing applicants with additional information about eligibility requirements and assistance in preparing applications; and [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
D. A procedure for establishing eligibility requirements. At a minimum, this procedure must include the following:
(2) Participation of at least 4 employers, with at least 2 employers representing businesses with fewer than 50 employees;
(3) Participation of employees and, where applicable, labor representatives;
(4) Private sector matching funding of at least 25%, except that businesses with fewer than 25 employees may be exempted from this matching funding requirement at the discretion of the collaborative; and
(5) Commitment to participate in the performance improvement and evaluation system established pursuant to section 3307. [2015, c. 156, §1 (AMD).]
2015, c. 156, §1 (AMD) .]
3. Grant period and renewal.  The grant period for grants awarded under this section must be not less than 12 months and not more than 24 months. The collaborative may provide opportunities for renewal after the initial grant period ends.
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
4. Technical assistance.  The collaborative shall provide technical assistance to grantees throughout the grant period.
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
5. Other funding sources.  The collaborative shall seek funds from other private and public sources to support and sustain industry partnerships and related activities established in this chapter. Industry partnerships also may seek other sources of funding, both public and private.
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW)2015, c. 156, §1 (AMD).

The formula for getting the most money from the state is through public private partnerships. The selectmen, despite their claims that they cannot do anything to help individual businesses likely have their public private relationships in the works.-my guess !

The Home Rule Amendment (1969) authorized local self government calling for public approval of expenditures by municipal referendum. In 1976 Longley's Board set a goal of
 eliminating municipal referendums, followed by a declaration by the Legislature which deemed central management of the economy to be an essential government function which must be done by public private relationships. The policies embedded in the Maine Capital Corporation used central management by government to create a class of public private capitalist partners who would become "the owners of the land",or in Marxian terms, "the owners of the means of production". Central management sold this to the public as a  public benefit, reasoning that the public-private-capitalists-owners-of production are creating jobs for landless laborers- which is where the term wage laborers came from as explained in this passage found on Quora. written by Brian Johnson, who identifies himself only as "Victim of the consequences of capitalism"

For capitalist economic history, Britain became the first industrial nation ‘spontaneously’; that is, without the help of direct state intervention. This interpretation, however, does violence to the history of violent expropriation of the agricultural population from the land. The state did critically intervene in the interests of the emerging capitalists in two ways:
  • Enclosure movements, enforced by the state, dispossessed the peasantry of both common and individual land usages. The landless labourer was created.
  • Wage legislation and systems of social security, most notably the Poor Law
Amendment Act of 1834, forced long hours and factory discipline on the landless labourer. This turned the landless into wage labourers.
Why is Maine's central management writing regulatory passages for home occupations to be inserted into municipal ordinances? Is the insertion of state created municipal regulations into municipal ordinances part of the backroom deals between municipal leaders willing to form secret agreements with central management to function as authorities and instruments of the state in exchange for being designated as a favored recipient in the states capital redistribution system? Given the secrecy with which the JECD is acting, it is reasonable to speculate about such things.

In contrast to the political social-economic vision embedded in Industry Partnerships, Andersen Design's vision for re-establishing our production as a social enterprise is based on establishing a network of independently owned ceramic slip casting productions spread across Maine's free enterprise zone. The free enterprise zone is other wise known as "the other Maine" and is largely excluded from central management's wealth redistribution policy. The idea for the Andersen Design network grew out of my own love for the business in a home lifestyle, and the mind-engaging process of ceramic slip cast production. The business in a home is the direct descendant of the family farm. I feel that people care the most about that which they themselves own and so providing the opportunity for the operator of the production to also be its owner would tap into the greatest sense of commitment and devotion.

The 2013 Industry Partnerships Act is an all encompassing plan for managing the entire economy and capital distribution in Maine. It is the current evolution of the paradigm shift from the local governance provided for in the Home Rule Amendment to the deeming of a state managed economy found in the Report from the Governor's Tax Force of 1976. (This report can be had by requesting it from the Legislative Library of Maine.The word for word repetition of text from the Industrial Partnerships Act of 2013 found in Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of  2015 gives the appearance, that the selectmen are working as agents of the state, rather than for the local community. The economic development council does not appear to be functioning as a local resource, but rather as a development corporation with its own agenda, aligned with that of the state.

