Over the weekend, the battle over the Goodyear incentive package has heated up. With the Governor’s veto and impending special session to override or sustain his veto, the spin machine has gone into full effect.
Check out this email from Bill Holmes, Press Secretary for Speaker Hackney. It shows just how desperate these guys are to give away $40 million. And why is the Speaker’s office coordinating media strategy with a private company? Doesn’t Goodyear have their own press people? I don’t think Mr. Holmes intended for this to be distributed publicly, but, too bad. (I apologize for the length, but it’s really good stuff).
From: Bill Holmes (Speaker Hackney’s Office)
Sent: Sun 9/2/2007 12:05 AM
Subject: RE: Request
Rep. Glazier said when we talked today that he and Rep. Dickson would court some other media folks in the Fayetteville area — said a good editorial expected tomorrow or Monday in the Fayetteville Observer and that in addition to WTVD interview Monday he thought early they would try to reach other reporters from the area, maybe WRAL or whomever else has a bureau there for other stories Monday or early in the week. He said he would ask you to touch base with some reporters to pitch the story since you know that
market so well. If you’re tied up let me know, and I’ll get to work on it tomorrow or will help you in whatever way you need.
I let him know that I reached out to Jack Betts with the Charlotte O and Elliott Potter with the Freedom Newspapers of eastern North Carolina and he said he was fine with that. I’ve also touched base with editorial writers I know in Burlington and Winston-Salem to pick their brains a little. I’ll let you know when I hear back from them.
Below are some thoughts about this that I shared with the Speaker and some of my co-workers. He gave me the go ahead to work on this plan. I don’t think there’s anything magic in it, but I do think it’s important that we try to make this more about people and community, not policy.
Please let me know what you think.
I also mentioned to Rep. Glazier that the city and county leaders, economic developers and some small business people should try to have a press conference on Wednesday, preferably in Raleigh where we can more easily reach reporters from the state’s biggest papers, to talk about the importance of Goodyear to that region. They need to share information about the local economy, remind people about the Black & Decker closing, the challenge because of expected BRAC growth and deployments and whatever else is happening there that makes this need real and unique. Rep. Glazier liked the idea and said today he’d call the local EDC to get that going. My wish is that it could happen Tuesday, but I don’t know if that is realistic
because of the holiday. We should try to bring in a good variety of people from the area, maybe even people from outside Cumberland who work at the plant or who are local suppliers to help support the idea of regional impact.
I can follow up the press conference with a release with a wide distribution.
I also have some thoughts below about what the company can do help. Their statement in the newspaper the other day sounded a bit petulant and a little bit like they were trying to hold the state hostage. I think they need to soften their tone and say they like Fayetteville, they don’t want to leave, but they have the welfare of their company to consider. It would be great if they could maybe release an estimate of how much they’ve invested in their plant over the years, how much they’ve paid in state taxes, what the estimated impact is of the salaries they pay, stuff that supports the idea of them having an important presence in the area.
What else do you think we should be doing?
As for the facts and figures, I just need those by Tuesday when I get back to working the phones on this matter. Thank you for steering me to the right folks.
> My thoughts on this are:
>_ We need to paint a fuller picture of the dire economic picture in that region. Not just say that it’s one of our 40 Tier 1 counties, but explain what that means, to say that Goodyear pays twice the average salary or whatever it is; that the economy of Cumberland County is regressing (I believe it just slipped back into Tier 1 status); that deployments have hit the area hard. I know we may be reluctant in this case to appear as if we’re hiding behind the flag, but I believe that if we just explain the reality of the situation it will help the case.
> We also need Goodyear workers to step up and explain the reality of what they face. I think Mark Johnson (Mark has since said the story is a hard sell for his editors at this point. Rep. Glazier has talked to an N&O reporter. We may also want to talk to Barry Smith. His eastern newspapers may have an interest because they’re in military communities – Jacksonville, New Bern, Kinston. I’ll see if I can persuade Elliot to assign a story to him.) may bite on a story like that. He asked a question yesterday that led me to believe he was heading in that way. I think we can encourage local leaders and economic developers to help with this.
>We need the company to say that they are considering other locations, that this isn’t just a ransom note. Not in a hostile way, but just to make it clear that it’s a real possibility. We also need them to dispel the notion of cutting jobs. They haven’t done this effectively and it’s part of the reason this job cut talk has
> lingered. Rep. Glazier could help with this since he has been working closely with the company and its lobbyist.
We need to court the editorial writers in Fayetteville and the surrounding area to stand up for their community. Rep. Dickson has at least a friendly relationship with the editorial page editor and may
> be able to approach him. I only know him through reputation. (You guys have obviously handled Fayetteville already. What other other papers in the region we should approach? Wilmington is already staked out against it.)
> I think we need to make it clear that this legislation was crafted to help a community, not a company. We’ve tried but it hasn’t soaked in with the press.