I’ve been thinking about this trip to China that Mayor Martin Chavez took, and as much as I enjoy taking the Mayor to task for questionable spending practices, I can’t begrudge him spending $8,500 to make the trip to China (subscription). I’m inclined to agree that from a business perspective, it’s a smart move.
There is a lot of talk about how government can promote economic development, and targeted tax incentives that benefit one industry but not others are a pet peeve of mine. However, I do believe that government representatives can be in a position to begin a dialogue that can be beneficial to all involved. Now, had Mayor Chavez’s trip been solely about bringing a panda to the Albuquerque Zoo, I would have had a very different take on it value.
There was one part of the Albuquerque Journal article that I did find troubling:
City Council President Debbie O’Malley, who has criticized the cost of trying to bring pandas to the Rio Grande Zoo, said she’s not sure the trip to China was worth it.
“I really wonder if it’s necessary— I do,” O’Malley said Tuesday. “I wonder what the real benefits are of his going to China. We’re a midsized city.”
Those last two sentences demonstrate a real lack of vision on the part of City Council President Debbie O’Malley. No wonder Councilor O’Malley is such a proponent for government subsidized housing. She seems to believe that you can never become more than what you already are.