Forget it Jah - It's Charleytown
"So, be careful. Cruise lines will pack up and abandon a port completely if that town makes it hard for them to be there."
By hard, meaning we make Carnival's brand of discount cattle drive tourism worth our city's while. Carnival needs Charleston more than we need them, and there is no compelling data demonstrating that the nuisance they represent outweighs the modest benefits.
Carnival would be wise to remember that this city is not a soft economy pushover, despite the fawning sycophants they deal with down at City Hall.
"The Ports Authority says 'the cruise industry already contributes $37 million a year to the region's economy,' and we could be bringing in a lot more."
Yet Columbia consultants Miley & Associates found in an independent assessment, that "the hotels most benefiting from cruises are not in the historic city and that Carnival Cruise Lines purchases most supplies directly from manufacturers, not from local merchants. The study found that cruise ship passengers visiting Charleston spend only one-tenth of what other tourists spend" (P&C).
"But in my opinion, the Coastal Conservation League is using the cruise controversy to increase its power and bring in more money."
Well, at least they're using their own money. The taxpayers will spend $35 million buying Carnival a new terminal. And it's not like they can't afford it: "Over the last five years, the company has paid total corporate taxes — federal, state, local and foreign — equal to only 1.1 percent of its cumulative $11.3 billion in profits" (NYT). And Carnival can abandon the terminal at their convenience, leaving the taxpayers holding the bag like they did in Mobile.
"Do you think we should promote and allow the cruise industry to grow in Charleston or push them away?"
This is pure laziness. Nobody wants to run off the cruise industry - not even the Cruise Control crowd. All anyone wants is an open dialog and a fair resolution to legitimate concerns. But City Hall has had none of it, summarily dismissing citizen input - hence the lawsuits, the high profile controversy, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and World Monuments Fund watch lists.
In addition to new blood in the mayor's office, maybe it's time to revisit the strong mayor arrangement. Let the voters have a referendum on the ballot, whether or not to continue with one man decision making.
At least the CAC will squat on Meeting in its tidy little spot. It could be worse - it could be an atrocious eyesore defining the City's skyline, and visible for miles around. Like the depressing Dockside Condominiums/giant slab of gap tooth ugly. Or the ghastly Sergeant Jasper/Soviet era workers quarters. Or the Ashley House/asylum/supermax. Or the "round" Holiday Inn/60's kitsch/giant kitchen step can. Or the Rutledge Tower/Orwellian lump of doom. Yep, could be a lot worse.
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