To note: For many years I googled the Maine Constitution and it came up -stand-alone- at the top of the list. In recent months the stand alone version has been hard to find and the Constitution is only accessible by searching for it in the menu of the Maine Legislature's web site, often with distracting pages being presented first, which can make one forget what one was looking for in the first place. After meeting resistance from the Maine Law Library webmaster, the accessible stand- alone version of the Maine Constitution returned as the number one listing on a Google search, but that has not stayed in place. Finding the easily accessed Maine Constitution via Google is sporadic. Today I could not find the Maine Constitution without going through a time consuming trail and when I got to it, it was embedded in the Legislature's website as if a department of the Legislature, which is only one of the three branches of government that the Constitution governs. Once again I will protest! The manner in which fascism was entrenched in Mussolini's Italy was by over writing the Constitution with statutory law. Here is the Home Rule Amendment which precedes the Longley Doctrine by less than a decade:

Note the subtle color change of the background color from the buff parchment color of the stand alone Constitution to the green background color used for the statutes, replacing the former blue color used for the statute. The color changes  act as a visual symbol, merging the Constitution into statutory law, with the Maine Legislature as a law unto itself- as it has been acting since the Longley Doctrine was implemented.

Article VIII.

Part Second.

Municipal Home Rule.

Section 1.  Power of municipalities to amend their charters.   The inhabitants of any municipality shall have the power to alter and amend their charters on all matters, not prohibited by Constitution or general law, which are local and municipal in character.  The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure by which the municipality may so act.
Section 2.  Construction of buildings for industrial use.   For the purposes of fostering, encouraging and assisting the physical location, settlement and resettlement of industrial and manufacturing enterprises within the physical boundaries of any municipality, the registered voters of that municipality may, by majority vote, authorize the issuance of notes or bonds in the name of the municipality for the purpose of purchasing land and interests therein or constructing buildings for industrial use, to be leased or sold by the municipality to any responsible industrial firm or corporation.

UPDATE: A few hours later. The stand alone Constitution with the parchment colored background is back- but now it includes links to the statutes which I do not recall having been there before, complete with a statute search, embedded in the online Maine Constitution. I do not think that belongs in our Constitution. The Constitution is ultimate law - the consent of the governed, which governs what is permissible in statutory law. Statute searches and links should not be in our Constitution but its is better than our Constitution being published in the context of statutory law,


The  fiscal note  for the 2013 LD90  industry partnerships,  removes General Fund appropriations from the Department of Corrections and gives it to Industry Partnerships in the amounts of $955,500 in fiscal year 2013-2014 and $1313417 in the fiscal year 2014-2015. . 
In the year 2015, Governor LePage publicly deplored the Department of Corrections for its lack of fiscal responsibility: In a Bangor Daily News story reported on February 10 2015,  LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver[1], Governor LePage proposes a new amendment in response to what he deplores as the lack of sound fiscal management by the Department of Corrections

The move would allow LePage to appoint a receiver “when, in the judgment of the governor, the state Board of Corrections system, for whatever reason, fails to fulfil the goal of sound fiscal management,” the amendment states:

The receiver would be in place until June 30 of this year. At issue are funding shortfalls totaling nearly $2.5 million this year for Maine’s 15 county jails. Five of those jails — in Aroostook, Cumberland, Penobscot, York and Androscoggin counties — are in danger of closure by the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30. Sheriffs and lawmakers from those counties have said they would have to refuse to accept new prisoners or release inmates if they ran out of money. Bangor Daily News LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver’ February 10 2015[
The total amount taken from appropriations for the Department of Corrections to fund Industry Partnerships is $2268917.00. That is almost the same amount of the shortfall. When operating without enough capitalization everything costs more, accounting for the difference. The Department of Corrections is a genuine essential government function. Centrally managing the economy is merely deemed to be an essential government function by the Maine Legislature. To fund Industry Partnerships, the Legislature robbed the Department of Corrections of necessary funding, putting the safety of the people of Maine at risk.

The amendment offered Tuesday would provide $2,171,316. It was unclear, even among lawmakers, why the amount in the amendment was lower than the need identified by the jails.  LePage looks to elude Board ofCorrections with county jail ‘receiver,

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Changing Economic Paradigms

Weston Neil Andersen, founder of Andersen Design at age 91, photograph by Susan Mackenzie Andersen

The narrator of the video, produced by GHD inc is selling the need for the round about. He tells us that the traffic going to the Boothbay Botanical Gardens will double in the next twenty years with nothing to back that up but his confident tone of voice. Selectmen promoting tiff financing speak as if there can be no doubt that projected property taxes will yield sufficient return on the investment to cover Boothbay's cost of the round about. Tiffs are seldom spoken about in terms of risk, but there is no such thing as a no risk investment. The future does not follow a certain path.

