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Fiddlestix

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    Movin' on up, to the East side...
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    Master of Useless Information<br />World's Foremost Authority<br />Deliberately Obtuse<br />Incredibly Rich (in opinions)

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  1. Okay, I am now totally convinced that the best thing to happen was for the vote by which County Council effectively removed itself from the process. That leaves it with the City of Greenville and that's a very good thing when you consider that a number of County Council members who voted "no" are now holding back channel discussions to resurrect the issue. The thing is -- and the veterans knew this -- a motion to reconsider that fails is a major development. To even get the matter back on the floor, they now have to get a supermajority together behind this. They can't even discuss it in committee until that happens. The veterans knew this because that's been a key weapon in some of the ju-jitsu maneuvers of County Council in years past. Sometimes a person who opposed a measure would call for the reconsideration expressly for the purpose of condemning the issue to a 1 year-purgatory before it can be revisited (or unless a supermajority votes to take up the issue anew). So -- for starters -- what was Judy Gilstrap thinking when she called for the motion to reconsider without first counting the votes? She was ostensibly "for" change, and voted that way, but she knew full well that if her motion failed, the issue was terminal for a full year. What was she thinking? Now, having just voted against keeping the issue alive in some form, people who voted against it -- the ones who directly doomed it to the purgatory -- are now fretting that they need to take action. Oopsy-daisy. So, now that County Council has made its bed, let them lie in it for a year. In the meantime, the City of Greenville can proceed with reconstructing GTA as it sees fit without the Keystone, er, County Council bumbling and meddling and otherwise interfering and tripping all over itself along the way. Yes, I am now officially convinced that, totally unwittingly, Greenville County Council just did the best thing for public mass transportation in Greenville County by knocking itself unconscious as it started to walk down the aisle with the City of Greenville.
  2. That is a great vision. It's also one that's been articulated here -- and appropriated from here -- since long ago. ( http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...st&p=392983 ) Of course that's largely why it's so awesome. I don't think anyone disagrees with Fred's vision and goals for what transportation can be. "Where do we go?" was not so much the issue as it was "What's the best way to get there?" My take on what happened is that you've got 12 county councilors, all of whom are strong-willed and opinionated and self-confident, and I think when the dark sedan with tinted windows pulled up and the burly guys in sunglasses said, "Get on in," the red flag went up and they wondered if that was actually the best way to get where Fred Payne -- and others before him -- dream of heading off to. Now, that's not to say that the plan -- such that it is -- was bad. In fact, it might very well be the best thing, with no downside. If that's the case, though, why wasn't it sold on its merits and why was so much effort and energy and attention directed at trying to make the case -- mostly without success -- that GTA is borderline corrupt and its managers inept? Right there, you're creating a wedge and inviting people to take sides. Instead of saying, "Here's the way forward. See how wonderful it is?" the message that resonated loudest was that "GTA sucks raw eggs." That only invited people to come to the defense of GTA and directed attention to the past, not the future. The bottom line is that I still don't know what the best way to proceed will be, but I do know that the way that this was handled was a fiasco of the first degree -- especially if it turns out to be a terrific plan that got voted down. But that, too, is looking in the rear-view mirror. Looking forward, here's where I think things will go. First, I've got to share with you the much better name I've heard for the new transit authority. Forget G-REX (or GREX). Think Greenville Rapid Intercity Transit System. The name isn't just cute. I think it's a clue where leaders are going to turn next. To the cities. The City of Greenville will go about this on its own at this point. But I think there will be an impetus to bring in the other cities within the county and get them linked up. And, in the meantime -- or perhaps once the county finds itself on the outside looking in -- County Council will have gotten its collective head around this and jump on board. But, by then, instead of creating a vision or plan, the county council will find itself getting on board a bus that has a route that's been set and the long-range plan well in place. So the county will have to pay the fare and go along for the ride. In all honesty, if that's the way it plays out: GOOD! That may be the best of both worlds. I trust the cities to put Humpty Dumpty together again far more than I trust County Council -- or, worse, the collaboration (or conspiracy?) of County and City government that was voted down again this week -- to come up with a cogent plan. Maybe this is a good model for other large ventures: put one government or the other in the driver's seat instead of trying to get lots of people in the driver's seat. Then, once it's running, you ask the others to get on board. All the ego stroking and "city folk v. country folk" squabbling and political dysfunctionality will be exorcised from the process if -- as I believe -- the City of Greenville takes over transit and begins the process of rebuilding it and creating a long-range vision for it.
