Analysis & Discussion of Joint Economic Development Council of Boothbay & Boothbay Harbor (JECD) Mission Statement:
This is the mission statement of the JECD:
Boothbay-Boothbay HarborDraft #2 Mission Statement of the Joint Economic Development Committee• Reflect a broad and holistic definition of economic development
The mission of the Joint EDC is to promote sustainable economic development with a focus on retaining, attracting and increasing local business and quality jobs, while balancing infrastructure capacity, natural resources protection, and community and neighborhood character.
Other themes for continuing discussion, as possible goals or priorities to include in the EDC’s workplan or in the economic development strategy:
• Reflect a broad and holistic definition of economic development
• Strengthen both year-round and seasonal businesses
• Expand affordable housing options for young families, local employees, and seniors
• Support innovative technologies and business sectors that build on the assets of the area
• Support efforts to increase the attractiveness of the area for younger people and families
• Encourage a variety of workforce education and training opportunities for local residents
• Carry out the Committee’s work in a transparent and cooperative way
This statement does not comport with my own experience. When I reached out to the JECD, to seek advice about how to go about fundraising and finding an advisory board for the proposed Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen. Wendy Wolf interpreted my request as asking for the JECD to do our fundraising and said the JEDC cannot work on behalf of individual business. The latter statement is demonstrably untrue. The JEDC arranged for the fire department to hang Christmas lights for individual businesses. JEDC will work on behalf of individual businesses if it serves its own agenda.
A request for the Boothbay Town Charter revealed that Boothbay does not have a charter. Boothbay has been a town since the 1700's. The current administrative code repealed and replaced the 1950's code in 2005, but there is no indication of the governing authorization to do so. The picture which I am getting is that the town selectmen make up the rules, without principals or parameters to govern the selectmen. I will research this further, suffice it to say, it appears that the JECD does the same, and so, if the JEDC cannot act on behalf of individual businesses, it is a self-imposed rule. Every other economic development organization I have encountered, works with individual businesses, which make up a free enterprise economy. A free enterprise economy is antithetical to a centrally controlled and planned economy.
The JDEC mission statement says that "strengthening year round and seasonal businesses is a JEDC goal." How do they propose to do this without acting on the behalf of individual businesses? By investing taxpayer money in the Festival of Lights?
All told the 27400.00 cost for lights is shared equally by the two towns but the lights overwhelmingly benefit individual businesses located in Boothbay Harbor. The JEDC's great accomplishment, thus far, is to transfer the financing of a conventional Chamber of Commerce function, from volunteer contributions from businesses that are advantaged by the function, to mandated payment by all taxpayers in two municipalities.
Noting that the JECD Mission Statement uses the term "quality jobs", a term found throughout Maine State economic development policy since the Longley Doctrine was implemented. That doctrine was declared by the Legislature when it deemed that "centrally managing the economy is an essential government function which must be done by public private relationships".The term "quality jobs" is used by the Maine Legislature to connote tax payer subsidized jobs which pay higher than average and offer better than average benefits.
The mission statement also speaks of a "broad and holistic definition of economic development" which is a contradiction in terms to "quality jobs" which refers to jobs in the upper crust of the economym only, while equating "quality" with "monetary value" is truly not holistic It is hard to believe that anyone in Maine. let alone the JECD, which includes some who have worked for the DECD, would use the term "quality jobs" intending a different meaning than that defined by the Maine Legislature.
While the JECD is instrumental in legitimizing central economic planning as an essential municipal service, which will drive up the costs of property taxes, it declares another facet of its mission to be " to expand affordable housing options for young families, local employees, and seniors." While affordable housing is a contingency to economic development, it is an additional layer of management, adding further costs to municipal services funded by property taxes. Once the economy is being centrally managed everything else follows on the path to totalitarianism. Affordable housing is best helped along, in this case, by keeping property taxes low by limiting the size of government.
• Support innovative technologies and business sectors that build on the assets of the area
The above statement is typical of the rhetoric found in state economic development policy- giving substance to the speculation that the JECD's "master plan" is for the Boothbay Region is be the next target of the state agenda, perhaps to be modeled on the great success of the municipality-serving-as-an instrument-of the state, MRRA. The state and federal tax payer subsidized town of MRRA is sold in the Maine media as a great success because it is creating many jobs, seldom mentioning that it is a prime beneficiary of Pine Tree Zone tax incentives or that the state grant nearly pays for the interest on the debt of this quasi-local-state town. It is not a free enterprise system when government decides which business sectors will be supported and which will merely be assigned to be the beasts of burden. My local family business, Andersen Design, is a local asset in an industry which has never been on the priorities list of the public private hegemony that runs the centralized economy of Maine. When one's enterprise is one of the few companies in one's own industry which did not, decades ago, move its production to global low cost labor markets, there is little in the way of network support for one's industry. Ceramic slip-casting is a mindful and engaging work process but there are only a handful of companies doing slip-casting in the USA. Andersen Design's unparalleled line of market tested designs is a great asset not only for a local economy but for potentially revitalizing ceramic slip-casting in the USA. (In that regard please support my petition to extend services offered by Maine's public charity for capitalists to include the broad economy of Maine at no tax payers expense which you can read about HERE), I have presented by own concept of Andersen Design, the production and the Museum, as economic development asset to several known members of the JECD, only to have my presentation blown off, usually with the inevitable internet link to somewhere else, and never with a sentence of engagement in response to the ideas that I have presented.
