Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

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Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Phil Blampied on Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:04 pm

It is important to put a stop to the false and destructive rumors being promoted by anonymous posters on this blog
about the town's economic development efforts.

The economic development budget was not proposed by the casino promoters.

The economic development committee was not inspired or created and is not controlled by the casino promoters.

The town can not and will not give the casino referendum or any political campaign one penny of tax dollars.

It would be a risky business, indeed, for any town government to start contributing to political campaigns of any kind. While there may not be a statutory prohibition, legal common sense says that you can't use the tax powers of the government to extract money from Republicans to give to Democrats running for office, nor to extract cash from Democrats for Republicans. In Rumford, you can't tax casino opponents to fund the casino referendum. Such legal thin ice could very well land local officials in the hoosegow, and I'm sure they know that full well. Len Greaney made it clear (although the Sun Journal omitted it) that the selectmen's vote to endorse the casino referendum in no way included any financial support. Check the tape.

The amount of $90,000 for the economic development budget was conceived by a group, not including me, during last year's budget process. Fathers of the idea included the selectmen seated at the time, Jim Doar and Len Greaney. The idea was to hire an economic developer, and such people usually demand a grand a week plus for their services, thus, with benefits and paperclips, you need $90,000 if you want to have one of them sitting in your town hall.

This worried me and I lobbied strongly against hiring a grand-a-weeker. There are some economic development professionals who do marvelous work and for some reason many of them are in southern New Hampshire. The Pease Development Authority has turned a barren airfield into a bustling office park. Dover and Rochester New Hampshire are blossoming with government-assisted projects. But most of those in the field specialize primarily in cashing their own paychecks.

The problem is the difficulty found in economic development or any sales effort: to talk to people who don't necessarily want to talk to you. People who hang up on you. People who keep you on hold. People who are somehow always in a meeting when you call. But you have to keep calling, and not everybody is cut out to do that.

Many people get into an "economic developer" job as part of pursuing a government career. They are essentially bureaucrats, comfortable in the world of government and non-profits, but not too adept when it comes to private enterprise. They will spend their time handing out their business cards to non-threatening people - other government employees, non-profit employees, elected officials and existing businesses - and then count it as a good job done to have spent the week in meetings and conferences.
This accomplishes very little in the way of real economic growth.

I argued for the concept of a volunteer group of those citizens with the drive and the background you need to make the calls, even when you get insulted and treated brusquely and rudely. And we actually got just such a group together and we have been making the calls (and yes, sometimes getting treated brusqely and rudely). During the two months during which a grand-a-weeker would have taken about $8000 from the town coffers and probably accomplished little more than business card distribution, we have put in hundreds of volunteer hours and spent less than a thousand dollars. (The money went mostly for printing presentation materials). That leaves a lot of money in the budget for direct promotional efforts and presumably some of it will endure to be carried over to the next year.
Those materials, the result of many of those hours, are in a professional looking presentation folder for those who still prefer paper, and in a .pdf file for those more computer literate. Take a look: http://www.growrumford.com/Rumforddata.pdf Many thanks to Kim Sequoia for her help and significant committment of time.

While the folder jacket is printed, the internal material is computer generated, and thus can be changed whenever needed. In fact, if anyone has any suggestions for changes or improvements, please contact me at oops.com
Ask anyone from an advertising agency or a consulting firm how much they would have charged for such a package. Five thousand, ten
thousand? While it may not have the graphic pizzazz of an ad agency product, the taxpayers got it for little more than a very modest print bill and the cost of a couple of printer cartridges. Further, we can upgrade it as people with the skills to do so present themselves to us.

What else is happening? Although the selectmen had us discuss the casino survey, we otherwise are spending no time whatsoever on the casino. What we are doing is the following:

With volunteers Jim Rinaldo and Chris Brennick, and committee coordinator Phil Blampied, the retail subcommittee has been in touch with dozens of retailers including major national brand name businesses. With a positive reception from some of those contacted, the volunteers recently hosted the vice-president of a major chain, giving him a tour of the town and possible locations.
With volunteers Mark Henry and Charles Welch, the wood products subcommittee has been investigating the full field of wood industries from wood crafting to wood pellet manufacturing. The committee has been in touch with all three operating pellet mills in Maine, and elicited interest from one of the owners in exploring the potential in the Rumford area further.