  3. I think you are correct as to what Kirven meant. As to his tone, I think one can't help but detect sour grapes. As for what's obvious, you are probably correct again. What happened, however, was not bureaucratic inertia and petty city/county rivalry. What happened was that this was offered up as a done deal from the start and there never was -- and never has been -- an attempt to get County Council buy-in (let alone community buy-in). There's still no plan, except to consolidate and save money. Think of the great vision people have for public transportation in the region -- or even just within the county. Now figure out how to get from point A to point B. What we have is a political allegory that matches up to what GTA is. What Kirven did was suggest some utopian vision of where we can go. And then he pointed to the bus shelter and said, "Hop on!" Just like the bus shelters that typify GTA today, when you walk up to one, you have no idea whether the bus will arrive, how long you'll have to wait if this is an active bus line, and you sure as heck can't be sure that you're going to get to the place you intend to get to. That's what the County Council resisted. They said, "We're not getting on." I think there's a consensus about the need for change and where we all want to go. I don't think there's been a good effort to build a consensus about how to get there. This whole thing is a mess because changes in the bus service have been railroaded (if I my mix my modes of transit metaphors) from the git-go. Look back at how a few people first made the case that change is needed. They came in making borderline criminal allegations, very sure of themselves and with a clear agenda. The new city-appointed representatives on GTA were heavy-handed and, rather than taking a moment to get to know what was going on, they immediately whipped out a 100-day plan for radical change that they had in their breast pockets before they were sworn-in. Accusations made proved to be false. In one article that I read, their claims like there's no way to track fares because it's a cash business were wrong because, had these clowns actually set foot on a GTA bus and taken 2 minutes to inquire first, they would have known that there's an incredibly detailed and powerful data trail that's registered electronically as fares are paid. Each and every allegation of misconduct or malfeasance has, over time, proven to be without merit or unsubstantiated (if not shown to be patently false). And yet the "if you say it enough times it will become true" attitude persists -- with Kirven himself clinging to the idea that it is as bad as the first reports claimed. So, even if you are persuaded that GTA can be so much more than what it is, are you going to get on board with Kirven at the unmarked shelter? If I may put words into the mouths of 7 county councilors who represent vastly different constituents and span the broadest political spectrum, I think this is all a matter of trust -- or a lack thereof -- in Kirven and those new GTA board members and by voting this down they're saying "Wait one second! May I please take a look at a route map? We've gone off in the wrong direction already, Butch. And I can't trust the people who are driving this because they're lying to me and I don't know what their agenda is or why they're so insistent that I get on board without knowing more. At the very least I'd feel a little better about this if there were people we could trust who were pointing me to this shelter. But, for now, while this means we're doing something, I have this sinking feeling that it's not the best thing. I want to go to that great place. I want to go now. So tell me WHY I should get on THIS bus to get there." This was a vote that spoke to a general distrust of Kirven or at least his failure to understand the power of consensus-building. So it's little wonder that there was a twang of bitterness in his final remark. And considering that statement shows that he's more bitter than contrite, I'm not confident that he's figured out that with a little bit of salesmanship and information-sharing he can persuade everyone to get on that bus. He sounds more ticked off that they didn't follow orders than he seems to be interested in working the political process to do what's best.
  4. I think the real hot potato land issue for GTA isn't so much the parcel behind West End Field (across from the Children's Theater) but the Transfer Center a block west of Main St. between Washington and McBee. I think the City wants to see that land with a high-rise. They may have already contracted (or promised) a local developer along the lines of Bob Hughes or David Glenn the rights to develop that parcel. I suspect that that's the real estate that the City is eyeing in their effort to take control over the GTA system. Not that that's the exclusive reason. I just think that that's a hot button that helps decisionmakers involved choose sides.
  5. BINGO! Read this story and you'll see that they're making up crap as they go along. The allegations I have heard are patently false...again as you'll see in this article: BUSted! -- Greenville's Public Transportation Service Is In Crisis...Again. Link: http://www.metrobeat.net/gbase/Expedite/Content?oid=oid:4289 As for a lack of vision, I think the problem is not with the current management (though, for all intents and purposes, they're as good as out the door when their contract expires later this year). And I'm not sure it's a conscious lapse on anyone's part. It's basically just never been the express responsibility of any group that also controls the pursestrings. Then again, here's a column that isn't quite as generous: Come On And Take A Free Ride Link: http://www.metrobeat.net/gbase/Expedite/Content?oid=oid:4296 And the fervor and aggressiveness with which they're going after GTA management and Judy Dudley begs the question: who is profiting from punching buttons over at GTA and how is it that they are profiting?
