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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Franklin County Drinks The Kool Aid

Franklin County, Virginia (that would be over toward Rocky Mount) has hired a tourism manager.

Look out world.

It's unclear how one person is going to be able to "manage" all of the tourism that the county deals with each year, what with General Jubal Early's boyhood home and its more famous neighbor - the infamous junkyard - drawin' 'em in like they do.

But today's Roanoke Times gives us a hint as to the county's strategy:
Franklin Co. hires 1st tourism manager

Franklin County has hired a new employee to tout its growing list of tourist-attracting festivals and sporting events.

Debra Weir, 44, started Monday as the county's first tourism manager.

One of her first jobs will be lining up sponsors for October's Bassmasters tournament on Smith Mountain Lake.

Weir said the county will hold a number of events that month leading up to the main tournament, which will take place from Oct. 25 to 29. The county will promote that series of events as "BassTober," she said. (link)
BassTober. I'm reserving a room today.

Regular readers of this weblog have noted that I'm highly skeptical of our gullible civic leaders' dreams that tourism is the elixir that's going to solve the problems we have here in Southwest Virginia - minor issues, really, relating to economic stagnation, rising unemployment, a mass exodus of major employers, and a troubling depopulation. Oh, and an economic crisis - I almost forgot.

I'm also of the opinion that the many politicians around here who tout tourism as being any kind of cure for those problems are either stupid or deceitful or both. And you know who you are ...

And I'm reluctant to pee in Debra Weir's cornflakes since she is just starting her job. But ...

I've seen Bassmasters tournaments on TV (for nanoseconds at a time, while flipping through channels trying to find something more entertaining, like ... well, anything really). You have generally two guys (and occasionally a large-breasted babe in a form-fitting one-piece coverall) in a boat parked out in the middle of a lake.

Picture the scene. You're a tourist who has blundered upon Smith Mountain Lake on your way to Dollywood. You stand on shore and see these tiny dots on the horizon that may be boats. Or logs. Or empty whisky bottles bobbing on the surface.

Is that something you're going to stick around to watch?

Are you going to forego your trip to Palm Beach to come to Franklin County, Virginia to partake? Color me just a wee bit pessimistic.

And if the intent is to attract those professional fishermen with their fancy boats and color-coordinated RV's, are you going to classify them as tourists? Aren't they the paid entertainment? Just asking.

And what am I missing? The fishermen will be living in their RV's. They'll be eating dinner on the boat or in the RV. They'll probably bring in their own cases of Bud. Is there some revenue generator here I'm overlooking?

No matter how you slice it, 75 well-dressed bass fishermen (and fisherwoman) ain't going to bring full employment to Frankin County.

But I read further and got some insight into other possibilities:
In addition to the Bassmasters tournament, Weir will be working with the Pigg River Ramble and a host of events related to county sites that have been designated as part of the Crooked Road traditional music trail.
A Pigg River Ramble ... God have mercy.

And that damn trail ...

Wow is the only word that comes to mind.

Happy days are here again.

Quote Of The Day

Polls suggest that public opinion has of late turned decisively against the war. But it strikes us that these feelings do not run very deep, and indeed may be partly the result of the same sort of peer pressure. We noted yesterday that the turnout for anniversary antiwar rallies was tiny, both in the U.S. and elsewhere; and San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius has another observation of note:

My teenage daughter and I attended an anti-war rally last weekend in Walnut Creek, but you couldn't really say we made a point of it. It was more like we were going by, saw the crowd and stopped in to hear the music.

There was an old-fashioned folksinger there, complete with an acoustic guitar and a Bob Dylan-style harmonica holder around his neck. His look may have been retro, but he certainly wasn't. We estimated his age at 20.

And that was the funny thing. He was one of the few young people there. There were a lot more people my age than my daughter's age in the crowd.

It was like that throughout the Bay Area, if not beyond, last weekend at the many rallies marking the third anniversary of the Iraq war. The crowds were small, but, beyond that, they were more Woodstock than MTV.

Where did all the student activists go?

Vietnam-style defeatism, it seems to us, is an ingrained impulse of aging hippies, politicians and journalists. We don't think this bunch of losers really speak for America.

James Taranto, "Best of the Web Today," March 21, 2006 (link)

What's The Link?

Let's see what's in the news today.

From the Bristol Herald Courier:
Kaine says reliable funding key to transportation solution
David McGee, Staff Writer

A compromise over state transportation funding could be the only way to fund projects like the Coalfields Expressway, Gov. Tim Kaine told a gathering here Monday.

Kaine’s plan calls for increasing the sales tax on cars and trucks from 3 percent to 5 percent, increasing the tax on car insurance premiums by about $18 per car, basing registration fees on vehicle weight and raising penalties for driving under the influence and other offenses. (
A Democrat proposes tax increases. Who'da thunk it?

From the Washington Times:
Mayor proposes $62.2 million in tax increases
By Amy Doolittle

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday introduced to the D.C. Council a $7.5 billion budget for fiscal 2007 that includes $62.2 million in tax increases. (
A Democrat proposes tax increases. Hmmmm.

From the New York Times:

Corzine Proposes Tax Increases and Spending Cuts to Close Budget Gap
By David W. Chen and Richard G. Jones

TRENTON, March 21 — Sounding more like a no-nonsense accountant than the financial wizard that many New Jersey residents were hoping for, Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Tuesday proposed his first state budget, calling for tax increases and painful spending cuts to rescue New Jersey from one of the largest deficits any state is facing.

In a grave 31-minute speech to the New Jersey Legislature that elicited only two instances of applause, Mr. Corzine proposed a rise in the sales tax for the first time since 1990 and higher taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and luxury and gas-guzzling cars. (link)

A Democr... Aw, heck. You get the picture.