Small Town Politics- Governed by Private Clubs
There is no update in the Boothbay Register about the planning board meeting with the Department of Environmental Protection.
The story disappeared from the Register’s news and talk listings soon after I published my story and has remained buried ever since, begging the question “Who is pulling the strings?”
In the past, I searched for information about how the Planning Board is selected on the Town website but the information was nowhere to be found.
Today I tried a different path. In The Maine Municipal Manual for Local Planning Boards, I learned that the laws that govern planning boards depend on when the planning board was created. I typed “When was Boothbay Planning Board established?” in the Google Search Board- and VOILA!
The rules governing the planning board are hidden in a coded link address: https://ecode360.com/8626851
But I am mistaken! This is the Planning Board for Boothbay Harbor, not Boothbay. and so I tried https://ecode360.com, hoping to find a list of towns but the address leads to a special login for “ the diverse information needs of attorneys, planners, engineers, builders, and other professionals”.
If one is not a municipal employee one can purchase access as a professional for a small fee of$195.00.
ecode360 appears to be a depository of legislative and municipal codes across the country but the web information does not tell us what kind of organization is behind it, is it public or private?
It raises the question why is there a charge for access to public information? There is no address listed for this service. It is not identified as either a government or private service. There is no About Us, no people with names and addresses associated with this data depository. What is it? It appears to be a public-private whatever.
Laws and codes should be available to the general public without charge. Boothbay Harbor is using this service but one cannot find the…