Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Current Watch: "The price paid to have the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. as our tourism marketing vendor"

‘glenwoodsprings22’, founder ‘smalltown7’ has this one today.

“Coming up on July 14, the new tourism board under Ordinance #12 Series of 2010, chooses the 2012—2013 tourism marketing vendor.

Hill Aevium, who created our logo brand of “Soak it all in” and gave us the baseline for what we’ve marketed Glenwood as for over 6 yrs. now, is one of two bids left standing.

Don’t be fooled by the spin-off of city council.  Don’t be fooled by the ‘Tourism Lions’ that have a vested interest in not awarding anyone but GSCRA.  There were other bidders.  One of them didn’t quite get in under the time-gun.  Unlike the blatant bending of ethical rules when city council let GSCRA board member and ‘Tourism Lion’ Ken Murphy shove Jon Z. out of the tourism board seat earlier this year; council, tourism board and Kate Collins decided to not give that firm the benefit of doubt.  That’s their power to do. I’m just not letting the double standard get lost in the spin-machine shuffle. Count on it that double standard is going to play over and over on the commentary if Hill Aevium is not awarded.   

The obvious point is that we don’t really have rules in 81601.  We have whatever a few who get away with it let us have.

There was also a firm that had to back out due to a conflict of interest.  No, it wasn't GSCRA, who has raging conflicts of interest.

All in all, there were 4 out of 5 possible that left us with just Hill Aevium and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc.

smalltown7 and  the dozens of businesses out here in the shadows support Hill Aevium.

Here’s why:

  • We’ve been in the tank for three years. Every resort around us has proven for two of those three years that it is not “because of the recession”.  That makes 81601 circling the drain for half of the six years we’ve been marketing under “Soak it all in”.

  • It’s so in the tank, we’re still over 60% down.  Millions of dollars down is what that translates out to.  Our hotels haven’t been overflowing and turning away for years.  Most nights, there’s no light on in the bulk of their buildings.  Our restaurants rely on a couple good nights a week and can’t rely on boom nights, if they come, they’re a bonus.  Our retail is so down we’ve still got empty buildings everywhere and not just downtown.  They can’t stock their stores.  They’ve got weeks where they only make a few sales. In fact, because of hyped-up numbers out of GSCRA vendor for all of those 6 years of this brand, we’ve never even seen reality in comparisons between sales revenues and lodging revenues.  We have no idea how it’s all really measured up.  Forget construction in 81601. The only given that’s building is the money we don’t have, being burned by city council for trails, repairs that could wait and added infrastructure.  In the case of concrete on  Grand Ave and the WWP, they gave that away to out of town contractors.  Our hungry have grown 4 times what they were three years ago.  We have families living in cars.  We have young professionals that cannot afford rent.  Even our grocery stores are not stocked like they were.  We’ve now had 3 Strawberry Days in a row that are down by 30% to 50% what they used to be. And still don’t have a clue where that civic event money is disappearing off to.  Christmas shopping’s been on its knees for the past three years.  Biggest snow year in recent history and they went to Vail or Aspen.  Vail Resorts has never dropped during the recession.  They’ve posted a $35 million dollar profit this past year, booming in events year round.  Aspen dropped, then held steady with small growth.  This year, even under major scandal, Aspen still saw an increase.  The only town in the area that’s almost as bad as we are is Basalt.  No comparison there when you look at the towns and what they offer.

  • We don’t need ladies sitting at computer keywords playing on social networks or pumping out viral marketing advertising.  We don’t need regurgitated gimmicks.  We did get, from GSCRA, an internet full of scandal with a bragging and boasting top employee in GSCRA linking our city website to her Google Blogger profile she used to become a self-declared vigilante. Then, beating all the odds and finding hundreds more social networks to glorify herself on while allegedly committing crime. Every one of them attaches our city website to them in links.   When anyone breaks off from the canned PR out of GSCRA and the City of Glenwood Springs and surfs through blogs, real news media and comments all over the nation on all search engines, they find 81601 so slammed with talking heads spouting off on the low ethics and how bad our downfall is; most of us don’t see how we’ll ever recover.  We did get all that out of GSCRA’s past two years of marketing efforts.  And they wonder why we’re still in the tank.