Volunteer Mark Henry and committee coordinator Phil Blampied are beginning to explore the feasibility of a crafts co-op in Rumford, with the idea of filling one of the local empty storefronts. The co-op would not depend exclusively on local business, but would have an aggressive internet presence. A meeting to explain the concept and recruit local crafters will be held Saturday, September 27 at 10 am in the town hall auditorium. For more information, contact Mark at 207-332-3995, or Phil at 364-3827.

Rinaldo and Blampied have also compiled an updated inventory of the commercial property available in Rumford, and several committee members and town manager Len Greaney are in conversation with the developer of an industrial process about the possibility of locating here.

None of this activity just walked through the door. It is happening because we are doing the footwork and making the calls.
While out-of-town casino opponents, including the paid flacks who are apparently posting anonymously here, don't care if Rumford rots to dust as long as it's an effective anti-casino tactic to attack, undermine and spread rumors about the economic development effort, those who actually live here will only hurt the town and themselves if they join in. Phil Blampied

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:28 pm

Phil is correct. If anyone were to check the records, they would find the same. It is a shame that so many spout off in ignorance. It is hurtful to people and our community. That is one reason I hold no creedence in most of what is posted here. It is a good way to learn what falsehoods are being spread in town, but as for the facts, it is less reliable than the Sun Journal (and they are a tough group to beat).

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Admin on Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:27 am

Hi Phil,

Thanks for the great post. It seems clear from your post that you and some of the others in the Economic Development Committee (EDC) are doing some great things. Iím sure everyone appreciates the update. I know I do.

You said there were false and destructive rumors being posted on this site. Although you donít say specifically what the rumors are, it seems from your writing itís about the use of the EDC money budgeted by the town and the efforts of the EDC. To that end I have some thoughts to share and some questions for you.

The economic development budget was not proposed by the casino promoters.

Mark Belanger lobbied hard for $90,000 to be put in the Economic Development Committee budget. He did this knowing it would be a committee and not a paid position and he never said anything tangible about plans for this money to my knowledge. That alone is going to make people suspicious about what the plans might be for the money. Mark Belanger has been quite vocal about his support for the Casino for some time now.

The economic development committee was not inspired or created and is not controlled by the casino promoters.

No one said it was. What was said is that there is an awful lot of vocal Casino supporters appointed to the committee. Given the timing of this committee, the energy the committee has put into the casino project and the makeup of the committee; people are naturally going to wonder. I certainly did and still do. That may not be fair to you but itís the hand you were dealt.

The town can not and will not give the casino referendum or any political campaign one penny of tax dollars.

That is great to hear. I canít imagine that a municipality could ethically spend tax payer money to affect the outcome of an election. However we now have slightly less than $90,000 earmarked for Economic Development. Could that money be used to support a casino, say with upgrades to the infrastructure supporting the Casino?

That $90,000 was supported by the selectmen at a time when it seemed unclear why this committee would need that amount. At the same time there were grave cuts to our public safety budgets that has created safety concerns for citizens and has torn at the pillars of the infrastructure of our town. It made no sense to me and Iíve learned from experience that when things donít make sense itís usually because something else is up. If you can shed some more light on this it would be great.

It seems you took some of the post on here personally and make a statement that the posts on this site hurt the townís economic development efforts. Letís be candid here. There has been an awful lot of infighting in the town and it seemed to start about the same time that this Casino effort got under way. Thatís quite a coincidence. Citizens are going to express their opinions and ask questions. This forum is one way for people to be involved. I think your post went a long way to began to answer some questions about the efforts of the EDC. For the well being of our town I hope itís just the beginning because public perception is important.

I do take issue with your comment about out of town paid flacks posting here. That is not happening to my knowledge although Iíve wondered about out of town Casino proponents posting here. I have allowed posts by Dennis Bailey but I have also allowed post by Seth Carey. If you have followed the workings of this site from the beginning I think you will agree that we have tried to be fair and have allowed all sides to make their case and express their opinions here. Thatís the beauty of operating a forum like this. All you have to do is sign up and follow some common community behavioral expectation.

I want to invite you to use this forum to get your message across about all the great work you and the EDC is doing. Please post your minutes if you wish or just drop a note here to let the community know whatís going on. Please donít think for one minute that the work you and the EDC do isnít valued.

Thanks again for writing.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Admin on Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:22 am

One other question.

Since it wouldnít be ethical for Rumford to use tax payer money to influence an election, why is using tax payer resources to influence an election OK. If Town Manager Greaney goes ahead with running forums for the Casino, we will use town resources including the time and energy of the town manager and perhaps support staff, building use, and others. Since we pay the salary of our town manager there is definately going to be some costs to the tax payers. Whatís the difference?

