random thoughts/opinions | Thursday, October 13, 2016

A couple days ago, we posted this item; this idea was floated at the council meeting:

“The agenda was displayed on the newly-installed flat-screen monitor; additionally the pitch for an aquaponics experiment proposal at the Market House was shown.

Yesterday, Columbia Spy posted this perspective which has generated a number of comments.

A letter-to-the-editor writer about another funds-grabbing organization in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster, says this:

“If they’ve been operating at a loss, then they need to do what any other business would have to — lay off employees and pare down until they can make a profitable company.”

There comes a time when parents expect children to grow up and take care of themselves. We think the same logic ought to be applied for “pie-in-the-sky” disjointed ideas that promise to benefit the many (but in fact benefit the selected few – or nobody, really!).

The borough shelled out tax-payer money to support the “trolley idea.”

The result: a $25,000 loss!

On April 18, 2016, we noted:

Columbia Spy‘s item about the trolley coming to Columbia is potentially exciting for Columbia. This Website shows: “Rivertowne Trolley Co. is located in Marietta, Pennsylvania. This organization primarily operates in the Business Activities At Non-commercial Site business / industry within the Business Services sector. This organization has been operating for approximately 3 years. Rivertowne Trolley Co. is estimated to generate $121,283 in annual revenues, and employs approximately 2 people at this single location.” Columbia Borough’s gift of $30,600 reflects as much as a 25% increase to the annual revenue projection above. Let’s hope the trolley service brings up to a 25% increase in foot traffic and sales to Columbia’s businesses!


Here’s the rub. Presentation of ideas ought to be backed up with sound data: marketing, financial, sales and real numbers expectations.

Rather than hope! Or glittering generalities or half truths based on hope.

Glittering Generalities | “Glittering generalities are emotionally appealing words that are applied to a product or idea, but present no concrete argument or analysis. This technique has also been referred to as the PT Barnum effect. (e.g., the advertising campaign slogan ‘Ford has a better idea!’)”

Half Truths | “A half-truth is a deceptive statement that includes some element of truth. It comes in several forms: the statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true but only part of the whole truth, or it may utilize some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation, or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade, blame, or misrepresent the truth.”

Intentional Vagueness | “Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations. The intention is to move the audience by use of undefined phrases, without analyzing their validity or attempting to determine their reasonableness or application. The intent is to cause people to draw their own interpretations rather than simply being presented with an explicit idea. In trying to ‘figure out’ the propaganda, the audience forgoes judgment of the ideas presented. Their validity, reasonableness and application may still be considered.” – These and other propaganda techniques are from Wikipedia.

In a capitalistic society, let’s let private enterprise deal with “pie in the sky” ideas … and make money on the concept. Think Microsoft or Apple!

When other people’s money (tax money) is pirated by government for “pie-in-the-sky” ideas, let’s, at a minimum, insist on hard indisputable data – not hope!

One comment

  1. Nostalgia! My parents always told us the “wish in one hand” saying and as a child I was rather offended by it. Now looking back I just have to laugh.

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