Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gem Show Angst

Tucson, Arizona. Readers interested in Rio Nuevo should click over to a thorough and rigorous treatment of the situation at the Tucson Choices blog. The piece presents a stronger command of the content than anything I’ve seen, and it completely eclipses the pathetic opinion piece in the Citizen a few days ago. Today’s Star has another article questioning the future of the gem show in Tucson.

Rumors regarding the loss of the gem show are not new. Every year word spreads around that it may leave, and it doesn’t. However, each year the talk seems to have more substance, and new this year are the quotes from Gem Show Chief Douglas Hucker, "I would have never considered leaving the city of Tucson for somewhere else, but I am now." Hucker goes on to comment about Rio Nuevo, "I’m not sure a bridge painting on Fourth Avenue, or some track being laid down for a (streetcar) ... that doesn’t represent significant movement for me. There needs to be more. They (the city) better focus on revenue-producing things or they will lose their biggest revenue producer."

The dissatisfaction has been growing for some time, and I am not talking about the lack of hotels or arenas. The undercurrent involves the taken for granted treatment the show has received over the years. Either last year or the year before that, when the show had a reception of sorts expecting to be greeted by dignitaries including the Mayor, perhaps a few more elected officials, and others (chamber employees, etc.), very few attended. Certain gem show officials were quite incensed, and I paraphrase the sentiment with, "You know, we really like Tucson, and the weather is great, but guess what?"

That was a year or two ago. At the time, I-10 was all torn up, causing traffic snarls and parking frustration for the show vendors and patrons having received no advance warning about the construction. "If they had warned us about the construction, we could have prepared for it. No one told us a thing."

Perhaps the loss of TIF funding has a silver lining for the Cloth. It's a perfect excuse if Tucson does lose the show.


Blogger Cigar Man said...

You have come a long way, x4mr. When I first met you, you were excited and optimistic about the great work you were doing. Your focus on producing results stuck out in the Cloth world as something to be destroyed as quickly as possible.

Your blog post here illustrates very well their sheer incompetence. You present an old problem, a rather simple so easily resolved, that just languishes year after year after year. Will TREO make a difference? Will DTP do anything? Get it? The gem show is such a no brainer priority, a slam dunk item to nurture, and what happens? Further, and this is the key point, it happens over and over. Although more complicated, isn't Rio Nuevo the same basic theme?

2/17/2009 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I talked to Hucker a year ago and heard the same story about the reception which almost no elected officials attended. At least the empty suits at the Bureau were there. He said it was at the Stillwell House downtown, so not much excuse for the electeds to miss it.

The weather is great in Tucson, but guess what? The weather is great in Las Vegas too.

2/17/2009 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend clicking on the link to the "pathetic opinion piece in the Citizen", if only to read the biting comments in response to the editorial.

2/18/2009 12:49 AM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Cloth Alert: Slimy Snell was on AZ Illustrated Tuesday night. Billy Buckmaster pitched him a bunch of softballs. Waste of skin.

2/18/2009 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

University Announces Temporary Suspension of Science Center/State Museum Project
The University of Arizona announced today that major work on the downtown University of Arizona Science Center and State Museum project will be suspended until the current economic crisis in the state abates.

“Our mutual commitment to a strong partnership between the UA and the City in downtown redevelopment remains strong,” said UA President Robert Shelton. “However, the current budget crisis makes it impossible for us to proceed with our plans at this time.”

Shelton said that the University will suspend building design and development work on the project immediately. Some exhibit design work will continue, but at a much slower pace, and the University will request that the City continue to hold the site so that the project can commence again when the economy improves.

“A better economic future for Tucson absolutely requires a strong UA presence in downtown,” said President Shelton. “The Mayor and Council and I share that vision. We will continue to work together to make that a reality.”

2/18/2009 12:07 PM  

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