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JECD Group Holds Master Plan Pow Wow for Boothbay Peninsula

The most honest statement to come out of the ringleaders of the Joint Economic Community Development Group in their first workshop program was "none of us are experts on economic development", which in my most humble opinion is evident in the fact that the JECD begins with the premise that economic development can be master minded by central management.

The article in the Boothbay Register begins with this paragraph:
The Joint Economic Development Committee master plan workshop on Thursday, Oct. 12 discuss findings from stakeholder interviews conducted early last month. The interviews centered around building an overall economic development strategy for Edgecomb, Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor and Southport.
Who are the stakeholders?  A search for articles in the Boothbay Register comes up short. Why is the public not told who the stakeholders are. Since the taxpayers of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor footed the bill for the JECD's consultants, why are they not the stakeholders?
(in gambling) an independent party with whom each of those who make a wager deposits the money or counters wagered.
a person with an interest or concern in something, especially a business. Google dictionary

In an  October 3rd article in the Boothbay Register,  announcing the work shop, we are told that Camoin Associates, the New York consulting firm, hired by the JECD,  spent a full hour and a half touring the region and interviewed the mysterious 73 stakeholders, still not explaining why 73 people are the stakeholders in a project financed by local taxpayers.
In June, the JEDC hired Camoin Associates to draft a regional economic development master plan. Camoin began examining the region’s potential for expansion on July 14 during a 90-minute van tour of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb and Southport. During the tour, Camoin interviewed 73 stakeholders in the region’s economic development. The firm also separately interviewed Bryer and Boothbay Harbor Town Manager Tom Woodin. 
Although the JECD was formed by the selectmen of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor, without the consent of inhabitants of the two municipalities, the stated purpose of the JECD group is to advocate for a centrally managed economy of all four municipalities on the Boothbay Peninsula, Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Southport, and Edgecomb. In the articles I have been following about the JECD, there are recurring mentions of  taxpayers from Southport and Edgecomb not chipping in to pay for the JECD's unsolicited services Why are the 73 stakeholders not responsible for the financing the JECD's designs for our communities, since they clearly have their own special interests being represented over and above the general inhabitants of the peninsula?

The economic development pow wow was conducted by Camoin Associates. When I learned about Camoin Associates, I took it upon myself to inform them about the Andersen Design Museum of American Craftsmen. Having been dismissed by three members of the JECD group when I approached them for advice or assistance, I knew that if I did not speak for our own interests, no one else would. I received what came across as the usual formality in response, a conclusion confirmed when Caimon Associates did not stop by to interview Andersen Design in their trip around the region, which as stated targeted the club of mysterious shareholders, exclusively.

NEDA’s Core Philosophy:“We believe economic development is inseparably intertwined with both community development and the leveraging of community assets to drive change. By forming collaborative partnerships pursuing goals similar to ours, local resources are maximized and the foundation for community sustainability is established from local stakeholders and small businesses committed to their common future”.

Jim Damicis was the spokesperson for Caimon Associates I googled Mr Danicus and learned that Jim Damicis is the past President of the Northeastern Economic Development Association, a non-profit organization in the economic regionalism business. I oppose regionalism on the grounds that regionalism is a device sometimes used to supplant the public referendums, required by the Maine Constitution, with governing boards, as the JECD appears ambitious to become.
2: eliminate the requirement for a local referendum on municipal bond issues
 Governor’s Task Force for Economic Redevelopment, Recommended Legislation for an Economic Development Program -110th Congress
I was attracted by a webinar listed on Northeastern Economic Development Association website THE CASE OF DISAPPEARING MAIN STREET RETAIL, composed in part by Jim Damicis.

The first of the five trends that the report says will influence the future of retailing are consistent with my pitch for the Andersen Design of American Designer Craftsmen as a focus for attracting designer craftsmen to a region. as told,separately, to the deaf hears of three representatives of the JECD group.

