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Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006 | I believe it is very important at this time to point out the following regarding Pam Slater-Price and Mainly Mozart:

  • The negotiations required and the level of political involvement it took to get sanctioned by the Austrian Government for the 250th Anniversary Celebration of Amadeus Mozart, was considerable. This simply does not happen without political support and it is very important to have that face to face contact with our elected officials in order to grow this festival to the level of international importance that is occurring rapidly after Mainly Mozart’s huge efforts of 2006, and designation as the principal center in the United States.
  • It is a well established fact that performing arts and their venues produce more economic revenue to a region then sports venues. From an economic standpoint, it is money well spent to produce and grow cultural events, and the cultural tourism that evolves around major world festivals, such as Mainly Mozart, where we are leaders in the United States.
  • Enumeration of events produced by Mainly Mozart in 2006 reveals more than 220 and a significant number of those events were free to the public, or at a very low cost, to increase the enjoyment of classical music to children and adults.
  • Virtually every major arts organization (more than 70) had a Mozart collaboration this year, as a result of the huge efforts of Nancy Laturno, executive director, and the support of County Commissioner, Pam Slater-Price. Ms. Slater-Price personally attended a very large number of these events, on her own time. She has shown herself to be a champion of the arts and understands their great economic reach in our county.
  • The cross-border aspect of the organization has lead to greater regional participation and understanding of cultures and the arts.
  • There was absolutely no public money involved in the ticket travel of our elected officials and the tickets resulted from the standard practice of tour agencies giving one free ticket for every 10 paid attendees on the current Austrian trip. Even so, it would have been most appropriate for the county to sponsor Pam Slater-Price to come along on this trip to ensure the continued relations necessary with the Austrian Government, in order to promote San Diego as a world wide destination for Mozart cultural tourism.
  • Richard Florida in his landmark book “The Rise of the Creative Class,” proves that jobs follow culture; not the other way around, as has been believed in the past. Mainly Mozart promotes just the type of cultural enhancement that helps grow our region’s jobs, and enrich our lives.

Regarding Ron Roberts’ trip to Asia to promote San Diego business interests; I concur completely with what Richard Ledford has written regarding the very small likelihood of a small to medium size business being successful without political support from their elected representatives. No official can be connected without some face to face contact. In the past the governments allotted money for this travel, but it is now expected that this can magically be accomplished with no public or private monies. How realistic is this?

I am dismayed to see such a lack of knowledge among the general populace, and even the media, about how this type of business is conducted. I am not connected to either of these endeavors except to attend a few concerts, but I realize that The Mainly Mozart Festival and increased international business will not happen in San Diego without the hard work and support of elected officials, in conjunction with their business and non-profit counterparts. What is even more tragic is that you have picked the two County Commissioners that show up the most. I cannot imagine that they have much of a personal life because I see them attending virtually every event or after working hours meeting that I do, and read about their attendance at a great many more.

San Diegans have established a long tradition of wanting good things to happen without paying any money for them. We are blessed with wonderful weather that has been a draw for the likes of Jonas Salk, and many other gifted people that make our region unique. Creating culture, diversity, trade, and a wonderful sense of place requires knowing what defines it. I suggest that those criticizing these trips “get off the island more” so they will see the value of what these folks are trying to achieve. Our economic future depends on it. Trying to criticize the very officials working so hard to create this growth is short-sighted and puts us at a great disadvantage to cities that support such endeavors. It is time for San Diegans to learn there is more to life and creating a vibrant place for earning a living than just a great beach.

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