22 January 2004

Remember a few days ago when I posted about how tacky it was that California localities were lobbying for the Scott Peterson trial? Courtesy of John D., here is an e-mail he received when he inquired (I include the entire letter so that I cannot be said to have skewed it):


I am sending you the email I sent to our members which I hope clarifies things. We were appalled at the impression created, as you were . (pasting below) Believe me, the impression created by the articles and edited news clips are far from the truth.

As you are all seeing/reading, the Peterson trial story has taken on a life of its own and many articles are continuing to say we "lobbied" for the trial and are excited about the opportunity of a trial generated by a terrible crime. Here are some facts for you:

We NEVER lobbied for the trial, and as Sheriff Horsley has said, you CAN'T lobby for a trial. What we DID do is send a professional note to the judge as soon as it was announced that we were a possible venue, saying that IF we were chosen, we would be happy to assist the media. We did NOT include promotional materials, nor did we attempt to "sell" the county or compete.

In terms of our reaction to the event, I have made a point in conversations w/reporters to say that our whole county mourns Laci Peterson and her son and that the crime was awful. (As a mother myself, the crime horrified me and not a day goes by I don't think about Laci's family.)

Unfortunately, we can't change what happened--the trial already exists--and it had to go somewhere. While we were stunned with the announcement of the move to our county, we are in the hospitality industry and no matter what brings people here--good news or bad--it is our job to take care of them.

Our area and hospitality industry can use a shot in the arm after the tough times following 9/11 and the dotcom downturn. If we were/are excited, it's because filling our hotels again can put people back to work, pave our streets, pay for police and fire and on and on. You all live here and you know how tough things have been.

This means no disrespect to the victim or her family and I am sorry if anyone interpreted it that way. We are in tough times.

In most conversations, the media have asked for an economic impact (anywhere from six to 16 million dollars) and then said, "wow, so what is your group's reaction to that?" Needless to say, it is great excitement. Our county has been suffering greatly.

We have a lot of stories to tell about this county and having the media here presents a definite opportunity for exposure. It goes without saying that the reason they are here is unfortunate.

We have told the press that we know the county has concerns about the costs, BUT that county officials are willing to step up to the plate as are we--and that we will work together as a team and bend over backward to help them in any way.

Having said all of this, we want the world to know we are a hospitable community. I urge everyone to keep prices down during the trial, so we are generous as we step up to the plate with the rest of the county . >From what I'm hearing so far, this is exactly what you are doing.

Thank you!

ne LeClair, CAE
President & CEO
San Mateo County Convention & Visitors Bureau


The problem is that the underlined paragraph (my emphasis) would seem to be belied by the direct quote from Ms. LeClair found in the original article. And, yes, you can lobby for a trial. It may be a dumb thing to do (or looking at that letter, desperate) and it should be entirely ineffective. Nevertheless, you can lobby.

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