My family has been selling in this region since 1958 but we did not anticipate the sudden down turn in summer tourist spending that happened regionally in 2002 and has continued to decline ever since. The next year, The Boothbay Opera House reopened as an entertainment venue, followed by the Botanical Gardens, Bigelow Labs  and elaborate transformations still underway at the Boothbay Harbor Country Club, but the once abundant summer revenue has not returned. I hear the buzz around town about the recessed retail market, but no mention from the Town selectmen or the JECD as they make plans to expand and talk of heavy traffic flowing from the Botanical Gardens, traffic I have never encountered in my frequent travels, at varying times of day, through the section of roadway where the round about is now being constructed. Does Paul Coulombe know about the retail recession which has afflicted this area for 15 years as he plans a new shopping district for Boothbay? Are the stores in the new Boothbay shopping district going to bring the shoppers in just because they are there? Are the shopkeepers going to be the new property tax payers who will cover the Town of Boothbay costs of the round about?
America's prize-winning number of 47 square feet of retail space per capita is 3-8X higher than anywhere else in the developed world!
Bad Trend Breaking: Why Retail Results Are Not Better Than Expected, But Worse Than Ever!By David Stockman. Posted On Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Nationally major retail chains have been closing locations as online sales have continued to climb. A company like Andersen Design, if re-capitalized, could be an asset to this region because our name brand recognition can translate into online success and market other lines, provided our company is funded to re-establish at a scale appropriate to the size and depth of our line of products, which would look like this:

Graphic from Andersen Design's Business Plan, available on request

Our brand name recognition is also a qualifying asset for the museum. Such a museum. if located in an ordinance-friendly location would draw other designer-craftsmen to the area. Products made by a designer-craftsmen are best appreciated in the real world environment and so introduce a reason for the shopper to shop in the brick and mortar world.

The current objectives found in the Boothbay Comprhensive Plan of 2015 do not bode well as a place to grow a designer-craftsmen community, and thus make Boothbay an unsuitable location for the proposed museum. The reason our founders and parents left Ohio was because the Levittown community in which they were located would not allow them to establish a ceramic slip-casting studio in their own home.


The Imperfect Rise of the American Suburbs

Objective B.2 Accommodate home occupations and home businesses while minimizing their impacts on neighboring properties
Action B.2-1. Revise the land use regulations to clarify the treatment of low-intensity “home occupations” (currently called home occupations, homemaker/office) and more intensive “home businesses” (currently called home occupations, other) including establishing standards for each type of use, with clear, objective criteria. These criteria should be different for the two types of activities and should be tied to the scale of the business use and the nature or scope of the activity.
Action B.2-2. Revise the standards for low-intensity “home occupations” that are carried on entirely within a structure on a residential property and have little or no impacts on adjacent properties and allow this use in all areas of the community with a simple administrative review process.
Town of Boothbay – Comprehensive Plan Update 2015 23 Action B.2-3. Revise the standards for more intensive “home businesses” that include activities that are carried on outside of a structure on a residential property or that generate noise or commercial traffic or similar impacts. These uses should be allowed through a planning board review process in which the owner of the home business must demonstrate that it will meet standards with objective criteria for minimizing the impacts on the adjacent neighborhood including providing appropriate buffering and maintaining the visual character of the roadscape.
Action B.2-4. Explore creating a small business assistance program that would help growing businesses, including home businesses and home occupations, with financing and with locating in appropriate commercial/industrial districts when appropriate.
 Andersen Design is a historical pioneer of  businesses in the home in the Boothbay Region, as I was made aware about last summer when a neighbor expressed how original we were when we moved into town and put out a sign a ran a business from our home. Our business grew far beyond what current ordinances will permit. We developed a national and international market and were number one sellers in venues such as the Smithsonian Catalog and the America House which was located across from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. When we wanted to expand to a larger production, the town wouldn't allow us to do so and so Dad expanded in Portland where we employed about 25 people year round, but the remote distance from our home location eventually made that unsustainable.

