GENE ROBERTSON: Beware of quick sales pitches and empty promises

Friday, March 14, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:39 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 14, 2014

When will we ever learn? I believe it was P.T. Barnum who said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

Someone ought to do a cost-benefit analysis of the great projects sold to mid-Missourians in the past 40 years — the malls, the job generators, the housing development projects, PedNet and the Battle schools. See what was promised, who profited and who pays.

Ultimately, the taxpayer pays. It doesn't just happen in New Jersey.

Whenever any salesperson tells you to quickly buy now or the great bargain will evaporate, beware. Even if the salesperson is the mayor, the city manager or the school superintendent. Remember they are as quick to evaporate as predatory developers.

It is never asking too much of our representatives when we demand that they stop some hurried process to ensure that the citizens are really getting their money's worth.

Let's not let ourselves be bamboozled. We should be extra careful about how the limited space in the central city is developed, impacted and paid for.

William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and a professor emeritus at MU. He writes occasional columns for the Missourian.

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