Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Begging for $40,000 for LivCom????

Well, the mayor held his press conference yesterday announcing his plea for donations for the LivCom award (more background here)

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.


Tim Higgins said...

As usual Maggie, you manage to put into words, backed up with facts, the thoughts of so many of us out there.

In our continuing battle of style of substance, our city government seems bound and determined to spend our money on useless decoration to win a meaningless award from a pointless organization. We seem to think that we can fix the junk car in the backyard by putting a fresh coat of paint on it.

Isn't it a shame that so much should be wasted only to make us feel good about ourselves?

Maggie Thurber said...

Thanks for the compliment...however, I think both of us would be criticized for not realizing the fact that it's not what we do - it's how we feel about it... And it's not about how we do things, it's about out intentions... And it's not about the outcomes (unless we're using 'the end justifies the means') but rather getting credit for trying to do something 'good' for someone or trying to 'help' someone...


Tim Higgins said...

If this is the only thing we are criticized for, we should be eternally grateful. (I don't know about you, but I expect that there are a few other things that I can and will be criticized for ... and that's just today.)

As a conservative thinker, my common sense often overcomes my compassion.

Roo said...

Well, I must say that this recent revelation is quite interesting. My question (other than the ones already stated) is why do we need to send 10 - 15 people over there when only 3 are permitted to present? Who will be here minding the store? Me thinks that this is a lot of pomp and circumstance - all for naught.

I chose to MOVE to Toledo, I choose to STAY in Toledo and I intend to REMAIN in Toledo. It's by choice - in spite of all the problems. And I can attest to the fact that the grass is not greener on the other side. It just appears that way because all you see about Florida, California, Colorado, etc. is what the tourism board wants you to see.

I don't think Toledo needs an award to promote the positive side of our city. I DO think that we, the citizens of Toledo, need to quit shooting ourselves in the foot with all the negative chatter that's made available to the world through the internet!

Good post, Maggie!

Maggie Thurber said...

"as a conservative thinker, my common sense often overcomes my compassion."

I'll have to remember that!

Tim Higgins said...

On the other hand, the departure of "Team Toledo" for London on November 22nd will give all of us one more thing to be thankful for this year.

Jay Ott said...

Well, any individual or company that has any intelligence whatsoever and who really does their homework in their search for a new location will take into consideration the entire picture not the rosy one being painted by the mayor.

The first thing they will look at will be the finances not flowers, econonics not environmentally friendliness and leadership not landscaping.

In other words, individuals and businesses look for things that interest them, not what some politician thinks or wants them to be interested in.

I believe that if a "product" is any good, it will speak for itself not in need of exaggerated claims and false advertising.

Carty is simply 'teaching for the test' and we all know what that philosophy has done for education right?

I don't see why everyone couldn't just stay home and do this presentation via video conference.

Chad Quigley said...

40 grand....isn't that about what he spent on flowers? What a sad, sad statement on how our "leadership", (hack), thinks.

What I still fail to understand is this??? Why haven't a substantial number of Toledoans jumped up to their feet screaming and hollering at this incompotent nimrod?

Robin said...

$10,000 to make a video clip? I'm pretty sure that he could get some University of Toledo students to do it at cost. I really can't see why Carty can't utilize our local talent and resources. I also don't understand why he needs an entire entourage to go to London for this little award presentation.

Hooda Thunkit said...

As usual Maggie, you are spot on.

I may have something further to post about this, as soon as I can read some news reports that I have saved, and it won't be flattering..

As kojlvufor you, VERY NICE job!

Frank said...

One of the first things that I wonder about is this: did Dr. Ruppert read the rules of this contest?? While I can understand taking 6 people (the spouses of each delegate), the idea of taking 15-20 is a bit outrageous. Of course, if we win the award,then that means party in jolly ol' England! I mean the $2,000 per person is reasonable cost for airline, hotel rooms and transportation. And $10,000.00 for the 12 minute video? I agree with Robin that the mayor could get some students from UT and get a great product for a lot less. Unless he plans on giving each judge a copy of the video, places it on gold plated dvds and throws in hotel stay at one of Toledo's finest, then it might come close to the $10,000 price tag.
And as Jay said very well that if a company wants to come to Toledo, they will look at the product and not awards.
Thanks again Maggie for the information.

Google Analytics Alternative