|King Herod and Apostate Priests Vs. Jesus|
The devastating economic impact of these events remain today as Branson's leadership transitioned from a focus on stimulating economic development to a privatized form of government. The shift is barely noticeable by Branson's journalism community as most have moved on to other jobs and positions.
To properly understand Branson's transition it is important to understand some of our history. The history is rapidly being rewritten as the spoils of war belong to the victor.
Diversity of Branson's offering was a main focus of city leadership prior to a coup which took many years to achieve. Branson's most liberal publication, the Branson Independent, was key in stirring the pot and assisting political overthrow.
A notable player was out current Mayor Raeanne Presley with both political and financial aspirations. The methods of overthrow were largely subversive. Presley's main ally was a clerk by the name of Sandra Williams. Essentially, Williams, an employee of the city, served as a leak and conversely those working on creating economic development utilized the unholy alliance to misinform Presley and thwart plans to undermine growth. City leaders leaked false data to Williams in order to ensure economic growth continued.
Poverty benefits some and in a tourism town keeping a large crop of low-paid workers keeps profits high. There is a famous campaign line and telling incentive on why the Branson Landing and Branson Hills were so vigilantly opposed. Presley said, "I don't want to have to pay parking attendants 10 dollars an hour". Poverty benefits those who need desperate souls to increase profit. New development and economic growth are no friends of Presley who had a plan and pocket of her own to line. Hundreds of new higher paying jobs were of no self gain.
Senior citizens and even families have come to Branson in large numbers over the past 50 years. The waning population of seniors (they eventually pass to the next life) and offering geared towards a generation past inspired city leadership to diversify.
While Branson is 100 this year, tourism's leading hand is only half as old. Diversifying the economy meant opening new markets. Conventions provided the new avenue; but how to fund and where to place a new convention center was in question. A $50 million dollar favor struck with Missouri's Governor and brokered by Rick Huffman sealed the deal. Alluding many Branson residents if the fact $50 million in funding for the Branson Convention Center comes from the state of Missouri, not local taxes.
While diversification and economic growth benefits a majority there were conflicting views. Mainly, Presley and a few "friends" figured they ought to be the primary beneficiaries. A small group were privy to the Convention Center plan and opted to line their pockets by purchasing land near their selected location. Presley opted for a mall of America to be built - you guessed it - on her family's land.
When logistics forced a competing location for Branson's Convention Center, the self-centered entrepreneurs lost their fiscal footing Later they would have their revenge.
Christianity or Corrupt Insanity
Considering the behavior of parties involved it's hard to find an innocent hand. And though Presley's plan was ultimately rejected; after an unsuccessful bid for mayor, Presley gained footing as her ballot competitor was marked for a failure to pay all of his taxes.
After winning without competition, Presley managed to fire every department head, except two. Those who assisted (as their job description entails) were punished with unemployment. Unironically (new word) those who assisted with "finding" the tax deficiency have have had no less than five pay raises since Presley's tenure.
At the time the original post was made, the budget line item for "Mayor and Board", Presley's budget was amped by millions mostly draining Branson's reserves (once at $13 million). A private attorney from Kansas City was hired under unique contract conditions to limit the autonomy of the Branson Landing. The Branson Landing's purpose was to create revenue to fund the Convention Center. And while the Branson Landing is wildly successful, yielding over $100,000,000 in sales annually our mayor sees it as raising wages and competing against the family business.
Public records show nothing of Christianity but rather Athena consulting as Presley's conduit to power. An organization called the League of Theaters was utilized to sue the city of Branson and place restraints at the capital against the efforts of Branson's civil leadership. The lobbying organization was owned by Democratic powerhouse Kathleen Steele Danner, the current head of
Missouri's Department of Tourism.
Though the public record shows Presley's affiliation with pagan notation, undermining Branson's economy from within and turning back the clock required a religious taint. Over $75,000 was spent on legal fees to limit alcohol within city limits , injecting methods the hired attorney himself advised would not curb alcohol use. In contrast, Presley currently serves on the Board of a celebrated organization called "Jesus Was Homless". Many fear the anti-development stance is creating more "homeless"; which is not exactly the way a common preacher might want one to act like Christ.
Prior to Presley Branson was known for it's great democratic debate but the process, adherence to law and even maintaining a notion of an independent press has disappeared. And old-school KY3 reporter was at the helm during the transition and often noted the perversion of Presley in relation to the press.
Though great debate was occurring it wasn't truly a watchdog press but rather members participation that enabled the rise of economically restrictive laws. Notably is Gary Groman who coined the term "Czar". The watchdog style reporting ceased. It's been very clear that there was active participation ensuring political victory.
The greatest deception was Presley's promise to enact open government. One policy forced all documentation to be displayed with public printouts. These have been abandoned completely as has our watchdog press. In fact, Presley stroke a deal with Ky3 giving a local television station to the Mayor herself . We are perhaps the only city in America with a mayor owning a television station. It is of little mystery why little fact is published regarding the cities finances and mayor's frequent trips around the country financed by a population of 7,000 continue unnoticed.
Hiring new blood loyal to the mayor herself, changing laws that limit press access, and spending millions of city money with a friends and family plan of management has allowed this trend to continue. This posting was the start of a great perversion of local political power and one that continues today.
*Branson has no position called Liquor Czar . At the time this article was published there was a proposal to create a city office to regulate liquor. Since new liquor policies were put in place drunk driving citation have dramatically increased.
**Rick Huffman has never endorsed anyone for liqour czar.