Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Focus, People! Don't Be Fooled by the Red Herrings!

Last night's Town Hall discussion of the Music City Center surfaced a number of revelations:
  • The gloves are off -- Randy Rayburn's personal attacks on Emily Evans were desperate and nasty (prediction: that is just getting started)
  • The Pro-MCC forces must rely on emotion, hope and disinformation because (as Bruce Barry pointed out recently): "Sadly, MCC advocates apparently don't believe they can prevail through honest argument and arithmetic."
  • There are a lot of Gaylord haters in Nashville.
  • The media (mainstream and - sadly - the social space too) picked up on the Red Herrings that MCC's attack dog Rayburn dragged out: that CM Evans is using this as a platform to run for mayor; and also that she "has not created any jobs" (btw, neither had Karl Dean before he ran for mayor).
The last bit is the most troubling -- it appears that folks would rather report on a random personal attack than the real issue at hand. When Nashvillians DO THE MATH, we will find that MCC does not add up for the overwhelming majority of the city. A few truths to bear in mind:
  • A Convention Center is not high on the list of strategic priorities for most Nashville residents, and this diversion of resources will have lasting and damaging consequences for the city.
  • Taxpayers will be on the hook for revenue shortfalls -- Rich Riebeling says it would be a minimal amount, but that's the same line we heard a couple of years ago about the rise in mortgage defaults.
  • HVS studies are notorious for over-stating revenue and attendance projections, yet no one (outside of volunteers at Nashville's Priorities) is challenging their assertions.
  • Conventions are a declining industry -- demand is eroding because of the convergence of technology, cost containment and Green concerns; while the supply of convention center space continues astounding growth. Would any businessman in Nashville get into a business with those trends? I guess not, since no one has stepped forward.
And this list goes on and on -- stay tuned and Nashville's Priorities will do our best to continue to put facts and reason front and center in this critical debate over we the people's $600 million mortgage on MCC.

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