Stung by recent criticism of her “big focus when I ran for mayor,” Montesano Mayor Vini Samuel is defending her “free Wi Fi” in downtown deal.
In her jocular column of April 21, Mayor Samuel informs the peasants that among other things, “I’ve also heard fears from three auto businesses that letting Five Star advertise will somehow hurt their local business.”
Patronizing much? (I hear some electeds actually listen to their constituents. Go figure.)
A close reading of that column is revelatory. Take this gem, for instance:
“I did not need them (local automotive businesses) to do it (sponsor “free” Wi Fi) but felt that it was the right thing to do to even out the playing field.”
Unpack that for a minute. The Captain Obvious Question: Why did she “not need them to do it”?
While you’re busy with the bubble wrap, chew on this: The mayor doesn’t need local automotive businesses to sponsor her “big focus.” But she offers them the chance to sponsor said focus anyway. They don’t bite. So rather than revamp or mothball the idea, she signs up an exclusive sponsorship from a non-Montesano automotive biz in direct competition with local biz.
Sound like “I love Montesano” to you?
Not to point out the obvious or anything, but since Samuel brought it up related to “even(ing) out the playing field”, we may rightly wonder: If Montesano automotive businesses aren’t on this playing field, what does that make the field?
But wait. It gets better.
In a jaunty defense that doesn’t quite pass the straight-face test, Samuel attempts to equate Rich Hartman’s “exclusive sponsor agreement” with business sponsorship of youth sports: “This weekend, we were just at three soccer games at the high school, and when you look out across the field, you see all kinds of advertising from businesses that sponsor our kids. The baseball fields have them as well.” And so on.
Youth sports sponsorship is on par with an exclusive sponsorship of the mayor’s pet project? Seriously?
How many of those youth sports biz sponsors donated to Samuel’s campaign and were then “generous” enough to “offer(ed) to pay the entire bill to set up free Wi Fi, and pay for the maintenance for the first year”?
While the “the First Amendment means you can’t prevent people from advertising,” neither is it a carte blanche for stupid. Or “big focus” impairment.
Finally, Mayor Samuel says, “If you have an idea, I want to hear about it. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas.”
Okay. Here’s one: If Montesano businesses can’t or won’t get behind your big Montesano idea and if “no one else has come up with any other type of offer or solution to make free WiFi possible,” maybe it’s not a great idea. Or maybe you oughtta find someone to fund it who’s not in direct competition with local businesses.
As for “a monopoly” – you really wanna go there?
Flickr – Sy Clark. Creative Commons license.