Why would the town get involved in influencing this election when itís clearly the job of the Casino organizers?

Why wouldn't Rumford seek answers to how a Casino might impact our town in various ways, including the impact to schools, sewer and water and so forth?


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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by C on Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:58 pm

I think it would be wise for the EDC to avoid any involvement or even discussion regarding the casino until it has won approval at the Nov. elections. If it passed and if the casino were to be located here in the River Valley EDC would have something viable to work with, until then, even putting it up for discussion during meetings is a waste of time to all those putting effort into this committee. We already know it will be on the ballot, the selectfew have already supported it. At this time the energy being expended on all this speculation on something that likely won't win isn't a wise use of resources. What is the difference between the TM and the selectmen using their influence to affect the outcome of an election and what the FD was accused of??

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Various questions

Post by Phil Blampied on Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:27 pm

The economic development committee is like a pack of wolves hunting food for its cubs, the cubs being the town of Rumford.

I don't see the casino proposal as having much value as prey. I don't think we will be hunting there.

As far as what Len Greaney is doing, my first thought is that his efforts to illuminate the casino effort will have no actual dollar impact on the town budget. The town hall is already there, Len Greaney is already there and his contract does not have a provision for overtime. He can hold hearings at no cost to the taxpayers and it has the value of getting more information out.

But please separate any casino hearings and the general political environment of the selectmen from the economic development effort. It is not the same thing. Phil Blampied

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Dave on Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:36 pm

Phil - Despite your best intentions, it's quite obvious you don't have a clue about economic development. Do you seriously think a Catnip Farm is going to save the River Valley?

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but you have to recognize your lack of knowledge in this field. You don't know what you're talking about, and don't have a clue how things work.

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Here's an example of flacks trying to undermine the town to promote the anti-casino effort

Post by Phil Blampied on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:22 am

Dave wrote:Phil - Despite your best intentions, it's quite obvious you don't have a clue about economic development. Do you seriously think a Catnip Farm is going to save the River Valley?

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but you have to recognize your lack of knowledge in this field. You don't know what you're talking about, and don't have a clue how things work.

Since I have outed Mr. Bailey and/or one of his underlings as trying, in anonymous posts, to damage and disrupt Rumford as a tactic in fighting the casino, he needs now to undermine my credibility and I believe the above post is the beginning of that.

If "Dave" is not a paid flack, he should have the courage to identify himself and prove me wrong. If I am wrong, I will apologize. If he does not identify himself, keep in mind that all future Dave posts are only the propaganda efforts of a political campaign.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by marktripp on Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:42 am

Phil,
Regardless of right or wrong, it is nice to have a update from the EDC. It would be nice to see more on the RFP in the future.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by C on Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:45 pm

Phil, I agree with Mark. Welcome to RFP, I hope we will be hearing more from you. Smile

Dave wrote:Phil - Despite your best intentions, it's quite obvious you don't have a clue about economic development. Do you seriously think a Catnip Farm is going to save the River Valley?

Dave, For someone with the available land and not much money to invest, a catnip "farm" would be ideal. Catnip is in demand as they are now using it as an insect repellent ingredient. While it may not be a huge money maker on a small scale it certainly could be an economic boost to to a family who needs a little extra income. On a larger scale, I imagine it might be just as profitable as potatoes.... While one or two small enterprises won't "save" River Valley a multitude of them together very well could. I think Phil B. is trying to appeal to all entrepreneurs, those who can afford a larger investment and those who can't. Dave, it's the "outside the box" thinking that I believe will save River Valley so please don't knock any of us who are taking that route.


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re

Post by Phil on Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:05 pm

Hello Phil:
First, thanks for all the work you do on the EDC.

I was curious what communication you have had with Seth Carey and/or Len Greaney regarding the casino? Meetings? Phone Calls? Emails? If so, what was discussed? What was the overall general results on these communications?

Thanks
Phil

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Phil Blampied on Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:14 pm

I will be glad to answer this question and any others that come from posters with the character and decency to identify themselves. Come out from behind your screen name and I'll respond.

PHIL BLAMPIED

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Phil on Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:26 pm

This is why I want to remain unidentified. I have asked a straight forward question that was not offensive or biased in anyway and I am insulted and called names, adn you refuse to answer the question. Is the $90,000 you have tax payer dollars? Is so, you are acting in a very unprofessional manner. If not, then its your right not to answer any questions.