Main Street Retailers need to provide an authentic
local experience through products AND services

  • Hard to ship items
  • Freshly prepared foods with local ingredients
  • Items that highlight local pride or community spirit
  • Experiences that are dependent on local setting or social interactions THE CASE OF DISAPPEARING MAIN STREET RETAIL

Three out of four of the high lighted points are advantages which an  Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen can deliver, the more so because of the Andersen Design brand itself. Our customers are very loyal and will travel many miles out of their way just to come to our gallery. Our customers often spend a great deal of time deliberating which seal's eye's speak to them, which one can only do as an in-store experience. From the very first day, in 1952, that Andersen Design opened its gallery in a 200 year old barn on Southport Island, we offered a completely unique product which could not be found else where and was instantly successful with locals and summer visitors alike. We frequently hear from our customers that they are so glad we are still here, which may not be the case for much longer.
The downtown development table wished to see a longer tourist season, a more vibrant diversity of shops, restaurants, and lodging, and a downtown that is not virtually shut down after tourists leave until the next season. Master plan workshop gets communities talking
In the section on advise for community leaders, the report recommends:
Understand and Play to Your Strengths
  • Every community has a unique portfolio of hidden assets
  •  Culture
  •  History
  • Geographic location
  • Local industries, etc.
  • & People
  • Recognize which assets could be better leveraged
  • Historical architecture is often neglected
  • Target under performing or vacant space
In the TOWN OF BOOTHBAY, ME COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 2015, it is advised that if the town works with the state agenda, it can get state money. That may be so but in so doing the town betrays the function that local resources are supposed to serve as representatives of the local community. The State early on excluded the retail sector from its economic development benefits, despite the fact that the State reels in money through sales taxes.


§13063-C. Job Retention Program

2. Definitions.  As used in this section the following terms have the following meanings.
A. "Certified retained business" means any for-profit business in this State other than a public utility as defined by Title 35-A, section 102 that retains 100 or more qualified employees in this State and that meets all of the following criteria to the satisfaction of the commissioner:
(1) The business is not engaged in retail operations; or, if it is engaged in retail operations, less than 50% of its total annual revenues from state-based operations are derived from sales taxable in this State or the business can demonstrate to the commissioner by a preponderance of the evidence that any increased sales will not include sales tax revenues derived from a transferring or shifting of retail sales from other businesses in this State; and
(2) The commissioner determines that the business is a successor to a business that would have ceased operations in this State but for the acquisition of that business after September 1, 1996 by the applicant by any means and the applicant demonstrates to the commissioner its intention to continue to operate and employ qualified employees in the State.
For purposes of this paragraph, "retail operations" means sales of consumer goods for household use to consumers who personally visit the business location to purchase the goods. [1997, c. 393, Pt. A, §13 (RPR).]
B. "Qualified employees" means full-time employees who are employed by a certified retained business, for whom a retirement program subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 United States Code, Sections 101 to 1461, as amended, and group health insurance are provided, and whose income, calculated on a calendar year basis, is greater than the average annual per capita income in the labor market area in which the qualified employee is employed. Qualified employees must be residents of this State. [1997, c. 393, Pt. A, §13 (RPR).] 

The above is taken from the statute governing the Department of Economic and Community Development, which serves as the planning board for the FAME corporation, a Maine government corporation which concentrates and redistributes capital to its targeted sector offering "quality jobs".

The first definition A, shows a fundamental fallacy of centrally managed economic development policy. The economy either consists only of  businesses hiring more than 100 employees or those businesses are the only ones targeted for retention by central management. Further more the policies of central management are extremely biased against the retail sector, which are do not offer "quality jobs" pursuant to central management's definition, which is found in. definition B. Imagine how the cost of everything would rise if the retail sector conformed to state "certified retained business" specifications! Imagined how difficult it would be to capitalize a retail business if retail businesses had to conform to state "quality jobs" definition- a term also used by the JECD group ?

By the policies of the state, a "certified retained business" employs over 100 employees, who are paid higher than average wages and receive retirement benefits and health care. If a business can meet those requirements,then it is eligible for the whole package of corporate welfare entitlements distributed by the state to make all of those benefits affordable to the states targeted sector. Imagine what an economy composed of only "certified retained businesses" would look like. This is why we need The System Outside the System more than ever. Visualize a society with no small businesses, in which everyone must necessarily wok for a large corporation and the large corporations orbit around the state with each one vying for their handouts from big daddy.

As Andersen Design faces relocation, getting beyond the $1000,00 in personal contributions required by our fiscal sponsor before we can apply for foundation grants is more important than ever. Contributions made to the Andersen Design American Phoenix Project are tax deductible. All contributions made can be used to fund a space where Andersen Design can have its 65 years of vintage work on display and organized, as well as office, photography, and graphic design space needed to carry on the archival data base. Additional funding will allow us to hire and train assistants,


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