Letter to the Editor: Phyllip Davis “After the Hotel Vote”


There is still a lot of work to be done in regards to the hotel and the divisive effect that the debate has had on our community. This hotel is a huge win for our entire community. Everyone will benefit from the influx of spending that it will bring. The jobs that it will create do not end at the construction and subsequent staffing of the hotel. The added spending in the community will mean an increased demand in the retail, dining, transportation, entertainment industries, as well as others. This will also create entrepreneurial opportunities for businesses that want to capture the business in the downtown area. With the construction of this hotel, everyone wins.

One of the first tasks in healing our community is open dialogue to increase the understanding of what a convention hotel is and what it does. There have been several comments saying that we already have plenty of hotels. This leads me to believe that those people do not understand that there is a substantial difference between a convention hotel and a traditional hotel. A traditional hotel relies on the community to create overnight stays. A convention hotel can create a large amount of its business due to its proximity to the convention center and amenities. They are two different vehicles. To expect a traditional hotel to accomplish what a convention hotel can is like trying to use a compact car to move a couch. It may be able to be done, but it’s not going to be easy.

Another task that we have in front of us is making amends with others in the community. We have a great community and we are fortunate to have so many people that care enough about our city to stand up and state their opinions. It is unfortunate that it appears as if this debate has caused a separation in our community. Dunn Hospitality has been a tremendous partner in our community for many years. They have invested millions into our community giving us some of the finest hotels around and they have volunteered and donated time and money to several of our community’s great organizations. I hope that this rift can be mended and we can move together into the future of Evansville. This hotel debate has turned friend against friend and caused separation in local political parties. We should let the events over the past few weeks be water under the bridge and move together into making Evansville the city that it can be.

I plan on going to the City Council meeting on Monday night and celebrating the vote that moves us forward. If you love this city and you want to see it reach its full potential, please join me. I hope to see a full house. Regards.

Phyllip Davis

Citizens of Evansville for Progress on the Convention Hotel Development


  1. I see the sentiment, but I think we’re picking at the scab a bit here.

    There are some political wounds from this that won’t be healed. Wayne Parke, for instance, will have a difficult time attracting young conservatives into the local Party machine. He has been on the wrong side of a string of decisions that will haunt every move he makes going forward. His conservative credentials, which were already hanging by a thread before this hotel debate, are now in tatters.

    Future campaigns will be won and lost based on the sides candidates took on this issue, which was just as, if not more, galvanizing as the Reorganization debate.

    My advice to the “yes we can” crowd – let this one scab over as quickly as possible and pretend you had no part in it.

  2. The Voting Booth is where the coming together of the Community Consensus will be realized. You are on the Money on this Brad, –The We, “ARE” in Control,–and YOU (the peons), “WILL” like it(!) crowd, tried to bully this issue, just as they did their plans for a POWER GRAB, via the consolidation issue. The View of the Citizenry was a overwhelming, and utter defeat for that scheme at the ballot box. The diligence of the opposition, to a “bad” deal, by these same Citizens, lifted over $18 MILLON dollars off the backs of the Residents, and their Children. The Next Voting cycle will tell the tale on the fallout from the PUSH to spend $37+ Million of the Community Resources, by these same Arrogant “Chosen Ones”,–over the WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
    The Voting Booth will always be the forge, for a better future for the Citizens..

    • The problem with this is that of time. People forget and lose interest and passion over time. By the the time the elections come around many may have forgotten about this to some degree. They won’t have the emotions that they have right now. They will remember it if someone brings it up and keeps it in front of their noses right up to the voting is performed.

      But it’ will be the media who tells us what happened in the past and I would not count on the Evansville Courier and Press nor Channel 14 to bring up this issue to any degree. Both Script Howard’s puppet paper and the owners of Channel 14 fully supported the hotel deal. I mean there were editorials in the paper for the hotel. And Channel 14’s big wig got on his own TV channel and did an Infomercial for the hotel.

      This won’t be the only issue that people will be looking at when it comes time to vote in the next elections.

