One Southern Indiana visits city council, sells $30,000 of pencils, and flies back to Abuja.

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It was city council meeting night, as pushed back from the Labor Day holiday. I can’t do Thursday meetings any longer, and during the days to follow, you’ll be hearing about a few other changes in store; in short, I’m preparing to retire from polemics and devote full time to beer.

Seriously.

Seeing as I’m not the “cold turkey” type, we’ll need to ease into polemical detachment.

Glancing at Chris Morris’s coverage, I have a few questions, and I might as well ask them. Heaven knows the newspaper won’t.

The full passage is reprinted below, but the shortcut: tonight was One Southern Indiana’s annual pass-the-hat visit to Speed Through City.

Follow this handy * at the bottom to reminisce about a previous instance of this pageantry, which occurred eight years ago and was just as funny. According to Morris, 1Si has made good on its mission statement, which in essence is to take a commission for linking local government subsidies to corporate entities that rarely need them.

“The numbers back up their claim.”

So says the reporter, but how does he know? Only because 1Si says so. Is there independent verification for these claims?

Who knows? Apparently, the reporter didn’t ask.

“According to a 1si presentation, for every dollar the city of New Albany has invested into the organization’s economic development program, $4,321 has been created in new taxable capital by companies.”

That’s a far better return than offered by ex-Nigerian royalty. If true, then shouldn’t the city of New Albany put all $3 million of its paving money into 1Si’s economic development programs? I mean, we’d get lots more bang for the buck.

On second thought, strike that. Someone might mistake the satire for insider trading.

Sans snark: Is One Southern Indiana worth $30k annually? Yeah, probably. 1Si fluffed the oligarchs on the Sazerac transaction at Pillsbury, and that one’s worth a finder’s fee. If they can keep Wendy from purging the humanities majors, what 1Si is doing for vocational training alone probably merits the tithe.

But isn’t it the job of journalists to ask questions and verify (or disprove) statistical assertions like 1Si’s?

Isn’t it true that the organization just about always gets a pass on matters like this because of what it says its doing?

New Albany gets two seats on 1si’s Economic Development Council with donation, by Chris Morris (Tom May Lives Here)

NEW ALBANY — One Southern Indiana officials tout their work in encouraging companies to build, expand or remain in Clark and Floyd counties. And over the past 12 years, the numbers back up their claim.

Since 2006, 164 new projects have been announced which have resulted in 13,639 jobs, with 2,361 of those jobs based in New Albany. Also during that time, more than $500 million in payroll has been added either by existing or new companies.

According to a 1si presentation, for every dollar the city of New Albany has invested into the organization’s economic development program, $4,321 has been created in new taxable capital by companies.

In order to continue that work through its economic development programs, those same officials asked the New Albany City Council for $30,000 for 2019 at Thursday’s meeting. The donation also will give the city two seats on 1si’s Economic Development Council, and will give the city’s logo a proper location on advertising materials.

The request, on the first two readings, passed unanimously. The money will come out of the Economic Development Income Tax fund should it pass a third reading.

Last year the council appropriated the same amount to be used for a more specific program, 1si’s talent development initiative.

* In 2010, the question was whether the city would be giving $75,000 to 1Si, and some of us thought the money would be better spent by ourselves, for ourselves.I sarcastically (!) offered to serve as intermediary.

I’d like to submit a bid, billable to my consulting company, Potable Curmudgeon, Inc.

I’ve already asked Pete at Digital Resource Center in downtown New Albany to help with the estimate.

We’ll be publishing a couple hundred glossy ringed binders filled with testimonials, pie graphs, statistics, and artfully retouched 1Si press releases. Sleekly professional, though not ostentatious, their design will befit the buttoned-down aspirations of self-respecting Southern Indiana CEOs, each of whom can be counted upon to strategically place the unopened binder on one corner of their desks, where its multi-colored ubiquity will attest to the veracity of the contents.

The beauty of Potable Curmudgeon Inc.’s plan, which we’re calling “Res ipsa loquitur, Southern Indiana,” is that its existence is definitive proof of its value. The binders will serve as unimpeachable evidence of economic development success. Why? Because the binder says so.

Can we prove any of it? Of course … you DO have a binder in your hands, right? What more proof do you need?

If the city council acts today, Potable Curmudgeon Inc. will extend a remarkable 50% reduction to just $35,000 for regional economic development, renewable each and every year, and with binders available in a wide range of different colors to satisfy the interior décor of local corporate headquarters.

Except green.

For some reason, it’s just not a popular color around here.

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