Last week Paul Golden repeated the same spiel he does every couple of months. This time to the Rotarians at their lunch meeting at Gertrude's. Once again he talked about all the jobs his project would bring, all the tax revenue (though very little from him or his company, mostly from hotel room tax, gaming, vendors and property
tax), and how he's ready to break ground, within 60 days. During his previous public conference, he said he was ready to break ground and it would start in the spring – spring ends this week.
Once again he invited various groups "to join him later in the day for a tour of the proposed building site". The last time he did this, a couple months ago, he invited specific guests and "all media" to join him on the tour and promised to answer "any and all questions". However, when my wife and I showed up to take the tour, as
representatives of the on-line media blog "Livin' on St. Croix" and prepared to ask pertinent questions regarding the environmental impact of the project, actual status of the CZM permit and efforts (or non-efforts) to comply, he refused to let us join him. He claimed blogs are "not media". Well it so happens several Federal agencies and US courts have ruled that bloggers are legitimate members of the media, with the same rights and responsibilities. Didn't deter Paul Golden, he makes up his own rules.
This latest invitation came by way of the Rotary Clubs of St. Croix and the Press Release read "Mr. Golden will present an overview of the planned development at the luncheon. He also invites all Rotarian, guests and the media to join him later in the day for a tour of the proposed building site." The invitation to "all Rotarians, guests and media" is repeated in both of the next two paragraphs, the last one starting with "Open to the public". I showed up once again, confident I'd be allowed to join the tour this time. I was a member of three of the four groups explicitly invited in the Press Release. I am not a Rotarian, though I was specifically invited by, not just a Rotarian, but the President-Elect of a St. Croix Rotary Club. He was unable to attend the tour himself, but enthusiastically invited me to attend in his stead. I am, of course, a member of the public, and Paul Golden's beliefs notwithstanding, I am a member of the media.
However, Mr. Golden once again refused to let me join the tour. This is becoming sort of a routine for him. He magnanimously invites the public to see the project for themselves and ask any and all questions, but then he bars anyone prepared to ask any significant questions from coming along. He picks and chooses who is "appropriate" public, who is "appropriate" media, who is or isn't a guest, and which
questions to answer, just as he picks and chooses which laws, rules and regulations he thinks apply to him, and ignores the rest.
Before the tour left without me, I was able to get an answer to one question. Of those 1000 "permanent" jobs Mr. Golden keeps dangling in front of the gullible, he estimated about 40-50 would be management positions. Which leaves about 950 of the more menial positions. You know, the ones you see in the paper every week that The Buccaneer, Carambola, and Divi can't seem to keep filled. (Note: I did ask him
how many of the 600 jobs he'd promised would be managerial, as that was the number I remembered from previous press conferences, but I did some review and it turns out he had been promising 1200 "permanent" jobs, which is now down to 1000, and he didn't correct me on the 600, so maybe there will only be 550-560 menial jobs created).
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