Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So, the Goodyear incentive bill that Gov. Easley vetoed and Speaker Hackney is looking at a special session to override took an interesting twist today.

A group called Americans for Prosperity claims it garnered an email from Hackney's press aide. I'll put it below, but it's essentially plans for a media assault this week to drum up support for the Goodyear bill. This happens all the time, however we rarely get a glimpse of it and it's particularly rare to see it from somewhere like the Speaker's office. The good thing, from my perspective, is it makes me think about making sure to get both sides of the story. This is a prime example for many of you what goes on to get coverage and how to "spin" things. It's just interesting that's the best way I can put it. They're argument has a right to be heard and we will air it along with the anti-incentive opinions to create an objective story and let the viewer decide. But it's interesting to see the lengths and tactics people/organizations/groups will go to get what they want. This is not an opinion about anyone involved in this email exchange or the Goodyear bill. To me it's just a fascinating read to see how we can be "worked" for a story as much as we "work" others. Below is the Speaker's office email sent to me by American for Prosperity.

"From: Bill Holmes (Speaker Hackney's Office)
Sent: Sun 9/2/2007 12:05 AM
To: Carin Savel (Rep. Glazier); Rep. Rick Glazier; Rep. Margaret H. DicksonCc: joeh@bellsouth.net; lauradevivo@hotmail.com; Robin Johnson (SpeakerHackney's Office)Subject: RE: Request


Rep. Glazier said when we talked today that he and Rep. Dickson would courtsome other media folks in the Fayetteville area -- said a good editorialexpected tomorrow or Monday in the Fayetteville Observer and that inaddition to WTVD interview Monday he thought early they would try to reachother reporters from the area, maybe WRAL or whomever else has a bureauthere for other stories Monday or early in the week. He said he would askyou to touch base with some reporters to pitch the story since you know thatmarket so well. If you're tied up let me know, and I'll get to work on ittomorrow or will help you in whatever way you need.I let him know that I reached out to Jack Betts with the Charlotte O andElliott Potter with the Freedom Newspapers of eastern North Carolina and hesaid he was fine with that. I've also touched base with editorial writers Iknow in Burlington and Winston-Salem to pick their brains a little. I'll letyou know when I hear back from them.Below are some thoughts about this that I shared with the Speaker and someof my co-workers. He gave me the go ahead to work on this plan. I don'tthink there's anything magic in it, but I do think it's important that wetry to make this more about people and community, not policy.Please let me know what you think.I also mentioned to Rep. Glazier that the city and county leaders, economicdevelopers and some small business people should try to have a pressconference on Wednesday, preferably in Raleigh where we can more easilyreach reporters from the state's biggest papers, to talk about theimportance of Goodyear to that region. They need to share information aboutthe local economy, remind people about the Black & Decker closing, thechallenge because of expected BRAC growth and deployments and whatever elseis happening there that makes this need real and unique. Rep. Glazier likedthe idea and said today he'd call the local EDC to get that going. My wishis that it could happen Tuesday, but I don't know if that is realisticbecause of the holiday. We should try to bring in a good variety of peoplefrom the area, maybe even people from outside Cumberland who work at theplant or who are local suppliers to help support the idea of regionalimpact.I can follow up the press conference with a release with a widedistribution.I also have some thoughts below about what the company can do help. Theirstatement in the newspaper the other day sounded a bit petulant and a littlebit like they were trying to hold the state hostage. I think they need tosoften their tone and say they like Fayetteville, they don't want to leave,but they have the welfare of their company to consider. It would be great ifthey could maybe release an estimate of how much they've invested in theirplant over the years, how much they've paid in state taxes, what theestimated impact is of the salaries they pay, stuff that supports the ideaof them having an important presence in the area.What else do you think we should be doing?As for the facts and figures, I just need those by Tuesday when I get backto working the phones on this matter. Thank you for steering me to the rightfolks.> My thoughts on this are:>>_ We need to paint a fuller picture of the dire economic picture in> that region. Not just say that it's one of our 40 Tier 1 counties, but> explain what that means, to say that Goodyear pays twice the average> salary or whatever it is; that the economy of Cumberland County is> regressing (I believe it just slipped back into Tier 1 status); that> deployments have hit the area hard. I know we may be reluctant in this> case to appear as if we're hiding behind the flag, but I believe that> if we just explain the reality of the situation it will help the case.> We also need Goodyear workers to step up and explain the reality of> what they face. I think Mark Johnson (Mark has since said the story is a hardsell for his editors at this point. Rep. Glazier has talked to an N&O reporter.We may also want to talk to Barry Smith. His eastern newspapers may have aninterest because they're in military communities -- Jacksonville, New Bern,Kinston. I'll see if I can persuade Elliot to assign a story to him.) may biteon a story like that. He> asked a question yesterday that led me to believe he was heading inthat way. I think we can encourage local leaders and economic developers tohelp> with this.>>_ We need the company to say that they are considering other> locations, that this isn't just a ransom note. Not in a hostile way,> but just to make it clear that it's a real possibility. We also need> them to dispel the notion of cutting jobs. They haven't done this> effectively and it's part of the reason this job cut talk has> lingered. Rep. Glazier could help with this since he has been working> closely with the company and its lobbyist.>>_ We need to court the editorial writers in Fayetteville and the> surrounding area to stand up for their community. Rep. Dickson has at> least a friendly relationship with the editorial page editor and may> be able to approach him. I only know him through reputation. (You guys haveobviously handled Fayetteville already. What other other papers in the region weshould approach? Wilmington is already staked out against it.)>> I think we need to make it clear that this legislation was crafted to> help a community, not a company. We've tried but it hasn't soaked in> with the press."

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