Bait and switch

Northeast News
April 19, 2017

One of the first things this news dog learned in Journalism School were some of the age-old advertising hooks designed to get people into the store. There was snob appeal, something that would be more at home in the pages of that snooty, slick paged Independent Magazine instead of this dirt kickin’ news rag. Then there was the bandwagon approach, basically creating the buzz then getting everyone to buy in on it. If you didn’t buy in, you were the one looked at like the odd duck out or the bad guy who just wasn’t smart enough to “get it.” Kinda like the way Congressional Democrats branded the Republicans as racist just because we conservatives didn’t like the policies of the former President.
This week, however, this keen-minded pooch would like to focus on the age-old bait and switch tactic. Bait and switch as defined by Merriam-Webster is the ploy of offering a person something desirable to gain favor (as political support), then thwarting expectations with something less desirable, usually accompanied by high pressure sales tactics.
Last week, Mayor Sly James got caught utilizing the old bait and switch in order to siphon some $100 million from the recently passed General Obligation Bond budget to help pay for a new Broadway, er Buck O’Neil Bridge. It’s the primary link to our downtown, he said. I’m doing this to forestall a two-year closure from MoDOT, he said. I’m doing this for YOU (points northward), he said, referring to the thousands of Northlanders who traverse the bridge during their daily commute. Then, in a sad attempt to justify his actions, he threw in with the city’s option being the lowest dollar amount out there. Even Mayor Pro Tem Wagner jumped in to the fray on Friday, claiming that a two-year closure would be catastrophic.
While the dog agrees that some updates and maintenance need to happen on the aging span, a two-year closure would hardly be catastrophic, especially with so many alternative routes across the river; the semi-new Bond Bridge and the multi-lane Heart of America bridge being but a few. Another prime alternate route that’s virtually untouched by commuting Northlanders is through the Fairfax Industrial District. The dog did some carefully-timed test runs from the I-635/I-29 interchange to 6th and Broadway and the time difference was negligible, so let’s just ditch the catastrophic fear-mongering, which by the way is another of those advertising techniques we spoke of earlier. Better get it now, or else you’ll pay dearly. Typically after any these tactics are employed there’s the usual buyer’s remorse part, which is what worries this Conservative news-dog.
Here’s the deal. The Broadway Bridge doesn’t belong to the city. Period. It’s a state asset. While MoDOT may be at fault for letting it get to the so-called “crisis” stage, it’s not up to the taxpayers of this city to bail them out to avoid the “catastrophic” alternative. Fact: You don’t reinforce negative behavior…especially when it involves over $100 million in taxpayer dollars.

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