UPDATE!!!! According to Creative Loafing’s Scott Henry, the Atlanta City Council has just passed a slasher of an amended 2009 budget! One that will eliminate the need to raise taxes. Wow! Watch CL’s Fresh Loaf blog throughout the day for up-to-the-minute news. Duck, flying pigs overhead!
While the City of Atlanta
prepares to up our property taxes as a means to scramble together our now-infamous $140 million 2009 budget shortfall, the City (the one with the 11% increase in crime too) is busy spending 2008 budgeted bucks frivolously on pointless PR campaigns to promote a one day football and cheerleading camp – and a fully-funded U.S. Congressmen’s appearance at such. A cheerleading camp? (WTF’s up with that? But hey, it’s an election year, right? Ra-Ra-Ra, Go Team Lewis!)
Besides, this cheerleading/football camp is a charity program that seems fully funded by private and corporate sponsorship in the first place. Why not let the deep-pocketed sponsors do the PR and publicity, for chrissake? They’ve got money. We City of Atlanta homeowners do not. We’re paying out the you-know-what for our water alone. We’re broke too!
Don’t get me wrong, I love sports, and feel it’s critical for any kid’s healthy development to participate in team sports. But let’s take a look at yet another of the City’s poorly-written press releases du jour about what exactly they’re doing with our money this time:
On June 28, 2008, Leigh Torrence, Washington Redskin Cornerback will host nearly 500 campers (including 100 cheerleading campers) at Atlanta’s Anderson Park for the Third Annual 4th Down Fundamentals Football and Cheerleading Camp. Congressman John Lewis will be at the camp to welcome participants and guests to the camp. During the 2007 off-season, Leigh Torrence was a congressional intern for Congressman Lewis who represents the 5th District, his home district.
By partnering with the Police Athletic League and with funding from the SWAY Foundation, Make A Difference Foundation, the NFL, and Mercedes Benz of Buckhead, the campers will enjoy the day concentrating on developing key football and cheerleading fundamentals while being introduced to life skill concepts. They will receive hands on guidance from NFL players, a professional cheerleading group, a number of knowledgeable coaches, and more than 100 volunteers! Leigh Torrence takes mentorship and giving back to his community to a new level.
“It is my privilege and honor to have Leigh once again offering this camp to the youth of our community,” said Atlanta City Councilman Ivory Lee Young, Jr, who recognized Torrence in 2007 for this community service work. “Leigh Torrence Jr. is an example of a community leader and role model who believes strongly in giving back to his hometown in many ways.”
Well that’s all just great. Only thing is, right now we’re a city that’s dead broke and struggling. Nice-nice summer camps (ones that also make city council suits and Congresspersons look great for a day for the local TV news cams during an election cycle) for kids are not exactly what I’d be promoting to the media in these hard economic times.
And maybe the City never budgeted a ton of PR and publicity dough on this summer camp/re-elect John Lewis thing in the first place. But one day of cheerleading camp here, another day of some other nice-nice camera-op program there… it all adds up to frivolous spending in what should be extreme belt-tightening times for the City of Atlanta.
Note to the City of Atlanta’s PR shoppe, at least spend OUR money cranking-out longwinded press releases that give the appearance of fiscal responsibility and attention to a city under seige by crime. It’s not like anyone expects any of you to actually do something. Other than raise our taxes again that is.