Again, I thank you for your efforts working on the EDC.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by C on Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:53 pm

Phil B. we've been round and round both here and on the Open Doar regarding anonymity. I take offense that you imply that because some prefer to use a username (which is common throughout all forums on the web) that it denotes a lack of character or decency. I assure you, I personally, score quite high on the character and decency chart. By using my real name I'm sure many in this town would start working quite diligently to muddy that. I saw it happen to a friend and believe me they had no morals as to how far they would go. If someone sends threats to my pseudonym I can deal with that, when someone sends threats to myself and family members by name that would be a problem for me. We all have our own reasons for posting by real or user name. That is a personal decision and is widely accepted on forums though the latter is always highly recommended. Would your publicly posted response to any given question be different to someone named Grampa Joe than it would be to someone named George G. Surname?

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:23 pm

Phil B.

Weíve been all around the issue of confidentiality on the Rumford Free Press and to some extent on this forum.

Check out this disturbing article from the RFP:

http://rumfordfreepress.blogspot.com/2008/06/extremely-disturbing-abusive-comments.html

This is another article on it:

http://rumfordfreepress.blogspot.com/2008/05/welcome-to-new-millennium.html

This is a comment from that article:

If you had a really good job you loved but knew your boss had a different opinion than you, would you risk your job to be able to express your opinion? What if that was a relative? Your friend? Your next door neighbor? What if it was simply someone you go to church with that wants to argue with you at the end of each service? Most of us probably donít go to work, family functions and especially church to argue politics.
If someone wants to remain confidential, that is their prerogative and they may elect to do so for all kinds of reason. Itís a common practice for members of an online community. We respect that and whether you agree with it or not, we ask you to respect it also.

You are being asked to put out information to the general public due to your leadership role on a public committee. If you choose not to do so then you have little grounds to complain about people having inaccurate or incomplete information about what your committee is doing.

I would think you would want to get this information out to the public, even if it was a column in the newspaper. You donít need to know the names of all the people that read the newspaper do you?

BTW, Daveís post attacking you has no merit or content in it at all. Itís simply a slam with little substance. We all get those sometimes. Daveís been posting here for awhile now and I havenít seen that but everyone should remember, you do have an online identity here. If you attack people without substance, you will soon loose credibility.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Phil Blampied on Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:11 pm

The new poster "Phil", created his name only today after I have raised questions about who exactly is hiding behind some existing identities.

He/she has chosen to use my name, which will create confusion as to who's saying what, probably deliberately.

He/she presents a prosecutorial series of questions, a "fishing expedition" technique usually meant to get someone to have to state numerous details about a situation so that if one or two details is remembered incorrectly, the inquisitor can levy the charge of untruthfulness.

Madame Administrator, you, as I recall, have expressed concern about the "anti-social capital" problem in Rumford. If you create a venue in which outsiders can attempt to disrupt and damage our community for their own ends, you yourself have become part of the anti-social capital. You need to re-think your policies. There may be ways other than revealing yourself personally to do a better job of screening who's on here.

If you have any questions about the economic development committee, you can call me (I'm in the book), attend a selectmen's meeting and ask, read the detailed minutes at town hall, or identify yourself clearly and honestly on this forum, and I will answer.

No one is under obligation to reply to a fishing expedition coming from an anonymous source under questionable conditions.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by C on Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:46 pm

It is confusing having two Phil's on the forum. Phil #2, would you be willing to re-register with a different username? Preferably one that isn't similar to someone already registered here.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Phil on Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:48 pm

I fail to see where my question could be distorted into anything but an honest request to learn more facts that you were so willing to provide in your first post. You stated rather forcely that the EDC and the casino promotors had little to do with one another, yet when asked a few basic questions you decide being insulting a secretive is the best action. I will assume that you have had meetings, emails and/or phone conversations with Seth and/or Len Greaney, for if you had not then a simple no would certainly been easy and surficed. I will also assume that those are conversations that you and/or the other party members are not proud of. I will also assume that you and/or Len Greaney and/or Seth Carey would like to keep those conversations secret.

See Phil, there are consequences to every action. If you were not prepared to answer questions about your public position then you should not have started this thread. Whats worse, a tax payer asking an anomymous question or a person with tax payer dollars not willing to answer?

