Last month, Bud Norris, the mayor of Mt. Vernon, WA, controversially decided to award hometown boy Glenn Beck the ceremonial key to the city and declare Sept. 26 “Glenn Beck Day.” In response, approximately 800 people turned out to demonstrate — “the largest protest anybody could remember” in the town — and the city council unanimously passed a resolution that distanced itself from the mayor’s decision. Now, the Seattle Times reports that the event cost the small town $17,748.85, an amount that has stunned the Mt. Vernon finance director. Additionally, the event didn’t make the $10,000 the mayor had expected to donate to a local theater:
There were 577 tickets sold that generated $14,425, before expenses.
Income from ticket sales would have been higher if 92 comp tickets hadn’t been given out.
Norris says he gave comps to Beck’s family, “community leaders, people in leadership roles. … I’m told that’s pretty common.”
So the tickets sales netted $5,746.83 — after $5,754.17 was deducted for the hall rental, and $2,924 deducted for radio ads.
Why radio ads for an event that received such free publicity and was sold out in one day?
“The radio advertising was to make sure we sold tickets. I didn’t know what kind of response we would get. I didn’t want to go through all this and have 50 people show up,” says Norris.
Nevertheless, Norris has no regrets: “I don’t go to bed at night worrying about what people are saying about me on the Internet or blogs.” (HT: Gawker)