Brad Messer Commentary
8:15 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25, 2002

We were embarrassed at our little $5-thousand city council vote-selling because wimpy bribes mean we're not a world class city.

Everybody wants to be one.

I, your not-quite-world-class commentator, clicked around the internet to get facts about what's needed to make someplace world class. Besides much-more-expensive city council bribes, I mean.

Tennessee: a politician says Memphis is being held back from world class because of a city park named after Jefferson Davis, president of the Civil War South. It might offend someone, he says. If anyone says that about Travis Park, he better smile when he says it.

Georgia: I thought Atlanta is world class but apparently not quite. A website there says being world class is "a new goal" and will include "respect from the world" and becoming "a factor in world affairs." That's not encouraging: we can't even get any respect from Union Pacific railroad.

Africa: a newspaper reports Johannesburg plans to become world class by 2010, partly by having a toll-free hotline the public can use to report corruption. Maybe that's an idea that could work here, but we'd have to have plenty of operators.

Dublin, Ireland feels it will become world class if it gets better city leadership and broadband internet. Ideas worth stealing, obviously.

Oregon: a Business Journal writer in Portland jealously complains that Seattle is already world class, but not Portland. What's holding Portland back? The Journal says not quite enough "intellectual and economic power." I understand.

Brad Messer— commentary, KTSA.



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