Spin on

Chamber-MDD compromise showed leadership, and some real class

A n economics professor once summed up financial markets theory for his beginning students in a way that provided perspective much more perceptive than the “did it go up or down today?” variety.

He told his students to imagine they were in a skyscraper looking down on smaller, but still substantial, buildings with their numerous HVAC units and exhaust fans on the roofs.

“The financial markets are like those,” he said. “Sometimes they spin fast. Sometimes they spin slow. What matters is that they keep spinning.”

In a way the compromise over hotel-motel tax (HOT) funds arrived at by the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce and the Rockdale Municipal Development District (MDD) recently, and being considered by the city council, is like that.

It’s not so much what’s in it, it’s that the two organizations reached an agreement on a plan, their boards endorsed it without a dissenting vote, and it was presented jointly to the council.

That’s not to say the plan—creating a seven member board with representatives from five entities—doesn’t have merit. It does. In fact founding father James Madison would be proud of its inclusiveness of many entities with a stake in our town.

But it’s the way the proposal was arrived at that’s truly impressive. On Feb. 10, the city council was about to be forced into making a decision it really didn’t want to make, choosing between competing proposals from the Chamber and MDD over HOT funds. That vote would have made sizable portions of our business community unhappy, whichever way it went.

But it never happened. Gary Griesbach, MDD president, saying “he was speaking from the bottom of his heart” proposed talks between the two entities to try and reach a unified proposal.

“I don’t think this town is big enough to be separated (over this proposal),” he said.

It isn’t.

Thanks to both organizations for realizing that and working hard to create something which, whatever else it may do in the future, will allow people of good will who care about Rockdale to keep us “spinning.”


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