Aaron Blair probably knows what it’s like to be thrown under the bus. After all, comments made about him to another local news outlet weren’t exactly pleasant. To Blair’s credit, he himself shared the article on Facebook, rather than trying to ignore it and hope it would go away.
Blair hasn’t been what some would consider proactive about keeping businesses thriving in Downtown Albany, and this has opened him to criticism. I certainly understand where that comes from. The Albany Journal was a downtown business. We’re not now, because of a variety of reasons, particularly economics. A downtown location offered us some benefits, but they were benefits that only a newspaper would appreciate. However, at no point did Aaron Blair call me up and ask me what he or the city could do to help my business.
Here’s the thing though…why should he?
Had it mattered to me, had my principles not precluded me from asking for government handouts, I would have called Blair and asked him what he could do. I didn’t. Did any of the other businesses who have since left downtown in the last year?
The truth of the matter is that if a business simply must have government help to stay afloat, then it’s never going to really thrive. Every business owner who has been in trouble financially – and I’m looking in the mirror when I write this – is confident that they just need a little longer and things will turn around. I’m right there, and I have little doubt that this is why some businesses look to Blair for help. After all, they’re just trying to make it a few more months.
However, if you can’t accurately project what the economy will do, while also predicting what it will do for you personally. If you can’t figure out ways to cut things and keep things going, you’re not likely to succeed. Aaron Blair has nothing to do with that. His job is to promote downtown, and he’s been doing that. He’s been trying to expand the arts and create new events for downtown. If that works out, the businesses will take care of themselves.
Aaron commented on Facebook that the honeymoon is over. That may well be. But, for what it’s worth, I’m still on his side. I’ll be there until there’s a reason not to be, and it won’t be because of my own businesses struggles. It’ll be because he’s shown himself to be incapable of doing the job, or of mismanagement of city resources, or something else.
The honeymoon may be over…but that just means it’s time to get down to business even more.