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CHEERLEADER-IN-CHIEF: Flooring mogul Griggs leads REDI blight effort

REDI chairman goofs on citizens concerns, fires off notes with childlike glee
 
COLUMBIA, 4/6/12  (Beat Byte) -- REDI chairman Dave Griggs has also been the group's cheerleader-in-chief as it campaigns for Columbia's Blight Decree and Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ), documents, emails, and other communications obtained by Citizens Involved and Invested in Columbia have revealed. 
 
With an almost childlike glee, Griggs -- who owns Dave Griggs Flooring America -- fired off notes peppered with exclamation points(!) that poke fun of citizen concerns and reveal an ultra-cozy relationship with City Hall that should give taxpayers the heeby-jeebies. 
 
Blighter in Chief
 
After Columbia School Board member Jonathan Sessions forwarded him this writer's "open letter to our public servants" about the Blight Decree, Griggs forwarded it to Mayor Bob McDavid, city manager Mike Matthes, and Landmark Bank president Andrew Beverley with this note: 
 
"Here’s what I mentioned to you earlier today.  You’ll love it!  Your BLIGHTER in Chief – don’t you like my new official title!!" 
 
About solemn commentary from former 3rd Ward Columbia City Councilman Karl Skala, Griggs and his office manager broke out more laughs.   "Are your ears burning again?" Griggs' financial officer, Michele Batye, asked him. 
 
Forwarding Skala's note to REDI directors Mike Brooks and Bernie Andrews, Griggs wrote:  "Please pass this on to Rosie for me – I just know she’ll be interested!" referencing Rosie Gerding, a member of the newly appointed EEZ board. 
 
Cheerleader mode
 
Repeatedly calling Brooks "boss," Griggs moved into cheerleader mode both with the REDI team and Columbia City Council members. 
 
"Congrats to all of us on another Council victory!" he wrote after the Feb. 6 vote establishing the Blight Decree/EEZ.   "I thought about this most of the night last night and realized that we are batting 100 when it comes to actual votes with the council and the commission!   Not too many other groups can make that statement guys -- so thanks for the great homework and prep that it takes to get to where we are!"
 
After First Ward Councilman Fred Schmidt emailed a "First Ward Update" newsletter praising the Blight Decree/EEZ, Griggs couldn't contain his delight.  "Fred:  THANK YOU for your great article!!!   Clearly you DO understand what we are trying to accomplish and that is simply to provide a decent paying job for every resident who wants one!"    
 
With more over-the-top rhetoric, he also consoled Schmidt over mounting citizen concerns. 
 
"I have seen some of the BS that you've been sent as a result of your update," Griggs continued.  "How very sad that some people simply turn to hate and fear in order to attempt to save face in situations like this opportunity.  Please don't hesitate to give me a shout if I can help you get the truth out on this!" 
 
Frustrated and floored
 
Periodically, Griggs expressed frustration with citizen disapproval.  To Columbia Board of Realtors president Lee Terry, cc'd to Mike Brooks, he wrote, "If only those who are interested would ask some questions or do some bit of research they would feel far more comfortable with what's up!  That's (as you know) often far too much trouble!"
 
In fact, the more research citizens do about the Blight Decree/EEZ, the more -- not less -- troubling it becomes.  As far as taking trouble, CiViC, a group this writer belongs to and supports, spent $440.00 paying REDI salaries to retrieve related documents. 

City Hall billed CiViC three hours for Bernie Andrews' time; five hours for REDI admin assistant Michele Holmes; one hour for Mike Brooks; plus 19% more to cover benefits.
 
"Don't do a lot of work until he pays," City of Columbia public information officer Renee Graham told REDI, about CiViC member Ken Midkiff.
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