Keller Right to Veto Topgolf Deal
There's only one thing you need to know about Mayor Tim Keller's upcoming veto battle with the City Council over the money-sucking Topgolf project: the city councilors who gave you the hated and unnecessary ART project – a project for which all of you are now on the hook for at least $75 million – is trying to foist Topgolf on you.
Let's repeat that.
The inept, know-nothing City Council that gave you ART, wants to foist Topgolf on you. And it wants you to give nearly $3 million in taxpayer incentives to Topgolf.
Photo: Many of the goofs who gave you ART
Keller did the right thing in vetoing the Topgolf deal on Monday. And the councilors would do taxpayers right by not overriding that veto.
There are so many problems with this project. First, we're throwing money at service sector jobs that do nothing to grow the area's economy; they just cut the economic pie into smaller and smaller pieces.
Second, it appears that Keller is at least trying to develop an economic development strategy for the city. In the 32 years that I've been here, neither the city nor the state have ever had any real economic development strategy other than hoping for new business.
Keller's strategy is in its infancy, and I hope it will develop and grow into something that real cities like Pittsburgh and Denver have.
Some people have said that service sector companies like Topgolf is all we're good for and that we will forever be an economic backwater. That is the hard bigotry of low expectations, low self-esteem and enforced mediocrity.
Keller is trying to instill some confidence and discipline into the community by saying we're better than having to pay service sector companies to come here with their $8-an-hour jobs.
With this veto, Keller is taking a stand and saying that we will raise our expectations and we will get some economic self-esteem. Keller is setting an economic development floor and saying that we will no longer go below that floor. That's good. It's a start. We need to stop begging service sector companies to locate here.
In this debate over Keller's veto, you can side with a mayor who is trying to set us off in a new, hopefully more prosperous direction, or with the city councilors who gave you the despicable ART project and who believe in enforced mediocrity.
What side will you take?