As city and school budgets continue to plummet across the state and nation, officials are scraping the very bottom of the barrel for ideas to stay afloat. But recent discussions on the local level to attract advertising dollars are about as slippery a slope as they come. Like Crocodile Mile with Vaseline.
While everyone else was watching the Vikings edge the Packers on Monday, the Eau Claire school board discussed (and approved) the selling of naming rights for its facilities. As WEAU reported, “With the ruling, board members say they could sell naming rights for a large amount of money or name their facilities to honor people who were great leaders or have historic significance.” That’s true, but isn’t it also true that Lakeshore could become Hannah Montana Elementary School, or “The Doghouse” at North High could become Twilight Gymnasium, or Memorial could become High School Musical 4 High School?
It sounds ridiculous, but it was the exact concern of City Manager Mike Huggins a few months ago when he discussed the same revenue-generator to help alleviate the city’s anticipated budget shortfall of between $1.2 and $1.7 million in 2010. “The question is how far do you go?” he said. “Does city hall become the Pepsi Government Building?”
While the school district has yet to have offers of this kind, and expects to discuss it further at upcoming informational meetings, it’s hard to think about the scheme without recalling the lyrics to The Limbo Rock: How low can you go?
Whether it makes you happy or sad, Michael Moore’s newest documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, has yet to be placed in a Chippewa Valley theatre. I guess the movie brokers down in Chicago (or wherever their little office is located) didn’t think it’d make much money up here. I really hope the film comes to a local theatre, though, because it apparently features Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan (R). According to a story (which I believe is an opinion piece) from The Cap Times, Ryan “is shown playing the fear card by telling the House that it had to steer almost $800 million to Wall Street's sleaziest players.” They say …
- "If we fail to do the right thing, heaven help us - if we fail to pass this I fear the worst is yet to come," claimed Ryan.
- The statement from the Wisconsin Republican who has positioned himself as a budget specialist in the House played a significant role in securing support for a bailout bill that had not been adequately analyzed and that included few protections against fraud.
- Had Ryan used his reputation and his role on key committees to aggressively oppose the bailout, he might have blocked the rush to judgment that economists now say could end up costing American taxpayers trillions of dollars - and a big chunk of their country's future.
I don’t know if you’ll agree with everything the Cap Times writer has to say on all this, but it’s obvious that Ryan pushed for bailout funds for banks – while car factories are closing in his home town of Janesville and elsewhere in his own district. It’s not always fun to see Wisconsinites in the moobies.