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Presque Isle City Manager Invites Deschesne 

to a Meeting, Then Rescinds By Silence


By: David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal  April 17, 2013

PRESQUE ISLE—Presque Isle City manager, Jim Bennett recently invited this writer to a personal meeting to discuss strategies on how to improve the business climate in Presque Isle. However, after this writer responded to the invitation, a resounding silence and no further follow-up was heard.

In an E-mail invitation addressed, "Dear Mr. Deschesne," and appearing to resemble a form letter with the personal salutation attached at the intro, Bennett wrote; "I am writing to you today to extend an invitation to meet one-on-one with me to discuss how we can improve the business climate within our community. Let me explain how you can be of assistance.

I have served as City Manager of Presque Isle for more than three years now. During this time, it has become clear to me that we need to encourage more business investment within our great city. From my perspective, I need to help by ‘setting the tone’ within Presque Isle city government. I believe that we need to become quicker in our reviews of projects, more predictable in our decision-making, and generally friendly towards commercial enterprises seeking to move, expand or grow their businesses."

Mr. Bennett goes on in his letter, “We need to do this, without compromising the goals of protecting neighborhoods and our environment.

I clearly have my thoughts regarding how we can make improvements. However, I also know that you, along with other business people, have more to offer than I do. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to hear your thoughts, ideas and suggestions about improving the ‘business friendliness’ of Presque Isle.

If this sounds like something that you would be interested in, please contact me at 760-2785 or  to schedule a meeting.

Let me thank you in advance for all of your personal investment, through both time and financial support, in the City of Presque Isle. Your belief in our community is evident by your actions. I look forward to meeting with you.”

Presumably, Mr. Bennett received this writer’s name from the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce, of which the Fort Fairfield Journal is a member. However, the listing is under this writer’s umbrella company, “Maine Media Resources” - which includes an assortment of media services such as newspaper publishing, commercial sound system rentals, event photography, legal research and printing services. Seeing the listing as Maine Media Resources, Bennett would likely not have known he was communicating to this controversial, highly independent newspaper editor.

In response to Mr. Bennet's invitation, this writer responded, “Mr. Bennett: A meeting with you would be nice. As a person who wades knee-deep in snow to scavenge for firewood to get me through the night, and one who hangs his laundry over the wood stove to dry, I’m sure I can come up with a multitude of ways the city can reduce its expenses in order to lower taxes and thus become more attractive to business and the citizenry who support them. I expect the current city council members are not humbled by poverty while concomitantly trying to build a successful business, such as I, so they may not have the same frame of reference one who truly has to struggle to make a living has. This of course will directly impact their attitude and outreach as they court new businesses to come to their community.

Now, for streamlining the process of bringing in new businesses. As one with a Libertarian/Von Mises mindset, I generally take a “hands-off” approach to government, where no government involvement is always better. When it comes to business, the market is a better governor than politicians, whose only qualification for public office is that they won the popularity contest. Since their money/income to city coffers is generally guaranteed by violence, at the barrel of a police officer’s gun, there is largely no incentive to curb spending, increase efficiency or change attitudes as there would be in a private business who has to convince paying customers to choose their product or service over that of their competitors’. With that said, a lot of the encumbrances business face is not so much locally generated by the city as it is generated by those in Augusta who truly don’t have a clue on how to market a pro-business environment, or make it easier for businesses to set up shop in Maine (the current governor, excluded). The government mindset is generally that of a leach, and businesses its host. The further you go up the chain (i.e.; local to State to Federal) the more that mindset becomes magnified. Then it gets to a point where some businesses forge a lucrative partnership with government to enact “laws” to shut down their competition, thus a sinister symbiotic relationship betwixt politicians and corporations that is also known as fascism, when in government, and organized crime, when in the private sector, is malevolently borne out across the land to shut down innovation and progress in order to guarantee the profits and payoffs to a select few power brokers. I’m not sure that paradigm can be fixed entirely at the local level, but I applaud your effort to at least seek out a starting point.

I also have some insights into the layout of the lobby at city hall where taxpayers actually show up to hand their money over that I would like to share with you.

While my signature line shows my business address in Fort Fairfield, my wife and I currently do live and pay taxes in Presque Isle.

Now, if you still want to meet with me after reading this brief overview, afternoons are the best time for me. Pick a day next week and advise.”

The e-mail response to Bennett's invitation was signed, “David Deschesne, Editor/Publisher, Fort Fairfield Journal.” Needless to say, Bennett did not respond and no date or meeting appears to be forthcoming.



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