Friday, May 29, 2009

Optimism is dangerous?? Only in Kingman I suppose.

Here we go, I haven't done one of these in awhile but I think it is a fine time to dust off the scissors and make work.

I realize that not as many pairs of eyes will see this response as compared to if I simply responded on the KDMiner's website, but since it is still practically impossible to include simple things like live links when commenting there I'm bringing it here. Sometimes I get the feeling that in the hallowed halls of Western News & Info Inc. they still believe that dial up access to the Internet is cutting edge (but at least they have a website, can't say the same for the other local rag).

Today's exercise in proper scissor use is dedicated to a comment left by the head local pessimist, purveyor empty rhetoric, promulgator of doom and gloom, and otherwise good dude and fellow blogger Loyd Peterson.

You can find the article that Mr. Peterson left a comment on right here (not only does he appear in the comments, quotes from Loyd are also included in the article... he is everywhere these days... even wrote a letter to the editor. Might as well call the Miner's website the Kingman Daily Loyd). Here is the comment...

Posted: Friday, May 29, 2009
Article comment by: Loyd

Mayor Salem touts himself as a "glass half full" kinda guy. What he refuses to acknowledge is the fact that the glass is still draining. That's denial and that is a dangerous attitude.

So basically it is dangerous to perhaps be an optimist?? Maybe Loyd just wishes that everyone could be as curmudgeon as he is on a daily basis?? Prolly.

And actually I've heard the mayor say, even in public meetings, that he is hoping to do something positive to help affect new economic development in our local area. Now I might be wrong, but to me that sounds like acknowledgment and certainly not denial. So Loyd is wrong on this one.

The mayor and the rest of the elected city leaders know full well that economic times aren't all that great here in Kingman... they've made multiple mentions of this at meetings-a-plenty. There are many various reasons as to why the local economic straights are dire at the moment... including citizens in public decrying new developments, new developers, and new investment -- all of which had eyes on this market not that long ago.

Auto dealerships and businesses are closing which means less license fees and sales taxes. People are keeping their car longer which drops registration fees even more.

No doubt that Loyd is right about businesses in trouble and even closing here in Kingman, but I'm curious as to why he used 'auto dealerships' as an example. The local Chrysler and GM dealerships did not get a letter from our federal government informing them that they have to close up shop. And as far as the Toyota dealership goes... it didn't close.

Here it is in fact in the photo above. Looks NEW in fact. It also looks like it is now located in Lake Havasu City. Oh and here is their website touting their new location. So it appears that only Kingman is 'losing' out on this one. See sales at this dealership will still bring in sales tax dollars to Mohave County and the state of Arizona, just as it is when it was located in Kingman. It's just the municipal sales tax dollars will now go to Lake Havasu.

And here is the kicker... the land that the new dealership is located on was developed via a public/private partnership between the developer and the city of Havasu. It happens to also be located right next to a new retail shopping center (complete with a brand new movie complex) that opened about a year ago. Doesn't sound quite like Havasu is heeding that insane advice of Loyd's to hide in a shell.

So the use of 'auto dealerships' by Loyd is misleading at best. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that has been following along.

The state is in a net exodus mode meaning our population is declining -- more reductions. State projections are forecasting further sales tax declines and continuing revenue drops.

Hopefully Loyd doesn't throw a hip out when dancing the jig to this news. News he surely revels in as he has been clearly against growth for as long, at least, since he retired. He got his you know.

There is a proposed moratorium in the state legislature to cut off impact fees state wide for three years -- further reducing all cities' revenues. The real estate foreclosure slide is deepening with 1 in 8 mortgages in some level of distress. Anyone that can still see rainbows needs to get out the Windex and get after those glasses.

Not only do I see rainbows... but I see unicorns as well. It is all very pleasant actually.

Impact fees, here in Kingman anyway, haven't raised the kind of moohlah they were hoping for when the fees were introduced (some impact). Raising fees and/or taxes in a declining market doesn't make much sense and never has, and most folks get that.

As far as foreclosure issues are concerned... well part of the problem there is the lack of demand. Sure there are many other reasons that have led to this huge problem, but part of the problem can be addressed by increasing demand. Typically you will find many other communities trying to do this by easing restrictions or offering incentives on development and welcoming new investment to a community in hopes of greater opportunity and increased jobs. People tend to want to be part of something optimistic... but that's right... being an optimist is akin to a dangerous attitude -- so sayeth the king of all negativity.

It's a whole new ball game now and clinging to unrealistic goals is foolhardy.

