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THE RANT: Mayor Saffo, where are all the jobs you promised?

READ MORE: The Rant: July 19, 2011

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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