With six candidates chasing only two seats on an obscure government board, the Greater Boise Auditorium District election of May 17 would seem like a yawner. Not so if you are in the public relations, advertising, hotel, or even the DANCE business.
The big issue is a split among candidates over funding The Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau (BCVB) which is not to be confused with G-BAD. Visitors Bureau promotes tourism and Auditorium District promotes conventions. For years they were one happy incestuous family. When a judge ruled in a Pocatello law suit that auditorium districts couldn’t spend their funds for visitor bureaus, a philosophical debate ensured among G-BAD boys. The board cut funding to the BCVB. They get their money from a 5% room tax. The money is public money even though the tax is dedicated to the G-BAD.
There is an industry of consultants making a good living convincing local communities they NEED a convention center or a BIGGER convention center. Typically these “consultants” take $25,000 or so from the locals to conduct a survey and invariably the survey indicates the local community would benefit from a convention center in the form of JOBS and a massive infusion of cash. It is impossible to calculate the true economic benefit. When things head south they blame “the economy” or the price of gas.
The May 17 election will see not only the Boise contested race, but moves by city leaders in Idaho Falls and Nampa to create auditorium districts with convention centers. Common sense tells us there simply isn’t that much convention business in Idaho to attract profitable events year around.
The STATESMAN‘s Cynthia Sewell did all the leg work and provided a comprehensive look at the Boise election in Wednesday’s edition. Of particular interest to the GUARDIAN was the revelation that $10,000 in public tax money aimed at promoting tourism is being spent by The Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau to sponsor a dance troupe in New York. Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors festival, will feature Boise’s Trey McIntyre Project dance group on Aug. 3 in New York City. That is supposed to promote travel to Boise. Right! These are the type of decisions that cause the split at G-BAD.
A candidate forum sponsored by the Treasure Valley Lodging Association is set for Friday April 29 at the GROVE HOTEL. The 3-5 p.m. event will be open to the public.
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