      Do we throw out all 9 of the city council members along with the mayor and his entourage in the next election? I’d love to see all new faces and have some people in there that actually care more about the entire city than just the downtown area.

      There is more to Evansville than just the Downtown. If I were a businessman out on the East side or North side I’d be asking where is my piece of the pie and when to I get to eat?

      • “Do we throw out all 9 …” YES, YES, YES!

        We see what happens if we make only minor changes. The Tea Party movement against the larger establishment machine is an ‘in play’ situation right now at the national level. Those who are trying to cause change are obstructed at every level and painted as disrupting long standing processes rather than standing for the substance of what they are attempting to accomplish. A less than majority change will be roadblocked into frustration and in a later cycle be judged ineffective for not accomplishing change. Incumbents need to be voted out entirely for real change in response to the will of the people to be accomplished.

        Stand forward and move hard on this… starting now and enduring!

        • Wait until the vote on the issue tonight before you cast your change votes,see what happens then make up your mind on the next ballot.
          Move with direction of purpose while looking forward.
          Your areas political issue not mine,however this is an growing nation wide problem.
          Incumbents need to watch their foot prints these days,the information available through advanced technical applications is relative to ones timing knowledge on most primary issues.

          As this forum has shown.

    • I think that you’re right about the time factor, but there will be plenty of other issues that our elected leadership will come down on the “wrong” side of before the next City election. There is probably going to be all-out war over the plans for the IU Medical School.
      I also find Mr. Davis’ remarks about the public “not understanding” the “need” for this hotel. Most people clearly understand that it is meant to draw conventions to the area. We also understand that it is not likely to be successful, as the convention business is contracting while the supply of “convention sites” is expanding.

      • I meant to say Mr. Davis remarks about the public “not understanding” are condescending and insulting.

        • I never try to be condescending and if you feel insulted by my remarks, then I apologize to you. My comment stands on its own. If someone says that we have plenty of hotels in Evansville and we don’t need another one, they are stating that the convention hotel is the same as the other hotels. I also have heard that people say that we don’t need a hotel because the ones that we already have are not full. That is also a statement developed from ignorance. If the hospitality industry’s annual occupancy rate is around 57%, why should all of our hotels be full before building another hotel? Perception is a person’s reality, so if it serves their ego better to call me names than to realize their error. So be it. But it will be hard for you to find an example of me intentionally insulting anyone. Not saying that it hasn’t happened, but it is rare.

          • I really don’t think it was intentional, but I think you are selling the practical intelligence of the voters short. I simply think we need to move forward and let this go. It is going to happen, it just isn’t going to be so costly. I hope I am wrong about the failure of the hotel, but I don’t think I am.

          • I’m pretty sure that most people understand the difference between a huge 250 room hotel used for conventions next to the convention center and one out on the East side that’s not used for conventions. That’s a no brainer.

            What I see people not understanding or ignoring is that the public money is being used to benefit the few not the majority. That has been an alway will be the problem with this hotel.

            It’s not the location and it’s not the type of hotel. It’s about public money being used to support a Private Firm without the public having any equity in the hotel. I’m pretty sure you know this and are just ignoring it. But why would you do that is the question?

            What is your game and how will you benefit from this Phillip?

            People who own businesses or property downtown would naturally want tax money spend on revising their neighborhood. But what about the other people in all the other neighbor hoods. 37.5 or even 20 million dollars would go along way in building some new side walks or adding some new facilities like a neighborhood swimming pool. 20 million could do a lot to help renovate the zoo or the Lloyd Pool.

          • Mr. Davis, It seems that you talk down to everyone as if you think you are better than everyone. This isn’t the first forum that this has happened on either. Please know that your eloquence is noted and rest assured the good folks here, are understanding of the issues, even if they don’t agree with you. This will only be voted yes now, as a concession, due to the construction jobs that will result for the build of said hotel and NOT because it is a wise venture. This is another mistake by the City.

