Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More on Bandon - some clarifications

I received late last night an e-mail from David Cay Johnston, the author of the New York Times articles on Bandon Dunes about which I wrote last Friday. While I am not going to reprint his message or the full text of my response, I think, after reading his reply, the interests of fairness dictate my making some clarifying points.

1. I was not trying to imply that the Times had anything to do with his story. But I did find it interesting (and therefore posted) that the paper was the recent beneficiary of similar subsidies for its building. I should note for the record that the Times has also published stories about the incentives it received.

2. David is 100% correct in stating that investing in a public company is voluntary while taxes are mandatory. From a public perspective, my personal view is that we need to look into corporate jet trips and the deductibility from corporate taxes of the same. As to the private aspect of the trips, I do not like the practice, and our options are to vote as shareholders to change the policy or to not invest.

3. David's article raises -- implicitly if not explicitly -- an excellent point. We need to do a cost benefit analysis of subsidies of this nature and the resulting effect on property values with or without them.

4. David did his homework and detailed the background research he performed. In the back of my mind I knew he did, but for whatever reason I did come off wondering whether he had. In retrospect, I guess I should not have made this implication.

As I said in my reply to David, reasonable minds can differ on subjects without disliking the other. We differ on some things, but we agree on others. And I respect his writing. So I wish him well, and hope to write again about his work.