Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Common Council Should Lay Over PMI Resolution

Contributed by: palmeri Council Should Lay Over PMI Resolution

by Tony Palmeri

February 22, 2005

Yesterday the Oshkosh Northwestern reported that, "On Tuesday, Oshkosh’s Common Council will consider a resolution officially selecting Promotion Management Inc. as Leach Amphitheater’s concessions and entertainment manager."

Today in the Northwestern appears an op-ed piece by rejected applicants Jay P. Supple, John F. Supple III and Randy Hopper. They argue that the management selection steering committee was swayed by a preference for a promoter specializing in attracting "top touring acts," a preference that represents "a fundamental misconception of the purpose behind this facility: a venue created by the community, serviced by the community and with access for the community."

In the interest of fairness and balance, I hope the Northwestern allows Ken Wachter of PMI to submit an op-ed, along with a representative of another rejected applicant, Compass Facility Management, Inc. of Ames, Iowa.

As with everything else associated with the amphitheaterso far, the city's actions as regards the selection of PMI raises a wealth of questions. To wit:

*Have all members of the Oshkosh Common Council been provided with the bids that were submitted by PMI, Supple-Hopper, and Compass?

*Did the Oshkosh Parks Department submit a proposal for managing the concessions? If not, why?

*Why wasn't the Mayor or another member of the Common Council on the small panel that eventually recommended PMI?

*The newspaper yesterday said that the "city’s request for proposals guarantees any vendor provide $30,000 or 10 percent of total, annual venue revenues – whichever is larger -- to cover amphitheater maintenance costs." Why so little? With so much city money invested in this project, does it not make sense to demand more from any vendor seeking to manage promotion of acts and concessions?

*PMI's Ken Wachter told the newspaper that “We think we need to meet with the Waterfest people and see what they’ve got planned." PMI will also bring a "group sales" department to Oshkosh. Yet Supple-Hopper claim, "In addition to meetings with the Grand Opera House in terms of creating a ticket outlet, we have already held numerous meetings with Mike Dempsey and John Casper to determine the complexities of Waterfest; met with the Oshkosh Symphony to discuss preliminary programming opportunities; and met with Jay Stoflet from the Jaycees Brews & Blues, and Jim Putnam with the Fox Jazzfest." If Supple-Hopper have in fact laid this groundwork, why is that less important than PMI's "background and experience in the programming component" (as stated by Mr. Stephany)?

I urge the Common Council to lay over the resolution until these and other questions get answered. Most crucially, the taxpayers deserve to see some numbers on how much revenue the city can gain if the Parks Department runs the concessions as opposed to turning that responsibility over to a private entity.

The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.

Common Council Should Lay Over PMI Resolution
Authored by: Jim B. on Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 08:16 AM MST
After watching the council meeting last night I can't help but think this whole thing is more posturing from people left out of the deal. The Supple's seem to be playing the sore loser game with the "we are locals" card. A committee was established that voted unanimously to recommend PMI. I am not privy to the proposal, but based on Mr. Wachter's comments they are well established in this business and understand all aspects of the process(food & beverage, promotion). In terms of being local, they have been handling Ducks Unlimited here in Oshkosh since it started. Their track record with the Resch center speaks for itself.

I feel it is of utmost importance to contract with a company that can bring in top notch shows to attract the local and regional consumers to come to the ampitheater and spend money on food and beverage and outside the venue. If the acts are not there the people will not come and spend money. PMI has a track record of doing this, the Supple group doesnt have as strong of a record plain and simple. Nothing against the Supple's, but they were not chosen by the committee for obvious reasons.

And what made Castle and Mattox change their minds so suddenly on the layover. They voted against it then voted for it after Wachter and Stephany were very articulate on the how and whys ???? Shame on the council for once again not doing their homework before hand.

Longterm it is not a big deal to layover the vote until March 8th, but that doesnt change the fact that PMI appears to be the frontrunner with their proposal.

Same old same old!!!

Jim B.

Common Council Should Lay Over PMI Resolution
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 02:16 PM MST
I look at it this way: if the Council's role is only to rubber stamp the recommendation made by the small panel, then why bring the matter before the Council at all?

If the Council is to be more than a rubber stamp, then it seems to me their responsibility is to look at the competing proposals. If a Council member reads the proposals and sees them as equal, then it makes total sense to base his or her decision on the recommendation of the small panel.

What I sensed last night was disagreement on the Council as to whether the amphitheatre is an exclusively local venue that will occasionally bring in a national act, or whether it is exclusively a national venue that will occasionally do something local. I suspect with Supple-Hopper we get the former, with PMI the latter.

I do think the city needs to take a more serious look at running the concessions, since we have yet to hear one compelling argument against it.
--Tony Palmeri

Common Council Should Lay Over PMI Resolution
Authored by: Jim B. on Thursday, February 24 2005 @ 08:02 AM MST

As Mr. Wollangk(sp) pointed out to Mr. Esslinger, the council never sees the bids that are not picked. If you are going to have the council pick from all bids what is the point of having a comittee in the first place? Shouldnt the council have been a little more proactive in this process?

As far as the Local vs. National debate for the venue, I think it is important to have both. This place will not survive on "locals only" attitude. As Mr. Wachter pointed out, they do everything from weddings to Aerosmith at their venues. The ampitheater has the potential to be a showcase venue, let's not shoot low. With our location being between Chicago and Minneapolis, I would bet plenty of national or regional acts would be glad to make a mid week stop between weekend gigs at the bigger cities. I believe this is how WaterFest has been so successful.

Jim B.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Five River Resort’s project

Contributed by: Anonymous
The editorial cartoon in this morning's Northwestern was cute, making it seem like we need to take a chance on this new $62 million project. This includes a condominium/ hotel and a indoor water park. So I guess we're not looking at this closely. We already have a luxury apartment buiding close to the riverfront that's only 60% full, and the real estate on the first floor is still empty, so more condominiums should do the trick!

Is it just me, but the only people that can afford those apartments are already living there, meaning no one else in this city can. And rumor is there is a low income housing shortage in this city, so lets build some condoniniums! Are we Oshkosh, or are trying to be Milwaukee here?

And this project might include a hotel, that will only be full for 2 weeks a year and that's in late July/early August. Park Plaza isn't drawing well, so why would this one? A possible solution is a convention center next to it, and that way we can get conventions down here and people will thus fill up the hotel.

Well, has anyone thought that Oshkosh has been doing nothing for so long about our own convention center that it's too late in the game to get involved? With the KI center, Resch center, Shopko hall, and Brown County Arena basically taking would be business away from us for years, shouldn't we kinda look at different things?

Not to get off subject, but the same thing could be said about the Grand Opera House. The big name acts are going to the Wiedner Center and the new Performance Arts Center while we get little known acts and thus don't draw well. We should be thinking about pulling the plug there too.

And then there's an indoor water park. Sounds nice with Pollock pool closed, but I'm sure this will be a private project and thus may cost a little more to get in. Might as well go to the YMCA.

I'm not opposed to doing something about the riverfront. It was brought up at the Rotary Club debate last night that the city is supposed to own like 30 feet of space from the river back, so why can't we just develop that first and worry about big expensive projects later? A nice bike path for people to jog on or whatever could bring people down and we can work from that.