Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Brand-X State of Mind

Why not? We already have XNA as the regional airport, so why not just adopt that meaningless but unifying XNA designation for this part of Arkansas? The Morning News today lets us know that our "community leaders" envision that "consistent signs and individual branding for cities would distinguish Northwest Arkansas as a region of one." Give me a friggin' break!

You probably did not know where our "community leaders" were leading you, so this news will help you be a better follower. According to the article, Bentonville interests are taking the lead in trying to generate support among area cities, and the deadline for action appears tied to the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Our "community leaders" have determined that to achieve our new unitary identity, the "first step will be to jointly hire a consultant to recommend a plan with concepts, timeline and estimated costs." Right.

Who are our "community leaders" making these decisions for us? Probably the same self-anointed Northwest Arkansas Council of Corporations and Wealthy Business Executives that gave us XNA and now wants us to form a regional Mobility Authority to build the Bella Vista By-Pass with increased local taxes on everyone else. The "community leaders" identified in the article are Kalene Griffith, president of the Bentonville Convention and Visitors Bureau; Ed Clifford, president of Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce; Daniel Hintz, now executive director of Downtown Bentonville Inc.; and Tom Gaylon, executive director of the Rogers Convention and Visitors Bureau. I don't recall voting for any of them to be our leaders.

"It's not about telling the cities what they have to do or what they must look like but to create a general vibe," said Hintz. "It's about cost-sharing, identity-sharing, resource-sharing." It sounds more like community identity theft. It's about Chamber-types, who don't have enough to do, making up stuff and wanting us to pay for their general vibes, but that hardly makes them "community leaders." Reporters need to take vocabulary lessons, or just start calling them what they are -- unelected Chamber bureaucrats.

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