Quite coincidentally, while I was looking at something else,I saw the notes I had taken for the September 14, 2009 Somervell County Commissioner's Court. I had written a rough transcript of what I heard.
29. Presentation from Billings -Land of the Dinosaur. Video. Live action musical production. Premiere attraction unlike anything else. Texas amphitheatre. 12,500 patrons up to better than 40-50,000. Creating a show that is a musical, dinosaurs a draw. Nighttime performance, dramatically compliment the rest of the dinosaur events. Developing private funding, don't want anything from the commissioners except Go For It. Heads in the Beds. Endorsed approved in concept.
MP3 of the CEO talking at the September 14, 2009 Somervell County Commissioner's Court Meeting. (Right click to download- 282kb) the fuller dog and pony is excerpted from meeting here. (3528kb))
Now let's fast forward to January of this year, 2010, where Mike Dooley and Jay Clayton came before the 4b committee through the Glen Rose Economic Development Corp and asked for money. What happened between September and January? Didn't get the investors? Why not?
I guess I'm getting more cynical as I watch government longer. I wonder, is this how it works? You go before a governmental entity and tell them "I only want your endorsement, don't worry you won't be asked for any money, but can I get your seal of approval?". And then, later, you parlay that endorsement into a request for public monies?
Here's another example of that, except that it deals with the Rodeo. At the Feb 1 2010 meeting, Billy Huckaby and Mike Dooley came before the commissioner's court . On that audio start listening at about 14:18 in about the junior county rodeo. Here's just that bit (MP3 )-Basically, Huckaby and Dooley say they want the support of the commissioners and Walter Maynard says I thought we already approved that. But the rub here is that the commissioners did a resolution supporting the rodeo but weren't asked for any money. That's why Dooley and Huckaby were back with their hands out in February.
So, been thinking about this this morning. Was the LOD already planning to come back at a later date and ask for money, knowing that they weren't going to get the private funding and would then be making their pitch to the 4b committee? Did the commissioners know that they might come back later and ask for money? I mean, this was presented, at least to THIS public citizen, as a private LLC (of which, incidentally, Mike Dooley is a part) that was going to get its own money to operate, thus taking NO money from the public or the city/4b money. Could the whole thing about the endorsement have been a shoe-in-the-door as a future selling point to get the money?
I didn't agree with the 4b committee approving giving money to the LOD presentation. First, because it was supposed to be privately funded. Second, because it seems a little odd to me that Mike Dooley of Dooley Enterprises who has a contract with the county would be also a shareholder in the LOD company. Where's his risk? If the LOD doesn't pay back the 4b money, where's the liability and risk? If you know different and want to correct my impression, please comment.
I do like the idea of the LOD show being here. But surely if it's that great a presentation, they can get funding on their own. Why can't they? The county OWNS the sets at the amphitheatre. Dooley said at the city (or was it 4b) meeting this week that all their company has to do is put skins over the sets but it's county property and county sets.