Why Put Down VW? - And Response (4)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Re: Roy Exum: Hooray For Passat, But...

I gotta ask why?

Why does my friend Roy feel compelled to write this and why does my friend John feel compelled to publish it? Locally made VW Passat capturing the largest percentage growth in the US auto market is a great feel good story for Chattanooga and VW. Is it necessary to throw a wet blanket on it?

Toyota's the #3 brand seller in 2012 according to data from the Wall Street Journal (behind GM and Ford). If you take dealerships out of the mix, Chrysler, Ford and GM currently employ 2.5 times the US workers than Honda, Nissan, and Toyota combined.

We all know VW was certainly trailing the pack when it came to US auto sales. That is why I think we are better off with a VW plant than Toyota plant. It is a lot easier to sustain production facilities when the manufacturer is on an aggressive market share growth path than trying to hold on to an existing large market share. So when VW (the world's #2 automaker behind GM) with a stated goal of becoming #1, makes a big push to gain US market share by opening their first US assembly plant (in Chattanooga) and the car produced at that plant leads them to the largest 2012 market share percentage growth, we all need to stand up and cheer...and that's all.

I enjoy reading Roy's pieces and the Chattanoogan.com is my homepage... But this piece seems to be a total PR job. I wonder if my buddies Herb or David, or my old schoolmates Tim or Mitch, want to put their two cents in?

Scott Gentry

* * *

Another section of "The Code" states:

It ain't braggin' if you can do it.

Royce Burrage, Jr.

* * * 

With apologies to Roy and to Janis Joplin: "Oh, Lord won't you buy me a VW Passat? My friends all drive Camry's, but I don't give a squat. Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from Detroit, So Lord, won't you buy me a VW Passat?"  

Hutch Smith
Signal Mountain

* * * 

Mr. Exum,

I read just about all your "Opinion" contributions, enjoy them very much. But my first reaction after reading the Passat/Toyota piece was, well, troubling. Wasn't quite certain why at the time, because I certainly espouse freedom of opinion (f.e., I firmly believe my 20-year-old Jeep Wrangler is the best car in the world).

It's not until now, after thinking about it for awhile, that I felt obligated to respond.

First, I feel the "Code" thread doesn't quite hold up. To marry it to a comparison of two cars is a marriage doomed. Didn't work. But that is simply a literary criticism – not nearly so significant as the next one.

"Codes" exist everywhere, not just for cowboys. With the journalistic status your name carries, there is one powerful and respected code that you certainly are aware of – "Full Disclosure." In journalism, written or newscast, full disclosure of personal or corporate interests in the story, or to any individuals or parts of it, are a necessity to maintain credibility. I argued with myself that you should be pardoned from not giving full disclosure because this was the "Opinion" section of the Chattanoogan, and not journalism. But that side of me lost, because of who you are, the pulpit you command, and the respect you have within the community. 

Before "opining" about the superiority of "T" over "P," in writing, in a public forum, I wish you had first given full disclosure about your connections and any monetary interests to and with Toyota. Then, and only then, go ahead full blast.

Marv Glaser
Chattanooga

* * * 

Marv is suggesting that Roy Exum cannot have an opinion on his automobile preference.  

First of all, Roy Exum is a retired sports writer. Are you suggesting that Roy Exum cannot have an automobile preference? It is absurd to paint Roy Exum, as a corporate raider with lots of Toyota stock. Oh please, I cannot stop laughing. 

I have the opinion that VW is nothing more than a corporate welfare gimmick to divert public taxes into their own capital investment.  Am I entitled to that opinion? Absolutely, as a taxpayer, I am purely vested in VW. My taxpayer dollars, both state and local, are invested in VW. That is full disclosure.  

The capital taxpayer investment to these tax exempt corporations will not amortize and return to the taxpayers. It's the company store is my opinion. 

The original UT study, made the following assumptions:

http://media.timesfreepress.com/docs/2008/08/VW_Economic_Impact_Study_0830.pdf 

1) "We expect a significant majority of the suppliers to locate in Tennessee because of Volkswagen’s specified intent to have suppliers at the site, the specific tax benefits that accrue to suppliers in Tennessee" (page 4) 

Did not happen. The suppliers did not locate to the region. The major components are transported from Mexico. 

2) "This report also estimates the state and local tax revenues arising from the location. The income generated by the Volkswagen location will result in $55.7 million in annual tax revenues for Tennessee state and local governments." (page 3) 

The city's sales tax revenue are flat, both prior to VW to present. The city ending the sales tax agreement with Ham. County has had more positive impact on city revenues, that all of the Pilot incentive industry combined. 

3) "Tax revenue will increase by $1,399.4 million over the 30-year lifetime. Sales tax revenue is the largest source of additional taxes." (page 4) 

The study assumed that the VW plant would be in full production for 30 years, the most shameful assumption. 

Finally, Chattanooga's population growth is flat, so the sales and property tax assessments are proportionally flat. Chattanooga's growth is primarily due to annexation, census 2011 reports growth to 170,000 July 2011, from 155,000 in 2000. 

The researched and written opinion expressed here are purely my own. 

April Eidson


Standing Behind The Armored Truck Lane

I just wanted to say that I stand behind the city's implementation of an armored truck lane.  I do my banking downtown and see those armored truck lanes used quite extensively.  The armored truck lane provides a safe, close location for the transfer of money to and from the banks.  I do have a few complaints about the armored truck lanes, however.  They need ... (click for more)

Sterling Jetton Isn't A Politician

Typically, I do not publicly endorse local candidates for any office.  However, in this case I strongly believe that Sterling Jetton is the best candidate for the Hamilton County Assessor of Property.   Rev. Jetton is clearly well qualified.  He served 27 years in the Assessor’s Office, he’s not a politician and he’s a man of absolute integrity.  I have personally ... (click for more)

Cleveland School Board Votes 5-2 To Terminate School Director Ringstaff Over Twitter Messages

The Cleveland School Board on Friday fired Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of schools, for sending sexually explicit messages to an anonymous woman a year ago.  His termination is effective immediately and does not include severance pay.  The school board called an emergency meeting after Dr. Ringstaff, who is married, admitted to sending explicit messages to ... (click for more)

History Center Not Giving Out Any More Information On Past Spending Details, Current Status, At This Time

The president of the Chattanooga History Center, which has halted plans for a world class history museum near the Aquarium after raising over $10 million, said no other information will be provided at this time. Chattanoogan.com had sought details about prior spending and the salary of former executive director Daryl Black as well as the center's current status. Jo Coke said, ... (click for more)

Ernie Johnson Jr. Captivates McCallie Classic Luncheon Crowd

Ernie Johnson Jr., the popular host of “Inside the NBA” on TNT, tipped off the inaugural McCallie Classic on Friday with a riveting speech before a large crowd at the school’s Sports and Activities Center. The rest of the two day event, which includes two nationally ranked basketball teams, had a hard act to follow. Johnson, a cancer survivor whose family adopted a young ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Teams Ready For Action At State Duals

All of those long grueling practices are over.  Challenge matches are a thing of the past. It's to that point in the season where either you're ready or you're not. As the old saying goes, the hay is in the barn and now is the time to reap the benefits of all the hard work that's been done in the past few months. In other words, it's post-season time for high school wrestling ... (click for more)