What goals?? If the goals are to improve the quality of life in Kingman, why is that foolhardy?? Just because Loyd has a narrow view of things and won't consider other possible solutions that many other communities utilize during tough economic times, it doesn't mean that the quest is foolhardy.

Loyd likes to say that if only Kingman would reduce spending during the economic tough times and hide in a shell... once the economy picks backs up somehow magically Kingman will have 24 gozillion dollars to spend all willy nilly. Once again... do nothing until the economy comes back to full speed ahead... and voila... millions upon millions of dollars at our disposal. My question is... just how does the local economy just suddenly come back to full speed ahead?? It is just as silly of a notion as increasing the federal deficit by a magnitude of four and then proceeding to tell folks that by the end of a presidential term that the deficit would be cut in half. Hey it's nice that the deficit is cut in half and all... but it is still two times more than it first was before the spending binge. Not logical.

Loyd is also solidly in the belief that hyper inflation is on our collective doorstep... and I happen to agree for the most part. Yet Loyd's shell hiding theory is even less logical when you add in the inflation factor. I just don't see the reasoning behind waiting all this out only to pay for improvements at much higher costs after inflation takes hold. It is why his criticism of the city paying $300,000 for a building downtown this last year doesn't have clarity. He'd much rather have waited until the economy and inflation adjusts up accordingly to still have the city need a building and pay maybe a couple of million when all is said and done. In other words... so much for those millions upon millions of dollars that just seemed to appear out of nowhere by hiding in a shell. At best whatever dollars were saved today would be lucky to have the same buying power when the economy comes roaring back (which is no guarantee especially if the game plan is simply to hide in a shell until it does).

Strong leadership is required right now and that does not include trying to find new ways to raise taxes and spend taxpayers' money. It can be made no clearer that the city will be under ongoing and increasing pressure on the revenue side of the budget sheet.

Nothing like stating the obvious there Loyd. I can't even buy a Toyota in Kingman to help fund the city treasury any longer. Of course there is going to be pressure on the revenue side of the budget sheet.

As long as conditions aren't addressed to optimize economic activity here in Kingman, even up to the point that it would be stupid not to do business in Kingman -- instead of setting up 8,000 obstacles that would otherwise lead to increased economic activity, revenues will continue to slide. The answer is NOT to hide in a shell at a time like this because if this community does it won't be long until some important city service goes bye-bye, further eroding the quality of life that Kingman currently offers.

Further spending cuts are the only reasonable alternative.

No... certainly not the only reasonable alternative... not by a mile. Maybe I need to spend 5 minutes searching for other communities and their current and ongoing efforts to improve economic conditions again... it's been awhile since I've done that as well.

Promoting new revenue sources can't be done by hiding in a shell. New revenue sources usually ride on the back of new investment and development into the area. Working with folks that have capital and a willingness to take on some risk on their part are just the right sort that a community could use right about now.

And I'll admit that finding those willing to take on risk won't be easy in times like this. It will take strong leadership to help that along. But other communities are doing it and I think it is more than likely that the Kingman community is being left behind... only to catch up under hyper inflation conditions. Hiding in a shell is easy, yet produces nothing.

Lastly I'll say that spending taxpayer money just for the sake of spending it is NOT something I am supporting. In fact I haven't called for more municipal spending in this post, and I'm not necessarily in favor of passing a bond measure just for the hell of it. I may be tempted to vote yes on a bond measure or an increase in taxes... only if I believe there will actually be a community benefit derived from the cost of whatever the item or the issue happens to be. As of right now... there is NOTHING on the table.

Even Loyd has praised the city... that's right I said praised... in recent times for how they've managed the budget process. He has mentioned the 'belt-tightening' the city has done and even followed up with his satisfaction with city services still even in the face of this poor economy. That, though, is only half the battle. Keeping a close eye on spending is a very good thing... but what is being done to increase revenues?? Not a surprise that Loyd won't address that though given the fact that he is against growth related issues... i.e. growth leads to increased revenues.

Personally I have reduced spending in the face of my own business revenues sliding... but at the same time I'm working towards increasing revenue opportunities in my business by thinking out of the box (I hate that cliche but in this case it really works). I have reduced my fees that I charge clients in the hopes of perhaps gaining a larger volume of business. I've created and continue to create new programs that will hopefully incentivize potential clients to choose me as their representative. I'm looking for new ways to increase revenues in what has been a very difficult time in my own personal economy. Some things I have tried have worked, some have failed... but especially in times like these -- hiding in a shell won't bring home the bacon.

I want the city leaders to be on the forefront of communities that are leading the way out of the doldrums the current economy is in. That will call for reasonable actions that draw in new interest to the Kingman area in the hope of further positive development and yes... new growth.

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