8:15 a.m. KTSA Morning Edge Commentary 9/17/2002

Can COPS run off a Toyota plant?

Site scouts for Toyota have been flitting in and out of San Antonio, getting the royal pooh-bah treatment from community leaders, businesspeople and real estate agents. I can imagine all our folks singing that old Judds lament, "Why not me?"

About six weeks ago, Toyota celebrated its ten-millionth vehicle manufactured in North America. In 16 years, Toyota has invested some 13-billion dollars here. More than 10-million Americans own Toyotas or Lexus vehicles. Toyota's U.S. market share is 9-percent, with share and net sales still growing.

I would like to alert COPS and Metro Alliance that here would be another superb opportunity for them to try to hurt this community. COPS didn't kill the PGA Village deal: it came very close. But if they get an early enough start right away, maybe they could run off one of the most successful car companies on the planet.

How? By whining about tax abatements that would go into Toyota's pocket. By complaining about tracts of land the city and county might want to purchase with tax money, for the vehicle assembly plant site. By complaining and objecting and browbeating. It would help to use a lot of misinformation, too. How about just switching the Save Our Aquifer slogan to the anti-Toyota campaign? If the facts don't fit, no prob. The facts didn't fit in the PGA Village campaign either.

This week I will be getting you some experts from American towns where Toyota has plants. We'll see what the towns had to give to get the plants, and what they have done for the local economies of Fremont, California; Princeton, Indiana; and Georgetown, Kentucky.

For some of our workers, Toyota could be a replacement for Kelly, and then some, with a huge employment base long-term.

So while Toyota is deciding on a location somewhere in America, get busy, COPS. Whip up some slogans about poor people not driving Lexuses. Demand wages twice what people's skills are worth. Show some strong community dissent. Get out there and stomp on the neck of another golden goose.

I'm Brad Messer with commentary at 8:15 on KTSA's Morning Edge.



Commentary A R C H I V E

Article in the Kentucky Post — Japan's top automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., is considering setting up a fifth assembly plant in North America if sales continue to rise.