The property across the street where Weston Neil Andersen wanted to build a ceramic studio production which which would be designed as a building merging into the hill side. This is the view we see from our windows. Photograph by Susan Mackenzie Andersen More images of Mill Pond HERE
The integrated lifestyle, inseparable from the home business, is the environment which formed my generation and my father's generation before us. Dad was raised on a farm. That is where Dad, as a small child, first fashioned sculpture from clay he found in the ground. Dad used to speak of how the farmers would lean against the fences talking while shifting the dirt through their hands, Whether my father recognized it, the family farm, which molds a particular kind of perspective into being, is the model upon which Dad built this business. The business in the home is an important counterbalance to another societal perspective in which business activities are segregated from other life activities.

Sculptures fashioned by Weston Neil Andersen as a child

If the objects identified in the Town of Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015 were really the intended purpose of its planners, Andersen Design would be the type of business that the plan wants to encourage. The reality is that when I approached the JEDC about the  Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen, I was told that the JEDC cannot do anything to help individual businesses, contradicting what is said with specificity in the Comprehensive Plan of 2015.

The plan specifically identifies businesses in the home as something it aims to encourage, while at the same time highly regulating those businesses consistent to what the planners think is appropriate. The plan does not explain what is meant by "appropriate", begging the question - appropriate to whom? Consider the conflict between Simpson's Boat building and its neighbor. Which party represents the measure of appropriate ?

Because of our unique assets including a product line of market proven designs, unparalleled in our industry, and a brand identity developed over 65 years, Andersen Design is a qualified voice for designer-craftsmen everywhere. I submit that a planning board which does not recognize the economic development asset that Andersen Design is to the Boothbay Region, Maine, as well as to the American ceramics industry, is highly unqualified  to decide what is appropriate, unless they are acting as exclusive representatives of the faction to which the neighbor attempting to close down  Simpson's boat yard belongs.

Objective B.2 , found in the comprehensive code, is standard code, but let it be said that businesses in the home are themselves residential properties. Often overlooked in planning board policy is that a business in the home is a specific lifestyle in which income producing activities are integrated with all the other activities taking place in the home. What is more holistic than a business in the home?
MISSION:  Reflect a broad and holistic definition of economic development
 Boothbay-Boothbay HarborDraft #2 Mission Statement of the Joint Economic Development Committee
Imagine if the regulations concerning the number of employees or independent contractors that town ordinances allow were applied to residential code. Will future ordinances limit the number of family members or guests allowed to be present in a home at one time? There is as much justification for such a regulation as there is for the inhabitants of Boothbay being required to go through "a simple review process" (Action B.2-2.) in order to engage in income earning activities in the privacy of their own homes, having little or no impacts on adjacent properties . What is a "simple review process" in this scenario. I submit that there is nothing "simple" about requiring such a review process for the activities described in the ordinance. That in itself is a draconian measure, which is never simple. Dear Lords, I am just here to beg your permission to sell my home made muffins at the church sale! Is this what we have come to? YES!

The planners go on to speak of how they will guide home businesses to relocate in "commercial/industrial districts". When a home business is ready to move to a stand alone location, the business owner will decide what is the best location for his business. If the Town ordinances accommodate the best location from the business person's perspective, then there is a match. If not the business will look for a another community which serves its needs.

The number of employees which any business can hire is naturally limited by the amount of space it occupies. There is no need for ordinances to cap the growth of home businesses by capping the number of employees and independent contractors a home business can hire. There is particularly no need for the selectmen to regulate income producing activities done in one's own home, which do not affect the neighbor hood. This language has persisted in the planners rhetoric since 2014 when I went to the town office to pick up a simple DBA form and was handed a an application for doing a business in the home instead of the document requested. I wondered that day if I had signed the document would I have cancelled our grandfathered zoning. The incident was irrational and bespoke of an in-inordinately controlling culture existing in Town government.

I make the point a second time that a reason to create a Town Charter for Boothbay is that it can limit the powers of the selectmen. I am of the opinion that that centrally managing our economy is not an appropriate role of government.

The Boothbay Register reports that the JECD has new plans in the works which will be financed with tiffs. The JECD's mission statement says it will carry out work in a transparent and cooperative way but the public is paying for consultants without being offered a clue about what is being planned. The Comprehensive Plan states that if a state approved plan is presented, Boothbay can get a state grant. In the next post I will speculate on what those plans might be, drawing on knowledge of state economic development policy gained from seven years of independent research,

In the meantime I am  Calling all Angels to pray for a miraculous intervention in next week so that Andersen Design can retain this business in the home with its very important grand fathered zoning. Please include us in your prayers. Read more HERE.

Mug by Weston Neil Andersen decorated by Brenda Andersen in the 1950's