Lastly, Len Greaney's emails are public record.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Phil on Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:52 pm

C wrote:It is confusing having two Phil's on the forum. Phil #2, would you be willing to re-register with a different username? Preferably one that isn't similar to someone already registered here.

my username is "Phil" (because thats my name) and his user name is "Phil Blampied". I don't understand the problem. See whats happened? While we argue names and this and that and blah and blah, attention gets diverted to the questions and answers. Its the old mans "look over here" defense.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by KevinNSaisi on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:19 pm

It is my understanding that the $90,000 was requested to give the efforts some cash to work with. It is unreasonable to expect any results from a group with no budget. The Growth Council was allocated $10,000 per year, and look what they have accomplished in the past few decades. The EDC is a task based group. I don't agree with all that they are trying to do, but I support the fact that they are doing something.

This conspiracy theory nonsense about funding the casino effort is merely political spin. The SJ wrote a misleading article, and the gullible readers swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. The numbers don't even add up. If Rumford were to allocate $20 per person, it would cost over $120,000. Given the misuse and illegal expenditures of previous boards, I can understand that some may think it plausible, but the people will not let it happen. Everyone is watching closely, and misuse of funds will not be tolerated. The committee has no power to spend any money. It needs to make requests for specific uses. If you have a concern over how the money is to be used, I suggest you contact the Town Manager and stop grilling Phil Blampied.


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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by T on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:19 pm

I am always wary of those who are more interested in identifying the person behind the idea or question, than the idea or question itself.

If you wish not to engage in a discussion or answer a question due to oneís anonymity, then donít. Anonymity does not equal lack of character or decency. Name-calling is juvenile.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by T on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:23 pm

wrote:stop grilling Phil Blampied.
Mr. Blampied started this thread and provided some very good, useful information. So, one can't ask him a question?

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Phil on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:39 pm

KevinNSaisi wrote:It is my understanding that the $90,000 was requested to give the efforts some cash to work with. It is unreasonable to expect any results from a group with no budget. The Growth Council was allocated $10,000 per year, and look what they have accomplished in the past few decades. The EDC is a task based group. I don't agree with all that they are trying to do, but I support the fact that they are doing something.

This conspiracy theory nonsense about funding the casino effort is merely political spin. The SJ wrote a misleading article, and the gullible readers swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. The numbers don't even add up. If Rumford were to allocate $20 per person, it would cost over $120,000. Given the misuse and illegal expenditures of previous boards, I can understand that some may think it plausible, but the people will not let it happen. Everyone is watching closely, and misuse of funds will not be tolerated. The committee has no power to spend any money. It needs to make requests for specific uses. If you have a concern over how the money is to be used, I suggest you contact the Town Manager and stop grilling Phil Blampied.

This topic and "conspiracy theory" has already been answered by Mr Phil Blampied. I'm asking what involvement the EDC and Mr Greaney have had with anyone involved with this casino project. If none state so, if involvement then I think giving an answer would be the responsible thing to do. Insulting the person asking the question and avoiding it for what I believe to be silly reasons is, in my opinion, the irresponsible thing to do , especially with tax payers money.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:53 pm

OK Phil B, I can see why you're nervous. Lord knows we have seen other web sites work hard to try to unfairly discredit people and have had an alarming amount of success.

You have to realize that trust is low in our community (and not just for you) due to all the nonsense that has been going on and the more open, forthright and non defensive you can be, the more people you will win over. Itís a tough job youíve signed up for.

Iím thinking you have been reading our site for awhile now if you known about our attempt to not create ďanti-social capitalĒ. From the beginning we have know that this is an imperfect online community created in an imperfect world but it really isnít much different than any other community. We believe that by allowing open debate here, we create a place that people can ask questions, express their opinions and get involved. In the 60ís the political activist were hippies, now they are bloggers.

We do try to keep some semblance of fair play though and believe this is just one more way for the people to keep the government honest. The majority will usually see the truth.

You have an opportunity here if you want it but the choice is yours.

Regardless of your decision thanks for your earlier posts

Godspeed

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:54 am

Any discussion between Phil and Seth is private unless they choose to share it in public. Phil has no power to control decisions of the EDC nor decisions of the Board od Selectmen. The EDC has no power to spend money. It was made clear at the last Selectman meeting that the support was not financial. Phil Blampied spoke up against the town financially supporting the effort. Why is there so much concern about what Seth may have said to Phil?

If you have posted on this topic without knowing any of the above information, you need to do research before accusing a man of conspiracy/collusion/etc. This is what drives many well-meaning citizens from this forum. If this forum were properly monitored, it would have more than 27 members and people would feel free to discuss things openly without worrying about being attacked. No wonder only a small handful have the integrity to sign their names. If you cannot be accountable for what you say, you probably shouldn't say it.

KevinNSaisi

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

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