The string of generalities in the above statement is typical of political speech. What really does "innovative technologies" have to do with "assets of the area" ? What do those terms mean? And why is "business sectors" thrown into the middle of it?
When I presented JECD spokeerson Wendy Wolf with my idea for the Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen, her response was to tell me that the JECD could not assist individual businesses, and then to provide an internet link to a different organization. Then Ms Wolf said " I would seek the advice of your peers on how to develop your board and the support for the Design Museum." That is to say that she and I are not peers. She is in charge of developing the master economic development plan for my home town and I a representative of a long standing free enterprise business in my home town- the first ceramic enterprise to be established in the Boothbay Region , which now fosters a mini- industry, which in economic development policy speech is called a "cluster industry"
When I first started paying attention to Maine economic development policy, the Baldacci administration was at its beginning. Baldacci's buzz phrase was "the creative economy" . I, at first, took the phrase to mean "thinking creatively about the entire economy". In my complete nativity, I imagined that economic development policy would begin with already existent businesses and lending support to improve existing businesses. This is the way I conceive a government economic development policy because government is supposed to serve the general public and not special interests, only.
I soon learned that "creative economy" was merely a term of class distinction, invented by Governor Baldacci's guru, Richard Florida. At that time social networking was in its infancy. The channel used was a "creative economy list-serve" distributed by the Maine government and regulated by a jury. I subscribed to the list-serve but every time an interesting conversation emerged, it was soon nixed by the jury, The news letter distributed by the creative economy list serve featured individual businesses. All of the websites of featured businesses included a declaration which attributed Richard Florida as their inspiration.
What is in MS Wolf's background which qualifies her to develop an economic development master plan for the Boothbay community?
According to the Boothbay Register, " Wolf spent two decades practicing as a pediatric cardiologist before transiting her career to focus on health policy and philanthropy.".
Health care is an honorable field but is not a qualification for developing economic development policy.
Foundations are part of the wealth redistribution economy, For an economy to grow,it has to create wealth. In fact for any wealth to be re-distributed, it first has to be created, The free enterprise sector, in its entirety, is the "broad business sector" which creates wealth, versus the state capitalism and philanthropy sectors which redistribute wealth. An understanding of wealth redistributed practices does not equate with an understanding of how wealth is created.
See my conception of the interactive relationship between the wealth re-distributive and wealth creation sectors as a means to rebuilding the middle sector of the economy HEREIf Ms Wolf is on the board whose mission is to create a master plan for my home town, and if her qualifications are not based in any degree of experience working in the wealth creation sector, then is it not reasonable to assume that Ms Wolf is there on the basis of her experience in the wealth re- distributive sector? Ms Wolf spent the last fifteen years as CEO of a health care foundation. Wendy Wolf has been on many boards, and yet as a member of a group which is using local tax payer money to develop their economic development master plan for our community, Ms Wolf cannot give advice about how to go about finding a board for a museum to someone whom she does not consider to be in her "peer class". Why can she not extend a helping hand in an area she knows well? Because the self imposed rules of the JECD forbid it? How then can the JECD be said to be representatives of this community? How can the JECD justify the sentence " Reflect a broad and holistic definition of economic development"? Before the JECD can reflect the "broad and holistic economy", the JECD first has to be willing to engage it !
The words of Peggy Cosgrove come to mind:
Don't expect to be popular or thanked. Economic development is as much political change as it is economic change. It will be vigorously resisted by the standing political system even though they stand to gain economically. The shifts are perceived as threats to the old power structure, and probably arePeggy Cosgrove was speaking as a representative of the New London Development Corporation which was involved in a law suit in which a transformational Us Supreme Court ruling was made. That law suit is Kelo vs New London.The US Supreme Court decision says that if a private company promises to provide 1000 jobs or more, it can use the government's power of eminent domain to over ride the private property rights of individual citizens,
The following is quoted from the closing of the first chapter of my book, Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of tje Means of Production
The report on the New London Development Corporation prepared for The American Assembly by Peggy Cosgrove ends with these words:
Don't expect to be popular or thanked. Economic development is as much political change as it is economic change. It will be vigorously resisted by the standing political system even though they stand to gain economically. The shifts are perceived as threats to the old power structure, and probably areIndeed, public private relationships formed in the interests of centrally managing the economy do represent a political change. In Maine that change has been from a state responsible to the consent of the governed as codified in the Maine State Constitution to a public corporation working in conjunction with private interests and ultimately serving the masters of global capitalism.
This story is about the fundamental transformation of the State of Maine, focusing on the years commencing in 1977 when the Maine Legislature chartered the Maine Development Foundation- a non-profit corporation, declaring as they did so that centrally managing the economy is an essential government function and thus initiating a political as well as an economic change without ever asking for the consent of the governed in a state once identified with rugged individualism.
To be continued in another blog post