  3. Everyone will not benefit from this hotel. Only a few people in this town will benefit directly and only a small minority of the community will benefit indirectly from this hotel via increase in sales.

    The vast majority of the people living in Evansville, IN and paying taxes won’t see a dime from this hotel.

    Hell If I were to make money on this deal though a business that I owned in the downtown next to the hotel then I’d be supporting the building of this hotel with tax payers money too. I’d be the winner not the loser. But that’s not the case for the vast majority of the people who work and live in Vanderburgh County.

    My main objection to this entire deal was giving tax payers money to a private hotel without the city getting any skin in the game. At least with the Ford Center the City owns the Ford Center and makes money off it. Same with the Ice Rink, Hartkey Pool, Lloyd Pool and all the other city facilities.

    Did the city give Whirlpool money to move into town years ago? Did we pay Mead Johnson money to move to Evansville, Did we give John Dunn money to build his hotels? Hell no!

    This deal still gives away 20 million dollars of the tax payers money. Think about that long and hard and ask yourself how much of that money will go into YOUR Pocket book over the next 10 years.

    If you own a business and make more money because of this deal then you are very lucky that you have friends in high places that can rob the other tax payers and help you make more money. I doubt that you will be giving away much of that extra cash you gained due to the new hotel.

    Construction workers will gain employment for a short time so there fore they will make money off the jobs.

    Hotel workers will make money off this deal too. But most of them won’t be making that much money as they don’t pay 6 figure salaries for the maids and check in hoast.

  4. Brad: You are a habitual complainer about everything.

    Once again–The overwhelming vast majority of the citizens of Evansville support this hotel project which includes the labor organizations,business and people in both political parties.

    I am very pleased that the City Council is seriously considering to approve this convention hotel project.

    I thank everybody who worked to get this project approved. It is the right thing to do for our City. A good deal made better.

    By the way, my stock has gone up not down.

    • Unions and politicians??? What a pack of jackals. Look what such people did to Detroit. Wayne is running with the pack.

      • Yoda,

        People keep bringing up Detroit as an example and this project invests in the city core and attracts money into the city to avoid bankruptcy. Detroit’s problem was that everyone moved out of the city and into the suburbs and therefore the city lost the ability to fund itself. A large portion of their expenses were union employees within the government and the pensioners, but the cause of the city’s failure was flight from the city. Large portions of Detroit look like a ghost town. No city can survive after losing over 25% of its population since 2000.

        • My point being that the unions and the politicians made a bunch of self serving poor decisions that drove over a million people out of Detroit from its peak back in the 50’s. Happy people with good jobs don’t leave. Detroit went from a talent magnet to a hell hole in 20 years largely due to union cronyism and local government supporting rotten policy. I would say that the city did not lose the ability to fund itself, the city drove the people who were contributors to its funding off at gunpoint. But for the grace of having some headstrong “naysayers” Evansville just avoided another step down the Detroit path by $17.5 Million.

          • You can’t even begin to compare our city to Detroit because the composition of the cities are drastically different. People desired to be in the suburbs because that was the trend, not because politicians drove people out. We are now experiencing the exact opposite. There is more developement in the cities and people are moving back into the cities across America. You can blame politicians, but the problem was urban sprawl and “white flight”. The economic downturn last decade was the nail in the coffin. The racial makeup in our community makes us more sustainable. Our industrial makeup makes us more sustainable. We have too much fearmongering and low esteem for our community. That’s why we have so many people that are bearish on our chances to succeed at any venture.

            • Dude, race is not really an issue in Evansville and it was and continues to be in Detroit. It wasn’t trends or fashion that drove people out of Detroit, it was fear and taxes. Detroit has lost 65% of its population and Evansville has lost only about 20%. The driving forces are similar. The exit of jobs is the biggest driver of population. Both cities are filled with big old empty buildings that used to be factories that are surrounded by abandoned houses. If you bring the jobs back the people will follow and they will either fix up or replace the crap houses.

