News Brief

NNEPRA reports May ridership missed FY2017 target by 5%, due to loss of approximately 2,500 riders because of weekend curtailments and heat restrictions. May ridership was only 261 passengers below May of last year. FY2017 YTD ridership is 9% ahead of target. When the June numbers come in, FY2017 promises to be a very successful year. 

The Layover Advisory Board, created by NNEPRA to work with the opponents of the Brunswick Layover Facility, met last week to discuss the color and lighting of the proposed Downeaster facility. The local paper somehow failed to provide the disturbing specifics of the NIMBY's opposition to the agenda. Here is a letter, sent to the Town Council, by one of the pro-layover West Brunswick residents detailing the rude and disturbing antics employed by the opposition.

July 26, 2014

To:  Brunswick Town Councilor Benet Pols

From:  Jeff Reynolds 

RE:  Dysfunction of the Layover Advisory Committee 

Dear Councilor Pols, 

On July 24, 2014, the Layover Advisory Committee met at Council chambers in Brunswick.  I attended—and will never forget what I, along with others, witnessed.

Among the members of the Committee are three citizens who live near the site of the soon-to-be built Downeaster layover and maintenance facility.  These citizens also happen to belong to and occupy leadership roles in the Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition (BWNC).  Their names:  Dan Sullivan, Chris Casey, Robert Morrison. 

In decades of attending and participating in meetings of various sorts I have never seen behavior such as that exhibited by the aforementioned citizens.  They were uniformly rude, insinuating and insulting, insistent on having it their way or no way or at all.  It was nothing short of outrageous.[1]

One brief example will suffice.  An engineer for the firm that will build the layover facility gave a PowerPoint presentation on the lighting plan for the site and structure.  Images were displayed on the west wall of the Council chamber.  This was information of vital import to me as a resident of the neighborhood near the site, and it had been deemed important enough to the BWNC to merit frequent mention in public forums, letters, their website, and more.

Throughout the presentation all three BWNC members faced the east wall, their backs to the speaking podium.  Dan Sullivan kept his eyes shut tightly the entire time.  Chris Casey and Robert Morrison carried on a conversation so loudly that those of us in the audience had difficulty hearing what the consultant was saying.  When the Committee chair asked if the citizen members had any questions or comments pertaining to the lighting plan, Robert Morrison ignored the invitation and instead read a prepared two-page BWNC “position paper” that had nothing, nothing whatsoever to do with lighting or any other agenda item.

Amplify this kind of juvenile meanness for the duration of the meeting and you get an inkling of what occurred.  The worst part, however, and the part I want you to keep in mind as you consider future action, occurred when the ostensive purpose of the meeting—to select a color for the building—came up.

The BWNC members refused to participate, and this after they, like me, had been sent ahead of time by mail, professional, color illustrations of various color schemes and instructions on how to make preferences known through an on-line service.  I participated on-line.  As a neighborhood resident I looked forward to engaging further in the selection process.

Here’s my point.  By refusing to participate in this activity, and through their relentlessly “obstructionary” behavior throughout the meeting, the three members of the BWNC have abrogated their right to represent the residents who live near the Church-Stanwood site.  All three must be released from their places on the Committee and replacements found who will participate constructively.

Furthermore, since this facility is of great interest across Brunswick, new appointees ought to be welcomed from all parts of the area, up to and including Freeport.

Lastly, members of all Town committees represent Brunswick.  They are our public face.  In light of their reprehensible behavior at the July 24 meeting, all three citizen members of the Layover Advisory Committee ought to apologize formally, in public, to the other members of that Committee and to Brunswick as a whole. 

Sincerely,

Jeff Reynolds

36 Redwood Lane

Brunswick, ME  04011  

Cc:  Town Councilor John Perreault

     Town Councilor John Richardson

     Ms. Patricia Quinn

[1]. . . and in contrast, the other Committee members were helpful, courteous, and patient beyond the capacities of most of us. 

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Here is the orgininal Forecaster article which failed to mentioned the coalition's disruptive tactics.