Friday, November 20, 2009

VERITAS: FUMBLE - PATIENCE WITH CALGARY PARKING AUTHORITY EXPIRES

This week's perspective from Kathy Barnett:

A clip from Global TV Calgary caught my eye this week. It asked, “How do you call a news conference to cut rates, and end up making a whole city furious?” The Calgary Parking Authority did just that when its General Manager, Dale Fraser, called a news conference (to the surprise of City Council) to announce rate reductions in key downtown parking zones. While the move might seem like a PR home run, it quickly turned into an unmitigated disaster when savvy reporters took the opportunity at the newser to question Fraser about budget documents released the day before. Those documents outlined a number of proposed revenue generators for the CPA – including extending hours for metered parking, and charging for parking on Sundays and holidays – to recoup the shortfall the rate reductions would cause. Council officials quickly took an opposing stance, the resulting media coverage was less than flattering, and the public outcry was immediate – plunging the CPA into damage control mode. All in all, it was an ugly, ugly fumble. Regardless of the logic behind the proposed changes, trying to spin part of the package into a good news story and expecting that the remaining goods will go unnoticed is a dangerous strategy. No matter how lovely the lipstick, if it’s on a pig…well…you get my point.

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