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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — They say time heals all wounds. It also seems to shed a clearer light on old political promises.

Two and a half years ago, the Wilmington Convention Center was just a big hole in the ground and Mayor Bill Saffo was touting the jobs it would bring once it was complete.

In his January 2009 State of the City address, Saffo told the city, “It is the largest construction project in the region, and currently creating hundreds of desperately needed jobs.” He went on to say 1,000 people would be involved in the construction, and 1,200 will work there. He’d made the 1,200 jobs claim during his first State of the City address two years earlier.

Really, Mr. Mayor?

You know the TV station is just across the street from the convention center downtown. We were able to watch day after day as it was built. Obviously it took a lot of people to do that. But I never remember anywhere close to a thousand people working on that structure.

And then 1,200 more jobs would be created once it was finished? Last time we checked there were, what, about 30 or 40 people who worked there? Mr. Mayor, where are the other 1,160 jobs?

Now we understand that you also want a new hotel to go with your convention center. But do you really expect us to believe that that will bring more than a thousand more jobs to the area?

I know, I know. You’re talking residual jobs, right? Jobs created because of the “economic stimulation” that the convention center and the new hotel might bring. Problem is Mr. Mayor, it’s hard, if not impossible, to prove those jobs exist.

If you can, we’re ready to listen. But in the meantime local politicians should remember, if what you say gets reported in the media, it now lives on the web forever, giving all of us the opportunity to go back and check to see if you can show us the money.

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19 Comments on "THE RANT: Mayor Saffo, where are all the jobs you promised?"

2015 years 10 months ago

It’s great to hold our leaders accountable. I commend you on that.
BUT,the bottom line is…No one can predict the future. It’s not uncommon for a politician to tout the “highest” number, or higher end of the spectrum in reference to jobs…what’s possible if all the stars align.

Who knows how many actual employees built the center…when you add in the different contractors for this, different contractors for that. (Elect, plumbing, masonry, concrete, etc)

Maintenance workers, security, etc.

A hotel of the size they wanted would probably employ say…The optimum number of employees for a 3-star hotel would be 8 per 10 rooms…200 rooms…would equal say…160 employees. Add in the 40 or so at the convention center…which could fluctate/increase depending on the amount of the building’s use (200+)

Add in the restaurant they want inside of the hotel, etc.

Then you could factor in the equation often used (how many jobs created per dollar spent).

Regardless of an actual number…any amount of jobs would be a benefit. Even at a lowest end…200-300 jobs more in the area is a benefit.

Summary: I believe in the purpose of the convention center project. I realize that it in itself is not a money-maker. None of them are. But if it brings in people and their millions of dollars annually from other areas who’d normally go to Myrtle Beach, Raleigh, etc. then I’m for it. In time we all will see it’s impact. That entire area on the north end will begin to come more alive because of it. You set up a traffic flow of hundreds or possibly thousands of people and you eventually need other business around to support it (restaurants, hotels, recreation, etc.) Before the economic downturn…the convention center was announced and almost immediately hoteliers announced plans to build (they no doubt employ as well don’t they).

2015 years 10 months ago

Everyone knew he was full of **** when he said it, so why castigate him now?

You should have covered it in January of 2009:

“Mayor has breakdown during speech, starts hallucinating wildly.”


“Mayor sharpens gross exaggeration skills during state of the city speech”


“Mayor confuses number of downtown homeless winos with number of employees at convention center”

Guest CommonTater
2015 years 10 months ago

He will be voted right back in…. **shakes head** Come on people if you are truly tired of being reamed by these liars and thieves then send them packing!! Stop voting for them! They do not care about you…..

Mark Connette
2015 years 10 months ago

The convention center was not a good idea. However the writer of this snarky mean sprited piece is much worse. Veiled threats about politicians who disagree with WWAY are way out of line. Did WWAY ever run a story about Obama’s promises that jobless would not be over 8% if congress passed the stimulus? What about Gov. Perdue’s campaign promises? Do you ever think you will have the time to write such things about her as well? The mask at WWAY has been pulled off. Have a nice day and don’t wait on that Pulitzer.

2015 years 10 months ago

if it wasn’t tabloid garbage, it just wouldn’t be WWAY……

……ANDDDDD here comes the comment from the news director, something to likes of ‘thank you for visiting and posting on our website and paying my bills.’ Guess what Pickney, thousands of people visit TMZ and Perez Hilton every single day. Doesn’t make it quality news, and it doesn’t mean its taken as anything but entertainment. When people want local tabloid garbage, they come to WWAY. When they want real news, well, they ain’t looking for it here!!

2015 years 10 months ago

Reminding elected officials of the words THEY SPOKE is not a threat of any kind whatsoever. It’s called “holding them accountable,” which is what voters need to do when they go to the polls.

concerned citizen
2015 years 10 months ago

the mayor and the WPD don’t care about people downtown. the other day a heavily intoxicated man was passed out on a friends porch with a burning cigarette in his hand. when officer 451 showed up, he woke the guy, and gave him back his alcohol! i asked the officer why he didn’t pour it out? he told me to mind my own business and if i don’t like the way “things are run in wilmington” i can move to another city. well, i have lived here since 1961 and i know the law. and i told the officer he was pathetic. he screamed at me (while the intoxicated man with the bottle was in the middle of traffic) and followed me onto my property. i told him if he isn’t going to do his job, just leave my property. within minutes of him leaving, the drunk man grabbed the arm of a young cape fear community college girl, and then later threatened me and the man who called the police on him. he was way beyond drunk. the moral of the story is put your faith in the lord and professionals that start with “p”, like policemen, politicians, beware.