  6. This press release answers the question about the other announcements. Yes, the suite upgrades are here. As well as the answer to the earlier question about the playground equipment. Remember, the Meet Gabe Kapler event is tomorrow (Saturday). There was another press release about that, but it's fairly redundant to what I posted above. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 2, 2007 MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Jarinko (864) 240-4515 [email protected] Drive Unveil West End Field Enhancements
  7. [Note to UP readers: See the cryptic announcement buried in this release...] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26th, 2007 MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Jarinko (864) 240-4515 [email protected] Meet Gabe Kapler On February 3rd Drive to Officially Introduce New Manager at Haywood Mall Greenville, S.C. – Gabe Kapler announcing his retirement from baseball on December 12th, 2006 could have been a loss to Red Sox fans everywhere. A fan favorite for not only his leadership on the field, but for also being a staple in the Boston community, Kapler was named the Drive’s manager that very same day, keeping him a part of Red Sox Nation. On Saturday, February 3rd, the Drive will officially introduce Kapler as the team’s new manager at Haywood Mall. The free event will kick-off at 1 PM at the Center Court with music, Cracker Jacks, and the Drive’s lovable mascot, Reedy Rip’It. Kapler will then be presented his Drive uniform during an open forum, in which he will be joined by Red Sox Director of Player Development, Mike Hazen, and Drive General Manager, Mike deMaine. Kapler and Hazen will then take part in a question and answer session with fans in attendance and members of the media. “I’ve heard wonderful things about the City of Greenville and I’m looking forward to going there,” said Kapler at the time of his retirement. “This opportunity will allow me to make an impact in the lives of young men, not only to help them develop as baseball players, but also more importantly, as human beings.” Prior to the open forum, Kapler will be available from 12 PM – 1 PM for autographs and photo opportunities with current Drive ticket plan holders. Season tickets and partial plans will also be available for purchase during the event. The Drive will also make a special announcement during the press conference regarding West End Field. “We are excited to be able to introduce an individual with the character and reputation of Gabe’s,” commented Drive General Manager Mike deMaine. “His ability to lead our players on the field, as well as set positive examples in the community, should excite the fans of Greenville Drive Baseball.” A two-day Opening Day Gala at West End Field is scheduled for April 9 and 10, when the Drive start their 2007 home schedule versus the Columbus Catfish. Season tickets, partial plans, group outings and luxury suites for the 2007 season at West End Field are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling the Drive at (864) 240-4500.
  8. The Drive have an on-line season's greetings video message (a humorous take-off on TV commercials for CDs and record albums). http://greenvilledrive.tv/holiday_greeting.html Note the URL...and how it's not hosted by their regular web site. The whole web site thing with them is just plain weird. They do everything so damn well and then there's the web site. On the bright side, it's better than having it the other way 'round, with an awesome web site that covers up for a train wreck on all other fronts. Anyway...have a great holiday season everyone, a terrific end to Hannukah, a very merry Christmas, and a happy whatever else happens to rock your world!
  9. GREENVILLE DRIVE PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2006 MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Jarinko (864) 240-4515 [email protected] Luis Alicea Appointed to Red Sox Major League Staff Former Drive Manager Named Boston
  10. Nate Lipscomb Gets Promoted... EDIT: Oh...my bad: HAPPY THANKSGIVING ONE AND ALL GREENVILLE DRIVE PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2006 MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Jarinko (864) 240-4515 [email protected] Drive Commitment to Customer Satisfaction Supported by Staff Reorganization Greenville, SC - The Greenville Drive announced today the appointment of two key individuals who will be instrumental in developing the team’s ongoing efforts to maximize and enhance the ballpark experience of its customers at West End Field. Effective December 1, Nate Lipscomb will assume the role of Senior Vice President, Customer Development and Public Relations. In this position he will be responsible for enhancing the fan experience at Drive games and ensuring customer satisfaction in all areas of the business. Lipscomb joined the Drive in February of 2005 when the team came to Greenville and he has been an integral part of the team’s marketing, sales and public relations effort during the past two seasons. The Drive also announced the addition of Adam Sadler as Director of Ticket Sales. Sadler was previously with the Corpus Christi Hooks, a Texas League affiliate of the Houston Astros. In Corpus Christi, Sadler was a key member of that organization’s highly successful ticket operations and service department. Mike deMaine, Drive General Manager, noted, “Nate has been very successful at building relationships with our customers, both inside the ballpark and throughout the community. We are taking this opportunity now to use his talents to affect the experience of all of our customers and fans in a positive way. deMaine added, “Adam’s skill set and experience with the Corpus Christi organization will be very valuable to us as we strive to offer premier service to our ticket holders.” Craig Brown, Drive President and Owner, commented, “Nate’s assignment underscores the Drive’s commitment to provide our customers with first class service and a terrific game experience, now and in the seasons to follow. Adam will focus on maintaining and building our ticket holder partnerships. Both of these areas are top priorities for our organization.” Season tickets and partial plans for the 2007 at West End Field, “Ballpark of the Year,” are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling the Drive at (864) 240-4500. www.GreenvilleDrive.com ______________________________________________ Eric Jarinko Director, Media Relations Greenville Drive (Class "A" Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox)
