Roger Kramer: Nixon's Office/Tourism Commission owe Tour of MO "courtesy of a meeting"

Photo courtesy ladouceur78 on FlickR

Is it about this?  

Er, not really . . . it's about a meeting request about a bike race.

Concerning "Tour of Missouri-gate," Roger Kramer recently wrote:

Brent has written a series of posts about “Tour of Missouri-gate” that details the unwillingness of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the Missouri Tourism Commission to talk with the top Tour of Missouri officials, Brent and Mike Weiss, about the race.

As a journalist, I’m always skeptical when groups try to attach the “gate” suffix to a controversy or potential scandal, which has been common since the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. . . . I don’t think the Tour of Missouri controversy rises to the level of a “gate”. But I do think Brent has raised good points:

  • On Wednesday, Brent wrote a post titled “Tour of Missouri-gate: Governor Nixon’s spokesman denies receiving meeting request–lying, confused, incompetent, or ?” Brent and Mike says they’ve made numerous efforts to contact Nixon’s office about the race.
  • On Thursday, Nixon’s office  admitted a request had been made, but that it was up to the Tourism Commission to meet with Tour of Missouri officials. So far, Brent says, no effort has been made to set up a meeting.
  • On Friday, Brent posted an extensive post about the “fact and fiction” about the Tour of Missouri and a timeline of events.
  • Also Friday, Brent wrote that he was informed by a member of the commission that it “is not willing to meet or enter into
    discussions about the Tour of Missouri, have not and will not take a vote
    on the issue of the ’specific appropriation’ for the Tour of Missouri that
    was approved by both chambers of the General Assembly, and yet still will not provide the funding.”

What seems clear is that we have a failure to communicate. At a minimum, either Nixon’s office or the Tourism Commission owe Tour of Missouri officials the courtesy of a meeting, especially given that the Missouri General Assembly included $1 million intended to be spent on the race in the 2010-11 budget for the Missouri Division of Tourism budget.

The Non-scandal Scandal (tm)

Just to be clear, the term "Tour of Missouri-gate" is supposed to be a bit of a joke--because how you can you have a scandal about a bike race and the request by two top statewide bicycling nonprofits to meet with the Governor's office about it?

Yet, the Nixon administration seem to be doing their best to make an insignificant and routine request take on all the trappings of a scandal--or what you might call a "non-scandal scandal", anyway.

Because so far we have non-denial denials, non-admission admissions, a non-appropriated appropriation, and non-decision decisions.

All that double-talk is enough to make your head spin . .  .

And now Governor Nixon's office doesn't seem to be answering questions from the media about the Tour, or is answering them with "no comment".

No one in the Governor's office has answered our phone calls or emails (we have had brief email exchanges with officials in the Division of Tourism, outlined here).  It's like a total black-out on the issue.

Furthermore, the Nixon administration's offices seem to be adopting the tactic of simply ignoring email communication as though it has never been sent--meaning that we have now resorted to sending all communication via certified letter, return receipt requested, so as to have no further mix-ups about whether or not communications have occurred (several such 'mix-ups' have happened already).

Of course, that has the effect of stretching out a simple meeting request into a weeks-long exchange of certified mail--one we're right in the middle of right now.

Yes, Tour of Missouri-gate is a joke

So what brought the term "Tour of Missouri-gate" to mind is precisely that we're seeing all the hallmarks of an administration under siege thanks to some serious, potentially regime-destroying scandal.

And instead of that, what's it really about?

Oh, yeah--a request for a meeting about a bicycle race . . . 

Our request to Governor Nixon

Governor Nixon: We have a plan--a realistic business plan--to solve the problems you and others have pointed out regarding the Tour of Missouri while still keeping the event as the premier bicycling event in Missouri, which brings the state many millions of dollars in annual economic impact, positive global attention, and inspires many to pursue more active and healthy lifestyles.

We would like to present that plan to you or your designated staff member.

After that, it's up to you--you can make a decision.  It's your job.  We will support your decision, whatever it is.

But please listen before deciding.