Plenary Session Part VI

There’s a saying in new media circles: Do what you do best and link to the rest.

I had planned to continue the discussion to about the proposed Convention Center expansion to answer this question from my first post:

The True Economic Impact: Call us crazy but a lot of us are just not ready to drink the lemonade some consultants sell us. We’ve been burned a few times before. So what is the truth about how much more money we’ll all be bathing in when we have a bigger Convention Center?

So I did what I do best, and now will link to the rest.

I thought Liam Dillon did a superb job taking us all through a complex situation and explaining it in a way that everyone can understand. He analyzed what was known and what we didn’t know. He wanted to understand the economics of the expansion and he took us through his process with him.

Just a great piece, I thought. So read it and you’ll know as much as most anyone about what’s going on. Send me your thoughts and we can keep the discussion going.

There has been some fallout since then.

You’ll remember in my last post, I chided a reader for calling an expansion booster a “joker.” I was proud of the tone of the debate we had hosted. There were some negative digressions but overall some fantastic perspective and insight had emerged from all sides.

And then, who would have imagined, but it wasn’t one of my commenters who took the debate back to the gutter.

It was the Convention Center’s vice president for public affairs, Steven Johnson.

The thorn in the side of the mayor’s task force exploring the expansion (and readying a recommendation to do it) was one Heywood Sanders, an academic from Texas. (If anything, I was more of a yappy, annoying dog. “Hey, guys, did you think of this??”) Heywood Sanders actually commanded such concern from the task force that a three-person committee trying to draft a report about the task force’s conclusions dedicated much of it to rebutting his testimony and comments.

Sanders claimed that he had been mischaracterized by the draft report.

Johnson responded with a simple explanation for why Sanders was wrong: “He’s a whack job.”


We have more cantankerous anonymous commenters who wouldn’t go that far. In fact, I will make note that Johnson now has no standing to ever complain about any worthless reader comment.

No matter. The task force, Monday, voted 15-1 (Taxpayers Association CEO Lani Lutar voted no) to essentially recommend that the mayor figure out how to pay for it and figure out how to get it passed.

Sounds like a job for a new task force!


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