Sunday, October 23, 2016

Change the Tourism Board? Yes, We Can!

The following op-ed piece if from a reader with vast experience in tourism. We encourage every one in Florence and Lauderdale County to read it. As for those who reside elsewhere, you'll still find the content eye-opening. This is a situation we can rectify. We can ask our new council members to judge for themselves and, when the time is appropriate, take action. 

Presenting a huge chunk of truth:

Why is it that there seems to always be SO much controversy with the Florence Lauderdale Tourism Board? How many stories have we read over the past 20+ years about some controversy within that board?

It seems that we never hear about much controversy at other tourism agencies both larger or smaller than Florence-Lauderdale. Could it possibly be that the current and many former tourism board members are hand picked by
Florence City Council members with an obvious agenda? The agenda has been more "control of power" motivated than "growing tourism" motivated.

Very, very few of all tourism board members, both past and present, have had ANY tourism or tourism related experience. Why would grown men want to act as puppets for anyone?? Well, grown men is a stretch when you look at some of the members, both past and present. How many times has David Abramson’s name been mentioned in a a questionable situation. Why is he even on the board.? I think he was in the road construction business before he retired.

Often, board members of an organization are viewed as experts in the field. Would you really want a construction worker on the board of directors for an opera? In most board settings, the members are made up of experts in the field. Doctors and hospital administrators are members of hospital boards. Homebuilders and suppliers are on the board for the Homebuilders Association.

Why do we always seem to get duds for our tourism board? Could it possibly be that Dick Jordan seems to always be at the helm trying to control the board to do what HE wants? It's going to be interesting to see how the tide turns with the NEW Mayor of Florence, who knows ALL about tourism and has no agenda, hidden or apparent.

Now let's dig into the new tennis courts. Why in the world would we build a bunch of tennis courts at Veterans park instead of something that would bring in tourists ALL YEAR LONG and have so much more appeal to everyone and not just the tennis people?

If the rich, tennis loving citizens of Florence want a tennis complex, let them use their own money to build it. Give them some land right off the beaten path and say “here you go…this is our part and now you build the courts.” If they have some skin in the game, they might look at it differently. Veterans park needs to be the home of a true tourist attraction like an INDOOR WATER PARK that can be utilized year round for EVERYONE, not just the rich tennis people. Look at the popularity of the pool, the central focus of the Marriott Shoals. Imagine the weekend business the Marriott and ALL the other hotels around would get with an indoor resort style pool, and other indoor activities.

The number one thing visitors ask when considering visiting a city is “what is there to do there?’ Lets build something that people would be interested in visiting.



Leadership is Limited

Yes, all leadership is limited. Many remember when Florence mayor Eddie Frost passed away; at that time Dick Jordan became acting mayor. Mr. Jordan didn't want the position since he made more money in his insurance business. Think about that: The most qualified for any elected job may not choose to run since he or she will lose money. Others have family commitments which make holding office impossible. Many factors limit the pool of those who will lead the Shoals, the state, and the country.

That brings us to an article about a man who is, or at least was, planning to run for the Lauderdale County Commission in two years. The Lauderdale body has only four members; would you want this person as one-fourth of the commission?

While we doubt Mr. Cheek would have won a place on the commission, what if he had? How many who seek office are ticking time bombs? Worse yet, how many who now hold elected office are ticking time bombs? As we have often said, elections are a crap shoot. Let's do our homework and choose as wisely as we can.


Worth watching for Kenneth Cranham, star of Danger UXB and Shine on Harvey Moon:

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