By Bradley Harrington
“Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.” — Ludwig von Mises, “A Critique of Interventionism,” 1929 —
So, it appears that Cheyenne’s very own Downtown Development Authority (DDA) now considers itself in dire need of an image makeover — and is, therefore, about to spend quite a few thousands of dollars in order to bring it about:
“‘Through some of our strategic planning efforts in the last year, we decided to focus on a rebrand initiative for the organization, taking a look at our logo, taglines and website to give a fresh face to how we present ourselves as an organization,’ Program Manager Desiree Brothe said … The organization has roughly $50,000 to offer the firm [Flood Marketing] … Brothe said $30,000 will come from budgeted strategic planning funds for Fiscal Year 2019, while $20,000 may come from reserve funds.” (“DDA selects Sheridan-based Flood Marketing for rebranding effort,” WTE, May 20.)
Well, there’s certainly no doubt that SOMETHING needs to be done with the DDA’s website (https://downtowncheyenne.com/), inasmuch as:
■ The latest “Annual Report,” announcing that it’s “updated!”, is from FY 2016;
■ The “Strategic Plan” is showing its age as well, with its “latest” entries being from 2016 and 2017;
So, clearly, the DDA’s web presence needs to be “tuned up”; whether we need to blow $50,000 on that project, however, is certainly up for debate.
Meanwhile, as the DDA moves forward with its “re-branding” efforts, while the downtown (and other) taxpayers foot the bill, the question bears asking: Just how DOES the DDA “present itself as an organization”?
For a significant clue on that front, consider this paragraph, taken from the DDA’s “Economic Vitality Committee” page:
“Through economic restructuring, downtown’s existing economic assets are strengthened while diversifying its economic base. This is accomplished by evaluating how to retain and expand successful businesses to provide a balanced commercial mix, sharpening the competitiveness and merchandising skills of business owners, and attracting new businesses that the market can support.”
Really, you DDA people? I would submit that any political “organization,” funded through taxpayer loot and backed up by government guns, that views its role as one of “balancing” or “economically restructuring” an area’s business environment, qualifies as a nascent totalitarian state.
How, after all, would you DDA bureaucrats ever be able to determine just what kinds of “new businesses” the “market can support,” without actually leaving the market alone to function on its own?
Instead of doing so, however, you people blow taxpayer dollars on “evaluating” what YOU assert are the proper methods to “retain and expand successful businesses” … As if you actually had the glimmer of a clue as to how to bring that result about. Have any of you ever taken the time to study the social and economic paralysis that afflicts any city/county/state/country that employs such methods of “organization”? A short listing of such failures would be: Detroit, Cook County, California and North Korea.
You DDA bureaucrats are experts at paying lip service to the “market” — while you seek to throttle it with your “vision” of a “balanced commercial mix” — where YOU, with your plunder and your guns, get to define the terms of the “balance.”
And as for your alleged ability for “sharpening the competitiveness and merchandising skills of business owners” — well, wouldn’t you need to possess those skills, yourself, first? You can’t even post your latest Annual Reports — but we’re supposed to trust you to have knowledge on how to run an actual business downtown? You have GOT to be kidding me.
Instead of taking a serious look at such realities, however, you people have fooled yourself into believing that all it’s going to take to “re-brand” yourselves is “logos,” “taglines” and a new “website.”
Which, of course, is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig. As long as you remain a taxpayer-funded “organization” that does nothing but meddle into downtown affairs, how do you expect your “presentation” to ever change?
Now, were you people actually willing to (1) abolish your onerous downtown mill levy; (2) end your constant slurpings at the city’s and the county’s public troughs; and (3) announce yourselves, henceforth, as a complete VOLUNTARY organization — THAT would be a “re-branding” effort worthy of consideration.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on May 27, 2018.