Saturday, February 09, 2008

Comments & Commentary by Charles Hill

I find it interesting that a columnist from another publication is so determined to find out who I am. Recently that publication, wrote again about their columnist’s desire to know my identity. Actually it’s pretty simple, he’s talked to me before, and he just doesn’t know it. I think his real intentions are to find out what my thoughts are so he can have some great ideas for columns with substance and real world value.
Here is a mock interview that he is welcome to use:
SP: Charlie you seem unhappy with the city’s efforts in tourism!
Me:  Well who can be satisfied? The money that has been spent is outrageous and we receive only limited returns. Now we are going to be the host for the Missouri Bike Race. This race took hundreds of thousands of dollars earmarked for job training out of the state budget. It was a huge expense because they didn’t come close to getting enough money from the corporate sponsors. Now the Mayor is so excited that we are getting the race again this year. This is just another example of how she and the rest of the supposed Republicans in power use taxpayer’s money. The race money is spent with companies that contribute to the campaigns of Republicans in power. In essence the party has abandoned citizens like me and now believes in welfare and taxpayer funded campaigns. This isn’t just a city. Why don’t you have one of your crack reporters’ dive into the real story here. Oh, that’s right. Your paper can’t report anything that isn’t favorable to the Mayor; you might lose the big advertising money that the city gives you.
 SP: That’s not fair, I write pretty good columns. Do you ever read them?
Me: Steve, to get real news I read the First Capitol News. The First Capitol Newspaper gives a side that is truthful even if it is going to make someone angry. It’s a real news newspaper
SP: What do you see that is good about the city of St. Charles?
Me: The people of St. Charles are the best. They have to put up with the alleged corruption that is apparent in our city government. Our Main Street is a treasure that should be shared with the entire region. This happens only once a year. During Christmas Traditions the street is filled with shoppers and visitors. It amazes me that something like Christmas Traditions gives real proof that local ads work, yet the powers to be still spend advertising dollars out of the area.
SP: Why is that?
Me: The city was convinced by a museum curator that he was a marketing genius. This guy was the biggest waste of space and in my humble opinion a sham. He was caught dead to rights giving contracts to his then wife’s company and nothing happened to him for that apparent illegal act. This is part of the culture of misconduct Mayor York has promoted as politics as usual. Back to the ads. The past was full of the idea that people needed to stay in hotels for the city to make money so they started marketing further out. Look at the convention center. It is a complete failure if you look at the real intent. The intent was to get people to come to conventions and spend the night. That hasn’t happened. The hotel isn’t in the mood to discount for overnight guests because that is not a big portion of the hotels revenue. St. Charles has and will be a quaint river town not a travel destination for millions of people.
SP: Why do you say that?
Me: Having lived here my whole life I have seen the real attraction and what’s not real. Let’s take a look at the recent marketing failures and you be the judge. I already mentioned the Convention Center. It lost money and the number of rooms sold to convention goers was well below what they told the voters when it passed. They made a big deal saying it was a success because it did not loose as much money as was expected. But it lost a lot of money. The Lewis and Clark Rendezvous was a joke. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for this event and it was a bust. The million visitors a year that we were told visited here year after year, what a lie. Main Street would be bustling like Christmas Traditions every day if St. Charles drew that many visitors. The failed Goldenrod Showboat was supposed to be a regional draw for the city and Main Street. Over a million dollars later the city gave it away and we have a million and a half dollar dock that sits vacant. All a misuse of taxpayer dollars.  St. Charles should be proud of what it is and stop trying to be what it’s not. That won’t happen because with each contract there is a political pay-off somewhere. Like the Mayor paying off Steve Powell for renting his Bed and Breakfast. The fact that bars were issued liquor licenses in violation of city ordinances and allowed to open in certain buildings owned by certain politicians.
SP: You are referring to the Mayor’s building that has a bar operating in the basement?
Me: Steve you are quick. I noticed your publication was very quiet about this illegal event. Once again proof that it could never be confused with a real newspaper. The fact is this city is destined to continue to waste taxpayer dollars on projects, promotional items and contracts with friends until the people wake up and realize what is really going on. That’s why I write, that’s why I remain anonymous. Mayor York is vindictive and cruel, she lies everyday and when you catch her in a lie she tells you another one. She would stop at nothing to put me out of business. Look at her efforts against the people in Mark Brown’s neighborhood, she would rather let them sit in a flood and have raw sewage back up into their basements than fix the problem that the city allowed to occur. She fired Assistant City Administrator Brent Schulz, who had been with the city for almost 30 years and moved his assistant out of the administrator’s office.
Steve, I think I have helped elevate your publications status as something other than an ad sheet enough. If you would like, I’m sure Tony or Phyllis would allow you to really write news and help you get your soul back. I don’t mind you getting your stories from the First Capitol News or me but you really should move to a paper that will let you report the real news.