All’s Well that Ends Well is Not Well: The December 19, 2011 CCVB Meeting

When is a good idea not a good idea? When it comes from a politician. Monday’s CCVB meeting was a true example of how a wonderful idea can get lost in the minutia, and how politics is still a smelly game. Good intentions are never enough to cover a bad practice.

Leroy Brooks

Leroy Brooks speaks to the CCVB

The CCVB meeting opened with an impassioned speech by District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks, concerning the importance of local festivals. Unfortunately, this speech was carried out in front of several politicians, most who have connections to their own festivals that receive money from the CCVB. This development cheapened the good points Mr. Brooks was trying to make about the need for these local events.

In attendance for this presentation were Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem, Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor, Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens, District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders, District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith, and Crawford Mayor Fred Tolon. That’s right folks… The gang was all there!

There is no other way to put it: that is too many politicians in one room for such a discussion. Regardless if they meant well or not, it demonstrated a show of force. That would be okay if they were citizens, but they are politicians. They are the people who appoint the Board. This show of support with elected officials was unfortunate at best and ill-advised at worst.

Time and time again, our local elected officials refuse to understand that the City and County are watching them. Time and time again, they refuse to separate themselves from the fray and stand about special interest. It is never okay to take money from the same people you appoint to their positions. It yells conflict of interest. There is no way to get around it.

Mr. Brooks’ talk centered around the need for African-American events and the importance of such programs. He eloquently discussed the battle between Economic Development vs. Community Development and the need to help neighborhoods feel better about themselves.

All of these are good ideas, but they should never have been presented with the leering eyes of elected officials hovering over the process. They took a noble concept and crushed it. This made all of Mr. Brooks’ words tinted with cronyism. All in all, their gathering was a bad idea. And, most of all, it was completely unnecessary.

After Mr. Brook’s talk, Harry Sanders told him that it was the most eloquent he had ever heard him speak. It was a wonderful, heartfelt speech. Unfortunately, the gathering of politicians and festival organizers cheapened it to a political rally. It is truly sad how some people never see the conflicts staring them right in the face.

Oh, and one other thing… after Mr. Brooks spoke, all the politicians went home. You gotta love it!


Merry Christmas! (War is Over!) …that is, unless you are on the CCVB Board. After Mr. Brooks’ plea, the CCVB turned back into the cluster of chaos it is famous for providing everyone. Some of the highlights were:

Mark Castleberry told other Board members they need to read a book on how to conduct a meeting. Really? How about a book on professionalism for everyone!

Bart Wise asked the Board if it was a good idea to hire a general practice lawyer, since they might need to hire a more specific case lawyer for court proceedings. Huh? What? That question, and the Board’s desire not to have a lawyer at every meeting, is proof positive that they need a lawyer now! This is an organization that has not had an audit in three years. What the ….! Get a lawyer ASAP!

Did you know the City gets $50,000 from the CCVB to help pay for a person to clean the Riverwalk area? Yes, you can’t make this stuff up!

Next month, many organizations will be asked to present their programs to get grants from the CCVB. What rules will be used? Who knows? Anyone who says they do know are fooling themselves.

And, finally, Gill Harris is getting money for his concert in February, and he is not a non-profit. Every musician needs that gig.

Joseph B. St. John

A/K/A Mr. MoJo Rising


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One Comment on “All’s Well that Ends Well is Not Well: The December 19, 2011 CCVB Meeting”

  1. Jan Miller Says:

    That money that goes to the City for the Riverwalk also goes to other projects in downtown and around the Riverwalk and has a committee that decides where the money is spent. Yes the committee does approve for some of the money to go to a person to keep the Riverwalk clean but a majority of that money goes to beautification projects in downtown and the Riverwalk. Some of the things the money has been used for is: water fountains, the stage, benches, lighting, mile markers, pet stations, at the Riverwalk, and benches, recycling cans and planters downtown. It is very specific what it can be spent on. I currently sit on that committee and feel it is one of the most efficient and best use of the money.


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