  11. That certainly rings true if you look at the initial roster and where most of the players were at the end of the 2005 season. On another note, Clay Buchholz was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year by the Red Sox and Jeff Natale was named Minor League Offensive Player of the Year. A Drive press release points out that the players who won these awards last year are currently on the Red Sox' active roster. (Jon Lester (Pitcher of the Year) and Dustin Pedroia (Offensive Player of the Year))
  12. The press release for the 2007 schedule (which, as you probably guessed, isn't yet posted on their own web site): Drive Announce 2007 Schedule Opening Day Gala Set For April 9th and 10th Greenville, SC – After a tremendously successful Inaugural Season, in which West End Field was named “Ballpark of the Year,” the Greenville Drive have announced their 2007 schedule. On Opening Day the Drive will once again celebrate the Upstate’s rich baseball heritage with special appearances, as well as player autographs, music, and fireworks. The Opening Day festivities will be held on two days, April 9th and 10th, so that no fans miss out on the events. The Drive, Class A South Atlantic League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, will begin next season on the road as they take on the Charleston RiverDogs, affiliate of the New York Yankees. The South Atlantic League season consists of 140 games (70 home games and 70 away games) versus 15 opponents. Last season the Drive broke the Greenville single-season attendance record as 330,078 fans came through the turnstiles, surpassing the previous mark by more than 60,000. “We could not have asked for a better Inaugural Season,” commented Drive General Manager Mike deMaine. “The support from the City of Greenville and the entire Upstate was truly amazing. We look to continue that success in 2007 and for seasons to come.” Returning to West End Field to entertain the fans in 2007 will be the Zooperstars!, Birdzerk, and Reggy. The Drive will also have spectacular firework displays at all 10 of their Friday home games next season. “The acts that appeared last season were a huge success with the fans,” added deMaine. “What better way to reward the best fans in professional baseball than bringing in these acts again.” West End Field will again be the perfect destination to spend holidays in 2007 with the Drive will be home on Mother’s Day (May 13th), Father’s Day (June 17th), and closeout the season on Labor Day (September 3rd). Highlighting the 2007 schedule will be four visits to West End Field by the reigning Southern Division Champion Augusta GreenJackets (Giants) as well as one visit by the South Atlantic League Champion Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies). Meanwhile the Drive’s cross-state neighbor, the RiverDogs, make one visit to West End Field. Fans can reserve their 2007 season tickets and partial plans by calling the Greenville Drive at (864) 240-4500. www.GreenvilleDrive.com
  13. Excellent points. I borrowed from them at the game on Saturday when a visitor in my box said, "It's too bad that our government leaders couldn't get their act together to save the Braves and now we have to put up with this, a Single-A team!" I about scratched my eyeballs out when I heard that! There's another factor involved in attendance figures and that's market size. Most AA teams are in larger MSAs than Single-A (especially Low A) teams. On the one hand, that means they should have more fans to draw from as their base. On the other hand, I assume it means there's more competition for discretionary family spending. But I've got to believe that this cuts in favor of higher attendance for AA teams. Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson MSA is one of the largest MSAs with a Single-A team. So I can see how -- judging from that -- people might say we should have a AA team. (The people in my box for the game on Saturday were claiming it should be AAA if not AA.) But there are 4 (at my last count) Single A teams in larger MSAs. And I'm not sure whether we're drawing across the MSA. But the real killer stat in all of this is the bottom line story for the Rhinos, Grrrowl and whatever the basketball developmental league team was called.... Greenville just is not worthy of a high-end sports team given its track record of flagging support for its minor leagues sports teams. On paper we may look better than we are in terms of drawing power, but this town -- until this baseball season -- has failed, repeatedly, to live up to its potential and is damn lucky to have the Drive, let alone the venue that came with the team.
  14. DRIVE PRESS RELEASE ABOUT BALLPARK OF THE YEAR. But, before I get to that, let me say that the big offseason news this year will be the naming rights deal for West End Field. And with it being a "destination ballpark," you can count on the calibre of the naming rights partner (and the cash value) to have gone up. But, in naming rights' deals, the value is largely in the mentions the field gets in the media -- and the markets where it gets mentioned. That's one reason ballparks in AA and AAA would typically fetch more money: the name gets mentioned to fans in bigger, more desirable markets in those leagues. Still, let's just hope it's not Dr. Scholl's, Preparation H or Cruex that the team deals with. One naming controversy a year is too much to handle.... Okay, without further ado: West End Field Ballpark Of The Year Presentation Drive to Formally Accept Award During Saturday
  15. One thing that doesn't seem to have changed is the slack updating with press releases. Here's a press release on the new web site format that -- amazingly enough -- doesn't seem to have made it onto the web service: GREENVILLE DRIVE PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2006 MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Jarinko (864) 240-4515 [email protected] Greenville Drive Hit A Home Run With New Website New Site Designed by Worthwhile of Greenville Greenville, SC
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