          • Race definitely plays an issue with the fall of Detroit. Detroit is 80% black. Black men have 50% unemployment. Detroit has no one to collect taxes from to fund their government. The Detroit metro only experienced 4% attrition. The downfall was not caused by the metro shrinking. There is still plenty of money in the metro area, that why it was suggested to have Detroit dissected and dissolved into the surrounding counties. If it weren’t for the investment in their core through projects like Ford Field and Comerica Park, they would have went under sooner without the hope of ever coming back. Every city’s downtown is vital to the overall health of the entire community.

      • Jackels and parasites supported and protected by a large police force. The narrow-mindedness of the voters is just horrific. Like children in a sandbox they play not wanting to grow up. The price to pay for this insanity will be overwhelming to most of these children as the chosen ones rejoice at their stupidity.

    • The vast majority of people did not support the $37.5 million deal. Your stock has only went up with the tax and spend crowd. It’s down with conservatives.

      If you a serious about thanking everyone, then thank Brad for complaining about the $20 million you were all so willing to spend.

      I am getting a little nauseated listening to those who opposed saving $20 million grab for the glory as if this deal had anything to do with them.

    • If the mass majority of the people of Evansville supported this hotel it would have been put to a vote. The same with the Fraud Center, think it could have withstood a public vote? I think the Earthcare/scam deal pretty well sums up the cranial activity of both political parties. I guess it’s not important when you’re treating tax dollars as found money. Evansville leadership is like a slum landlord with a hundred rentals and 2 maintenance people.

    • Wayne, as a fiscal conservative I respect Brad a lot more than I do you. You are the one who said the first deal was “a good one” and the second one is “even better”. Anyone who now thinks the first deal, which would have cost the citizens of Evansville at least $17.5 million more, was “a good one” is either a politician with something to gain, someone with a vested interest, or someone who doesn’t understand economics. Or maybe just someone who is cavalier with public funds.

      I believe the majority of Evansville citizens do support the new deal for the hotel, but I don’t for a second believe the majority backed the first crappy deal, which you did support. Unfortunately we will never truly know without a referendum.

  5. Wayne you are a tax and spend closet democrat!!! The deal has yet to be passed and you and the minority are cheerleading all the way to what? The bank! The unions will be behind you until the gravey runs dry!!!

  6. So we are going to build a new convention hotel. The newest savior in the build they will come religion. I have been around here 70+ yrs. and I have seen tons of money spent on the downtown with no game changing results. I hope it is successful, but the past history of the money spent in the downtown indicates otherwise.

    • Agreed, with the exception of Tropicana/Aztar nothing has really changed the fact that there is absolutely nothing downtown to draw the majority of folks, and equally there is nothing to draw conventions here with the exception of the LST or pricing.

      The chances of the med school locating downtown is very remote at best and while it would be a major game changer for downtown it makes much more sense to put it either at the USI campus or on the eastside, neither is a popular choice for the pro-downtown crowd but watch where it winds up.

      It’s highly likely that IU will want to re-purpose an old building downtown to house the school so that begs the question just where is there enough land to build it?


  7. Your right VO5,from what I see experience doesn’t count much these days.
    At least when applying for an “hotel job.”

    • It does not take much skill to smile and say welcome to the Doubletree. Other than swiping a credit card that and making beds are most of the jobs that a hotel will create. Whatever the minimum wage is these jobs will always be just above that level and no higher. Soft skills are what is needed. Show up on time, take a bath and brush your teeth before going to work, and be nice are about it. Ask your friends in the personnel departments in town and see how rare that is. Oh yeah, gotta pass that drug test which seems to be a real challenge to many of the applicants for low wage jobs. These problems are not just Evansville problems, soft skills and drug tests are problems all over America.

  8. I will NOT forget come election time – – and I highly doubt others will forget either!

  9. I’m going downtown to start a business that will surely lose money. I expect the taxpayers to front one quarter of the start up costs. Please make checks payable to Mr_Obvious, c/o the CCO. Thank you……..suckers.

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