Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 48
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for June 22, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

The Tourism Advisory Board for the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center (GWACC&VC) had another meeting on June 15th. Only two of the five appointed members were present, so again they could transact no business officially. Again, the City of Warrensburg's ex officio member (City Manager or designee) was absent. Again, the meeting was semi-stealth, with the only notice to the public posted on an inside window of the GWACC&VC office at the legal minimum advance time (in contrast, a neighboring city - that just happened to be named an "All American City" - invites the public to attend their tourism meetings on the front page of their local paper).

My commendation to Board member Weldon Brady, who asked the GWACC&VC for a detailed accounting of expenditures. Naturally, one was not available, but was promised for the next meeting in conjunction with the budget process - they have to come up with a budget to present to the City as required by their contract. It's good to see that a member understands that the Tourism Advisory Board has a responsibility for actually looking at how the GWACC&VC spends public tax money.

I do see progress in the GWACC&VC's tourism efforts. Their cooperative marketing brochure with Powell Gardens is the first really professional tourism one they've produced, without misleading information or non-tourism content. I'm still not convinced that working with Powell Gardens will create room-nights for the lodging establishments financing the program, and I think the brochure is a bit too large to fit into some brochure racks. As a matter of interest, I understand that the brochure was funded 25% by Powell Gardens (a tax exempt foundation), 25% by the GWACC&VC from room tax money, and 50% by the State of Missouri using everyone's tax money. You helped pay for it, so stop by the GWACC&VC office & pick one up.

Another project they're working on, which could be of benefit to many Warrensburg businesses, is a local guide to be placed in the rooms of all their member lodging establishments. Of course, I suspect that only those businesses and restaurants that have paid GWACC&VC dues will be listed. I would think that spending public tax money to promote a favored few restaurants and retail businesses would certainly generate resentment among those omitted (who collect taxes for the City, as well) and a case might even be made that the City is denying them equal protection under the law.

The GWACC&VC was pleased at the amount of interest generated by the TV movie "The Trial of Old Drum" - people were contacting them asking about the real story. Visits to the Old Drum pages on my website (The real Old Drum story and tour of Old Drum sites) almost tripled, as well. It's a good chance for the GWACC&VC to use some of their unspent room tax money to mount a real PR campaign and get Warrensburg some coverage in major papers.

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