Chasing Stories

My last article for the Portland Phoenix looked at the governor’s firing of MTI’s Bob Martin. Apparently the Portland Press Herald is doing some follow-up on the firing and what might be behind it. Of course, this type of “fact-checking” reminds me of the recent post by journalism professor and press critic, Jay Rosen, what he referred to as “he said, she said” journalism. I hope there’s more to come on this from Whit Richardson.

I was able to locate the smoke, but as a freelancer, I don’t have the resources and time due to the need to chase a new story and another deadline, to find the fire. I wish I could dig deeper, as this governor’s inability to tolerate other viewpoints is quite obvious to me. I’m also pretty sure that most of what the governor is saying about MTI and what’s behind the firing is BS.

Today, I’m  off in pursuit of two deadlines for two different editors, plus working on other feature articles highlighting nonprofits. One of my stories is about economic development, the city of Portland, and why traditional ED models no longer work. Don’t tell that to Paul LePage, or his economic lackeys, all economic development dinosaurs.

All you really need to know about the governor’s grasp of local growth economics and the economy of the state he was voted in to support and grow is illustrated in his veto of LD 1431 back in April. This bill would have provided support to local food hubs where the principal economic benefits flow back to participating farmers, and due to the multiplier effect, substantially enhance local economies.

Gubernatorial candidate, Mike Michaud, recognizes that local Ag matter in Maine’s economic mix.

Off to the trenches—the work of a freelance writer is never done.

2 thoughts on “Chasing Stories

  1. Jim, I see a lot of things that don’t follow each other here. When I read the MTI firing piece, I questioned where the smoke was. I saw nothing that said Martin was fired illegally, or even that he was fired. A whiff of sulphur, maybe, but not yet smoke. The Press Herald piece never addresses Martin’s departure, but from my perspective, were I paying taxes in Maine I’d sure like a fuller accounting of where those millions are being deposited, even if in the university. Sounds like a backdoor plan to fund boondoggles that couldn’t be funded through the front door.

    If you stay on this story, I think where you will see the smoke is in the reallocation of those MTI funds. Whose hands are in that pot a year from now will be the giveaway, but by that time no one will be looking.

    The MPBN piece looks like nothing more than a rewritten press release by Michaud’s staff, and you can find very similar stories in papers with Lepage (or Saint Chelly the billionaire’s pet) as the visionary hero. What I do find striking, though, is that no one sees the obvious: schools are the single largest business enterprise in America, and in Maine, and so are the political playtoys for spreading taxpayer largesse. If one accepts that corruption from beginning, that schools should be the vehicle for transferring the wealth of the citizenry via property taxes (a form of force, mind you–don’t pay those property taxes and see what happens), then sure, spend the money on local food sourcing rather than interstate corporations like Sysco. If we’re going to be corrupt, let’s be corrupt locally.

    Regrets, but seen that way Michaud is same-old same-old.

    • Actually, LP, that’s not what MTI does.

      I know it’s convenient to accept whatever group’s accepted narrative is, but in the case of Governor LePage, this firing is another case of his overstepping his authority as governor, and kicking someone to the curb that by all accounts was doing an excellent job, getting early stage funding to start-up enterprises that help them scale so they can then make it to the venture phase of capital acquisition.

      I spoke to a young entrepreneur for the story, Joel Alex, and I couldn’t do him justice with the brief quotes I had limited space for. I hope I can come back to his story and that of his business, Blue Ox Malthouse.

      I’ll save my comments about Michaud being no better choice than LePage. I don’t agree with that.

      There are a myriad of stories to write about systemic failure, but as a freelancer, my options are pretty limited in where I can get anything smacking of investigation, published.

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