Mackenzie Andersen

manager, Andersen Studio

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How a government by the people for the people and of the people is transformed into governance by an unelected political class.

This is a story about what is happening in Maine but it is also happening in many other states.

The Home Rule Amendment was voted in as a Maine constitutional amendment in 1969. The Home Rule Amendment strengthens local governance and provides that the municipality can be an agent of economic development. The state chartered he Maine Development Foundation- a non-profit corporation in 1977. The Maine Constitution prohibits the legislature from chartering corporations and so in 1977, the legislature also passed the Maine Non-profit Corporation Act, which excludes a long list of purposes from the definition of a corporation including economic development.

The non-corporations are have been profusely chartered as corporations by the Maine legislature to serve as "instrumentalities of the state" and to transfer public money to the state's "targeted sector'

The Brunswick Development Corporation is a non-profit corporation for which the Town of Brunswick is its sole member, leading many to confuse the two as the same entity. However the BDC is governed by its own bylaws, while the Town of Brunswick is governed by the Maine State Constitution including the Home Rule Amendment. The bylaws for the BDC state that “The member shall have no voting rights” The sole member is the Town of Brunswick , while members of the town’s governance are included as officers or board members, either ex-officio or appointed, by excluding the only member of the non-profit corporation from having a vote is to exclude the inhabitants of the municipality from having a vote, as they are provided for by the Home Rule Amendment of the Maine State Constitution.

The questions remain – who created the BDC and where do their operating funds come from?

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    Oct 23 2013: Whereas states in a federal system of government (e.g., Canada, Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, Brazil and the United States of America) have a guaranteed constitutional existence, a devolved home rule system of government is created by ordinary legislation and can be reformed, or even abolished, by repeal or amendment of that ordinary legislation.

    In the United States, some states constitutionally or legislatively grant home rule to cities, counties, and municipalities within their borders. These are called "home rule states." Local governments in home rule states are free to pass laws and ordinances as they see fit to further their operations, within the bounds of the state and federal constitutions. In other states, local governments have only the authority expressly granted to them by state legislatures, typically in accordance with the legal principle known as Dillon's Rule.

    As I read it .... Home rule allows a specific entity to make decisions in the best interest of that entity. The money still comes from all of the same places and can be spent at the wishes of the local authorities as long as it does not violate state and federal laws. A good example would be zoning ...

    Joshua Bond below gives sound advice as to the experiences of Europe and the events just prior to WWII. If you find this a unacceptable practice I suggest that you petition to reformed, or even abolished, by repeal or amendment of that legislation.

    Attend all meetings and show a interest of their actions and speak, as the law allows, in favor or against their actions. You cannot vote but you can voice your concerns at the meeting or in public forum such as editorials.

    Remember you vote these city officials in and remind them of that ... be active ... not passive.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Oct 23 2013: I think you will find some answers in Hannah Arendt's book: "The Origins of Totalitarianism", a big seller in the USA in the 1950s.
    Although the book looks at how Europe could allow 'a Hitler' and 'a Stalin' to rise to power, you will find in essence many of the ethnic, legal, societal attitudes, business psychology, and governance changes that led up to WW2 somewhat scarily similar to what is happening in the USA nowadays.
    What is happening in your local situation, is part of a bigger picture.
  • Oct 22 2013: Mackenzie Andersen
    East Boothbay, ME
    United States

    An interesting situation.
    Can you explain in (dummy) layman's terms what you feel is the arrow in this bow?
    I spend most of my free-(old age)-time researching the NSA's conspiracy these last 45 years.
    I do have enough free time to grab this and run with it. But like the NSA, both motive and actions
    have to be illegal.

    If some Lawyer types have found a chink in the law to be exploited, then they will be able to
    run their string until maybe a Federal Judge can put a stop to it. Sounds so far like a future
    Civil Rights case in the making. Good Luck.
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    Oct 22 2013: Thank you for the information Mackenzie.