The water plan ad appears here too
Egads. Until I opened my personal copy of the Hook this morning, I had no idea that this newspaper was among those running half-page ads touting the alleged glories of the $143 million water supply plan, the one built after local officials were told that dredging their existing reservoir would cost as much as $145 million, and perhaps as much as the laughter-provoking sum of $225 million.
That I didn't know about this ad, which "strongly reaffirms" some officials' commitment to the plan and which I write about in today's paper, means either that I'm a) asleep at the switch, or b) that there really is an appropriately thick wall between this newspaper's sales and news teams.
As I emailed the mayor this morning, this ad raises a key question that many citizens have been asking: When one learns that a chosen course of action is based on disputed, potentially conflicted, and possibly false information, why would any leader continue to plunge forward, in the words of [the] City Manager, "full steam ahead"?
May 28 update: A Freedom of Information request and a search of internal records reveals the following costs for the half-page advertising placements:
Â¢Ã¢â??Â¬Â¢ C-ville Weekly: $325,
Â¢Ã¢â??Â¬Â¢ the Hook: $480,
Â¢Ã¢â??Â¬Â¢ Daily Progess: $2,191 first time, half price second time, free third time.
That brings the total cost of the ad campaign to $4,092 with the cost split four ways between the four entities: Charlottesville, Albemarle, the Albemarle County Service Authority, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority. (According to their respective spokespersons, the City's portion was paid from its Public Works Department's "water conservation and education fund," while the County paid its share from its "publications/advertising" budget.)
Here's a legible PDF copy of the ad.