I wasn't able to attend the event, but today's Blade has some of the details I was hoping for - specifically, how much the Carty wants to raise...and the number is staggering: $40,000.
"Dr. Richard Ruppert, who will lead the fund drive, said the goal is to send 15 to 20 people, at about $2,000 each. "That would be my guess," he said.
He said the fund drive would pay for those who can't pay their own way."
Okay - why in the world do we need to send 15-20 people to this thing when only three people are allowed to make the presentation? Do we think that sheer numbers will impress? And what are 15-20 people going to do for three days in London, other than have a nice vacation paid for by donations?
"Mr. Finkbeiner said he would pay for travel and accommodations for himself and his wife, Amy. He vowed that no city funds would be used in the process, including in preparing the presentation.
"We'd like to take a good, strong delegation," he said. He said some funds, about $10,000, will be needed to pay for a 12-minute video presentation."
I'm very glad that Carty is paying the costs of his, and Amy's, trip. But I question $10,000 for a 12-minute video. With today's technology, does it really cost $10,000 to get a good video? And who will be in charge of shooting the video and determining what gets included? Will one of Carty's contributors get this 'plum' of a contract?
Does Toledo - or one of the numerous economic development organizations - already have a video that highlights the livability of the city? Could such a video be used or modified for less than $10,000? And if we don't, would that be a prudent use of operational costs that one, or all, of our economic development entities could pay?
Or does Carty think that 1) such a video wouldn't be specifically tied to the application and 2) that 'having the community support' might impress the judges and lead to a win? I know, I know...there I go asking all those pesky questions again.
"Toledo's application essay for the liveable city award covered a series of topics, such as enhancement of the landscape, heritage management, environmentally sensitive practices, community sustainability, healthy lifestyles, and planning for the future."
Duh - that's because the award is based upon such criteria ... we'd look pretty stupid if we applied for an award and then emphasized things not included in the criteria...
And then there were these two comments:
"The mayor said a liveability award carries weight when companies decide where to locate because of the importance of quality of life to their employees."
"City Councilman Mark Sobczak said, "The recognition tells Toledoans we are on the right track.""
First, I live in Toledo and I think there are many positive aspects of living here - and I wouldn't stay if I didn't believe that. But I'm not blind to the negatives nor do I dismiss those who point out the negatives with the hope of eliminating them or changing them into positives.
I'm also not delusional enough to think that having some 'award' will mean the difference between whether or not a company chooses to locate here. Having a 'liveable city' designation might get us a visit instead of another city - all things being equal, but when the glowing comments and awards are balanced by an actual visit, reality sets in. We can have tons of flowers (to pick a favorite topic) along the entryways to the city, but if you lose a tire because of the pot holes, those flowers don't mean much.
Likewise, winning such an award won't tell Toledoans anything when they, too, balance the "style" with the lack of "substance" on our infrastructure and basic services. Carty even took a swipe at those of us who questioned the spending on such style issues, failing to recognize that it wasn't the flowers per se, but the spending on a 'luxury' while the 'necessities' are lacking.
Sadly, Carty loves these kinds of things. He loves awards and titles...and usually there wouldn't be anything wrong with that. But when the awards and titles and 'appearances' come before the core services and infrastructure, something is wrong with his priorities.