Written by Mike Martin
"Yet another ranking of CoMo awesomeness" proves blight and EEZ unnecessary, opponents claim
COLUMBIA, 5/7/12 (Beat Byte) -- An email touting Columbia's #12 ranking among New Geography's "Best Cities for Jobs 2012" is causing an uproar, not because of its news but because of its source: Central Missouri Development Council (CMDC) Executive Director Don Stamper.
Stamper and CMDC are strong proponents of the controversial EEZ and Blight Decree, selling the program exclusively as a means to grow jobs.
"As Elmer Fudd says, 'It's despicable!'" said EEZ opponent Tracy Greever-Rice, Ph.D. "The biggest proponents of the EEZ know good and well that CoMo's economy is comparatively healthy. They are willing to lie to the community so Dave Griggs, et. al. can sell carpeting, cement, and dry wall. They are willing to paint any picture of CoMo that moves forward their singular agenda of personal enrichment."
Griggs owns Dave Griggs Flooring America and has received flooring contracts related to his work as chairman of REDI, another business/developer lobby.
Study authors Joel Kotkin, executive editor of New Geography, and Michael Shires, Ph.D., a professor at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, "measured the robustness of a region’s growth both recently and over time. We look at all of the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports monthly employment data."
Stamper emailed CMDC members the good news May 3. "You will note that our community has been highly ranked among small sized cities," he wrote. "Columbia ranks #12 among the top 100 small-sized cities for non-farm employment."
"This is amazing!" said blight/EEZ opponent Deanna Walkenbach. "And they want to blight our city?"