The County Council recently approved a contract to sell naming rights to the county’s public facilities. A company from Ohio will charge them $90,000 to identify things that might be renamed.
If you are old enough, you will remember when things had locally important names. Candlestick Park, located on Candlestick Point, was named for the candlestick birds that flocked to that part of San Francisco. It was known across the land, though mostly for its nightly cold breezes.
It was hard not to know where Three Rivers Stadium was, near the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers forming the Ohio. Fulton County Stadium was easily located.
The problem is that neither candlestick birds, nor the rivers, nor even Fulton County, pay to have things named after them. So those were completely wasted sponsorship opportunities.
In Volusia, we have a lot of possibilities. The administration building could be sponsored by Wasteful Management Inc., for example. Gemini Springs could be named for a septic-tank service, with a motto of “Don’t Swim Here.”
As a former computer guy, I remember “brute force and ignorance,” often abbreviated and seldom respected. So you could easily have a training facility sponsored by BFI.
The county spends a lot. Perhaps the budget department could be sponsored by Jolly Time popcorn, or Acme Dynamite Supply. Or, I guess, an incinerator company.
We could play with stereotypes. Given the stereotypical trash-talking Philly cop, perhaps the sheriff’s evidence facility could be sponsored by Pat’s Cheesesteaks. Quick: Name two things never found in a real Philly cheesesteak? Answer: cheese and steak.
Of course, a public-works barn should be named for ICI Homes. The problem there is the normal business model. Developers expect the public to subsidize them by providing the roads and bridges; paying for naming rights would reverse that normal cash flow.
Then, there are risks. Imagine naming a playground after the next Kerry Wilson. He is best-known as the girl-stripping vice principal in Safford USD v. Redding, the “ibuprofen search” case.
Similarly, you might not want to name the next Enron Field, for instance.
The County Council approved the plan, though we still lack details as to the exact sponsors.
All we can do is hope that someone is thinking about potential embarrassment — and be glad we did not name that racetrack bridge over U.S. 92 after Brian France!
— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize. This edition of his column was softened during the editorial process so as to give less offense.