Seagull Mussings Column July 18, 2004
The lies listed in a "world's greatest lies list" obviously depends on whose list it is and the current environment in which it is being complied. The first two on the Ole Seagull's current list would be, "If gambling comes to Rockaway Beach abortions will increase" and "The check's in the mail."
This week, a local paper published a piece by a person espousing reasons for not voting "Yes" on Amendment 1. As the Ole Seagull read one of the reasons, to "give Branson and Rockaway Beach a chance to accomplish a better solution together," he suppressed a chuckle because it caused him to recall the third "greatest lie" on his list, "Hi, we're the City of Branson and we'd like a chance to work with you for the mutual success of our areas economic development."
In light of the way Branson has been helping Hollister, the YMCA, and some its own businesses lately, just the thought of Branson offering to help should strike fear into the hearts those involved with Rockaway Beach's redevelopment effort. How much help did Branson give Hollister with the improvement of Highway 65 south from Branson toward the Arkansas line? One can only wonder what Hollister and probably, some of Branson's own businesses, think of Branson's timing and use of a TIF in the Branson Hills area as "a chance to accomplish a better solution together."
"Hey Seagull, I have one that I want to nominate for the "world's greatest lies list." "What is it?" "Amendment 1 provides fairness for southwest Missouri and benefits us all." "Actually, although a close call, that statement might be less a lie than calling Branson, a town that permits the expansion of alcohol, into its theaters and attractions, 'family friendly.'"
"Fair" can be defined in more than one way but two seem particularly appropriate in this situation, "equitable" and "superficially true or appealing." It's ironic isn't it, one term that has two opposite meanings? It's similar to the way Branson uses the term "family friendly." The expansion of alcohol into the theatres and attractions within Branson is "family friendly" but casino entertainment in Rockaway Beach, miles away from Branson, is not.
It would be hard for anyone to say that Rockaway Beach's redevelopment story is not, at a minimum, at least "superficially true or appealing." On the other hand, is it "equitable" for Rockaway Beach to base its redevelopment plan on the possible diversion of up to $135.8 million dollars in potential Branson revenues and the interception of millions of Branson's visitors?
From an Ole Seagulls perspective "but for" Branson a casino in Rockaway Beach would be too big a "gamble" for investors and there would be no Amendment 1. That aside however, in the same spirit that words like "family friendly," "blighted", and "world class" are interpreted within our community, and although not in the context of the way that most people would interpret it, one would be hard pressed not to admit that, technically, it meets the definition of "fair."
"All right, so that one doesn't make the list but wait, I have another one, how about, 'I'm being totally unbiased.'" "Maybe but let me think about it and 'I will call you right back.'"
Gary Groman, a.k.a. "The Ole Seagull," is an independent columnist and the editor of the Branson Courier. He may be reached by clicking here or by calling 417-339-4000.