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Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: There’s money in those boulevards

By From page A2 | January 26, 2014

Under the category of “great minds think alike,” my friend Jeff emailed me with a brilliant idea at the very moment the exact same idea was forming in my brain.

Jeff took note of a recent column concerning the naming of streets in the old hometown in which I suggested choosing new streets names by simply flipping through the local phone book.

“Congratulations, Mr. Crumbocker, as a result of a random drawing held at City Hall, a new street in Cannery Park will be named Crumbocker Court in your honor,” will read the memo from the city attorney. “As long as you don’t commit a felony, file for bankruptcy or move to Woodland during the remainder of your natural life, the street will remain Crumbocker Court.”

As brilliant as that idea is, as Jeff points out, it does nothing to raise some sorely needed revenue for this town.

Writes Jeff: “As city leaders ponder the addition of yet another parcel tax to help rectify the so-called ‘structural deficit’ (a euphemistic term for authorizing expenditures exceeding income), perhaps they should adopt a tactic from capital campaign fundraisers and sports team owners. Fundraising campaigns generate large amounts of cash by selling ‘naming opportunities’ and ‘sponsorships.’ “

Indeed, indeed, indeed. I remember after attending a football game on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, I strolled through a nearby courtyard where some alums were gathering and even the flower pots had name plates that had clearly gone to the highest bidder. And the very same “Parker Stadium” where I had attended football games as a student was now named after some potato salad outfit in Portland.

Anyone who watched the recent orgy of college football bowl games knows firsthand about naming rights.

We used to have the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Cotton Bowl. We now have the Vizio Rose Bowl, the Discover Orange Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

Not to mention the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the Outback Bowl, the Little Caesars Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and my all-time favorite, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

With a calorie-laden lineup like that, it’s a wonder they still bother to play the Fight Hunger Bowl.

Adds Jeff: “Naming rights for stadiums, arenas, auditoriums, meeting rooms, lobbies, walkways, courtyards and other public areas equate to revenue.”

What the heck, let’s sell everything. I mean, I don’t care if they rename Hunt Way as Woodstock’s Way if it means we’ll be able to pave our sidewalks in gold or at least pay our firefighters in cash.

“For every new street in our town, more than enough local citizens would be willing to write a fat check for the privilege of perpetuating their name on a local street, or dedicating a street to a family member or respected friend.”

Just think, Woodland has the very cool “Dead Cat Alley,” but now we can have the even cooler “Fat Cat Alley.”

“Streets could have varying pricing tiers: naming rights for a cul-de-sac would cost five figures, a neighborhood through street would go for six figures, and a high-volume arterial would command seven figures.”

Yeah, except on my side of the tracks we call a cul-de-sac a “dead end,” since there’s no way out except the way you came in. How much for naming rights to the Dunning Dead End?

“When the sponsored street sign is mounted on a pole, the city would present the donor with a framed replica of the sign.”

Imagine, a pole on Pole Line bearing the family name.

“Even the California Department of Motor Vehicles has taken advantage of the cash-generation opportunities of selling ‘vanity plates.’ The city of Davis is at the tail end of this parade, but it’s not too late to hop on.”

I can see it now. Davis Ace Avenue, Steve’s Place Place, McDonald’s Manor, KFC Court, Coldwell Banker Boulevard, Target Terrace and the Historic Hibbert Highway.

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, the bidding starts now.

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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