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Hizzoner states the state of the city

Thu, Jul 1, 2010

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Events such as the mayor’s state of the city speech are, to a veteran event – attendee, comforting and familiar.

Drive to the venue. Park. Make your way to the event room. Make sure you’re on the list. Get your table number. It’s 11:40 – so you have 20 minutes to schmooze.

That’s the fun part. Gossip, trade information, get a quote or two from the powerful and articulate (would that the two always went together!), and then, just as you’re beginning to have fun, it’s over.

Now you’re stuck at your table. The master/mistress of ceremonies clears his/her throat, and the no-fun part starts.

“We’d like to welcome (assorted minor political figures whose terms will soon end). We especially want to thank our sponsors (names of the generous few, who know that they’ll be hit on for next year’s event as soon as this one is over). So enjoy your meal, while we (play an unbelievably boring video/hand out awards to deserving folk/bring you a particularly dreadful special performance).

Bored and dispirited, you eat your bread, your salad, and your chicken, and (horrors!) a squishy 1,900 calorie cheesecakey dessert. You check out the attendees.

Six of eight councilmembers showed up, as did four of five county commissioners. Was it a public meeting? Should it have been properly noticed? Can we make trouble? Decide it’s not worth it – give ‘em the “social event” exemption.

And now it’s speech time. As a member of the media, I get an advance copy. It’s dismayingly long – 15 pages!! Time to leave, go back to the office, write the story. Sneak out.

PERA, TABOR, Road & Bridge – did I miss anything?

Just this: the mayor repeated a familiar canard about the economic impact of the USOC.

“The economic impact of retaining the United States Olympic Committee and its inherent sports related industry and tourism,” he asserted, ” is estimated at $341.3 million in both direct and secondary impacts and $3.4 million of annual sales tax and property tax revenue to our community. Well worth our investment!”

Mayor, mayor, mayor – where’s your memory?

In 2009, following a CORA request, this newspaper revealed that these figures were literally pulled out of a hat. No facts, no figures, no research and no methodology supported them. They have as much basis in verifiable fact as does the assertion that the moon is made of green cheese.

Of course, prior to the 1969 moon landing, one might have said that since we know that the moon exists, and it must be made of something – why not green cheese?

Similarly, the USOC exists, we know it has an economic impact, so why not $341.3 million? It has a nice precise ring, doesn’t it? It’s almost as if we won an enormous Powerball jackpot!

But let’s give the mayor a pass on this one. As we all know, he doesn’t particularly care for this publication, so he may have missed the story…

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