Sunday, March 04, 2007


I was working two jobs this past week, so please pardon the dearth of posts. The good news is that I've settled in at GrowSmart and am daily adding interactivity to their web page, and the better news is that we're building some serious bipartisan momentum behind the recommendations of the Brookings report. If you'd like to receive our electronic newsletters and action alerts, sign up at the web page and enjoy the electronic scenery while you're there.

Besides that, I've got a six-shooter full of bullets saved up from the past week's news. Let's just wait for that tumbleweed to clear the street, and... draw!

  • Last Thursday's planned forum on the proposals for the Maine State Pier turned into an Olympia Companies promotional opportunity when Ocean Properties (the competing developers) bailed out of the event and stood up about a sixty concerned citizens. I dropped in for a few minutes and watched the end of Olympia's development presentation - they included side-by-side renderings of the two developments in their slide show, and left copies of the competition's proposal booklet next to their own at every table in the room. These guys seem pretty confident that their proposal will only benefit from side-by-side comparison...

  • ...and now that the competing Ocean Properties proposal is finally available from their architects' web site, detailed side-by-side comparisons are possible. This possibility does not serve Ocean Properties well: as it turns out, citizens would generally rather have a big waterfront park than a big waterfront parking lot. Then there's the fact that the writing in the Ocean Properties proposal seems to have been outsourced to Mrs. Altantsetseg's 6th grade English class in the Ulaanbaatar Primary School:

    From a passage describing a project in Palm Beach (page 10 of the RFP):
    "The City's convention center lacked the hotel rooms nessarry [sic] to attract conventions that required immeditae [sic] access from an attached hotel. The RFP attract [sic] serious international competion [sic] from which OPL was selected and will shortly be building [sic]."
    I am not making this up - the proposal is worth downloading just for the spectacular grammatical train wrecks. But my favorite passage comes when this prose crashes into the biographical details of the prestigious public figure who lent his name to the proposal:

    From Senator George Mitchell's bio in the "About the Developers" section:
    "He established and currently serves an Honorary Chairman of The Mitchell Institute... [imagine that: "Senator, fetch my Honorary Slippers!"] While [co-developer] Tom Walsh and George Mitchell have gone on to do other things they have never given up their mutual intrests [sic] in working together on an economic development project for their native state."

  • Finally, former Planning Board member John Anton has published his thoughts on the development proposals in an excellent essay on The Bollard. He cites a "key value expressed in the city waterfront planning documents – 'surface parking on the waterfront is the nightmare scenario,'" and also argues that "it is unacceptable that a public body constrain waterfront non-marine development [i.e., with working waterfront zoning] in its capacity as a regulator, while actively promoting [non-marine development] in its capacity as a landowner."

  • Enough about the Pier. Here's a new Maine-focused environmental blog from the Portland Press Herald: John Richardson's "Down To Earth". The Vigorous North is glad to have the company, and our readers will be glad to have an alternative that isn't distracted by Turnpike expansions and waterfront development proposals.

  • And here's what looks like an awesome PBS series about restoring nature in our cities: Edens Lost and Found. I can't find it on the MPBN schedule, but their web site is a fine read on its own.

1 comment:

John Anton said...

Thanks for the praise of my essay. Hope you will turn out to the City Council's CDC meeting on 3/20. They need to see a crowd. I liked your bollard piece about the fbo - keep up the bloggery.