City Paper Reporter Richard Lawson seems to be quarter-horsing the publication's coverage of city politics through the livery; only he's narrowly focused on the pro-no-holds-barred-growth chute.
Last week we he was cheerleading
untrammelled pursuit of the Nashville Predators without respect to the impact on Metro services. This week he's tying
an albatross around the highly successful, yet balanced Purcell administration and he's greasing up the Dean Administration machinery for hands-off development to match the Preds deal.
Lawson quotes the mainstream media's analogue to the blogosphere's anonymous commenters--unnamed "observers," "real estate circles," and "former officials"--to suggest that, despite finishing in the top tier of economically advantaged cities, former Mayor Purcell was a closet failure at growth. In sum, Mayor Purcell's economic success had nothing to do with his economic policies. And yet, he makes observations that contradict everything else he writes this morning.
First, he writes:
The headquarters [of several corporations] came to Nashville without incentives, in a sense proving they aren't always necessary to attract companies.
So, what's the problem? That not all corporations chose Nashville? Is it realistic to expect that all corporations will come to Nashville? And is it wise to give the ones who want more incentives than naturally provided just to have them here creating black holes that suck the resources out of our communities?
Second, Lawson goes on to say that other corporations went to Williamson county because they wanted the suburbs, and still others went for totally unexplained reasons. I don't understand. How are these proof of some Purcell "slow walk," which seems to be the reporter's main allegation?
And this seeming anti-infrastructure analysis is once again plagued with the kind of obfuscation that hung over last week's Preds analysis. Please parse this multi-double-negative gem for me:
There's no telling how many prospects never showed because of the lack of incentives from the city. Nashville's economic developers may not know what lists they didn't appear on as consultants compiled information on cities.
Why does the pro-growth side always intimidate by throwing the unknown in people's faces or otherwise confusing them? Oooo, the no-telling-never. We may not know how many lists we did not appear on? Well, we also do not know whether they were not compiled or not uncompiled. But then again we do not know whether Nashville would have ranked so high had Bill Purcell not governed as he did. Double negatives cut both ways (nor neither way).
In the final analysis, CP analysis is increasingly showing itself to be unabashedly pro-development to the detriment of pro-infrastructure and balanced growth. It seems that Master Lawson would have Metro open the spigots and offer all relocating corporations the kind of sweetheart deals he favored for the Predators; even at times where we do not need them. Honestly, if we finished numero uno in multiple economic development rankings under a Mayor who constrained himself in order to pay for more unsexy, but necessary projects around the city, how much higher can we rise? Number 1+++? And can we ever be at least number 1 with crumbling sidewalks?
What may look good from the business end of the economic revolver is not always the best way to run a city of neighborhoods.