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It’s the People’s Money!

Spon-chattanoogaconventionAs the tortured machinations over the budget and transparency of the Chattanooga CVB continue to unfold, we note a recent op ed piece to the Chattanoogan, in which the author scolds the CVB for its reluctant stance regarding releasing competitively sensitive data.

The individual speaks with a fairly high level of sophistication regarding the role of the CVB…but not in what it takes to compete against Memphis and Nashville. The writer shares the same name as a former member of the City Council, so I’m guessing they are one in the same (but, obviously, can’t be sure).

As we’ve discussed over the past years (and will again later this month in the Z-News), innuendo has never been more effective that it is today in the post-truth era in America. And her letter abounds in innuendo. To whit:

“Attention CVB: government is supposed to be of the people, for the people, by the people. When a business is funded almost totally by $7.1 million of the peoples' tax revenues, that business should be a full partner with the people and their elected representatives. If the day ever comes when the CVB is empowered to set CVB toll collectors at the edge of town to tax the flow of overnight guests, then they can jump on their high horses and deny the people details as to how the CVB spends its revenue.”

This is not the “people's money.” Indeed, Room Tax is EXACTLY the same as toll collectors taxing overnight guests. This is funding derived from a special tax on one industry (lodging) designed to be used for a particular service (marketing) that Destination Marketing Organizations such as the CVB provide.

“The CVB is not a sacred cow. If the current organization lost its funding next month, there would be numerous people happy to report to work for a newly reconstituted organization called CVB2.0.”

Yes…but your residents would suffer as the “numerous people happy to report for work” would have no more idea how to market the destination than Somali Pirates are qualified to build a starship.  

“The director of the CVB is biting the hand that feeds it. Hamilton County citizens need the CVB to be a good friend and partner. There should be no secrets between friends and partners.”

I can’t agree more with the writer…except what she’s requesting isn’t a flow of information between friends and partners. The Commissioner that has started this witch hunt is fully prepared to release competitively sensitive information that would put his City and County at a disadvantage when negotiating for future business. A partner is only a partner when both parties are committed to a mutually beneficial relationship.

The Commissioner has already stated his intent to strip the CVB of millions in funding to build some public school stadiums and facilities.

But well played, Deborah. Your points hold as much water as a whiffle ball. But your deftly wielded understanding of innuendo certainly plays the media and citizenry like a fiddle.

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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