Thursday, April 18, 2013


By Juan Montoya
Taking a page from the Juliet Garcia Manual on Self Promotion, the local branch of the Brownsville Economic Development Council has garnered mention for its eighth-place ranking in an obscure category among 422 cities in seven different categories.
In Brownsville's case, it was ranked eighth for the amount of money it spent sending it economic development gurus on junkets across China and Latin America.
There is no mention by either the BEDC's public relations director Michelle Lopez or by BEDC vice-president of how many jobs have been created by the expensive "strategy" of wining and dining the political honchos of Barranquilla, Colombia, or Keiv, Ukraine.
As far as the imports coming into the Port of Brownsville, try as we might we have been unable to ascertain the torrent of investments here from those godforsaken places. But we're sure that they're recommended as nice vacations for the BEDC crew and the public officials that always seem to accompany them on their economic trailblazing jaunts across the globe.
The front-page story on the Brownsville Herald sought to place the accomplishments of the economic development "strategy" in global terms, saying that the city was ranked in the "small city" category. That means that according to the Financial Times online supplement, Brownsville came in on the map based on the amount of time it spent dangling money and incentives to potential foreign investors so they might consider coming here.
"The fDi (foreign direct investment) "Cities of the Future" ranking shortlists over 400 cities across North and South America of different sizes in different categories. Categories include "Quality of Life," "Business Friendliness," "Cost Effectiveness," " Infrastructure," "Human Resources," "FDI Promotion Strategy" and "Economic Potential," each ranked for various sizes of cities. Cities are judged by a panel examining expert opinion and independent data.
fDi is a division of Financial Times Ltd., providing leading industry insight on globalization and foreign direct investments intelligence.
The magazine produces a bi-annual ranking of cities in North, South and Central America. The 2013/2014 American Cities of the Future competition was based on data collected from 422 cities, in five different categories: major, large, mid-sized, small and micro cities."
Brownsville came in eight the small cities category in one of the seven categories listed above, "Promotion Strategy."
Somehow, we at El Rrun-Rrun find it difficult to believe that investors around the world are going to flock to Browntown like moths to a flame because of that ranking in that obscure category. The only other city in the United States to rank – no. 1 – was Lafayette, La. The others were in Canada and Mexico.
In fact, if you google for the fDi report, you will be asked to subscribe to the magazine and won't be allowed into the report unless you do, a masterful marketing strategy.
However, the Internet is replete with other newspapers in other towns crowing up the fact that they ranked in one or more of the categories. 
And why were they even considered? Because they submitted an application to be ranked.
"The BEDC, which made the submission to fDi Intelligence, has been pursuing an FDI strategy for the past two years that entails traveling to different countries, primarily in South America, to meet with business leaders face to face."
Her are some of the other news releases from other cities similarly "ranked.":
"fDi Magazine released their American Cities of the Future issue yesterday, naming Fredericton (British Colombia) to its Top Ten list in four Micro City categories: first in the overall rankings; fourth for the Best Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Strategy; fifth for Business Friendliness; and, sixth for Economic Potential.
Fredericton qualified under the micro city category, defined as populations under 100,000. Consideration was based on a number of factors, including attractiveness of the city to foreign investors, number and proportion of knowledge-based companies, ease of doing business, GDO, and population growth forecasts."
Likewise, the City of Richmod (also B.C.), Windson-Essex (Ontario), and others had a story to write about themselves after having applied for the recognition, sort of like vanity press, if you will.
In other words, the ranking came from a publication that encourages outsourcing and other "globalization" strategies, that is, the export of manufacturing and investment outside this country. nd one that won;t even consider your city unless you call yourself to their attention. Look at me! Look at me!
Revealingly, a report issued by the same magazine states that even as BEDC is reaching to into Latin America and is "trying to get there before everyone else does....(and) are a little bit ahead of the pack," interest in the region is already on the wane.
"The number of FDI projects into Latin America and the Caribbean declined by 19.52%, with the region attracting 1117 FDI projects. Capital investment decreased by an estimated 54.97% and the region also experienced an estimated 42.28% decline in jobs created..."
But of course, Salinas said, you have to patient for this sort of thing to pay off.
"When it comes to marketing tactics, it pays off dividends in the long run. It's not a quick return on the investment. It takes a while to develop that pipeline...We finally figured we're an international city, so let's start acting like one."
In the case of BEDC director Jason Hilts, Salinas and PR guru Michelle Lopez, that long-term strategy is called job security and spending the public's without abandon without having to deliver. But he, eight place in some obscure online magazine in some obscure category ain't that bad, is it?


Anonymous said...

The Port of Brownsville is a port for Northern Mexico and Monterrey in particular. Why is the port not exporting any of the 2.5 millioin autos Mexico will export this year? Mexico will double auto exports in five years. These idiots should be in Monterrey, not in pinche Baranquilla. Bola de pendejos.

Oz Great n Powerful said...

another wtf scam, money down the toilette, wonderful wonderful wonderful

OZ said...

its not our money so dont worry about it, its taxpayers money so its free????? spend spend spend like its outta style, WTF no one complaints and it they do hell we will just ignore them wtf?

Anonymous said...

PR guru or not ta bien buena la pinche vieja! A que no? she can do my PR all day long. Ta Rica LA michelle esa