Madea Toldyall
2015 years 10 months ago


2015 years 10 months ago

FINALLY!!! A reporter who gets it!! I never comment on news stories because I’m not a big fan of our local media but if they all had the guts to challenge and question local politics like this one, I would become a fan over night. To who ever this reporter is, this is just the tip of the ice berg for the truth of “Wilmington Politics”, keep digging I guarantee you’ll be surprised!!!

2015 years 10 months ago

Where’s the like button from facebook???? ***click***

2015 years 10 months ago

If WWAY sees something that isn’t right they call the person out on it. The other news station should try doing the same thing.. Wilmington needs to change. The Mayor wants people to come downtown then they have to make it safe.
I don’t know exactly the facts but I wish WWAY would look into How many out of town contractors worked on the convention center?
The jobs should have stayed local. I know the job goes to the lowest bid, but really look at the NHC board of ed. trying to give that job to someone that was dishonest to the ABC board and TAX payers.
My other question is, when you have workers on a job site. They are supposed to have insurance. How many building inspectors check on that? Maybe that’s why the honest contractor can’t keep up with the dishonest ones. They pay all the insurances so then their job price goes up to cover the cost. Just go around town and see just how many are illlegal.. you will be really really surprised. and Brunswick county is terrible too. IE a plumbing contractor is only suppose to have a licensed plumber or jouneryman on each job site.. Really ??? that one is a big joke. I have been to job sites in Brunswick County where no one speaks english. and they are the only ones working there.
This area really has to change or it’s going to keep going down.

2015 years 10 months ago

Every time we see one of these nonsensical “tabloid journalism” claims, it’s in conjunction with some politician or one of their crony organizations.

Attack $25k being blown on fireworks for a ship commissioning, it’s tabloid journalism. Question a former state senator who has continually given large sums of money to young boys and men and it’s tabloid journalism. Call out personal credit card use by an employee at a taxpayer supported “crony organization” and it’s tabloid journalism. Write about county commissioners threatening people or whose personal lives are train wrecks, and it’s tabloid journalism.

Question nonsensical claims made by a man elected to serve the people and it’s tabloid journalism.

I don’t think that people are laughing at WWAY. They’re laughing at people who are so deeply enmeshed in the good ol’ boy corruption that plagues this city and county, that they have to log in to attack WWAY in an attempt to deflect attention from themselves or their next business deal.

2015 years 10 months ago

It’s easier to try to discredit the media rather than explain what’s really going on.

like button
2015 years 10 months ago

I too would like a (like) button. So I can say yes that is what I wanted to say. Without haveing to log on.

2015 years 10 months ago

This was a fiasco from the very start. The previous devious mayor had a vested interest and slip slid it thru.. Pipe dreams and air. There was no serious due diligence in the planning .. We are almost a peninsula.. connected by bridges, surrounded by waterways. We aren’t “just off I95” We are 2 hours away.. There are direct flights from only a few cities.

We don’t draw. Myrtle Beach wasn’t successful either in coming up with a convention center that PAID FOR ITSELF as we were promised.

Never mind future predictions re economy. this is about location, location, location. They don’t come if it isn’t convenient and satisfy a wide range of needs. What to do if it isn’t beach season? Downtown is a mess.. It was almost pretty good in the late ’90s and early 00s. But the greedy building owners couldn’t wait for any buildup of traffic.. Nope, bring in the niteclubs, drugs and damage.

too bad.. Wilmington deserves better.

2015 years 10 months ago

I am sitting here laughing at the fact that people STILL believe every promise made by a politician. Helllloooooo!!??!! They always tell you what you want to hear. Example: unified health care? Wake up!

2015 years 10 months ago

So…So true. If 40% of what a politician says comes true…I consider that a success lol

2015 years 10 months ago

seems to me WWAY is only holding public officials accountable for their words. its nice to see a local station seem to be a bit objective. if he promised the jobs & didnt deliver…it makes him a liar

2015 years 10 months ago

WWAY does a good job here. Politicians should be held accountable for their words, broken promises, mistakes,backroom deals,self-dealing, like who profited from the convention center and who pushed it (Saffo, Broadhurts-left town, and our own Susan Hamilton, Rick Catlin made money on it, while danny mccomas and thomas “inmate number 19475” wright).

Exposing their words and comparing them to the facts is what we need more of, not WECT’s fluff or this station’s hateful tabloid nonsense…

“Breaking News: Tree Falls in Ogden”
“Breaking News: Brian Berger Didn’t Floss Last Night”
“Breaking News: Barfield Has Crease in Shirt”
“Ogden Tree Had Problems, CFPUA Ignored Warning on Leaves Count”

These typical stories are so irrelevant to me, my family, my friends’ families, they might appeal to the low-brow gossips who read the national enquirer but its not real news, news that matters, and we usually find out eventually that these stories aren’t even true. they are stories just like “Where the Wild Things Are” and you’ve lowered the bar to the point where if you get 1 out 10 right, people pat wway on the back. WWAY’s personal soap opera stories and vendettas in the newsroom or with mr. combs are creating a one station town and its WECT. Please do better. And Grow up. Why Not Start now?


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