  • The only way to get out, is to clean house and stand up for accountability.  Tell the truth.  We need a marketing firm that will deal with our reality.  Not the Pollyanna view from rose-colored glasses that does exist.  The RFP for this contract bid did not even have the guts to tell the bidders (except the chamber that knows) what our reality is.  ‘smalltown7’ sent the links to Hill Aevium so that they could at least have a level playing field and so the folks could stand a chance with what will be close to a million bucks of public money awarded over two years.

  • We need a marketing firm that will build us a future while maintaining what we have without losing any more ground.  We need a legitimate firm that has integrity, ethics, values and standards.  That if they were faced with either doing a cover-up or what’s in the best interests of the folks they ultimately service, they would choose the folks.  That firm is not the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. 

Here’s where reality is on the problem of GSCRA:

  • There is an investigation.  Your city council and D.A. (9th Judicial elected with likely a re-up attempt coming up in 2012, be sure to vote) have just kept it swept under the rug and that rug shoved in the basement cellar closet under triple deadbolt.

  • That investigation has gone so far there’s admission by those authorities that victims have tort power.  The problem there is not that major action against all parties is coming.  That’s a really big problem.  But the real problem 81601 faces is how long that is going to take.  We’re looking at minimum of a year on one part of that mess in the system and likely another year for a total of two plus before it all resolves. That’s the entire life of the next marketing contract award.  So far, our gutless local news media has burned every credibility and ethical bridge they could ever hope to have in not reporting.   Since when have you ever heard of stalkarazzi style reporters who didn’t jump on fresh blood no matter whose it is?  That tide on raw meat is getting ready to turn.  Finally the real whistle is opening her mouth to speak up on the other side of the story. All those linked to city glorifications of that one person at the chamber are likely to be as historic as the sinking of the Titanic.  Remember that when certain members of city council, who attached us to that kite-tail going down come up for re-elect over the next two years.  Remember that when city admin contracts come up again in 2013.  The only reason we’re still headed for the iceberg is thanks to their failed stewardship to the oaths they took.  

  • There’s also the reality of the problem that thanks to the super-fine viral marketing efforts of one individual at GSCRA; that turned tide is going to rage through the stratosphere of 24/7 news.  It wasn’t enough for our council, city admin and D.A. to force a community to kow-tow to ‘VirgZilla’ and her will.  The folks, thanks to our city and district attorney blessing Marianne Virgili to the point of ignoring crime, are now forced to stay on their knees while everything surrounding our integrity as a community is questioned.  We cannot financially handle, as a community, another day of being attached to the mass liability the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Assoc. represents.

The city rolls out financial records for 2010 this upcoming council meeting tomorrow night. 

Read those and see how poorly the decision making over the past year alone has been.  When financials for a number of years are held up to us not even being able to collect money we know has ‘slipped’ through the cracks of the accommodations tax and Strawberry Days; it’s not an option any longer to just have wishful thinking  over whether or not we get fireworks.  The barn’s ready to burn, folks.  It’s been empty for a long time.

Here’s what a nationally known figure in the construction industry had to say when he turned down area contractors awhile back for bringing his event to 81601:

“For me to schedule my event in Glenwood is to say I support the community leaders and their choices. After watching with you the city council meeting’s videos that declare a nearly undying devotion to an organization that has not only authorized its President and CEO to engage in unlawful activity that also is vigilante activity, but has blessed and publically supported that activity and years of allegations of crime with city money;  I am appalled. That they have allowed this to happen in the middle of the worst construction recession in history and with your sinking sales revenues tells me they have no control. The devotion to the chamber of commerce when they cannot keep their own house in order over this public tax also tells me it would be an uphill climb to get these officials even in the ball park of normal business.  They strike me as bent on personal games and social gain rather than stewards. That they would allow the obvious at the same time they’re making constrictions on construction even tighter is also a sign that they do not care for pro-growth.  If I could even get past the wondering if your authorities have lost their collective mind, I still have my own standard of ethics in responsibility for what we’re trying to bring together here to get past. Glenwood Springs and Garfield County have some of the least friendly to construction ordinances in the state.  How can we go before a BOCC and council that lack the foresight to even police their ethical standard to their community?  No, I am sorry, but we must decline.”  

smalltown7 keeps talking.

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